Truth and Dissent

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Greg Djerejian at The Belgravia Dispatch has been one of the few bloggers I’ve been reading who has managed to keep his head in the current political meltdown over Iraq and Bush/Cheney. That is, he navigates between the Scylla of unquestioning loyalty to leaders who don’t quite deserve it and the Charybdis of “say anything to hurt them” polemics in a time when U.S. soldiers and Marines are getting shot at.

Often he posts on a topic, then reads the more thoughtful responses to what he’s said, and tacks an addendum on his initial post. I find these to be the most trenchant bits, since they take his initial thought and hone it based on criticism.

Here’s one:

UPDATE: I symphatize with those in the Administration who want to attack Democrats for their manifold hypocrisy on this issue. I really do. But I’ve made it clear I think the messengers should be the Ken Mehlmans, Congressional attack dogs, and such–not the President, Vice President, other very senior Administration officials. It makes them look cheap, vindictive and petty–exactly what they are accusing the Kennedys and Pelosis and so on of being. Look, when it comes to Iraq, they should be focusing on devising a winning game plan in Iraq. Period. Oh, and one last bone to pick with Cheney, who says: “We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them.” If we’re going to play that game, let’s throw the “dictionary meaning” of “last throes” back at him. Let’s ask ourselves, would public support for the Iraq war be flagging so, if there wasn’t an elemental lack of faith in the honesty and ability of those prosecuting the war. Sure, the Dems are hurting the effort by screaming on and on about the Big Lies, but they’re not alone in their duplicities and hypocrisies. Let’s remember that too. After all, ask yourself, how many Americans have died to insurgent attacks since May 30th, when Cheney uttered this ‘last throes’ nonsense?

Here’s another:

Look, regular readers know I view Clinton’s anti-terrorism policy as having been grotesquely negligent. I quote Mike’s bon mot in this context–I hold Clinton, particularly on pre-Dayton Bosnia policy, in tremendously low esteem. But I link Mike to also make the point that this much bally-hooed offensive (ie, publicizing all the statements the Democrats made back in ’02/’03 that sounded so jingo-off-to-war-we-go)–is amateur, is tone deaf, is simply half-assed. What the American people want to hear from the President is why we are in Iraq, and (more important) how we’re going to win in Iraq, and yeah, what he’s going to do about high oil prices and such. They don’t give a flying eff about who said what when in 2002 about the merits of going to war in Iraq (stuff like the Butler Report and Niger forgeries are inter-elite squabbles among Beltway cognescenti). They instinctually realize that the broad political class, emerging from the trauma of 9/11, was for the war effort. And that the Democrats are full of it now with their transparent and so convenient and, yes, quite cowardly distancing themselves from the difficulties in Iraq (Democrats, not that I’m in the advice business, should be attacking Bush, not on the hyped intel, but on the incompetence of the first two years of the war, by the way).

You can read a lot of similar sentiments on this site, too, of course. Nice to know we’re not alone.

These “updates” are so pithy I wonder if they shouldn’t be an accepted feature of all thoughtful bloggers — the few who are lucky enough to get tough but constructive criticism from their regular readers.

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