Waiting For The Other Joe
You know what’s gone missing from the blogosphere lately? The “good news” from Iraq.
For a while there you could hardly click on a pro-war blog without coming upon loud denunciations of everyone’s favorite whipping boy, the Mainstream Media, for failing to report the “good news” from Iraq. There would follow a link to a blog post about a school opening in Donkeydung, Iraq.
Lately, far less chiding. Far fewer posts linking to happy news from Iraq. Not even the most enthusiastic of the pro-war bloggers can keep up that particular line anymore.
Now the pro-war bloggers spend their time straining to avoid recognizing the obvious connection between the Rumsfeldisms of southern Lebanon and Iraq. Now the pro-war bloggers strain to ignore that devastating book, Fiasco. Now the pro-war bloggers carefully avoid taking note of the right-wing pundits and decorated generals and rock-solid conservatives who have abandoned them.
Now, above all, the pro-war bloggers mull ways in which they can somehow . . . somehow . . . blame the liberals for the looming disaster in Iraq.
Yes, the culprits, inevitably, are the liberals who wielded precisely zero influence over the conduct of this war, and the New York Times, which famously became Scooter Libby’s own personal Pravda for a while. They, the liberals, are to blame . . . must somehow be to blame . . . for the failure of a war conceived in the minds of neo-cons, carried out under the precepts of the neo-cons, and financed without stint by the American people.
The blame must never fall on the people — like me — who wanted this war. No, we cannot possibly be to blame.
And never must blame fall on the people in power who ignored dissenting voices, distorted intelligence, botched the conduct of this war, relentlessly politicized this war, lied about this war, sought to profit politically from this war.
People who were simply wrong then — and I was among them — too often went from honest error to stubbornness in defense of error. Now stubborness is metastisizing into fantasy, denial and scapegoating.
All humans make mistakes. Honest mistakes must be forgiven. (At least I, who have made my share, hope so.) But those who make mistakes and then, rather than admit error, rather than suffer correction, turn to denial, and worse to a dishonest search for scapegoats, lose their chance at redemption.
I was wrong to support this war. Not the first time I was wrong about something, and it won’t be the last, I’m afraid. But I try to follow the First Law of Holes: when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Unfortunately too many in the political world, and in our little blogosphere, their hands tight-clenched around the shovel’s handle, just keep digging.
We are moving already into the “Who Lost Iraq?” game. It seems early, but the Right is standing astride the railroad tracks and sees that train a comin’. So they are working feverishly to sidestep blame. The search for a scapegoat is on in earnest. The neo-cons will morph into neo-McCarthyites. They will try to find a witch to burn to expiate their own sins.
So I want to repeat something I will remind readers of from time to time: the number of Mr. Bush’s budget requests for the war that have been refused: zero. The number of military decisions made by Mr. Bush’s critics: zero.
Remember that. The denialists will work night and day to lay the blame for this fiasco on someone else. Never forget that Mr. Bush has been given every dollar, every man he as asked for, and has set every policy. Every dollar, every decision.
(cross-posted from Sideways Mencken.)