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Monday, October 23, 2006

Mind Blowing Irony

In a last-ditch effort to reelect PA incumbent/adulterer/accused-mistress-strangler Don Sherwood, the Republican National Committee is sending out mailings accusing Democratic challenger Chris Carney of helping start the Iraq war.

To compound the irony, the RNC isn't lying! Chris Carney worked in the Pentagon's Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, which produced pre-war "intelligence" that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda. Carney defends himself: "Some of the party disagrees with me on this, but I know what I saw. The party respects that I was in a unique position to know this. They like the idea they have a Democrat strong on national defense joining their ranks, especially on the war on terror."

Well, this little incident nicely encapsulates the complete degradation of our entire political class on everything related to the Iraq War. The Republicans desperately deserve severe electoral punishment for their profound misjudgments and policy failures on Iraq, but it's almost a shame that our Democratic party establishment will benefit from it.


At 1:04 PM, Blogger Paul said...


This should be mind-blowing, but it's just another instance of the Republicans' rhetorical view of life and poliics. They sit around and identify any of their own weaknesses and any of their opponents' strengths. They then set about troping any weakness of their own into a strength, and any strength of their opponent into a weakness. As for reality, it doesn't matter -- the game is to manipulate perception.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Frances said...

Yes, Paul, I completely agree that this attack-the-opponents'-strength is the Rovian MO.

But, in this case, it's actually true! Chris Carney was directly and personally involved in the effort to gin up the Iraq war on the basis of false claims that Saddam was in cahoots with Al Qaeda. The GOP charge is accurate!

That's why it's such an amazing example of irony. The GOP charges an out-of-office Democrat with responsibility for their own party's signature failure, the typical Rovian move. But this time they are RIGHT. He was involved! And he doesn't even regret it! He, like all Democratic war hawks, regards his hawkishness as a badge of honor, and he still defends the laughable intelligence he helped produce.

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Paul said...


No doubt Carney worked in the shop that helped disseminate false intelligence that eventually was used by Bush to start the war with Iraq. I wasn't questioning that there is some irony in the fact that he, a Democrat, was involved in, or that he may have been responsible for, sexing up some of the bad intel. But for me the greater irony lies in the Republican strategy, for in the end, what sort of responsibility quotient could we really assign Carney for actually “starting the Iraq war”? At the most 1/1000 and more fairly something that closely approximates zero (in short, let's just say that Carney believed Saddam had no WMDS or any connection to Al Qaeda and vociferously made this known, would his objections realistically have made a difference to Bush?). So, in the end this is a rhetorical bait and switch -- claim to sell Iraq as a mistake, but substitute a commodity of appreciably no responsibility for the truly responsible party, which is Bush and his neocon pals (who all happen to be Republicans). I’ve got to hand it to the Republicans, as a whole they are very adept at playing the game of politics with the mindset that the other team must be defeated at all costs, including by the employment of crazy arguments that logically damn their own team, but how long has it been since any logic mattered to the Republicans other than winning?

O yeah, by the by, thanks for the reference to Baker's "Stabbed in the Back" in your comments under “Don’t Believe the Hype.” Overall, it was a great article. I fear, however, at the end of the article Baker underestimates the staying of power of a true myth. Mythoi never die, they only morph into new, potent iterations. The same will almost surely happen with the Iraq saga. Like Vietnam, Americans will lose their appetite for futility in Iraq, those responsible will never admit their mistake for starting the war, they will uselessly throw more American lives at the conflict, and when this proves unsuccessful (as it already has in Baghdad), then a majority of Americans, assuming we still have a functioning democracy, will vote the dead-enders out of office, and Americans will get out of Iraq. The ensuing cost of the loss will be enormous and there will be lots of recriminations, but eventually the American military and foreign policy will, like the Phoenix, rise from its own ashes. Meanwhile, neocon 2.0 will come online under a different guise and it will set about "agitproping" the story that our failure in Iraq (and Afghanistan, by the way) was a result of the back-stabbing incompetent leaders and back-stabbing cut-and-run citizens – in fact, they’re already laying the groundwork for this. Since there will be no way to disprove that we might have won had we only stayed longer (other than simple logic, but again who needs that?), eventually the mythographers will gain traction and persuade a new generation of Americans that such wars can be won. So Iraq won’t be our last military misadventure.

In the meantime, I take some comfort in the fact that there are signs that we are at the zenith (or rather nadir) of one of these epically tragic American cycles. A change in either the House or Senate to the Democrats on November 7 will be the sure sign of an historic shift, although this shift will provide only small comfort for the next two or three years, since many more soldiers and Iraqis will still be maimed or killed for a fool’s errand (#3 may be correct to wonder whether we’ve even reached 50% yet). Should a change in the House or Senate occur now, the reason for the political change will also undoubtedly be blamed by many Republicans on Foley’s follies. Such a “blame Foley” ploy would itself comport nicely with Baker’s “Stabbed-in-the-Back” narrative, which as he makes all too clear has historically always been underwritten by homophobia.


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