In the Arena

More Neo-Nonsense

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I could waste a lot of cyberspace dealing with the nonsense the neocons are spewing about me so, I’ll tuck most of the post below the fold–but Pete Wehner, who served as Karl Rove’s intellectual hatchet man in the White House, is back in action and his intellectual dishonesty is simply breath-taking.


I’ll give one example. He references a column I wrote, ironically titled–by someone other than me–”Look Who Deserves a Nobel Prize.” It was a column about the disastrous naivete of Bush’s “Forward Freedom Agenda,” which was one of Wehner’s pet agit-prop projects. The obviously ironic punch line was, “If Bush can pull all this off, he deserves a Nobel prize.”

Wehner carefully edits this in his post to meet his propaganda needs. For example, he quotes from the column, but elides my strong skepticism about Bush’s program with an ellipses. Here’s the quote, with the part that Wehner skips in boldface:

Under the enlightened leadership of Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, the Shi’ite majority has played the democracy game with gusto. It has acknowledged the importance of Kurdish and Sunni minority rights and seems unlikely to demand the constitutional imposition of strict Islamic law. Most important, it has resisted the temptation to retaliate against the outrageous violence of Sunni extremists, especially against Shi’ite mosques. Several Administration officials told me they hope that Hamas and Hizballah will respond similarly to the peaceful desires of their people, that they will emphasize stability, economic development and social services and avoid military posturing and attacks on Israel. Yes, the U.S. still considers Hizballah a terrorist organization, but it won’t insist on the disarming of the group’s militia, as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, before Lebanon’s May elections.
One wonders what that noted hardfella Dick Cheney thinks of all this.
One can only imagine the Republican wrath and utter ridicule—the Rush Limbaugh fulminations—if, say, John Kerry had proposed a similar policy: Let’s pin our Middle East hopes on the statesmanship of Hizballah and Hamas. But that is where the democratic idealism of the Bush Doctrine has led us.
If the President turns out to be right—and let’s hope he is—a century’s worth of woolly-headed liberal dreamers will be vindicated. And he will surely deserve that woolliest of all peace prizes, the Nobel.

Wehner is similarly dishonest in most of his other carefully constructed–Rove had an eye for talented misleaders–fulminations about me. He picks those moments when I was optimistic about Iraq, but avoids the far more frequent moments when I was pessimistic. I’m sure there are some who believe I was naive to hope for the best in Bush’s bloodbath, but I plead guilty to that charge–and I’m thrilled that the situation in Iraq seems more stable (for the moment) as a result of the U.S. military’s excellent work. At the very least, we owe the Iraqis some peace and quiet.

In any case, Wehner will spend the rest of his life trying to Lady Macbeth his role in this catastrophe. But the blood won’t wash. I suggest that he read the forthcoming book, In A Time of War, about the sacrifices of the brilliant soldiers who comprised West Point’s class of 2002. Their loyalty and sense of duty is a precious resource we dare not waste. It was a sin to send them into an unplanned war of choice with equipment ill-suited to their mission. If Pete wants to know why I’m angry, he should think about the lives his President so carelessly wasted and ruined…and now Pete and his pals are pushing for another ill-conceived war, against Iran.

I once suggested that Wehner spend some time emptying bedpans at Walter Reed in penance for his horrific performance in the White House. I still think it would do him a world of good to step down from his Ivory Tower at the–don’t laugh–Ethics and Public Policy Center and get a whiff of the reality of his ideology as it is lived by those who’ve been maimed by his policies.

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