November 17, 2005


Bush's Betrayal of History: Defiant of rising political blowback on Iraq, United States President George W. Bush blasts his truth-telling critics as traitors to the cause. (Sidney Blumenthal, 11/15/05)

On Veterans' Day, Nov. 11, Bush addressed troops at an Army base: "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." He charged that "some Democrats and antiwar critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people," even though they knew "a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs." In fact, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction was not authorized to look into that question, but only whether the intelligence community was correct in its analysis. Moreover, the Senate Intelligence Committee under Republican leadership connived with the White House to prevent a promised investigation into the administration's involvement in prewar intelligence. Its revival by Democrats is precisely the proximate cause that has triggered Bush's paroxysm of revenge.

Several days later, Bush spoke before troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, where he stated that "some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past," and are "sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy." U.S. soldiers "deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them into war continue to stand behind them," Bush admonished. His essential thrust was that as "a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life" besieges us from without, the most insidious undermining comes from within. Thus an American president updated the "stab in the back" theory first articulated in February 1919 by Gen. Erich Ludendorff, who stated that "the political leadership disarmed the unconquered army and delivered over Germany to the destructive will of the enemy." [...]

Bush's adoption of the Ludendorff strategy of blaming weak politicians for military failure and exalting "will" sets him at odds with liberal democracy. His understanding of history also clashes with the conservative tradition that acknowledges human fallibility and respects the past. Bush's presidency is an effort to defy history, not only in America, writing on the world as a blank slate. The New Deal can be abolished without consequences, Arab states can be transformed into democracies if only they will it.

It would be helpful if the lunatic Left would explain why they think Arabs are congenitally unsuited to democracy, just as they once believed the same of the Hun.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 17, 2005 9:47 AM

Except when they are actually in power and no longer need to hide their motivations from the stupid masses, when has the Left not hidden their racism, bigotry and general hatred of humanity behind paternalistic elitism?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 17, 2005 12:12 PM

What military failure, Mr. Blumenthal?

Posted by: Mikey at November 17, 2005 1:11 PM

"the political leadership disarmed the unconquered army and delivered over Germany to the destructive will of the enemy." Replace "Germany" with "South Vietnam" and you have a dead-on desciption of one of the most shameful episodes in recent American history. May the Iraqis be luckier with their American allies than the Vietnamese were...

Posted by: b at November 17, 2005 1:16 PM

For the left, the only permissable war is WWII. We're attacked first, we fight on the side of international communism against fascism, the war helps create a stronger domestic state and the moral case for war only becomes stronger after the war is over. Nothing else will do.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 17, 2005 1:37 PM

And the "liberated" territory is left to Marxists.

Posted by: oj at November 17, 2005 1:55 PM

David, We fought to save the Communists from being defeated by the Fascists?

I don't think FDR cared one way ot the other about defeating Fascism. He just wanted to help out his pals in Moscow.

Posted by: erp at November 17, 2005 5:01 PM

One of the primary duties of a war leader in a democracy is to build morale. Bush is clearly failing on that regard.

Right now, more and more people do not feel confident on Bush's ability to secure victory. Instead, they fear an ongoing, inconclusive war. I do not think that will be the case, but I am becoming a minority on that if not one already.

The primary reason people are losing faith in Bush is that he had undermined his own credibility. He downplayed the problems of occupation. He acted like a buffoon piloting that airplane to the carrier like he was in Top Gun. And his primary articulated argument to enter the war did not hold up. All of that is catching up to him.

If things deciisively improve between now and the 2006 elections, he will have dodged the bullet and historians will admire his resolve in the face of feckless and cowardly opposition. If things continue as they are, those same historians will castigate him for poor leadership and being an idiot in fighting an unwinnable war. Yet his actions will have been exactly the same in either case.

Lincoln is admired now for his determination, but his re-election in 1864 (and victory in the Civil War) was due to Sherman's march through Georgia. If that did not happen, Lincoln, our greatest President, would probably be classified as the worst one who was not up to the task of uniting the nation. Bush is not in so precarious a chasm, but is in the same position in terms of being a hostage to fate.

The prudent thing is to find someone - anyone Democrat or Republican - who still has credibility who can make the case for victory and offer enough changes (whether real needed changes, or cosmetic ones if no real change is needed) so that people believe that this guy can bring victory and bring the troops home. Otherwise, all we are hoping for is that fortune smiles and hands us something that will restore Bush's credibility on this issue.

The actual number of anti-war lunatics are few. Instead, the growing opposition to the war are from people who were either skeptical of the war because they thought scenarios like this would happen, or are political opportunists who think it's a debacle and don't want to be tainted with it. The populace as a whole simply think that there is no strategy to win and anticipating a fruitless occupation, want to cut losses now. All three groups will come around if they feel a decisive victory is possible. But time is running out. If things do not change relatively soon, the logic of events will turn against victory.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at November 17, 2005 6:32 PM

As I recall, the liberals also thought the Latin and South Americans could never master democracy and needed the strong hand of a left-progressive supremo leader.

How's that democracy thing going south of the border?

Posted by: Steve White at November 17, 2005 7:08 PM

b, It takes courage to name the Vietnam Dolchstoss. Thank you.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 17, 2005 7:17 PM
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