Sunday, November 20, 2005

Post Drivels While Iraq Burns

In yet another infuriating example of public evil perpetrated by Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor of the Washington Post, Sunday's prissy lecture gets so many things wrong you'd think a corporate shill wrote it. Oh, wait... Calling the posititions of both parties in Friday's House Iraq debate "irresponsible," the Post loftily admonishes both Republicans and Democrats for, in its view, seeming to choose election victory in 2006 over military victory in Iraq.

The rest of the editorial laboriously works out the consequenses of this imputed dichotomy, in prose displaying all the forcefulness of piss dribbling down a drunk's leg. But here's the deal, Fred. No white people are ever going to win in Iraq. The more of them (and Iraqis) you kill trying, the worse the defeat when it comes. (Not to slight the contributions of US non-white soldiers, but in the eyes of those they fight against they are collectively, as described in Little Big Man, "the black white people.")

Being a former career Marine, Rep. John Murtha has the primary lower-rank military virtue of recognizing things as they are, not as pride or hope would have them be. Contrary to chicken-hawks, chairborne warriors, and most politicians or editorialists, real military men and women count the cost to their uniformed buddies of every action, and weigh the probable results against the certain cost. That calculus is how the young West Point majors such as John Paul Vann worked out our then-forthcoming defeat in Vietnam faster than the generals did.

Despite the bland dismissiveness of the Post, determining how we got into the war in 2002 is crucial to determining what ought to be done about the war in 2005 and 2006. If, as is now being conclusively demonstrated, the war was sold to the American people on the basis of dishonesty, chicanery, misrepresentation, and outright suppression of contrary intelligence, the sale was invalid. As a nation, we now get to consider whether, having been tricked into an unwinnable war, we ought to pretend not to have been tricked and that the war is winnable.

Yes, there very well might be an Iraqi civil war if the US withdraws in six months. But in the normal course of events, there was probably going to be one when Saddam died or was overthrown other than by the US anyway. Yet there will certainly be one whenever the US finally withdraws, however far into the future that might be. No regime fatally compromised by its establishment by a foreign power long survives the repatriation of foreign troops. Just ask the South Vietnamese refugees in Arlington, Houston or Seattle.

Meanwhile, it is impossible to smear Dick Cheney or anyone else by telling the truth about them. However, the Post has smeared John Murtha by telling the lie that his truth about Cheney's deferments constitutes a smear.
It's a sad day for public discourse when, as in this case, the Post's editorial page resorts to Nixonian rhetorical tricks. At least the Post was consistent by doing it in such an ignoble cause. The Post's is the "shameful exercise in demagoguery."

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