Thursday, June 23, 2005

David Brooks, Blinders and All

Once again David Brooks has to defend the indefensible, and he does it with the unmitigated gall to quote Franklin D. Roosevelt in support of staying the course in Iraq:

Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst, without flinching or losing heart. You must, in turn, have complete confidence that your government is keeping nothing from you except information that will help the enemy in his attempt to destroy us. – FDR, February 23, 1942

That would be well and good if our present administration hadn’t lied about why we got into the war in the first place, didn’t shamelessly underestimate the amount of men and armor it would take to win the war, and had no plan whatsoever about what to do with the country once they were there.

Mr. Brooks seems to think that the reason the insurgents are causing such havoc is because the majority of Americans now see that its a disaster. But they’re wrong! he cries:

Yet I can’t believe majorities of Americans really want to pull out and accept defeat. I can’t believe they want to abandon to the Zarqawis and the Baathists those 8.5 million Iraqis who held up purple fingers on Election Day. I can’t believe they are yet ready to accept a terrorist-run state in the heart of the Middle East, a civil war in Iraq, the crushing of democratic hopes in places like Egypt and Iran, and the ruinous consequences for American power and prestige.

What they want to do, more likely, is somehow escape the current moment, which is discouraging and uncertain. One of the many problems with fighting an insurgency is that it is nearly impossible to know if we are winning or losing. It’s like watching a football game with no goal lines and chaotic action all over the field.

Yeah, and who’s fault is that, the players on the field or the fans in the stand?

In the end, Brooks himself doesn’t even seem to buy his own argument.

Some of you will respond that this is easy for me to say, since I’m not over there. All I’d say is that we live in a democracy, where decisions are made by all. Besides, the vast majority of those serving in Iraq, and their families, said they voted to re-elect President Bush. They seem to want to finish the job.

Others will say we shouldn’t be there in the first place. You may be right. Time will tell. But right now, this isn’t about your personal vindication. It’s about victory for the forces of decency and defeating those, like Zarqawi, who would be attacking us in any case.

In other words, well, the guys who are over there fighting the war are Republicans and we’re never wrong about anything, so it’s all about ego.

Well, Mr. Brooks, it isn’t just the Democrats anymore.

Leading Republicans are increasingly expressing their frustration with the war effort — and this may only be the beginning of Bush’s problems within GOP ranks as Republicans assess whether they’ll run as allies or critics of Bush’s policy in 2006.


[K]ey Republicans do not see the same Iraq Bush sees, even if the GOP leadership remains lockstep behind the commander in chief. Over the weekend, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report that “the White House is completely disconnected from reality … The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.” On Sunday, Sen. John McCain was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether Vice President Cheney’s comments last week that Iraq is in the “last throes” of the insurgency were correct. “No,” McCain tersely replied.

That frank sentiment comes on the heels of a well-publicized reversal from an early outspoken supporter of the war, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., who coined the term “freedom fries” to express his outrage with France. Perhaps more than many of his colleagues, Jones faces potential electoral fallout from the war in Iraq: He has three major military bases in his district at the eastern end of the state, and counts tens of thousands of veterans among his constituency.

It looks like you have some work to do in your own house first, David.