One of the now recurrent memes on the dead-ender right is the conflation of all opposing arguments on the war as "hysteria," "insanity" or "panic." Thus, NRO describes those Republican lawmakers worried about the Bush administration breaking the US military for political cover as merely concerned about their own re-election or simply prone to panic. Thus Bill Kristol describes those who disagree with the current conduct of a war as "insane" and "irrational." Critics of the worst president since Carter are literally "deranged." Well, of course we are, aren't we? No sane person could possibly conclude that the last four years in Iraq have been a disaster, could they?
The problem here is a pretty basic one. A rightful war -- one which is justified by the circumstances -- doesn't need partisan defense. The United States' entry into WW2 wasn't a matter for debate -- we were attacked by imperialist forces and needed to defend ourselves and the world, and then to eliminate these aggressor forces. On 9-11, we were again attacked by terrorist forces which were based in Afghanistan, and there was virtually no objection to going in and preventing these forces from attacking us again.
But Iraq was a whole different kettle of fish. Rather than starting with an attack on us, it began with a propaganda campaign from the party in power. We were told all sorts of fanciful tales from smallpox-laden drone aircraft to "don't let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud." And in the hothouse atmosphere following the 9-11 attacks, the public was inclined to believe these stories -- after all, who would have believed that the WTC towers would have crumbled to the ground, so ANYTHING might happen -- and gave their approval.
But it was all lies. No nuclear program, no germs, no WMDs period. And instead of the Desert Storm campaign which was so immaculately planned and executed, we had a bunch of fools running the show talking about flowers and statues to Bush rather than IEDs and suicide bombers.
And while the American people are very, very good at righteous wrath when we are attacked, we have little tolerance for those who would waste the blood of our children on political adventurism flying false colors.
Maybe Bush and Rummy actually believed the bullshit. An easy victory would have set the political stage for a Pax Americana where we could run roughshod wherever we pleased. And for a time, it looked like they might have succeeded. The infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech was evidence of just how confident the White House was.
But we were defeated by our own hubris. We didn't bother to secure the weapons caches which were everywhere in Iraq. We labelled the anarchy following our invasion as "celebrations" and didn't even bother to guard any buildings in Baghdad with the exception of the oil ministry. It seems the people in charge simply could not believe that we weren't unconditionally loved for barging in and taking over.
And now it's over four years later and everywhere you look, Iraq is somewhere between a quagmire and a maelstrom. The Iraqis don't want us there and in ever-increasing numbers, the American people realize that the sacrifice in blood and treasure isn't worth the outcome. And yet the NeoCons still cannot wrap their minds around the idea that they were just plain WRONG about the whole thing.
We needed an election. We needed the Iraqi congress to meet. We needed an Iraqi army. We needed to start the surge... finish the surge... give the surge 30 days... 90 days... six months. And still nothing.
Now there's nothing left but to insult the people who have finally come to their senses. They are "panicking." Well, there comes a time when rational people realize that the concrete wall isn't going to fall no matter how long you bang your head on it. That's not panic, that's intelligence.
But intelligence is the enemy of the demagogues. They don't want anybody to really think about things, just to kneejerk. The NeoCons sold us a war based on the fear generated by an entirely unrelated event. They manufactured "facts" to justify their war lust and set the noise machine loose to sell it to the masses. Don't think about it, don't wait. Hurry, hurry! Mushroom clouds! Disease! Destruction!
And now that it's all in ashes, it's still all-fear-all-the-time. "If we leave it will be GENOCIDE!" Yeah, like we don't have some pretty good genocide right now. "The terrorists will take over!" And most foolish of all, "We have to fight them there so we don't fight them here."
There was a time when name-calling by the RWers was a very effective weapon, but that was when Bush and his cronies still had credibility among the public. Those days are over, ended at their own hand. So now we need to capitalize, not capitulate. There is a new political reality which those who seek to reverse the abuses of the Bush administration need to appreciate. The worse things get for them, the more noise they'll make and the more shrill their claims, but the truth is that the have become the Administration Who Cried Wolf and nobody cares what they say anymore.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!