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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Blinded By Faith

Today, one of my favorite blogs,TAPPED says:

One gets the sense that, rather than Bush administration officials regarding the war on terrorism as something new under the sun -- something that might require them to think and act differently and rearrange their priorities -- they regarded it as an excuse to do everything they had already wanted to do.

This is a very important point. During the 2003 run-up to the invasion (and even before, on Eschaton) I wrote about the intellectual inflexibility of the neconservative claque. From January 5th:

It is true that Iraq could get nukes and Saddam could extort the entire western world by withholding oil and driving up the price. So could other countries, for that matter. No matter who managed to do this, it would not be a pretty picture. But, even Kenneth Pollack, who is held up as the authority on the necessity of invading Iraq, argues that while Saddam will have to be deposed, it is not so immediate a threat that we could not wait long enough to mitigate some of the potentially dangerous repercussions and plan for our long term responsibilities in the region before taking action.

Confronting Saddam could have waited because what is not waiting is the simmering anti-American bloodlust that is sweeping the Middle East, particularly in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Invading Iraq on a thin pretext (which is what is going to happen because this war is already timed for American convenience and nothing else) is possibly going to set off a chain of events that could have been avoided if we handled the situation with a little more sophistication and finesse instead of fulfilling some long held neocon wet dream. And that is the real problem.

The Wolfowitz/Perle school never took terrorism seriously when it was becoming a threat on the world stage and they don't take it seriously now. The influential CSP issued only 2 reports since the 1998 embassy bombing about the threat of terrorism until 9/11. The PNAC has been wringing their hands about Iraq and pushing for missile defense for years, but terrorism was hardly even on the radar screen. They are about China, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, Israel, US "benevolent" hegemony and missile defense. Period. Anything else will be subsumed under what they believe is the real agenda.

As with the ever changing justifications for the tax cuts for their rich friends, Bush and his foreign policy mavens are so blinkered and myopic and that they pursue their preordained agenda no matter what the current situation. They seem completely incapable of exercising any flexibility in light of changing circumstances. They just find a way to use the changing circumstances to justify what they plan to do anyway.

This is very dangerous. Bush, with his stupid bellicose posturing has created a needless crisis in Asia by challenging a cornered and neurotically proud despot in North Korea into a nuclear standoff. He has escalated the problem with Iraq to one of immediate danger, when it was a medium term threat at worst, and by conflating it with Al Qaeda and Muslim fundamentalism, for no good reason other than political expediency, he has made it a cause for a whole lot of disaffected people in the Mideast and Indian subcontinent to rally to.

It goes on to discuss how much this all has to do with their childlike devotion to the fantasy of missile defense.

It should be clear by now, with all we know about the bogus justifications for invading and occupying Iraq, that the Bush administration does not care about terrorism and is wedded to grandiose unilateralist ideas that were formulated during the cold war and desperately need to be re-evaluated.

This should be the basis for the Democratic critique of Bush's foreign policy. The world is changing. The neocons refuse to see it.