Thursday, April 07, 2005

"The War In Iraq" Is To "A Cure For Cancer" As "Martin Peretz" Is To...

"progressive foreign policy expert?" "someone with a grip on reality?" "a rational thinker?" a "smart person?"

Martin Peretz displays once again that being an editor of a magazine and an eloquent writer has absolutely no bearing on one's reasoning abilities. In his recent article The Politics of Churlishness Peretz has the gall to compare Bush's crusade through the Middle East with finding a cure for cancer. I wish I was exaggerating...
If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold--perhaps even somewhat reckless--instincts to pursue the task as he did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about aids?

No, the president has not discovered a cure for cancer. But there is a pathology, a historical pathology, that he has attacked with unprecedented vigor and with unprecedented success.
So what would that pathology be? A respect for international norms and treaties? A sane, non-partisan, reality-based, foreign policy? Independent defense and intelligence analysis? Respect for the constitution and for human rights? The Geneva Conventions?

Nah. How about the political culture of the Middle East? The cheerleading from this "Democrat" goes on:
(Bush) has accomplished this genuinely momentous transformation in ways that virtually the entire foreign affairs clerisy--the cold-blooded Brent Scowcroft realist Republicans and almost all the Democrats--never thought possible. Or, perhaps, in ways some of them thought positively undesirable. Bush, it now seems safe to say, is one of the great surprises in modern U.S. history. Nothing about his past suggested that he harbored these ideals nor the qualities of character required for their realization. Right up to the moment Bush became president, I was convinced that his mind, at least on matters Levantine, belonged to his father and to James Baker III, whose worldview seemed to be defined by the pecuniary prejudice of oil and Texas: Keep the ruling Arabs happy. But I was wrong, and, in light of what has already been achieved in the Middle East, I am glad to say so.
And when I first started to read the New Republic I thought that it was written by intelligent Democrats. But I was wrong, in light of this, and other, ridiculous articles by their staff.

Well, if Bush is right about his Middle East policy than it doesn't take a genius to figure out who Peretz thinks is wrong.
Most American liberals, alas, enjoy no similar gladness. They are not exactly pleased by the positive results of Bush's campaign in the Middle East. They deny and resent and begrudge and snipe. They are trapped in the politics of churlishness.
Yes- those of us who aren't buying the Bush/Neo-Con bullshit on this are just so intractable! It's like all those churlish doctors who insist that you can't get AIDS from tears or pregnant from masturbation. When will they learn that we are winning the war on sex?

It may be true (more likely, it is not) that a deep yearning for democracy has been latent throughout the region for a long time. There certainly was a basis in reality for skepticism about the Arabs' hospitability to the opening of their societies. Whatever the proper historical and cultural analysis of the past, however, the fact is that democracy did not begin even to breathe until the small coalition of Western nations led by the United States destroyed the most ruthless dictatorship in the area.
Peretz's map of the Middle East must not include Turkey and Israel, because last I checked... Oh never mind.

I wonder what General Zinni would say about this... Hmm...
At the February Camden Conference I asked retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni if, with the news from Egypt, he thought we could look to President George W. Bush and his so-called neocon advisors as being on to something. Was this the reason Mubarak was loosening control? The genial general tightened and snapped, "Bull (Shit); that is like saying that if Vietnam became a democracy we can take credit for it based upon the Vietnam War."
Oh Zinni, you churlish old General you! Why can't you bask in the warm glow of this glorious new world that Bush has created? Why can't you admit that everything is not only getting better in the middle-east, that it's actually better now than it was 3 years ago?

Peretz ends with this:
It has been heartening, in recent months, to watch some Democratic senators searching for ways out of the politics of churlishness. Some liberals appear to have understood that history is moving swiftly and in a good direction, and that history has no time for their old and mistaken suspicion of American power in the service of American values. One does not have to admire a lot about George W. Bush to admire what he has so far wrought. One need only be a thoughtful American with an interest in proliferating liberalism around the world. And, if liberals are unwilling to proliferate liberalism, then conservatives will. Rarely has there been a sweeter irony.
Well, while you're hoping that liberals will poke out their eyes and "see the light", I'm hoping that the exact obvious comes true.

My hope is that those national security leaders who still consider themselves to be Republicans will see the insanity of crusading through the Middle East under any pretense, and join the party of sane and rational national security ideas- the Democratic Party. I won't say that it would be sweet to witness such a transformation, given all of the pain and suffering that the Bush wars have led to, but it might be our only hope to end the Neo-Con revolution. This is what led me to try and Draft Anthony Zinni to join our party. I promise- if you come we'll kick Peretz the hell out. Did anyone even invite him?

Over at Democracy Arsenal, which I may have prematurely called an "amazing blog", there's a conversation going on about this article. Apparently Suzanne Nossel has bought fully into the idea that Bush is responsible for anything positive that's happening in the Middle East. Ugh.