Monday, June 26, 2006

Ducking and Weaving vs. Cutting and Running

"Personal Psychodrama Seems To be Involved"

by digby

Gene Lyons has a great column up this week about Murtha and Karl Rove. You'll enjoy it. I particularly liked this line:

Murtha didn’t say so, but there’s no chance of an Iraqi democracy friendly to the U. S. That’s a delusion. Bush’s photo-op visit merely underscored the point. Three years after “Mission accomplished,” and the mighty conqueror flies into the fortified “Green Zone” unannounced and can’t trust Iraq’s prime minister enough to give him, oh, an hour’s notice ? That’s not how Alexander the Great did it.

No it's not. One of the most infuriating things about the triumphal coverage of the Baghdad trip is the fact that the media didn't seem to think it was noteworthy that after all this time the president (or anybody else) still can't make a planned visit because he can't trust anyone and the situation on the ground is so dangerous. Why that's considered "good news" for him is anyone's guess. Rational people are right to conclude that there has pretty much been no progress since Bush dropped in exactly the same way for that stupid Turkey stunt. By this time we should have been able to have a state visit and a parade.

Gene brings up something else that I've been meaning to write about and keep forgetting:

For the record, Rove’s military experience, like Vice President Dick Cheney’s and that of virtually all the neo-conservative architects of this ill-conceived utopian fantasy, is absolutely zero.

Rove has an interesting story to go along with this, which I've not heard discussed and which I'm sure a lot of patriotic Republicans would be interested in rationalizing for us:

While Rove was in high school in Utah, a future president Bill Clinton, was finishing Georgetown University and then moving to England to attend Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. He escaped the draft and, in the famous ROTC letter, outlines his reservations: "The draft system itself is illegitimate. No government really rooted in limited, parliamentary democracy should have the power to make its citizens fight and kill and die in a war they may oppose, a war which even possible may be wrong, a war which in any case does not involve immediately the peace and fredom of the nation."

Curiously, Rove's view at the time was not so different, according to classmates. Rove had doubts about the war --- which after all was being prosecuted by a Democrat, Lyndon Johnson. In any case he felt government had no right to require citizens to serve in the military.

He and classmate Mark Gustavson sat by the huge windows in the cafeteria discussing the issue. "He was opposed to compulsory service. He felt we don't need the damn government telling us what to do. We can do it on our own."

According to Gustavson, Rove had reached his conclusion not from the left, but the right --- as an expression of libertarianism. Supporting the war was equivalent to supporting big government and the intrusion of big government, especially the bloated, post-New Deal government of LBJ and Hubert Humphrey and the rest of the liberal washington establishmnent. Whether guided more by the apprehension of being drafter or a commitment to individual liberty, Karl Rove was no fan of the war, or at least the draft.

He brought this passion to the topic of compulsory military service, winning debate after debate in classrooms of receptive draft-age young high school students. He used what he called the "mom, apple pie and flag," defense meaning the position of the true American patriot. It was a fine piece of rhetorical jujiotsu, friends remembered, which allowed Rove to reconcile opposition to the draft with conservative principle. (Bush's Brain p. 124)

Jujiotsu indeed. If my draft age brother had tried that argument on my Dad, he would have found himself face down in the dirt. Conservatives of that day didn't buy it one bit. My father hated Frank Sinatra his whole life because he didn't go overseas during the war and all the girls were drooling over him back home. (He wasn't too thrilled with Reagan either, although he voted for them.) This was a big thing to the WWII generation wingnuts who were in charge of Rove's GOP at the time. No excuses.

I think it's just awfully interesting that he and Bill Clinton had the same rationale for being against the draft, don't you? Yet I've never hear Karl speak out defending old Bill on this. And when the swiftboat liars were making John Kerry out to be an opportunistic coward in Vietnam, we now know that phony chickenhawk #2982 was a guy who contructed elaborate libertarian arguments to justify being against the draft and that same war. Oh my, he's always been a slick one.

Lyons writes:

As history, this cut-and-run business is nonsense. It wasn’t Democrats who made peace in Korea. It was President Dwight Eisenhower. Democrats didn’t dispatch Henry Kissinger to whisper to China in 1972 that the U. S. could live with a communist Vietnam. President Richard Nixon did. He began the long, bloody retreat that ended with the North Vietnamese taking Saigon under President Gerald Ford.

Maybe the oddest thing about the legacy of Vietnam is that the worst thing that could happen, from a rightwing perspective, did happen. The U. S. lost the war. Communists conquered much of Southeast Asia. And the effect on national security ? Well, we got lots of good Vietnamese restaurants out of it. Otherwise, none.

The communists soon fell to fighting among themselves, with Vietnam invading Cambodia, China attacking Vietnam, and the Chinese and Soviet Russians entangled in a blood feud. Next, Russia invaded Afghanistan. Domestic fallout from that bloody fiasco helped cause the collapse of the U. S. S. R. and the demise of communism almost everywhere—also because nobody but a few crackpot professors in the West believed in it anymore.

Exactly why so many like Rove, Bush and Cheney, who avoided Vietnam, subsequently metamorphosed into countryclub Napoleons is mysterious. Personal psychodrama appears to be involved.

I don't think there's any doubt.

digby 6/22/2006 03:08:00 PM Comments (57) | Trackback (0)


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