Homer Simpson is known, among other things, for his schemes. Often, as the situation deteriorated, his schemes got crazier and his hold on ground truth more wobbly.
Rube Goldberg-style, the neoconservatives are offering a superior solution than solemn statesmen, grieved parents, and American (small-r) republicans. They will not be bested by famous cartoon characters. They aim to win in Iraq, no matter how many steps it takes. In fact, the more steps, the better!
I think I understand it now. Neocons worship a god named Homer Simpson. Their Holy Ghost is Rube Goldberg, and the Son — I’m guessing here — must be Chaos.
Jude Wanniski asks "when will the pundits apologize?" When will they admit their mistakes and grave errors to the families of the dead on all sides and to the people of America? Homer Simpson answers for them, "I don’t apologize. I am sorry Lisa, that’s the way I am." And so it is with the neoconservatives who clamored for war and cakewalks and slam-dunks. You will hear the inconsistency in their voices. You will see their pain in the Sunday morning talk shows. But you will never hear those responsible for designing a flawed policy in the Middle East, destroying the U.S. Army and its Guard and Reserve system, and Iraq as a nation ever say they’re sorry.
Cindy Sheehan asks our president, who is looking more and more in dire need of a donut and a coffee break, for what noble purpose her son, and nearly 2,000 other American sons and daughters have died over the past two and a half years of combat in Iraq.
But take a moment to remember. Congress never declared war. The military is conducting an occupation complete with prisons and torture and punitive annihilation of Iraqi cities on behalf of a … republic? Why, of course not. The war is for the unstated desires and justifications known to the heads of the American empire, and they answer to no one. However, perhaps she can find comfort in Homer’s words, "Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand!"
Urged by neoconservative ravings of Pentagon appointees, the administration, and several major national newspapers and TV stations, Republicans and Democrats alike trumpeted and brayed the false rationale for the Iraq invasion in 2002 and 2003. Neither party challenged the President’s agenda, or the Pentagon’s plan, or its lack of a plan. Like bouncy but brain-dead cheerleaders, they jostled, competing to be heard screaming "War, War, War!"
Today, while Cindy Sheehan clearly and correctly calls the President a liar, CNN and Fox attempt — unsuccessfully — to get any member of Congress, Democrat or Republican, to themselves say that the President lied. What is so hard about that! He lied, they lied, Congress was lied to, plus the mainstream media transmitted the lies to the rest of us with nary a whisper of doubt. It was a veritable liefest, a flood of falsehoods, a barrage of bull. The legacy of those lies is lived by soldiers in Iraq, every member of the military and the intelligence community, all of Washington, and throughout our nation today.
Why can no one admit the lies, even now? Homer again, is wise. "Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen." All participants are culpable.
So, what are we going to do now in the Middle East? Many in the antiwar movement and in various political parties that embrace the Constitution are actively working and praying for wisdom to prevail in Washington, and for peace to prevail in places where Americans find themselves. They want us out of Iraq now, and in the Middle East by invitation only.
But the neoconservatives are not working in this direction. Huddled over their nascent machine, they worry that (barring martial law and a suspension of presidential elections in 2008) their time is running out. They worry that their Great Leader (or Great Puppet, depending on your perception) and his party will be ejected, and the successor party will be either split, or at least too substantially troubled by what 20 years of pitiful post-Cold War leadership in Washington has wrought to "stay the course."
Reality is clear enough for those of us who operate in the reality-based world. Charley Reese nailed it in his article about a united Iraq as a Western joke. Stan Goff nailed it with his exit strategy. But for busy neoconservatives, a Goldberg winning plan is in the works.
We’ve all heard that Dick Cheney has called for the nuking of Iran in response to any big attack on America (I hope it won’t be Hurricane Katrina and her impact on Gulf of Mexico pumping and refining operations!). Now, that "plan" might seem the epitome of simplicity, a case of Occam’s Razor versus Rube Goldberg. Not to mention incredibly stupid. But consider this…
As Charley Reese and many others have correctly observed, Iraq as a U.S. controlled entity, is in dire straits and tanking. The concept was flawed from the beginning; disunity and conflict are aggravated by the ongoing theft of both U.S. and Iraqi resources by favored U.S. perps and the remnants of Jerry Bremer’s bureaucrats. Iraqi rage is fueled by the persistent lack of electricity, clean water or jobs they face in most of their post-liberation towns and cities
Homer Simpson explains this aspect of neoconservatism in Iraq as well. "Marge! Look at all this great stuff I found at the Marina. It was just sitting in some guy’s boat!"
But seriously, what is it that can politically unify a country? Think hard, people! A common enemy. Saddam Hussein was the master of this political construct, first with Iran, and later with the United States. Even a doltish neoconservative can see that it wouldn’t be in their interest for the Iraqi "unifying enemy" to be the United States — and the past two and a half years in Iraq shows this as the one true thing we have accomplished.
That leaves Iran, the real obsession of academics, evangelicals, and pundits who embrace neoconservatism over republicanism or constitutional democracy. Just think! The United States charges into Iran, and Iraqis unite with the enemy of their enemy, and we get a new mass state construct that allows unrestrained U.S. interference into the politics and finances of Iraq, justifies continued radical expansion of the DoD, intelligence and Homeland Defense budgets and influence, and makes use of those big new bases Halliburton and Bechtel built in Iraq! Plus, another patriotic "war" might help shut up the local dissidents (all 58% of them!)
Astute readers will be able to successfully challenge my assumptions, my logic, and my morality in proposing such a scheme. But the neocons don’t apologize, they don’t care, and they don’t operate in our reality-based world.
See you in Iran.
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among other things, writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.