On May 27, 2004, Michael Denny and Anthony Gregory attended an event hosted by the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco "free-market think-tank," on the topic of the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq. The event was cosponsored by the Lincoln Club and featured Generals Thomas McInerney and Paul Vallely on the topic of their book, Endgame: A Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.
Our mission: to learn how we are going to win the War on Terror, where Saddam’s WMD are located, and how all this relates to the free market.
What the warhawks watch:
As the program began, the emcee led the audience in grace, thanking Fox News for being an island of objectivity and fairness in a sea of biased, defeatist mainstream media. The popular cable news channel came up in conversation several times. During the talk, the audience was reminded of the importance of Fox News as a beacon of hope and righteousness and a sign that Western Civilization as we know it will survive.
Outside Fox News, the media are overwhelmingly tainted with a liberal bias that prevents them from reporting all the good things happening in Iraq.
Why the warhawks are right:
You might not believe it if you listen to the liberal media, but the war is going much better than anyone, even the government, is reporting, and the hawks predicted this success all along.
For instance, to win the War on Terror, all we need to do is neutralize states that sponsor it. Of eight such states in the "web of terrorism" — including, but not limited to, the "axis of evil": Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and North Korea — the United States has successfully whittled it down to a manageable five. Libya has become a good country, and no terrorist would dare tread in Afghanistan and Iraq after two successful U.S. wars. Anyone who would mess with us is "dancing on razor blades," one of the good generals opined.
One might ask: "What about other governments, besides those eight?"
Well, keep in mind that to be in the "web of terrorism," a nation must satisfy two criteria. It must (1) possess WMD (or be "seeking" them), and it must (2) fund terrorism.
So now that we’ve cleared that up, we can move on to the other strong argument for supporting the war:
"You either get it, or you don’t."
That’s right, several times during the night, we heard this wise proverb. Of course! It makes perfect sense. You either get it, or you don’t! General McInerney commented "I get it. I was trained by the Jesuits. Are there any other people who u2018get it’ in the audience?"
We wondered if the Prince of Peace "gets it." The Pope obviously doesn’t.
People who focus too much on the mass death, torture, resentment, prevarication or lack of WMD miss the big picture. They just don’t get it.
For fear of not getting it, the most logical thing to do is get behind the president and his multi-billion dollar campaign of bombing, invasion, and occupation. That way, you get it…as opposed to not getting it.
It’s as simple as that.
Where some warhawks are wrong:
While most warhawks agree with each other on the goodness of war, there is by no means consensus on every minor issue.
The generals think Iran is the center of terror, although Bush thinks Iraq is terror’s "central front." The generals think we should have pulled out by now, and instead of sending more troops in, the U.S. government should deputize 300,000 Iraqis to secure the region. While many hawks believe the U.S. military should track down bin Laden in the mountains, the generals are quite sure he’s in the cities. "Why else would his TV broadcasts be staged in mountainous settings?" These guys are so clever.
How we can improve the war effort:
The first thing we need to do is get the media under control. CBS’s decision to show photos of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib acted against national interests. It is not in the public’s interest to see the bad things government does.
General Paul Vallely kept saying that the U.S. government should start acting more like a business. He said the people running this war should "behave like CEOs." It is unclear whether this means the government should peacefully provide services to willing customers for mutually agreeable prices, but we somehow doubt it. Still, it remains a flawless analogy.
Certainly, the administration needs to go through some changes in personnel. Colin Powell is far too diplomatic, and undermines the war effort.
Another problem is that the war hasn’t been properly "articulated." We must get commanders out of the war zones so they can do a better job with the media. "Can you imagine a CEO running a business like this?" he asked. Indeed.
But the big thing the generals believe we need is for President Bush to "be the Commander-in-Chief, get mad and tell people to stop being so politically correct." That should do it.
Knowing the Enemy
Our enemies go beyond the mainstream news, the French, Russians, Germans and Jimmy Carter — a gutless traitor who "sold the Shah down the road." Of course all those generals who disagree with the War on Iraq were "put in by Clinton," so we shouldn’t listen to them.
Our enemy is also Islam, and most likely the terrorist Muslims in particular.
We should also remember, as one of the speakers humorously explained, we’re up against a foolish enemy — an enemy so foolish that his religion promises virgins in the afterlife, when any red-blooded American can tell you that a man who wants a virgin "hasn’t been around very much."
Yes, a U.S. general said this, and hearing it sent shivers of pride and patriotism down our spines. Nothing makes us prouder than thinking of fighting and liberating an enemy that hasn’t even gotten the third base.
Thankfully, most former U.S. military officers recognize this, unlike the evil and treasonous Anthony Zinni who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, probably because he was dumped in high school.
We need to tell the Iraqis: "u2018You are out of business.’ That’s the way you have to talk to these people, that’s all they understand."
Why the U.S. turned on Chalabi:
According to some attendees, the State Department set Chalabi up, to protect sensitive information he had that would implicate France and Germany as Saddam’s accomplices.
You see, France and Germany want to see Americans dead. Don’t ever forget it. They just love killing, which is why they didn’t want anything to do with the war on Iraq.
You get it?
Where are Saddam’s WMD?:
(Drum roll please) The generals weren’t surprised we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction because they knew where they were: in Syria and Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon. They didn’t explain why the president or the American people weren’t told but we feel much better now knowing the truth. Better late than never.
How the war relates to the free market:
At first, we were a little confused by PRI’s event, where we saw an impressive display of pamphlets arguing for deregulation and school choice, and yet heard about how the United States can succeed in the largest and most ambitious government undertaking in recent American history. But now we’re all cleared up.
We spoke with the chairman of the local Republicans who boasted that the new ten-year homeless plan in San Francisco was conceived by the Bush administration. When we suggested that such government programs were socialistic, he angrily walked away and said such a notion was ridiculous.
Michael and Anthony learned that there’s no reason to talk to hawks about economics, because free-market or not, we’re at war, and we need to stand by our president. It’s especially important for free market organizations to understand this. At wartime, if you can’t say anything nice about the government, it’s best not to say anything at all. You either get it, or you don’t.
The Pacific Research Institute put on an impressive event, and they helped to show us that all efforts to restore free markets should take a back seat as long as we’re at war.
Michael and Anthony have renounced their affiliations with any groups that oppose the righteous War on Terrorism, and expect the war’s remaining detractors are either Saddamites or French — or, at a bare minimum, anti-American scoundrels who fail to watch enough Fox News. You know…the ones that "don’t get it."
P.S. Oh no! The authors learn today that the generals’ book is already being heavily discounted. Darn that free market.
Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at UC Berkeley, where he was president of the Cal Libertarians. He is an intern at the Independent Institute and has written for Rational Review, Strike the Root, the Libertarian Enterprise, and Antiwar.com. See his webpage for more articles and personal information. Michael Denny [send him mail] is a Catholic husband, father of four children, entrepreneur, Libertarian activist, and former mayoral candidate in the People’s Republic of San Francisco.