Neocon Lexicon

Conservatives emulating liberals: Jonah Goldberg of National Review writes:

Rich Lowry received a note from the father of a Marine fighting in Fallujah. In it the proud father recounted what his son had told him. Many residents of that besieged town left bedding for the Marines and soldiers, along with notes thanking them for liberating their town from the terrorists and inviting them to sleep in their homes if necessary.

Every day, I receive wonderful, uplifting, heart-wrenching e-mails from Marines and soldiers or their families with similar stories of Iraqis' expressing their gratitude and relief that the Americans are doing the hard work of democracy and decency (the latter being vastly more important than the former).

See, see – it's all worthwhile!!! Why are you opposing this wonderful war?

It's amazing how much conservatives have adopted the ways of liberals – now that the conservatives are in power.

Do you remember how, in Bill Clinton's State of the Union speeches, he would always call attention to some child or family in the audience who had benefited from some Clinton program? Clinton never mentioned the family whose taxes were increased, or whose access to market resources were reduced, or who had to pay higher prices because of the Clinton program. Just point to a few beneficiaries and make us think that the program is an unqualified success in making life better for Americans.

In the same way, conservatives point to the success stories that "we hear so very little of from the media" in order to make us think the Iraq war is a great endeavor – one we shouldn't be criticizing.

But, in passing on his "success stories," Goldberg neglects to mention the tens of billions of dollars that have been drained from our pockets, the 1,000+ Americans who have died, the thousands of Americans who have been maimed, the tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and resisters who have died, the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians (men, women, and children) who have died, the tens of thousands of homes that have been destroyed, and the tens of millions of people around the world who have learned to hate America because the U.S. military invaded Iraq without provocation and without any provable excuse.

Are a handful of emails and tales of gratitude worth all that?

Bill Clinton as President was a demagogue. And conservatives have learned to imitate him.

Understanding the words: And supporting the demagoguery concerning Iraq are the media (you know, the "liberal media" that Rush Limbaugh and other Republicans love to hold up as a threat to truth and the American way). TV reporters utter many empty statements in defense of the Bush rule-the-world policies in Iraq and elsewhere.

We really need a translating dictionary in order to understand what these empty statements are supposed to mean.

I'll do my part by contributing a few entries to start off the lexicon:

Support our troops = Don't say anything bad about the Bush war in Iraq because that might demoralize the soldiers fighting there. So just let them continue to die, rather than suggest that they might be dying in vain.

The French are weak and cowardly = They may have been right about Iraq, but when was the last time they invaded a country without provocation?

Pat Tillman (the professional football player who gave up a lucrative career to enlist, go to Iraq, and die) is an example for us all = Aren't you ashamed of yourself for ignobly focusing on earning a living for yourself and your family, rather than laying down your life for a promise that the world's problems will be solved once Iraq is completely destroyed? And don't ask me why I haven't enlisted.

America has the best-trained military in the world = I can't think of anything intelligent to say, and I have no idea how well-trained our soldiers are, but this always makes people feel good and earns me some brownie points.

We need to involve the international community, so that American troops can come home = Face it – we're never going to leave Iraq, so learn to live with it.

More emptiness in the conservative media: Incidentally, if you want to see just how empty conservative writing can be these days, read Jonah Goldberg's entire article for examples of muddled thinking in support of a bad war.

Note that he cites the U.S. Marines' "good works" in Fallujah as evidence that America is a "wonderful, decent nation, brimming with millions of people who take people as they find them and do what is right because that is their character" – neglecting to mention that America is "helping" people in Fallujah because our government has coercively confiscated the resources from us, not because it's in the character of the American people to voluntarily give up their earnings and their lives to change a government halfway around the world.

He talks of the self-correcting nature of our way of life, saying: "Not all criticisms are fair or accurate, and some are just plain silly. But when an idea is valid we adopt and nurture it." But now that every excuse for invading Iraq has proven to be wrong, why aren't "we" correcting the mistake? Could it be because a conservative government admits of no error and cares little what has proven to be true?

And he says: "For every politician who takes a bribe, every journalist who plagiarizes, every husband who hits his wife, every child who cheats, there are multitudes who do none of these things, . . ." And for every President who confiscates $2.4 trillion of our money, sends Americans to their deaths, locks up people without trials, and alienates almost the entire non-American world, there are hundreds of millions of Americans who don't steal, don't murder, don't kidnap, and don't make America look bad.

November 30, 2004