be like Bush!

Although LI thinks William Saletan is mostly a (what is the polite word here?)… an idiot, he has written the only sensible article about Bush’s speech. Basically, Saletan gets it:

“We're "helping Iraqis rebuild their nation's infrastructure and economy," Bush said tonight. "Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard, and rebuilding while at war is even harder. ... We're improving roads and schools and health clinics. We're working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity, and water. And together with our allies, we'll help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens."

Deliver a better life for its citizens. Is it any mystery why polls have turned against the occupation? The people being polled are Americans. The people deriving a "better life" are Iraqis. Bush spent half the speech obscuring this gap. He equated Iraqi terrorists with the 9/11 hijackers and kept insisting that we're fighting for "our" freedom and security. But that spin lost its force long ago, when Saddam's weapons of mass destruction failed to materialize, forcing Bush to reframe the war as a democracy-spreading project. It's a noble war, but it's noble because it's altruistic. And people get tired of altruism.”

Now, LI thinks that it is an imperialist war, not an altruistic one, an ignoble piece of political grandstanding in ocean’s of other people’s blood enacted by a pampered, preening crowd of D.C. eggheads and carnivores – but the main point stands. The U.S. has absolutely no reason to be delivering a better life for Iraq’s citizens. Any old time conservative who has read Hayek could tell you that the U.S. is unlikely ever to deliver a better life for Iraq’s citizens – that Iraq can do that much better. In fact, under Saddam Hussein, Iraq recovered from a much more devastating war with Iran quicker than it is recovering today. This isn’t because the Ba’athist command and control regime was more efficient, but because it was more embedded – it could capture Iraq’s tacit knowledge, which is the way systems work.

When LI is in a generous mood and not viewing the leadership of the Democratic party with the disgust we usually reserve for those bizarre species of parasites that life cycle through pigeons and mosquitoes, we realize that the Dem paralysis stems, partly, from a kneejerk reaction to Bush’s old fashioned liberalism in Iraq – it gets the old New Deal juices flowing. LI is a fan of the New Deal too. We are strong believers, around here, in the Keynesian economic model. We think the libertarian dream of a stateless economy has been shredded by history – in the same way that the socialist dream of a command and control economy has been shredded by history. But New Deals can only be carried out by the natives – be they American, German or Japanese.

The Downing Street memo should have made it plain to all by now. In 2001, the Bush administration decided to spend any amount on an adventure in Iraq. That amount will probably be around half a trillion dollars, if not more. Why the Dems don’t simply run on this fact is an astonishment and a proof of their terminal condition, an institutional tabes dorsalis. Why any taxpayer in Missouri should devote a goodly chunk of their salary to the installation of an electric generating plant in a place that could easily borrow the funds to do so itself (having one of the great oil reserves on earth) is beyond comprehension. At the same time, of course, we are being told that we can’t afford social security, and that the government that borrowed from the Social Security fund, i.e. the U.S. government under George Bush, just might not pay it back.

As we wrote yesterday, we are going to try to remember to advertise the counter-enlistment program in every post. Here’s the link to Counter Remember, just advise people who are thinking about enlisting to listen to what the President had to say about Vietnam: “The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back was it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions…” George Bush was right about that. Use your President as a role model and DO NOT enlist for this war.

After all, Bush's successful career shows that if you put raw and rancid self interest over sentimental patriotism in your life, you too, can become president of the greatest country in the world, and help to systematically destroy it.


Brian Miller said…
Another excellent post, roger. Given the utter collapse of a meaningful Democratic Party (Dean is not enough), is there "hope"?
roger said…
Actually, Brian, I think we are the hope. That's good. This is the part of the Western where the boys realize that the drunken capitan has been leading them around Monument valley in circles. So what do the boys do? Shoot the captain and figure it out themselves. Rip apart the mission - that's the deal. Doesn't mean, to me, that you drop the Democratic party -- or the Republican -- but you use them, instead of them using us.
Myself, I have no use at the moment for leaders or parties.
Deleted said…
A friend of mine was considerate enough to annotate the publicity stunt.