Sunday, November 06, 2005

Let Slip The Donkey's Of War

My pal Fester, one of the brightest bloggers I know, had an excellent post the other day in which he responded to a post by the Bull Moose, Marshall Whitman, which attempts an apologia for Democrat leaders who were just as vocal in the rush to war with Iraq as any Republican hawk.

Fester quoted the Moose, and my attention was drawn to a particular sentence:

This author argues that while the Bushies went to war with insufficient troop levels and mishandled the post war situation, it was inevitable and just that Saddam was removed. In the post-9/11 environment any American Administration would have erred on the side of vigilance concerning Saddam's threat. That may not have been wise, but it wasn't a case of lying and massive deceit.

The Moose does not have to trust George W. Bush to hold that view.
He believes Tony Blair. For that matter, most of the Clinton national security team was convinced that Saddam posed a threat to American interests and security. It was hardly a vast neo-con conspiracy that brought us to war.

Note that "believes", not "believed". That's a huge amount of confidence to place in a neo-liberal who has effectively usurped the Labour Party with conservative social policies and a rightwing paranoia about homeland security. Nor is it a confidence his own nation or even much of Blair's own party has in the man.

TONY BLAIR is set to face an unprecedented parliamentary inquiry into his conduct in the run-up to the Iraq war.

A coalition of Tory and Labour MPs is to table a motion to set up a Commons committee to examine “the conduct of ministers” both before and after the war. They believe they need the support of about 30 Labour rebels to succeed.

The committee, comprising seven privy counsellors, would have the power to see all sensitive documents and call any British witnesses, including intelligence chiefs.

The Conservatives (who are anti-Iraq War in the UK), Liberal Democrats (think lattesipping rich Dems), and both the Welsh and Scottish independence parties (both are socialist groups) have all backed the enquiry. There are sure to be plenty of Labour MP's who will also back the call.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman, said his party had not supported earlier attempts to impeach the prime minister but was in no doubt that parliament should hold its own inquiry.

“Information that has emerged, in particular the memos leaked to The Sunday Times, strengthen overwhelmingly the case for an inquiry into the judgments of ministers, and in particular the prime minister, in the run-up to war and thereafter,” he said.

Those memos leaked to the Sunday Times were the infamous Downing Street Memos which showed that "intelligence was being fixed around the policy" in the run-up to war. Whitman would be well advised to reconsider using Blair as a touchstone for believeability in these matters.

And the fact remains, many members of the current Democrat leadership have a major problem in that they joined wholeheartedly in the rush to war. It's a problem the Democratic Party must resolve somehow - and allowing Democrat hawks like Madeleine Albright to still be leading Dem policy on national security isn't the way to do it. The recent national security program outlined by her think-tank (I'm sorry, I've lost the link to this. If anyone can find it I will insert it here) and endorsed by Dem leaders including Harry Reid included some too familiar concepts and phrases - fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here, "America's vital interest in Iraq", opposition to withdrawal from Iraq, expansion of the military and the concept of preemptively "exporting democracy" by force if need be. As if the interests of America must neccesarily be more important than the interests of Iraq or any other nation, or as if they do not understand that you cannot point a gun at people and make them free.

It's all pure hubris - false pride - for not once do they address the old caution quis custodiet ipses custodiens? These "National Security Democrats" believe in their pride that they are powerful leaders of a powerful nation and simply cannot muster the willpower to deny the urge to wield that power. In this, they are no better and no more moral than their Republican colleagues. You can almost hear the speeches -"I was for the War in Iraq before I was against it and now I will do the same thing for Syria, Iran, and any other nation Bush can trump up intelligence about". They haven't learned a thing.

It may be, I am afraid to say, that the Democrats will only reclaim all of their credibility on this matter when those leaders who helped lead the world into an Iraqi quagmire are no longer leaders of the party in any shape or form.

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