I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Leader is with us

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

Boston Herald
columnist Jules Crittenden assures us that salvation is imminent, in a post solemnly entitled "On Reflection":

George Bush will address us tonight, and show us the way forward.

We need merely place our Faith in the Strong and Great Leader and everything will be good:

Tonight, our president is expected, once again, to defy the logic of polls and popularity, and dole out the bitter medicine. What must be done. What should have been done a long time ago. I remain confident in our future and the future of Iraq, because for now, we have a president who will do this.

He is strong and he is wise and he will protect us. Be ready. Tonight, the Leader "will address us" and "show us the way forward."

* * * *
Crittenden is the first cousin of Danielle Crittenden, wife of David Frum. While Crittenden joyously celebrates that Bush "will address us tonight, and show us the way forward," Frum is the author of The Right Man: An Inside Account of the Bush White House, which "tells the story of Bush's transformation: how a president whose administration began in uncertainty became one of the most decisive, successful, and in the US at least, popular leaders of our time."

UPDATE: Robert Farley answers The New Republic's Jason Zengerle and, in doing so, reveals everything one needs to know about those (like Zengerle) who never tire of their self-regarding displays of how "serious" and "concerned" they are about all of the Important Matters implicated by Iraq without ever demeaning themselves to take a real position (because real positions, especially those that emphatically advocate an end to war, are only for the unserious partisan hysterics -- in exactly the same way that emphatic opposition to the war was four years ago).

Farley's excellent post is a reminder of how ultimately clear and simple the issues have become concerning Iraq, notwithstanding all of the angst-ridden, flamboyantly serious deliberation rituals endlessly engaged in by our guardians of public discourse.

UPDATE II: From Michael Ledeen, in National Review, yesterday (h/t Robert):

Note that an increase in embeds doesn’t necessarily require an increase in overall troop strength. We’ve got lots of soldiers sitting on megabases all over Iraq. They should be out and about, some of them embedded, others just moving around, tracking the terrorists, hunting them down. I don’t know how many guys and gals are sitting in air-conditioned quarters and drinking designer coffee, but it’s a substantial number. Enough of that.

The Iraq disaster is everyone's fault on the planet -- everyone's -- except the neonconservatives who conceived of and sold the war to Americans. If there's one thing we should all be sick of, it's American soldiers in Iraq sitting around being pampered. And don't forget: John Kerry (and Jack Murtha) hate the troops.

UPDATE III: About Ledeen's anti-troop outburst, Gator90 in Comments says:

Mike Ledeen is right, the real problem in Iraq is our lazy-ass, latte-drinking soldiers. The homefront keyboarders are pulling THEIR weight, tirelessly typing away and selflessly braving the relentless rhetorical onslaughts of the reality-based, only to be let down again and again by the so-called "soldiers" who don't want to do their part. Why aren't those pussy soldiers out there killing more Iraqis, dammit?

Every so often, a right-winger pauses between shouts of "support the troops" just long enough to reveal their true, deep contempt for American soldiers. To most civilian righties, our troops are nothing more than political pawns, photo-op props, and above all, working-class cannon fodder. That's why most righties are genuinely puzzled by the "chickenhawk" accusation, and why they're so comfortable embracing an aristocratic draft-dodger like Bush. The best people don't fight; that's what poor people ... a fungible, renewable resource ... are for.

Gator put his finger on something that was the most bothersome part of the whole pre-election Kerry-hates-the-troops "scandal" (even more bothersome than all of the media stars pretending that Kerry intended to insult the troops): the sheer, transparent projection driving the outrage.

All of these people steaming with righteous anger over the "insult to the troops" are the same people who prattle on incessantly about how our country and civilization are at risk in this "war" but insist that they don't have to fight in it -- despite its being jeopardized by troop shortages -- because they're too important for that; because their great skills are needed at home for other vitally important (safe and sheltered) tasks; and, most of all, because life-endangering combat is for "others." Speaking of which, Bill Kristol was just on Fox using his breezy, casual style to explain how sending 20,000 more people to his war in Iraq is definitely going to make us win.


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