Saturday, June 18, 2005

FIRED!!! Conservatives Eat Their Own!

"I just want to say that Tony S. said we could all stay at his cabin this weekend."

If at all possible, you want to Tivo or even buy the seminar that I just saw on CSPAN with Hoover Fellow Larry Diamond and PNAC alum and current AEI Fellow Thomas Donnelly at the Progressive Policy Insitute today. These are what I would call an Teddy Roosevelt/ Eisenhower conservative in Diamond's case and a Wilsonian/Scoop Jacksonian neoconservative in Donnelly's case. And they made a powerful case, without resorting to the ad hominem, that the Bush team has royally screwed the pooch.

They were pretty brutal on Bush & Co; Donnelly gave clear-eyed analysis in gung-ho manner, while Diamond handed up indictments on malfeasance of leadership in Iraq. Interestingly, neither speaks like Scott McClellan, which is to say, which is to say, with a mouth full shit. Far more illuminating than watching Joe Biden or Duncan Hunter.

Here’s one particularly compelling example from Diamond (who is hawking a book, Squandered Victory).

Diamond made the point that the potential for future American military bases in Iraq is frequently the unmentioned elephant in the room when Iraqi leaders and American officials are present. It is a given that the method in which an American base would be insinuated onto Iraqi soil, would be through a treaty. In other words, the treaty ratification process would be the gatekeeper/hurdle to a future American base.

During the creation of the transitional Iraqi constitution (which, as Diamond pointed out, could well be the template for the permanent constitution) the Americans counseled that Tony Blair had just put a treaty into play for England strictly on his own authority, a model, the Americans said, would be just the thing for Iraq to copy – “if it’s good enough for Tony and the UK, surely it’s good enough for Iraq.”

The Iraqis rejoined that they wanted parliamentary ratification after deriding the American example. Apparently, we were a tad miffed, but said, “OK, a majority of the parliament would result in treaty ratification.” (“If it’s good enough for Bill Frist and Rick Santorum, it’s good enough for Baghdad.”).

One of the Iraqis - a lawyer who had spent time in the US, said, “Wait , no let’s do what the Americans do, let’s have two-thirds vote ratify a treaty like the US Senate.” We pushed back and forth, hard, and won the argument.

At what cost to our credibility, Diamond wonders?

So much for the Iraqis creating a democracy conforming to their own vision, not to mention James Madison's, if not conforming to Bush & Co's win-at-all-costs myopia.

We have reached a point where no person who wants to be taken seriously can support the way the war is being led by W/Cheney/Rummy. Their reign ended this week.

Now, the only debate is whether (A) we cut and run, and live with the fallout or (B) stay, spend, bleed, die and hope for victory because of a perceived, immense, potential benefit of a democratic domino effect and/or the costs to our international prestige and clout are too terrible to live with.

Who will grab the reins now that the drivers are being fired?

More later