Today in the NYT was another of David Brooks’ soft pieces that sneaks in so much b.s. that it boogles the mind. He is suppose to be a very intelligent guy and he apparently uses that intelligence to craft these pieces that carefully misrepresent the facts so he can draw his conservative conclusions and redirect attention away from the real problem. Wait, I will demonstrate.
The play of the day is the, If you knew what you know today question, and the Republicans total flub of it, and their final settling on no, of course not, but the intelligence was flawed (meaning based upon the intelligence at the time it was a good decision). So of course he is going to softpedal both the flub and the orginial decision. He starts off with this is really not the right question because no one will ever know what we know now then, and points out that there are plus and minus to changing history, even removing Hitler. Remember Senator Rubio telling us that the world is a better place without Sadam. Tell that to the millions of displaced refugees in that region. But he has covered Rubio’s butt.
Then he throws this in:
Which brings us to Iraq. From the current vantage point, the decision to go to war was a clear misjudgment, made by President George W. Bush and supported by 72 percent of the American public who were polled at the time. I supported it, too.
So the people were duped and he is implying that most people including Bush were mislead by bad intelligence, using the 72% to add credibility to this argument. The 72% is misdirection. Bush and company knew way more than most people about what that intelligence really was and used it to mislead the nation. I am drawing a conclusion that will be supported later, but the fact that 72% of the people were duped says nothing about the actual credibility or reliability of the intelligence that Bush and Cheney saw or justifies their decision Remember Joe Wilson and his wife Vallarie when they tried to point out the facts about the yellow cake? My we have short memories. Then he tells this giant lie:
There’s a fable going around now that the intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was all cooked by political pressure, that there was a big political conspiracy to lie us into war.
That doesn’t gibe with the facts. Anybody conversant with the Robb-Silberman report from 2005 knows that this was a case of human fallibility. This exhaustive, bipartisan commission found “a major intelligence failure”: “The failure was not merely that the Intelligence Community’s assessments were wrong. There were also serious shortcomings in the way these assessments were made and communicated to policy makers.”
Brooks finds a report he likes and ignores all the other findings. The Senate Intelligence Committee looking back on all of this in 2008 concluded just the opposite. In the words of Committe Chairman, Senator Jay Rockefeller,
“The Administration repeatedly presented intellengnce as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”
But don’t believe Jay, go to Bill Moyer’s Buying the War which documents how the intelligence was carefully managed to sell the war. There are tons of other examples and this is pure bullshit by Brooks to make the conservative equivocation sound reasonable (Even Hillary would have gone to war, assuming she cheery picked the intelligence to make her case, which of course she didn’t. She just didn’t look closely at it in an act of political cowardice with the rest of the Democrats that went with the polls to seem strong on defense).
Next he makes an argument about how regime change was a reasonable and logical choice when in fact there were tons of smart people telling us (France) this was a disaster and says:
“A successful president has to make decisions while radiating hesitancy, staying open-minded in the face of new evidence, not falling into the traps that afflict those who possess excessive self-confidence.”
Would that be the anti-Bush and the anti-Neocons? What I find even more amazing about this is that the one ever consistent characteristic of the Republican Party and their candidates in this election is that they can never admit when they are wrong. He is lecturing like he is talking to all of us, implying what happened crosses all party lines when this was a massive conservative screw up. Said another way this is another form of the both sides do it so don’t hold Republicans to blame.
Of course while nation change was the obvious choice in 2003 (his conclusion) Iraq has taught us that we need to proceed very carefully in cultures we don’t understand, but be more aggressive than President Obama. See that leaves the door open to his boys and more troops in Iraq when in fact we are learning it makes no difference. Unless we win it for them, they will lose. See Ramada. Then he draws some conclusions which are obvious, but fails to draw the connection that these recommendations are really for the Neocons in his own Party not for everyone in general because we already figured it out a long time ago. He is still trying to make the inference that this is for both sides, not lay the blame were it belongs. Then he ends with this:
Finally, Iraq teaches us to be suspicious of leaders who try to force revolutionary, transformational change. It teaches us to have respect for trimmers, leaders who pay minute attention to context, who try to lead gradual but constant change. It teaches us to honor those who respect the unfathomable complexity of history and who are humble in the face of consequences to their actions that they cannot fully predict or understand.
Great advice and not one Republican candidate meets those characteristics. I would disagree with one point in that conservative ideology (coupled with a Neocon world view) has pulled us way too far in the wrong direction and the changes necessary to right the ship will require revolutionary and transformational change whether it is recognizing that we need to get out of the Middle East except for humanitarian support to those who embrace our values, to totally reversing the neglect the Republicans have enforced on investing in our people and infrastructure.
Hidden under David’s words are the conservative status quo which is the one thing we cannot tolerate. Oh, on the respect the unfathomable complexity of history thing, isn’t it conservatives that keep trying to rewrite history to fit their ideological needs? Note above where David argues disingenuiosly that going to war was all caused by bad intel. My guess he has no clue what a bloody hypocrite he is or maybe he does. I hope more people catch on although there were over 1000 comments on his piece and most of them got it.