November 20, 2006

Four "Conservatives" In Search of an Ideology

Hatched by Dafydd

Again, the New York Times demonstrates its extraordinary cluelessness about any politics to the right of Bill Clinton.

In today's bizarre media outing, they headline that Henry Kissinger now says that "victory in Iraq is not possible" (which is only accurate if you sort of squint and lean over to one side as you read Kissinger's actual quotation) -- and then go on to dub him as one of "a growing number of leading conservatives" criticizing the Bush administration's handling of the war.

"Well there's your problem on a nutshell!"

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who regularly advises President Bush on Iraq, said today that a full military victory was no longer possible there. He thus joined a growing number of leading conservatives openly challenging the administration’s conduct of the war and positive forecasts for it.

“If you mean, by ‘military victory,’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” Mr. Kissinger told BBC News.

Ah; so what Mr. K. is really saying is that he's pessimistic about the attention span of the American public. After watching the results of the election, I can see how a dour cynic like Kissinger could arrive at that conclusion. Being neither dour nor cynical myself, I don't share his defeatism... but regardless, he certainly is not saying that military victory is impossible -- just that he doesn't believe the public will sit still for one.

Fiddle de dee; that's not my point. My focus is the title the Times bestowed, dubbing Dr. Kissinger "Knight of the Conservative Countenance." Heavens to Murgatroyd, if the writer or any of the thirteen layers of editors had troubled to read Kissinger's Wikipedia entry, they would have discovered that he was flatly described as a "liberal Republican" whose first non-academic job was as a paid advisor to Gov. Nelson Rockefeller of New York.

(He's best known for working for President Richard Nixon -- also not a conservative. Nixon introduced affirmative action, revenue sharing, and détente with the Soviet Union, the last being the brainchild of Kissinger himself. Nixon was also the president who said "we're all Keynesians on this bus.")

Joining Kissinger in the tank are such "leading conservatives" as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ, 80%) -- "a respected figure on military matters" -- Sen. Lindsay "JAG-man" Graham (R-SC, 96%), and the Mouth of the Potomac, Kenneth Adelman; who after making ludicrously pollyanna predictions about the ease of the Iraq war ("it'll be a cakewalk!") -- now has grown disillusioned that, three years on, we haven't democratized the entire Middle East. ("Aren't we there yet?")

What is striking is that not a single one of these people could credibly be called a conservative by anyone with the least familiarity with the conservative ideology:

  • Adelman is a typical neocon, though perhaps more muddled, impatient, and whiny than most;
  • Graham, during the entire year of 2006, paraded as a Homer-Simpson populist on virtually every important issue, from judges to terrorist interrogations to the conduct of the war;
  • McCain's only religion is McCainism, and he's the pope of it;
  • And Henry Kissinger is the very model of a modern realpolitik.

These folks all live, breathe, and work worlds apart from Ronald Reagan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, or even John Bolton: they do not decide... they temporize. Instead of a compass, they carry a weathercock strapped to their backs.

It would be as if we were to proclaim that "leading liberals" now opposed tax increases -- and cited for our examples Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE, 55%), senator-elect Jim Webb, and former governor and senator Zell Miller!

But what is most remarkable is that the Times musters this mob in motley to present the appearance of "conservative" dissent on the future conduct of the war, to buttress the call for withdrawal from Iraq (the Times is ecumenical: they do not mind whether withdrawal is immediate or phased).

Yet each and every one of these gentlemen (no ladies, I notice -- is the New York Times going soft?) in fact calls for just the opposite: the addition of more troops, not fewer, to secure Iraq. Even in this very article, they all reject cutting and running out of hand. Yes, even "Hammerin' Hank" Kissinger:

Mr. Kissinger, in the BBC interview, said the United States must open talks with Iraq’s neighbors, pointedly including Iran, if progress is to be achieved in Iraq. Mr. Bush has said the United States is ready for such talks, but only if Iran moves to halt its nuclear enrichment work. American officials say low-level talks with Syria have produced little progress.

But Mr. Kissinger also said that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq would have “disastrous consequences,” leaving not only Iraq but neighboring countries with large Shiite populations destabilized for years.

He said the United States would probably have to plot a road between military victory and total withdrawal.

Whatever that means -- if anything at all -- it sure doesn't mean what John Murtha or Carl Levin mean! So what does the Times mean? (If it means anything at all, either.)

Quote of the day goes to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA, 100%) -- who probably is not being touted by the Times as one of those "leading conservatives." He has thoughts about how effective diplomacy could be, were we just to give it a chance... and he has a singular example in mind:

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, cited Mr. Kissinger’s own negotiations with the North Vietnamese in arguing for engagement with Iran and Syria.

“If you pursue legitimate diplomacy, the way Henry Kissinger did when he made multiple trips, night after night, day after day, twisting arms, working; if you make the effort that Jim Baker did to build a legitimate coalition, I’m confident we can do what’s necessary to get the neighborhood — and I include in that Iran and Syria — to take greater stakes,” Mr. Kerry told Fox News.

Yes, well Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy certainly worked wonders in Vietnam. (Just imagine... were it not for the Boat People, where would dwellers in the inner city go to buy groceries each week?)

I'm always puzzled why organizations like the New York Times cannot seem to comprehend the modern conservative. You needn't be one; I'm not, but I daresay I have a better handle on the breed than does Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, jr., despite my lack of investigative resources, bureau chiefs on every continent, and multiple layers of editing.

Maybe the Times should open a Bureau of Conservatism? If they can find a translator who speaks the language, that is.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 20, 2006, at the time of 6:21 AM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: Lib-O-Suxion

Is this the same Kissinger that did a great job of loosing in Vietnam? The same guy who (like MacNamara) has an almost unbroken string of failures folowing him? The same guy that is still hailed by the press as some sort of genius? Hmph. He is the Microsoft of foreign affairs. High name recognition, but little quality and absolutely no creativity. Good at copying other's ideas, though, albeit at a cosmic reduction in funcationality and quality.

The above hissed in response by: Lib-O-Suxion [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2006 7:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: Davod

Vanity is a terrible thing. These people need to shut up. They know full well that the enemy and its accolytes at the MSM will take what they say and twist it to say anything negative.

This latest batch of has beens reminds me of the millenium bug graze. All those Cobol (and any other ancient programming language) programmers who had been swept off the shelf were re-employed at really good contract wages to check programs for bugs.

There is one big difference - The programmers were beneficial. The pontificators bring back the worst in democracy.

The above hissed in response by: Davod [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2006 10:17 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

I can not believe that Kerry had anything good to say about Kissinger.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2006 10:41 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

Yeah, I have the same problem. Do liberal media engage in willful deceit in their depiction of conservatives, or plain old stupidity? Then I realized, the two were not mutually exclusive.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2006 11:00 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Noel Sheppard has an interesting piece at the American Thinker on the bait and switch done by Democrats in regards to the war:

First out of the gates was NBC Nightly News, which on Thursday evening, just hours after the historic vote, fabulously threw Murtha under the bus. After playing the now infamous video of the Congressman discussing a bribe with an FBI agent – a video whose public display was totally verboten before the election – correspondent Chip Reid reported:

Murtha was investigated by the FBI in the Abscam bribery scandal 26 years ago, though he was never charged, and recently expressed frustration over a proposed Democratic package of ethics reforms.

Rep. MURTHA: (From MSNBC’s “Hardball”) And it is total crap that we have to deal with an issue like this when we got a war going on.

Reid concluded this segment by getting a quote from political analyst Norman Ornstein:

You can’t have the theme that you’re going to clean up the culture of corruption and then hand pick somebody who is a product of that culture.

Next up to kick the carcass of one suddenly despised by his caucus was the New York Times which published a scathing editorial on Friday that could have been found at either the Washington Times or the National Review:

The well-known shortcomings of Mr. Murtha were broadcast for all to see — from his quid-pro-quo addiction to moneyed lobbyists to the grainy government tape of his involvement in the Abscam scandal a generation ago. […]

Mr. Murtha would have been a farcical presence in a leadership promising the cleanest Congress in history.

With step two complete, it was next essential for the media to begin laying the groundwork for changing the public’s view concerning Iraq. The network morning news programs were willing accomplices as NBC’s Matt Lauer set up a segment on Friday’s Today Show:

Americans let Congress know loud and clear they’re not happy with the war in Iraq, but what would happen if the US just packed up and left?

Correspondent Richard Engel amazingly responded:

Well, I think what happened in southern Iraq yesterday is a good example of the kind of security situation that would develop. In those provinces in the south where those Americans were kidnapped, British and Italian forces have been pulling back and handing over authority to the Iraqi security forces. But instead of having a stable environment, it was handed over to militiamen and highway robbers, and a—probably a similar pattern would be repeated across the country.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2006 12:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

This is the link to the above mentioned oped.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2006 12:22 PM

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