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Monday, July 12, 2010

Political change is in the air: Ann Coulter rightly ridicules the neolibs, mocks the neocons

Ann, We Hardly Knew Ye

Coulter vs. the neocons
( --by Justin Raimondo

The “gaffe” (i.e., truth-telling) committed by GOP chairman Michael Steele continues to reverberate from one end of the political spectrum to the other: the latest wave to come crashing onto the shore is Ann “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity” Coulter. I very much doubt she ripped off my headline – “Bill Kristol Must Resign” – although it was posted well before her column went up. Great minds think alike, and, in any case, it seems we agree on the subject of Steele’s alleged heresy: it’s Kristol who ought to resign as the unelected leader and Grand Strategist of the GOP, and Steele who ought to stay.

Sure, her piece is intensely partisan: like “other recent Democratic ventures into military affairs,” she avers, the occupation of Afghanistan “isn’t likely to turn out well.” According to her, we “won” in Iraq, because that country is relatively well-educated and prosperous, as opposed to Afghanistan: “literacy rate, 19 percent; life expectancy, 44 years; working toilets, 7.” Translation: the measure of civilization is knowing when you’re defeated. Bush was right to invade Iraq, and right to ignore the Afghan front after toppling the Taliban: after all, Iraq “had vast oil reserves; and is situated at the heart of a critical region” – an argument that raises the question: then why not invade Russia – or, say, Kazakhstan – which also fits that description? But never mind: if the first half of her piece merely reiterates the same old neoconnish talking points, then the second half breaks some new ground in the continuing evolution of Ms. Coulter (and, perhaps, her legion of admirers on the right).

Mocking the liberal sloganeering of the Bush years, she writes that among her favorites is “Iraq didn’t attack us on 9/11!” and goes on to make a trenchant point: “Of course,” she writes, “neither did Afghanistan. But Democrats were in a lather and couldn’t be bothered with the facts.” She’s right: Democrats who argued (and continue to argue) that we were fighting the “wrong war” ignored reality in the interests of trying to appear “tough” for purely political purposes. Having nicked us with her stiletto, Ann gets out her machete and chops away:

“At this point, Afghanistan is every bit as much Obama’s war as Vietnam was Lyndon Johnson’s war. True, President Kennedy was the first to send troops to Vietnam. We had 16,000 troops in Vietnam when JFK was assassinated. Within four years, LBJ had sent 400,000 troops there.”

I love numbers: they’re so exact, so final, especially when we’re talking about the number of casualties. Here are more numbers which are beyond dispute:

“In the entire seven-year course of the Afghanistan war under Bush, from October 2001 to January 2009, 625 American soldiers were killed. In 18 short months, Obama has nearly doubled that number to 1,124 Americans killed.”

Liberal supporters of this administration, who nonetheless are increasingly uneasy with the course of Obama’s war, must find this uptick ominous, which, along with the rise in the unemployment numbers, augurs a tough election year for their party. Democrats will claim she’s citing these statistics for purely partisan reasons, but so what? That doesn’t make them any less true. And there’s more than mere partisanship at work here. What’s astonishing – in a good way – is that Ann revises the standard right-wing “we-were-stabbed-in-the-back-by-liberals-on-the-home-front” account of the Vietnam war, no less:

“Republicans used to think seriously about deploying the military. President Eisenhower sent aid to South Vietnam, but said he could not ‘conceive of a greater tragedy’ for America than getting heavily involved there.”

General Douglas MacArthur agreed: so did such stalwarts of the Old Right as John T. Flynn, the conservative radio commentator of the 1940s and 50s, who, in a radio address delivered on July 30, 1950, warned [.pdf] that President Truman’s pledge to help the French hold on to their colonies in Indochina would end in disaster: “If we are preparing to make war to save Asia from dictatorships we will waste every dollar, every pound of steel and every precious life that is snuffed out in that foolish adventure.” Flynn’s prescience prefigured the verdict of history, and Coulter apparently concurs. Is she rediscovering the lost wisdom of the conservative movement’s pre-cold war legacy? I don’t know what’s on her reading list these days (however, Ann, if you’re listening, I would recommend this, this, and especially this), but it sure isn’t The Collected Writings of Victor Davis Hanson.

It sounds to me like change is in the air:

“As Michael Steele correctly noted, every great power that’s tried to stage an all-out war in Afghanistan has gotten its ass handed to it. Everyone knows it’s not worth the trouble and resources to take a nation of rocks and brigands.”

Oh, but some of those rocks are worth quite a lot, from what I hear, and this begs the question: worth it to whom? Why, to our own white collar brigands, of course, but that’s a point Coulter is not yet ready to make. Instead, she indulges in her hilarious brand of biting humor:

“The greatest fighting force in the world is building vocational schools and distributing cheese crackers to children. There’s even talk of giving soldiers medals for not shooting people, which I gather will be awarded posthumously. Naomi Campbell is rougher with her assistants than our troops are allowed to be with Taliban fighters.”

Funny, and all too true, but I would go further and point out that as long as our soldiers are helping little old ladies cross the street in Kabul, it’s okay for them to be leveling Kandahar, as far as the Obama-ites are concerned. This is the whole rationale behind the brand spanking new “counterinsurgency doctrine” cooked up by our “humanitarian” interventionists, presided over and implemented by Gen. Petraeus and hyped by the publicists over at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). It’s a vision of a kinder, gentler US imperialism that conservatives like Coulter – and realists of all persuasions – rightly see as dishonest, impossible, and downright bizarre.

Yet all this is just a prelude to the real challenge posed by Coulter to the foreign policy orthodoxy as decreed by Kristol and the gang over at the Weekly Standard:

“But now I hear it is the official policy of the Republican Party to be for all wars, irrespective of our national interest. What if Obama decides to invade England because he’s still ticked off about that Churchill bust? Can Michael Steele and I object to that? Or would that demoralize the troops?”

Disdaining the Kristol-Liz Cheney lynch mob out to purge chairman Steele, she continues:

“I thought the irreducible requirements of Republicanism were being for life, small government and a strong national defense, but I guess permanent war is on the platter now, too.”

Since 9/11, the irreducible primary of our foreign policy has been permanent war [.pdf], and the GOP has been the primary (albeit not exclusive) proponent of the new militarism. Nine years after the invasion of Afghanistan, however, and nearly two years after the implosion of the US economy, the nation grows weary. Yes, even Ann Coulter grows tired of it all: far from invading their countries, killing their leaders, and converting them to Christianity, conservatives are more concerned with taking back their own country, getting rid of their clueless leaders, and preventing secular liberals from banning Christianity altogether – and more power to them...MORE...LINK

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