Where is your Moral Courage?

Posted on February 28, 2007. Filed under: Politics |

There is an old saying that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan. This old saw applies particularly well to U.S. politics, and to the political discourse about the Iraq war in particular. But is it a war? Or is it an invasion?

There are few things more offensive than pundits and politicians who supported the Iraq war but who now feel that they have to admit that they made an error in judgment. Edwards was sickening to listen to on a recent episode of Meet the Press, but at least he had the decency to leave office. It is amazing to me that he has decided to seek office again. Senator Clinton will probably be pushing seventy by the time she admits to having made some kind of error in judgment, and for that kind of self-delusion she ought to be congratulated. Kerry’s position has always been a joke (I was for it before I was against it). Obama was always against the war, so his hands are clean. But then again, he was is no position to vote either way on the issue at the time, so it’s really moot. He didn’t have to vote. The same kind of nausea that one feels from the politicians is easily replicated when reading the political pundits. They are now running from their initial support of the invasion.

What these politicians are implicitly saying is that it would have been better to leave Hussein in power indefinitely. They are far too quick to forget that Hussein defrauded the U.N. and financially backed terrorists and brutally repressed his own subjects. He also had terrible clothes and facial hair. Bad, cheap-looking suits. Just awful. They were not worse than those of Ahmadinejad, but then that bitch’s (Ahmadinejad’s) attire is repugnant.  To leave Hussein in power would have been to simply tolerate these moral and sartorial outrages. But that is just what these politicians are implying.

While it’s hard to deny that these mea culpas are politically expedient, they reinforce the illusion that the views of these people mattered a hill of beans in the first place. Neither pundit nor politician (save one) has any power to command our military. That power is vested in the president. The Senate’s “Authorization” to use force may have had political value, but as far as the Constitution is concerned, it was an empty gesture. The president didn’t need the Senate’s authorization to invade Iraq. As for the pundits, can anyone actually believe that the president was in any way influenced by what they wrote one way or another about the invasion? Please. Now, you can tell me about the War Power Resolution and Tonkin Gulf and all that horse shit, but the reality is that Congress never had the power to prevent the president from invading Iraq. The same goes for Congress’s current canard, the “resolution” to oppose the “Surge” plan. If any of these politicians had any self-respect at all, they would find another line of work, which is what most people do when they are incompetent. The pundits, well, maybe they should just stop their hand-wringing and not take themselves too seriously. But Mr. Nice Guy’s not holding his breath.

  • Quotes of the Day

    "Writing editorials is like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit. It feels good, but nobody really notices."

    --Jack Germond

    "Famous men and women, by the act of putting themselves on display, whether as politicians, actors, writers, painters, musicians, restaurateurs, or whatever, invite public appraisal. They are all, impressively or pathetically, acting on the presumption that their ideas, their fantasies, their music, their bodies are more original than those of, say, a plumber or a certified public accountant. They are all exercising the impulse, as Mencken put it, ‘to flap their wings in public.’ This is so obvious to the critic–and, I believe, to the ordinary reader or spectator–that it seems hardly worth saying. But resentment of the practice of criticism itself is strong among professional artists (and all Presidents of the United States). There is a psychological type among them that hates critics on principle as parasites or failed performers. This is very natural but surely very childish and, in any country claiming to be civilized, actually anti-social. The existence of critics, good, bad, or indifferent, is a firm clause in the social contract between the governors and the governed in any nation that is not a dictatorship. Public figures should accept with good grace the public response to their invitations to be admired and resist the temptation to retort, except in the face of flagrant malice."

    --Alistair Cooke

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