May 30, 2004

by Reb Yudel
Pin the responsibility on the elephant

Who is responsible for the Iraq situation? MaxSpeak explains: MaxSpeak, You Listen!: DER DOLCHSTOSS, CONT'D

We are progressing from Fifth Column rhetoric to scapegoating. The latter is designed for recriminations, after the war is over and lost. The former was aimed at amplifying the case for war by enraging the public against a non-existent internal enemy (i.e., Sean Penn, Michael Moore) and intimidating potential critics of the war.

Matt Yglesias pins the tail on the jackass, aptly likening scapegoat rhetoric to Nazi "stab in the back" talk after World War I....

...The logic of the scapegoat discourse crumbles at the touch. If political skepticism is sapping the war effort, it can only be because our Republican leadership is putting their own political interests before the nation's, by refusing to persist in a feasible, albeit unpopular course of action. In this case, isn't it obvious that those leaders bear primary responsibility for abandoning a difficult but winnable struggle?

On the other hand, if the course of action is not winnable, how can it be against the national interest to point this out and react to it at the earliest opportunity by cutting our losses? (See the ticker above.) To the contrary, there could be nothing worse than persisting in a lost cause (cf. Christmas bombing, war in Vietnam) for the sake of crass political considerations.

The simple truth is that, with control of all three branches of government, the responsibility for either a) launching an unwinnable project for "liberation," or b) abandoning a doable project is the sole responsibility of the Republican Party and its leadership.