In which I answer Pat Buchanan’s questions about the failed invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
The questions that need answering. Was not the attempt to transplant Madisonian democracy into the soil of the Middle and Near East a fool’s errand from the beginning?
Yes. First, the Middle East and Near East have zero interest in Madisonian democracy. Second, what the US empire has been exporting for the last 40-50 years is not “Madisonian democracy”, but rather, a foreign imperialism that wears Madisonian democracy as a skinsuit.
How many other U.S. allies field paper armies, which will collapse, if they do not have the Americans there to do the heavy lifting?
All of them except for the Japanese armed forces. Even the highly-regarded Israeli Defense Forces are a little more than a Potemkin military, whose excellent historical reputation is primarily based, as the Israeli general Moshe Dayan observed, on the feeble capabilities of their historical opponents. And the US forces are observably inferior to the current Russian and Chinese forces, and, on the basis of their failures in Afghanistan, quite possibly to Iranian forces on the ground.
Is what we have on offer — one man-one vote democracy — truly appealing in a part of the world where democracy seems to have trouble, from the Maghreb to the Middle East to Central Asia, putting down any deep roots?
Democracy no longer holds any appeal anywhere, not in the Maghreb, not in the Middle East, not in Central Asia, and not in Europe. Everyone knows it is fake and gay and literally Satanic.
Who lost America’s longest war?
The neocons who have run US foreign policy since the first Bush administration did. Americans are fortunate that the neocons were unable to enmesh the US military in Syria or Iran, or the consequences would have been even worse.
To be more precise, if the Israelis are to be believed, a small group of Jewish Boomers whose fathers were followers of Leon Trotsky did.
In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history. They believe that the right political idea entails a fusion of morality and force, human rights and grit.
Are they wrong? Have they committed an act of folly in leading Washington to Baghdad? They don’t think so. They continue to cling to their belief. They are still pretending that everything is more or less fine. That things will work out. Occasionally, though, they seem to break out in a cold sweat. This is no longer an academic exercise, one of them says, we are responsible for what is happening. The ideas we put forward are now affecting the lives of millions of people. So there are moments when you’re scared. You say, Hell, we came to help, but maybe we made a mistake.
“If America is beaten, the consequences will be catastrophic. Its deterrent capability will be weakened, its friends will abandon it and it will become insular. Extreme instability will be engendered in the Middle East.”
- Charles Krauthammer, 2003
It is now obvious to the entire world that these neocons are evil, incompetent idiots who did, in fact, produce an epic series of historic disasters. And they should be held responsible for the catastrophic consequences they knowingly risked.