'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Rumsfeld as Neocon Fall Guy? 

Buchanan argues that the knives are out for Rumsfeld because the neoconservatives realize that they may need a fall guy. Crazy Pat, when he gets going, can be really funny -- the bit comparing the neocons to a parasite and Bush to the host organism is pure gold: (from here)

Rumsfeld is being set up to take the fall for what could become a debacle in Iraq. As the plotters, planners and propagandists of this war, the neocons know that if Iraq goes the way of Vietnam, there will be a search conducted for those who misled us and, yes, lied us into war, and why they did it. Rumsfeld has become designated scapegoat.

His clumsy response to soldiers about armor for Humvees is not the real reason Kristol's crowd wants him out. As Kristol told the Washington Post, Rumsfeld's "fundamental error . . . is that his theory about the military is at odds with the president's geopolitical strategy. He wants this light, transformed military, but we've got to win a real war, which involves using a lot of troops and building a nation, and that's at the core of the president's strategy for rebuilding the Middle East."

To neocons, this war was never about weapons of mass destruction or any alleged Iraqi ties to Sept. 11. That was merely to mobilize the masses for war. Their real reason was empire and making the Middle East safe for Israel.

President Bush had best recognize what Kristol is telling him. The neocon agenda means escalation: enlarging the Army, more U.S. troops in Iraq, widening the war to Syria and Iran, and indefinite occupation of the Middle East, as we forcibly alter the mindset of the Islamic world to embrace democracy and Israel.

If that entails endless expenditures of Americans tax dollars and the blood of U.S. soldiers, the neocons are more than willing to make the sacrifice. But if Bush himself fails to deliver, rely upon it. He, too, will get the Rumsfeld treatment from this crowd, parasitical and opportunistic as it is, as it seeks another host to ride, perhaps John McCain.

Not sure I agree with the above -- or, actually, it's not that I don't agree; it's just that I think Pat's argument is a little muddled. He's making two separate claims and smearing those claims together.

Claim A is William Kristol called for Rumsfeld's dismissal because the neocons need a scapegoat if the Iraq War becomes a political burden.

Claim B is William Kristol called for Rumsfeld's dismissal because Rumsfeld's personal desire for a light military and waging war on the cheap is at odds with the neoconservative project of creating a global American empire.

Now, the two claims aren't mutually exclusive but given what we've seen over the past four years -- given the kid gloves Bush has been given in the press, given the fact that one of the most vile political scandals in American history, Abu Ghraib, didn't take down Rumsfeld, given that I can't imagine how Iraq could become more of a political burden than it already is -- I think that claim B is more plausible than claim A. Perhaps the neocons smell weakness and think that they can get Wolfowitz appointed as Secretary of Defense.

I hope I'm wrong, of course. I hope that William Kristol foresees dark times in the future. I hope that he fears being associated with the Iraq War so deeply that he decided to cut Rumsfeld loose. We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out...

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