One would think that our papers don’t need lessons in demagoguery. They, right, left or centre, have become experts on it. No outside help necessary, thank you very much.
Ideas, however, may run out, at which time it’s natural to turn to those who have them in abundance. Or at least, in our intellectually barren times, those who have one basic idea but repeat it so often, and in so many different contexts, that it seems to be multiplying before our very eyes.
This brings me to the neocons, mostly Americans, but also some Brits they’ve paper-trained and taught to bark on cue.
It was mostly that shrill group that talked Bush and Blair into committing the criminally stupid aggression against Iraq in 2003.
The entirely predictable effect of that mission was to bring not democracy to the region, but destruction to our friends and those who, while falling short of friendship, at least didn’t hate us too hysterically.
That geopolitical folly acted as a recruitment drive for al-Qaeda and likeminded satanic groups whose numbers swelled to bursting and whose fervour heated up.
The whole region, previously enjoying relative stability, imploded. The so-called democratic governments beloved of the neocons proved to be exactly what everyone knew they’d be: impotent.
Chaos erupted, soaking the region in blood. The fanatics couldn’t murder the West (although there’s still time), so they aimed their guns and knives at objects of hatred within reach.
Jews, Christians, other Muslims, Zoroastrians all found themselves in peril. And it didn’t start with Isis, currently exciting everyone’s righteous wrath.
Since 2003 three out of four Christians in Iraq have fled their homes if they were lucky. The unlucky ones were killed, many for refusing to submit to being converted to the religion of peace at gunpoint.
The neocon Iagos whispering in Bush’s and Blair’s ears didn’t kill those Christians with their own hands, just like Iago didn’t strangle Desdemona. But the blood of those Christians is on their hands too, for without their wicked harebrained ideology none of this would have happened.
Let’s spell it out. Neocon warmongers aren’t just misguided simpletons. They are criminals.
Unfortunately they can’t be punished within law, for few people, and no international organisations, see what they did for what it is: war crime.
After all, it was done in the name of Democracy. Not racial superiority, not dictatorship of the proletariat – Democracy, that great vindicator of modernity’s urge to destroy Western civilisation.
Hence we can’t expect to see the neocons behind bars. But one might think we ought to expect them at least to repent. Or, barring that, honestly admit their fatal error.
Such expectations would be forlorn. The neocons don’t regret what they did to Iraq. They regret they didn’t do enough of it.
If only we hadn’t left when we did, their bleating goes, if only we had stayed longer, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East would in due course become a sort of Florida East. Peace, prosperity and, above all, Democracy would reign. Happiness all around.
If only the surge had been allowed to last longer… Surges, gentlemen, don’t last long by definition. OED’s, as a matter of fact: “Surge, n.: A sudden large increase, typically a temporary one”.
But forget semantics. How much longer are we talking here? As long as it would have taken, is the answer. One generation, two, three, for ever. No sacrifice is too great for Democracy.
This is the line taken by American neocons, who really don’t know any better. And, alas, by their British hangers-on, who should.
“Rescue the Christians. And then keep going,” says the nostalgically Trotskyist headline of Tim Montgomerie’s article. How far? Well, to the ends of the earth if that’s what Democracy demands.
He starts out well enough, by tugging on our heart’s strings. Tim met an Anglican priest who courageously keeps tending to his Iraqi flock in the face of dire danger. The priest relayed harrowing stories of Christians being tortured, murdered and displaced.
For a second there I thought the article would be Christian. But Tim quickly disabused me of this notion.
He began to repeat, word for word, the American neocons’ ‘if only’ mantra about the success of the surge, which, if only it could defy the dictionary definition by continuing in perpetuity, would have ended up in resounding success.
This is how he puts it: “America stayed in Germany and South Korea for decades to help to ensure they became the stable nations that they are today. Iraq needed a similar level of commitment. It didn’t get it.”
A rotten idea can’t be supported with good arguments, and this one is as spurious as they get, coming right out of the neocon hymnal. Americans “stayed in Germany and South Korea” because no one was shooting at them there.
It wasn’t that much of a hardship to garrison a few hundred thousand soldiers in those places where they had merely police duties to perform, and most of the time not even those.
Comparing that situation to the Middle East where people strap explosives to their bodies as a popular pastime, and where they never stop fighting and killing Western invaders, not to mention one another, is… well, I don’t want to overuse pejorative adjectives.
An intellectually honest comparison ought to have been drawn not with Germany and Korea but with Viet Nam, which proved that, when it comes to wars, Americans are sprinters, not stayers.
The nation, locked in its maniacal pursuit of happiness, can take only so many flag-wrapped coffins flown back from faraway lands.
Go beyond a certain cut-off point, and pimply youths start marching and chanting “Hell no, we won’t go”, “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” and, my personal favourite, “Ho, ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh, NFL are gonna win”.
Tim is too young to remember that, but he should have asked his older and wiser friends who would have told him.
As it is, he goes on with his ignorant musings: “Last time the West betrayed Iraq by leaving too early. This time we need to do a proper job and help to destroy Isis.”
But Isis is no longer called Isis. It’s now the State of Islam, or hasn’t Tim heard? Destroy Isis, and the State of Islam will appear. Destroy that, and those people will think of something else. And then those pimply youths will whip out the posters and start marching in front of the White House.
Don’t those bastards ever learn? Haven’t they done enough harm?
It is the West’s moral duty to save the Christians and the Jews put in mortal danger by the West’s own criminal idiocy. If it takes military operations to achieve that end, then so be it.
But it should be that end and no other. And it must be accompanied by a generous offer of asylum and help with resettlement. Something France has offered Iraqi Christians – and something Obama reserves for those who aid and abet their murderers.