September 15, 2010
The new look requires a new, improved Taki. No more mentions of jet-setters, no French Riviera shenanigans, nothing but constant classical themes and references to Horace, Racine, Rilke, Marlowe, and Milton. And if you believe this it’s time for the men in white coats to come and take you. Eight years ago Pat Buchanan and I founded The American Conservative, an American national biweekly whose purpose was to expose what nation-building does to those stupid enough to want to build. It was my idea and I put up the money, Pat lent his name recognition, and a third person, Scott McConnell, was named editor by me. The first cover’s headline was “How Victory Could Spell American Defeat.” This was six months before the invasion of Iraq, and Buchanan got it spot on when he wrote that we would be there for at least five to ten years and that the war would cost hundreds of billions.
We all know the rest. There was no “slam dunk.” It’s $750 billion and counting, 4,500 American dead and 35,000 wounded, 100,000 to 300,000 Iraqi dead, 2 million in exile, and uncounted lives wrecked. And there’s no end in sight. Iraq is split in three between Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, there is no freedom except for those with the gun, and an oil rich area has failed to provide even reliable electricity. Yet Bush and Blair have declared they would do it all over again, that it’s a victory over tyranny etc, etc, etc. Iraq is lawless and swarming with terrorists, yet the real architects of the war, the neo-cons, have managed to whitewash their part in Uncle Sam’s greatest foreign policy disaster ever. And made it look easy. The whitewash, that is.
Here are a few of the bad guys: Daniel Pipes, Elliot Abrams, Douglas Feith, Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Norman and John Podhoretz, the Kagan brothers, Dick Cheney, and, of course, the Bobsy twins, Bush and Blair. None of the above are stupid or unread men except for John – four pizzas – Podhoretz. George W Bush sounds dumb but is not. Kristol is a tiny, ugly, rat of a man who always backs the wrong horse, but very clever. Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Pipes and Abrams are ardent Zionists. Cheney was in it for business reasons. Yet despite their smarts none of the above listened to what history had to say. They ignored what happened to the French in Algeria, to the British in Aden and Palestine, to the Russians in Afghanistan and the Americans in Somalia. My magazine cost me millions and I thought it was worth it at the time, but I didn’t take into account the ability of rats to abandon a sinking ship. After the disaster became obvious no one was held to account, however loudly we protested for the guilty to pay some sort of price. Just look at Blair. He got rich and even sits in on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The neo-cons played everyone like the proverbial fiddle. They accused the critics of the war to be anti-Semitic, because – now get this – neo-con was a code word for Jew. Although most of the neo-cons were Jewish, we knew enough to differentiate between Judaism and Zionism, the latter being the reason the neo-cons wanted non-stop war. The debate on anti-Semitism that ensued was the emergency button the neo-cons pushed the moment the war turned ugly and they decided to slither out of their responsibilities.