The Neoconservative Psychopathy

Sometimes you don’t need to read entire articles and debates about an issue to understand it; a single phrase can be enough.

Thus today’s Wall Street Journal says about Obama’s speech last night on the end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq:

“He gave short shrift to Iraq as a potential democratic example in the autocratic Middle East…”

The Journal is dissatisfied that Obama did not boast that Iraq has been made into an example of democracy in the Middle East. But note the adjective preceding the words “democratic example”: “potential”. That sort of alters the idea, doesn’t it? Does the Journal seriously expect Obama to boast that Iraq has been made into merely a “potential” democratic example ? If it’s only a potential democratic example, then it’s not actually a democratic example, is it? In which case, what is there for Obama to boast of?

This ambiguity runs through all the recent pro-Bush, pro-democratization conservative discussions about the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq. On one hand, the neoconservatives loudly tell us that Iraq has been a great “success.” On the other hand, they keep quietly letting on (though rarely in the same sentence as the sentence in which they assert the success, as they did in this case) that this “success” has, uh, hmm, well, not actually occurred yet, but is still a hope for something that may happen in the future.

This dishonest way of speaking has characterized the neocon treatment of the Iraq democratization policy from the beginning. They kept touting their various hopes—for “success,” for “victory,” for “democracy,” for “Iraq as an example of democracy,” and, finally, for the “spread of democracy in the Middle East”—as things that had already been achieved or that were so close to achievement that we could regard them as already achieved. The dishonesty was so built into the neocons’ thought and speech patterns, was so automatic for them, that I believe they never recognized that it was dishonest. For them, what they expected and guaranteed would turn out to be true, was already true. Their hopes were reality. They have now lived in this psychopathy for seven years.

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LA writes:

Here is a collection of VFR pieces touching on this aspect of the Iraq story:

“Victory” a chimera in Iraq

“We have no strategy to win” [Collection posted on VFR sidebar of excerpts from various articles on this theme]

How do we defeat militant Islam? Sept 10, 2003

The Dream of Iraqi Democratization vs. the Reality of Iraqi Violence, FrontPage magazine, April 20, 2004

Did Bush misspeak or did he speak the truth?, September 2, 2004

E-mail to a pro-Bush blogger, September 30, 2004

Our main goal in Iraq remains an unsustainable “democracy,” not victory [Nov 10, 2004]

“Staying the course” means staying in Iraq—forever

US commanders in Iraq grim about prospects

Buckley: we cannot win in Iraq

Administration admits its goals in Iraq have been “unrealistic” [August ‘05: senior administration officials are admitting that what I’ve been saying all along is true. The admission is driven by two paramount realities that even the most devoted Bush champions can no longer deny: the continuation of the terror insurgency (i.e., no victory); and the Iraqis’ choice of a sharia constitution (i.e., no freedom).]

The unreality of our Iraq policy—and of the thought process required to defend it [September 13, 2007]

Podhoretz’s fake reply to a decisive refutation of democratism [How Norman Podhoretz dismisses the problem of Hamas victory in Palestinian election in his book.]

Our perverted Iraq policy [On the murder conviction of Sgt. Evan Vela.]

Ferg writes:

I think it was always an article of faith with the neocon nation building experiment that once the seed of democracy has been planted, sooner or later it will have to grow, much as a weed grows up through a crack in concrete. All it needs is time and that crack in the concrete, much as it began to flower in the old Soviet Union after seventy years or so of oppression. It now seems to have been stamped out, but I think it is too early to say that for certain.

Will it work in the Mideast? I really don’t know, but I do remember Iran under the Shah as being a very modern, westernized country, although a long way from democratic. Still, there is an active underground In Iran that seeks to return to that kind of modernity, and I think that some day it will be successful. What form of government it might re-emerge under I don’t know. And it will need to be essentially secular in nature to become a modern society.

Islam has always had periods of reverting to a very traditional and aggressive form of public expression. Turkey in its expansionist days was like that, then it became more and more secular in nature, even allowing public sale of liquor. The came Attaturk and the institutionalization of the secular state. Now it is following the current trend and heading in the opposite direction again. Just as we are now following the current trend toward the all encompassing welfare state. Will these trends reverse some day? I think so, but I won’t live to see them most likely. But then, I never expected to live to see the fall of the Soviet Union and the re-unification of Germany either, but I did.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 01, 2010 08:38 AM | Send

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