We live in a two-party system where both parties are pro-war; when the wars go badly, the system scrambles to find a way to prevent antiwar sentiment from taking the drastic step of mounting a meaningful opposition.
Therefore from time to time we have to suffer through the spectacle of some status quo dingbat letting his hair down and performing a tortured impersonation of a peace activist during an election season. He bounds to the podium all hot and bothered and indignant-looking, and he sounds like hes against the war. Only once youve listened to the tape five or six times do you realize that hes saying that hes actually in favor of the war,
he just thinks it should have been prosecuted more effectively.
This was the basic message of Richard Nixon in 1968, and exactly the same message now belongs to Hillary Clinton, who unveiled her new pseudo-anti-war pose during an absurd clash of war collaborators with Donald Rumsfeld on the Senate floor last week.
Pitched as an effort by Senators to discover the truth about the on the ground situation in Iraq, the series of interrogations of leading administration officials was really a forum for Conventional Wisdom to publicly abandon the war effort. Generals admitted that Iraq was on the verge of civil war; Senators gave gloomy speeches and re-positioned themselves for midterm election season. Even a slew of erstwhile media war-cheerleaders, most notably mustachioed Times dipshit Thomas Friedman, used the occasion of the hearings to throw in the towel, universally describing the war as both a lost cause and somebody elses fault (the hilarious Friedman formulation was Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons). But the headline outcome was Hillary angrily demanding Don Rumsfelds resignation, apparently for the crime of screwing up a perfectly good war.
Her semantically-tortured apostrophic attack against Rumsfelds incompetence, in which she railed against the administrations strategic blunders but carefully avoided any discussion of the decision to invade that she and most other Democrats so enthusiastically supported, identified her as the status quo dingbat in this generations version of the same old story.
So much for being a martyr. Hillary officially stopped being a victim with that stunt, finally completing her self-propelled transformation into just another soulless stuffed suit willing to do anything to keep a job. There are thousands of these types in Washington, huge crowds of faceless drones in glasses and blue suits, each raised on DVD boxed sets of The West Wing and each willing to suck off a whole field of racehorses for the right internship or committee appointment. Collectively they represent the least interesting group of people on the planet earth, and once-compelling Hillary is their champion now.
The Iraq war has surely produced many landmark moments in the history of American cynicism ‚ Bob Ney storming the House cafeteria to crusade against French Fries before jetting off to a Scottish golf junket with Jack Abramoff is a particular favorite of mine ‚ but no one in the whole course of this conflict, not even George Bush, has yet sunk as low as Hillarys Democrats are sinking now. Theyre making a conscious effort to try to cash in politically on the Iraq catastrophe without making any admission of culpability or responsibility, hoping to limp across the finish line first in the midterm elections with nothing but a semantic absurdity ‚ for the invasion, against its execution ‚ for a war policy.