by Col. W. Patrick Lang (Ret.)

"Politics cannot solve what ails Iraq now. It can help, and certainly the constitution is an important step in that direction. But at the end of the day, it’s only when the so-called dead-enders are either dead or vanquished that one can count on the political process moving decisively forward as most Iraqis desire."

Bust of Pericles


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Drinking the Kool-Aid
Middle East Policy
Council Journal, Vol. XI
Summer 2004, No. 2

Schmitt, the author of the Washington Post op/ed quoted above, is boss of the "Project for the New American Century," a foundation seemingly designed to provide a final refuge for the Jacobin crowd.

This is pretty tough stuff.  I always worry when all this bloodthirsty, death and destruction language pops up in the utterances of those who wish to influence policy and who clearly did so.

This guy is one of the head Neocons.  I was on a panel yesterday in which a former NSC staffer was asked to what extent the Neocons were responsible for President Bush’s decision to go to war.  He said, "They made the Kool-aid that others drank."  Schmitt’s present opinions are clarifying with regard to the quality of the brains in the heads of the men who took us to war.  Nothing is more warlike than a civilian with a political obsession and minimal combat experience.

Contrary to popular mythology and the drivel that soldiers tell women on occasion, there are always a fair number of people in armies who are not personally averse to combat.  They are the people who keep the outfit functioning under fire.  Shh!  Don’t tell anyone!  Nevertheless, it has been my experience that most of those so blessed (or damned) are not willing to advocate an easy resort to arms.  In the years that I spent in the Pentagon, it was almost a joke that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would always advise against war when the government gave them the opportunity to advise.  "A Council of War Never Votes To Fight" is an old military aphorism and I have known it to be true. Now, in the time of Generalissimo Rumsfeld it may be different.

So what is it that this paragon of the civilian tough guy crowd has as an option for extricating ourselves from the mess that he and his pals convinced the president to create?  He says we have to fight until "the so-called dead-enders are either dead or vanquished."

Continued BELOW:

What a brave soul!  "Let’s You and Him fight" might be the summation of this op/ed piece.  Political accommodation of the Sunni Arabs?  No.  A retreat from the lunacy of "One man, One vote" in an essentially tribal society?   No!  A Willingness to talk to the non-Jihadi insurgents?  No! No!

"Let’s You and Him Fight!!!"  This begins to make the idea of recruiting the "Young Republicans" as special counterinsurgency troops more and more attractive.

Yesterday Robert Kagan, who, along with Bill Cristol, advocated intervention in Iraq for years wrote a column in the Washington Post in which he essentially whined over the fact that victory has many friends but misfortune is an orphan.  Translation: People are nasty to us now and those on the Left who engaged their private obsessions on our behalf are now deserting us.  Sob…

People like Kagan schemed for a decade to achieve armed intervention in Iraq.  They wrote and caused to be passed by compliant members, the "Iraq Liberation Act" 0f 1998.  They did it "to force Clinton’s hand" on Iraq.  The staffers who did it boasted to me of their achievement at the time.  And he wants sympathy?  His column ends thusly:

"It’s interesting to watch people rewrite history, even their own. My father recently recalled for me a line from Thucydides, which Pericles delivered to the Athenians in the difficult second year of the three-decade war with Sparta. "I am the same man and do not alter, it is you who change, since in fact you took my advice while unhurt, and waited for misfortune to repent of it.""  Schmitt

Ah, the Funeral Oration.  My Classics teachers would be glad that it is still remembered, but Pericles was a fighting man as well an orator.

My favorite part of the "Peloponesian War" has always been the "Melian Dialogue" in which Athens attacks and utterly destroys a small, harmless and neutral city state with which the Athenians had no real cause for anger.

it was just "policy" to do so, and the "greater good" of Athenian leadership of the Greek World was served.

Don’t whine!  Any of you!

Pat Lang

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Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2