Give ‘Em Enough Rope
In response to Kevin Drum's post about letting the warmongers have their "surge" so Lord McCain and his fellow wingnuts can't run around saying "we would have won if only" for the next 20 years, Digby says:
As for the long term, it doesn't matter how spectacularly they fail, they will never admit it. We would have won "if only" no matter what actually happens. If only we'd put in more troops earlier, or more troops now, or reinstituted the draft or dropped some daisy cutters or whatever. These people live in a fantasy world in which they are always right but others are continuously conspiring to rob them of whatever they really need to prove it. In the long run, they will insist that the war could have been won if only the wimps hadn't lost their nerve. And they will persuade a fair number of people that this was true — Americans don't like losers and don't like to think of themselves as losers. The paranoid strain will be happy to re-argue, re-litigate and re-write history down the road to say that America was betrayed from within. It's what they do.
There is still a strong strain of "we would've won in Viet Nam if only…" because no other narrative emerged to trump it in the pea-sized right wing imagination. The crimes of Watergate seemed wholly removed from the travesty of Viet Nam, whereas the greed and corruption of those who wielded decision-making powers in the Iraq war are ripe for big, public exposure. While I agree with Atrios that in the short term nobody is going to stand down and let the dirty fucking hippies run things, I think there is a target-rich environment to disgrace the right wing idealogues and the extreme zealots of the GOP who planned this little disaster. Then the Joke Line's of the world will just claim that they have always ascribed to this worldview, and nobody will ever admit that they thought differently.
I honestly believe that's the only way to break the back of this war — until you can give people an excuse for retreat that doesn't say "we lost," we won't stop meddling in the Middle East. But "the wingnuts fucked it up," ran the war like they did Katrina, betrayed the military in the process, wasted money like a drunken sailor and stole everything that wasn't nailed down — that plays into many popular narratives that the American people will find acceptable, nay comforting.
There is a big need for spectacle here (paging Henry Waxman) and a way to demonstrate that if there was ever was hope for a successful outcome to this fiasco it was a function of post-war reconstruction. Not that I think there ever was much hope, but if there ever was even a one per-cent chance that something positive could've emerged that would've been it. It was entirely flubbed by the GOP. There is not another administration to smear blame on, nor can it be placed in the lap of the military. And the "anti-tax" crowd (who damn near lynched Liddy Dole for supporting "tax'n'spend" Lincoln Chafee over Steve Laffey) comprise a lot of that hold-out set Digby described; as much as they don't like to lose, they hate being ripped off for the privilege of losing even more (see: Cafferty, Jack; Dobbs, Lou). I mean, Halliburton might be marginally more worthy of stealing from the government than your average welfare queen in the eyes of your garden variety mouth-breather, but only just.
Big lights. Lots of cameras. Pitchforks and torches. Everybody will be running from the NeoCons like they had LieberCooties. (And speaking of Lieberman, his committee — the Senate counterpart to Waxman's — will stay conspicuously silent on the subject. Many in the blogosphere will no doubt be calling loud attention to this fact.)
BTW — when did we start calling Kevin "K-Drum"? I must've missed that.