THEY'RE FINALLY GETTING WISE TO THE EMPIRE RACKET
By: Justin Raimondo
One has only to look at today's headlines at to see the trend:
- "More Conservatives Question Afghan War"
- "Tea Party Voters Worry About Afghan War Price Tag"
- "America Has Reached Point of No Return, Reagan Budget Chief Warns"
- "Grover Norquist Decries Lack of Conservative Debate on Afghanistan"
Another news story details the results of a survey which shows a dramatic turnabout, on
"Two-thirds of conservatives support a reduction in troop levels in
Afghanistan. When given a choice between three options, 66% believe we can either
reduce the troop levels in Afghanistan, but continue to fight the war effectively (39%) or
think we should leave Afghanistan all together, as soon as possible (27%). Just 24% of
conservatives believe we should continue to provide the current level of troops to
properly execute the war. 64% of Tea Party supporters think we should either reduce troop
levels (37%) or leave Afghanistan (27%) while 28% support maintaining current troop
levels. Among conservatives who don't identify with the Tea Party movement, 70% want a
reduction (43%) or elimination (27%) of troops while only 18% favoring continuation of the
It wasn't all that long ago that David Frum could credibly excommunicate Bob Novak, Pat
Buchanan, and other conservative opponents of the Iraq war in the pages of National
Review. Today, however, as the American empire goes into foreclosure, and a decade of
constant war has brought us no closer to "victory," those who want to limit the
power and expense of government are finally beginning to wake up to the war racket. The
idea that we could be the world's policeman and still keep the reality as well as the form
of a constitutional republic was always an illusion, and the veil is lifted from the eyes
of grassroots conservatives at last.
The response to these developments is what's interesting. On the left, the Huffington
Post is, well, a bit huffy about it, with Dan Froomkin reporting Grover Norquist's
contention that America's overseas wars are a strategic as well as an economic
"Being tied up there does not advance American power. If you've got a fist in
the tar baby Iraq and you've got a fist in the tar baby Afghanistan, then who's afraid of
Is the liberal Huffington Post, whose proprietor spends a lot of time on television
criticizing the Obama administration for continuing the war, head over heels because of
this crack in the pro-war consensus? Of course not. Indeed, Froomkin utilizes Norquist's
word choice to manufacture a particularly vicious, albeit utterly ridiculous,
"His word choice was vivid, but problematic. 'Tar baby' is often used as
shorthand to describe an inextricable
problem or situation, but it is also a derogatory term for black people. Such public
figures as Republican presidential contender Mitt
Romney and former White House press secretary Tony Snow have taken flak for using
It does little good to point to the context, and note that Norquist's statement would
be reduced to meaningless gibberish if the latter definition is assumed: Froomkin doesn't
want to hear what Norquist is really saying, but only conjuring his readers' intractable
prejudices. Besides which, Froomkin is not actually saying Norquist is
a racist, but only letting the innuendo splatter against the noted conservative's face.
And these are the people who want to restore "civility" to the public
However, this kind of petty viciousness is but a pallid blue flame compared to the
white-hot anger of Max Boot, writing on
the Commentary blog:
"If you want any further evidence of conservative support for
the war effort in Afghanistan, look no further than Grover Norquist's laughable effort to organize a "center-right" coalition
against the war. Apparently, Grover wants to pull out of Afghanistan as a money-saving
measure -- a line of argument, which if followed to its natural conclusion, should also
have led us to pull out of World War II while Hitler or Tojo were still in power or to end
the Civil War while Jefferson Davis still ruled the South."
If you're a neocon, it's always 1939 -- or 1862. Every struggle is an existential
struggle. Hitler, Jefferson Davis, Mullah Omar -- it's all the same Evil, which takes on
different forms down through the years, but retains its essential essence. This is what we
heard in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq: Saddam was Hitler, and any attempt to avoid
war was an act of "appeasement," another "Munich." And as for those
actively protesting the war once it started, why they were nothing less than "fifth
columnists," as Andrew Sullivan used to put it before he sensed sticking with the
neocons was a bad career move.
To say that Boot, who once bemoaned the lack of casualties in the initial stages of the
Iraq war, lacks either moral or common sense is to point out the obvious. Yet there is an
extra note of hysteria in this latest hyperbolic tantrum, as if the prospect of facing a
rebellion within what the neocons regard as their base is driving Boot over the edge of
credibility. Because what's laughable isn't Norquist's raising of this issue, but the
efforts of Boot and his dwindling band of dead-enders to stamp out the rebellion before
its gains enough momentum to have a real effect. The problem for the neocons, however, is
that the revolt has already spread far beyond the possibility of suppression.
Bubbling up from the grassroots, this is a revolution on the right, and it portends a
struggle that is truly existential as far as the neocons are concerned. Having attached
themselves to the conservative movement in the 1980s, this mini-movement which traces its
origins back to a schismatic variety of Trotskyism would be content to suck the very life
out of its conservative host -- but it looks like the host is finally waking up to the
Boot excoriates Norquist for recalling Reagan's decision to pull out of Lebanon by
reminding us that Osama bin Laden used this as an example of why the US is a "weak
horse." What he forgets is that bin Laden, having lured us into Iraq and Afghanistan,
also famously predicted the US would go bankrupt pursuing him and his fellows to the ends
of the earth.
Economic reality -- or, indeed, reality of any sort -- has never been the neocons'
forte. You'll recall that, when they were in power, a top White House aide confided to
journalist Ron Suskind what they considered to be their historic mission:
"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based
community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your
judicious study of discernible reality.' ... 'That's not the way the world really works
anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.
And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again,
creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort
out. We're history's actors
and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we
Reality has finally caught up with the conservative movement, however, much to the
neocons' intense annoyance. Let Boot have hysterics:, and let the Huffington Post liberals
throw their mudballs. As Chris Middleton, of the Ohio Liberty Council, a leading tea party
group, put it the other day: it's all about the math, and the numbers don't lie. With
military spending accounting for 56 percent of discretionary spending, and the US about to
lose it's triple-A credit rating, the inexorable logic of the budget-cutters leads to one
and only one conclusion: it's time to rein in the War Party, and abandon our foreign
policy of imperialism -- because empires are a luxury that no modern nation can afford any
Justin Raimondo is Editorial Director
He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Justin Raimondo may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in the January
14, 2011 issue of Ether Zone.
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