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Why We Are Really in Iraq (Review of Frank Rich's new book)

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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-21-06 12:17 AM
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Why We Are Really in Iraq (Review of Frank Rich's new book)
Edited on Thu Sep-21-06 12:19 AM by kskiska
Bush dragged the U.S. to war so the GOP could win midterm elections -- and the press went along for the ride -- argues the New York Times' Frank Rich.


This quick 'n' easy war was perfectly designed to appeal to George W. Bush. Rich draws a quick but brilliant sketch of Bush as a lazy, entitled boor, lacking in any real ideology beyond crony-capitalist Republicanism, who above all wanted to win and was accustomed to winning -- because he had always played with a rigged deck.

Rove, "Bush's brain," dreamed of establishing a near-permanent Republican majority in Washington la William McKinley. This was fine with Bush. "This partisan dream, not nation-building, was consistent with the president's own history and ambitions in Washington. Bush was a competitor who liked to win the game, even if he was unclear about what to do with his victory beyond catering to the economic interests of his real base, the traditional Republican business constituency ... Iraq was just the vehicle to ride to victory in the midterms, particularly if it could be folded into the proven brand of 9/11. A cakewalk in Iraq was the easy way, the lazy way, the arrogant way, the telegenic way, the Top Gun way to hold on to power. It was of a piece with every other shortcut in Bush's career, and it was a hand-me-down from Dad drenched in oil to boot."

It is now widely accepted that the Iraq war is one of the greatest foreign policy blunders, if not the greatest, in U.S. history. Some have gone further: The respected Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld argues that it is "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C. sent his legions into Germany and lost them." Not a few regard Iraq as spelling the beginning of the end of American dominance in the world.

If Rich is right and Bush committed the worst military blunder in 2,000 years so that ... drumroll please ... the GOP could win the midterms, the Iraq war will single-handedly overturn Marx's dictum that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. For Iraq would then be both tragedy and farce -- an idiotic reality TV show, hastily produced for sweeps week, in which the contestants actually die. A war that would require a Frank Rich to do justice to it.

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