Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Frum & Perle: Twenty-Eight

AETE, pgs 158-160. At last Frum and Perle come to the part where they write the Biggest Lie of all neocon Big Lies: the neoconservatives do what they do out of love of democracy and that, therefore, the conquest of Iraq was meant to spread democracy ( a necessary component of which is self-determination), not to further American power abroad, nor to serve a Republican domestic agenda.

"The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life." Those words of President Bush, delivered at the American Enterprise Institute on February 26, 2003, have startled and offended Americans and Europeans from across the political spectrum.

Here is Christopher Patten, a former minister in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, now chancellor of Oxford University: "The argument is too crude. I start to worry about what Robspierre called armed missionaries...democracy at the point of a gun."

And here is Jesse Jackson saying pretty much the same thing from the far left: "President Bush feels divinely 'called' to convert other countries' governments from oppressive regimes to democratically free governments. He is freeing Iraq through 'gunboat diplomacy,' then proposes to govern it with gunpoint democracy."

The right-of-center journalist Robert Kaplan warns: "Democracy, in its early phases, is more likely to lead not to peace, but to demagogic politicians competing with each other over who can be more anti-American and more anti-Semitic."

"The entire idea of an American-led democratic revolution in the Mideast has an air of fantasy about it," agrees left-of-center Professor Paul Starr.

Those who believe that the extremism that pervades contemporary Islamic culture might somehow be connected to the oppressiveness of Middle Eastern politics have been damned as "fanatics," "crazy," and blinded by "hubris."

So who are these madmen who advocate greater democracy for the Middle East? They include the world's leading scholar of Islamic civilization, Bernard Lewis. They include Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, who as an assistant secretary of state for East Asia in the Reagan administration was the crucial figure in forcing from power two Pacific Rim dictators: Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines in 1985 and Chun Doo Hwan of South Korea in 1986. Both countries are thriving democracies today. (For these and other services to world freedom and the American nation, Wolfowitz was accused of "harboring a 'passionate attachment' to a nation not our own" by commentator Patrick Buchanan.) They include former UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, who argued in the 1980s that democracy could come to the war zone of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras if communism was defeated -- as indeed it was...

Nobody thinks that it will be fast or easy to bring democracy to the Middle East. The democratizers understand the obstacles better than their critics.

The lies here are breathtaking, and in a service to a unifying and obscuring lie so huge it often knocks the truth out of its critics and the lives out of its victims. Jean Kirkpatrick's whole schtick was intellectualizing and codifying the American tendency to prop up or install right-wing dictators. Paul Wolfowitz had nothing to do with democracy's getting a foothold in any country, much less the Philippines or South Korea. The truth of the matter is that the neocons simply wanted a new puppet and revized client-state status for the New Iraq. They wanted the veneer of democracy but the workings of a dictatorship: in short, they wanted to install Chalabi as Iraq's leader. But they knew the old Kirkpatrickian arguments no longer worked. And the experience of the War in the Balkans taught them that they way to get Liberal Hawks on board with their schemes was to dupe such people with the rhetoric of human rights. Paul Wolfowitz kissed Suharto's ass, just as Kirkpatrick kissed the Shah's and Somoza's and Videla's and Pinochet's. These people never gave two shits about human rights or democracy. But "democracy, whiskey, sexy" sells wars; and neocons were always excellent liars. Thus, the Iraq debacle.