Sunday, March 14, 2010


Reading Frank Rich Rewriting History While Complaing That Others Are Rewriting History

Frank Rich columns in the ever shrinking New York Times have become the Alice down the rabbit hole of journalism, except without Johnny Depp in heavy make-up. In this one, where he complains exclusively about Republicans, focusing on Karl Rove, the logic of his positions are at best curious. Let's go to the article:
Once the Bush-Cheney failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran again come home to roost, as they undoubtedly and explosively will, someone will have to remind our amnesia-prone nation who really enabled America’s enemies in the run-up to 9/11 and in its aftermath.
The run up to 9/11, except for 8 months near the end, was originally enabled by the Carter Administration and metastasized to operational reality during the Clinton Administration who treated al Qaeda's war against us as a nuisance, like shoplifting. The aftermath of 9/11 from the Bush Administration was to take the war to al Qaeda and its enablers and push them to insignificance in Afghanistan and to resounding defeat in Iraq, so that there hasn't been another successful al Qaeda attack on our shores after that, well, at least until the Christmas bomber last year, a plot by the franchise al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula. Those are historical facts which Mr. Rich ignores to the detriment of his already tissue thin credibility.

Iran can always be thwarted from getting a nuclear tipped intermediate missile with serious military action. President Bush never did it, but President Obama certainly can. The only failure in Iran will be allowing them to get the bomb. Who's watch it is when that happens (and Tel Aviv evaporates) deserves the blame. Sorry, but it comes with the title Commander-in-Chief. Unless Iran had the bomb in 2009, it's not a Bush-Cheney failure. There are no final failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, just difficult counterinsurgencies. We won in Iraq (thanks solely to President Bush's perseverance) and we probably will in Afghanistan. As Rich reveals, it is always the default position of the American left that whatever a Republican did is wrong and no matter how it looks now, Republican achievements are mirages and will all end in tears.

He then complains bitterly about what he calls the new McCarthyism, (the 101st version by my imperfect count) which turns out this time to be Republican complaints that lawyers who rushed to represent our captured enemies ought probably not be given positions of authority in the justice department deciding the fates of those same enemies. Although Rich decries the name calling from the right (namely the Osama bin Laden 7) he jumps in with his own name calling, namely 'right wing jihad.' Apparently it is McCarthyism for a Republican to juxtapose bin Laden's name with any American Lefty but perfectly good journalism for him to call Republicans jihadists.To the left, America's greatest enemy is not the foreign Islamic fanatics but Republicans.

Then it really gets weird. Digging into recent history Rich writes:

As we’ve learned the hard way, little fictions, whether about “death panels” or “uranium from Africa,” can grow mighty fast in the 24/7 media echo chamber.
Unless my grasp of English grammar has completely abandoned me, Rich counts the uranium from Africa (16 words in the 2003 State of the Union) as a "fiction" but then links to a site which calls the statement true, even supported by Joe Wilson's debriefing to the CIA. Curiouser and curiouser. Readers of Trotskyite author Christopher Hitchens know that the attempt to buy yellowcake from Niger was just as true a fact as the failure of Iraq to seal the deal and take delivery (Iraq had nearly a hundred tons of yellowcake anyway, now safely in Canada thanks to George Bush's ending Gulf War I properly).

There is this penultimate prevailing sentiment with wihich I take issue:
It was the Bush defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who lost bin Laden in Tora Bora, not the Obama Justice Department appointees vilified by Keep America Safe.
I believed Osama bin Laden was either killed or mortally wounded at Tora Bora and al Qaeda has since been using an El Cid gambit successfully against us. There has been only one video featuring Osama since then. He had not seemed to age and the only time he mentioned current events in the video it was frozen video and, in effect, just another audio tape. Too convenient a coincidence for my skeptical nature. History will judge who is right and who is wrong in this.

OK, final bit of newspeak:

If we are really to keep America safe, it’s essential we remember exactly which American politicians empowered Iran, Al Qaeda and the Taliban from 2001 to 2008, and why.
I think even the basest memory of the period 2001 to 2008 will reveal that the Bush Administration took al Queda and the Taliban apart, and only by being granted a sanctuary in Pakistan have they survived. But back to our real situation. What we face is the extremist fringe of a major religion with over a billion believers. Even if only 2% of Muslims are current or future al Qaeda/Taliban supporters, that's more than 20 million people. Our armed forces number less than 2 million. That's another set of facts Mr. Rich seems oblivious of.

The Republicans have empowered al Qaeda and the Taliban by killing them and driving them from the field. Oceania has always been at War with Eastasia.


Frank Rich is rapidly becoming Andrew Sullivan, ie, too insane to take seriously.

Sadly, I think the reason Bush didn't go after Iran was probably...Frank Rich. He saw himself vilified by the NYT and others for doing the right thing in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he couldn't face any more. I honestly can't blame him. Perhaps he was naive enough to think Obama might do it. (Pause for laughter.)
Good comment. The left railed about how heartless we Republicans are--we wouldn't even let Granny's medicine to be paid for through Medicare. So we add drugs to Medicare and the left hammers us with it ever since (particularly to excuse their super profligate spending). They harp and whine about the "torture" of detaining indefinitely, captured illegal combatants and when we relent and release some, they beat us over the head with every releasee's return to the war. Our best bet is to do what is right and quit listening to the Quislings on the left. I don't read Sullivan any more, and never did read Rich except for comic effect.
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