Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stockholm Syndrome?

Today there is general awareness of a curious, counterintuitive phenomenon known as the Stockholm Syndrome. This occurs when, say, a group of robbers takes some bystanders hostage and holds them in the bank vault. At first the hostages are bewildered and angry. Gradually, though, they come to sympathize with the robbers, agreeing to make common cause in order to "find a way out of this situation."

That is what seems to be happening now in the disastrous Iraq war. Even those who are critical of the manifest mishandling of the conduct of the war and occupation say that now is not the time for accountability. Instead, we must focus solely on the way forward.

This is the case even of the rising numbers of people who call for the firing of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. If Rumsfeld, why not others? And if the mishandling of the war is at issue, why not its planning and launching as well?

The reason the pundits want us to keep silent about these issues looks to me very much like bad faith. Most of them were gullible cheerleaders when the Bush administration proferred its megillah of specious reasons for the invasion. I was against it from the start. I was not against Desert Storm and I was not against the Afghanistan campaign. So I am not a pacifist. I was opposed to an unjustified war of choice. For their part, the supporters of the war were wrong then, including many who ought to have known better. They are wrong now.

We should not allow the connivers and bunglers who took us into this war off the hook. Let's say no to the Stockholm Syndrome. Let us have accountability n o w, not in some indefinable future--when of course, in all likehood, Iraq will emerge as an Islamic Republic, very different from the rosy pictures we still encounter.

A friend asks if I am simply anti-Bush. In fact I wasn't in 2000. I was cautiously optimistic. I thought that limited government could be successfully combined with new initiatives in education and poverty. But 9/11 was the excuse to abandon those goals in favor of dubious new ones. It looks a bit like the old shell game.


Blogger Stephen said...

Wolfowitz has moved on, Franks has retired.

COBRA II suggests to me some oedipal components of 43's wishes to top 41 (whose lack of "vision" is looking better and better in contrast to his son's decisiveness in staying wrong courses) and reminds us that the denigration of foot soldiers in favor of Star Wars high-tech military operations was laid out by W in 1999. Nevertheless, it is another former pilot who never flew a combat mission (Donald Rumsfeld) who demanded the quick strikes, bypassing pockets of resistance, understaffing occupation, and failing to take the insurgence seriously. Rumsfeld is only part of the problem, but not an insignificant scapegoat.

9:17 AM  

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