Sunday, January 21, 2007

The success of failure

As I have several times noted, there was a fascinating contrast of views as we ran up to launch the Iraq war. Millions of ordinary folk, siting in ordinary living rooms, said: Don't do it. The war serves no legitimate national interest. After it was launched, we correctly predicted that the matter would end badly.

But a majority of the politicians, and almost all the well-placed members of the pundit class, were cheerleaders. Ostensibly they were privy to sources of information that we peons didn't have. Of course their information was wrong, as any person of even average intelligence could see. But groupthink, cleverly manipulated by the neocons, ruled.

An Internet friend of mine is a famous journalist. Before the war he was a major hawk. Until last year he continued to believe in "victory." The problem was that we "mismanaged" the war. No, the problem was that we got into it in the first place. Now my friend believes, belatedly, that we should redeploy.

The question that must be asked is this. If you were wrong, AS, before, why should we believe you now?

This question applies to a whole raft of journalists whose egregious mistakes in judgment only seem to enhance their visibility and incomes. In my view the worst is that charlatan Tom Freedman, the resident village explainer at the New York Times. Supposedly an expert on the Middle East, Freedman has been wrong over and over again. By contrast a consistent opponent of the war like Robert Scheer finds himself in the wilderness.

In their far-sightedness, these early opponents recall the "premature anti-fascists" of the 1930s. The PAFs were right, but their prescience embarrasses the johnny-come-latelies. So let's deprive them of their jobs and influence, while rewarding the idiots.

In a list of 113 or so problems that are plaguing America, the incompetence of the punditocracy ranks, I suppose, only as number 23. But the issue is puzzling all the same.

One answer I am afraid, is what is the alternative? Pat Buchanan was right about the war, but wrong about most everything else. And that sanctimonious windbag Bill Moyers is waiting in the wings to make a come-back. He is one more proof of the malign influence of religion in public life. Moyer's ally is, predictably enough, our own La Pasionaria, Amy Goodman.


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