Monday, February 27, 2012

Ziocon Hard-on

"Every so often we'd have a visit from nonmilitary VIPs like the gaggle of 'fellows' who flew in from a prominent national security think tank. These scholars wrote serious books important people read, they appeared on important Sunday morning talk shows, and they served as consultants to even more important people who made decisions about this war and others to come. One of them was on the staff of a General whose name was dropped more often than Jesus's at a Southern Baptist AA meeting. Another was coming back to Iraq as an adviser to the Embassy, having advised in the glory days of 2003.

"One guy was a real live neoconservative. A quick Google of his work showed he strongly supported going to war in Iraq, wrote apology pieces after no one could find any weapons of mass destruction ('It was still the right thing to do'), and came back to see exactly how well democracy was working out for a paper he was writing to further justify the war. He liked military high tech; he used words like awesome, superb, and extraordinary (pronounced EXTRAordinary) without irony to describe tanks and guns. He said in reference to the Israeli Army, 'they give me a hard-on'. Another fellow had a habit of bouncing his legs up and down while sitting. Strapped into the MRAP vehicle with the four-point harness that came up through his legs, he bounced and bounced, like something a dog did that embarrassed you when company came over. This guy basically advanced the thesis that anything that happened in Iraq before he started advising was a 'fucking disaster' (it was so cool when academics used swear words) and whatever had happened after he started advising was 'innovative'. He insisted on using the phrase tipping point to refer to just about everything, including lunch. He called people in the news by their first names (Barack, Joe, Meatloaf). He looked at his smartphone for messages a lot, even though we were several hundred years away from the right kind of cell phone coverage.

"The best thing of all was that when these two fellows were together they did not talk about bands of brothers, Israeli wood, or Iraqi democracy, but instead, riding in an armored vehicle through the badlands outside of Baghdad, they compared book deals and literary agents and gossiped about people they both knew who were getting big advances on memoirs. It became clear to me why this war had played out so well, with people like this intellectually backstopping the policy makers." (We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts & minds of the Iraqi People, Peter Van Buren, 2011, pp 196-198)

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