Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Fog of Getting It Right

It's nice that George Will has come so firmly around to the Michael Moore camp on the Iraq issue. His new column acknowledging that Kerry was right in his approach to the war on terror does everything but admit that Will himself was wrong:

Cooperation between Pakistani and British law enforcement (the British draw upon useful experience combating IRA terrorism) has validated John Kerry's belief (as paraphrased by the New York Times Magazine of Oct. 10, 2004) that "many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror." In a candidates' debate in South Carolina (Jan. 29, 2004), Kerry said that although the war on terror will be "occasionally military," it is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world."

And Will rightly attacks the Bush administration for idiotically insisting that references to law enforcement demonstrated a misunderstanding of the war on terror:

"The idea that the jihadists would all be peaceful, warm, lovable, God-fearing people if it weren't for U.S. policies strikes me as not a valid idea. [Democrats] do not have the understanding or the commitment to take on these forces. It's like John Kerry. The law enforcement approach doesn't work."

This farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike "the law enforcement approach," does "work."

Reporters should have laughed at anyone who tried to make this argument. And Democrats should have jumped on it every time they tried it in '04. We understand that the war on terror requires a vast global network of government agencies--law enforcement and intelligence and military--working to track down the bad guys. Any time anyone mentions law enforcement, however, Republicans start jumping up and down on their hats and spouting delusional garbage about not understanding that we're at WAR WAR WAR. This is not the way you catch a terrorist.

You'll note that Will uses the word "farrago" to make this point. If you know what he means, consider yourself unrepresentative of the American population at large. (As for me, I'm not going to look it up, as a matter of principle.)

It almost makes you wonder if Will is trying to make sure that only intellectuals and wonks keep reading far enough to realize he's attacking the Bush administration.

By the way, George Will, about this little bit of snark:

The official is correct that it is wrong "to think that somehow we are responsible -- that the actions of the jihadists are justified by U.S. policies." But few outside the fog of paranoia that is the blogosphere think like that.

It must really kill you that the "fog of paranoia" was right about Iraq when you were wrong, huh? Massive vocabulary and all?