Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Neo-cons rebut Vanity Fair
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 06, 2006

Apparently a Vanity Fair has issued a press release which excerpts an article it plans to run in January which claims that a number of well-known neo-cons have turned on the Iraq war. In a bit of a preemptive attack (irony anyone) those very neo-cons are saying the article misrepresented, distorted and mischaracterized what they said in interviews.

Richard Perle is a bit miffed. He claims to have been assured by Vanity Fair that what was said wouldn't be released before the election. Obviously Vanity Fair didn't believe that to mean excerpts in a press release. Says Perle:
Vanity Fair has rushed to publish a few sound bites from a lengthy discussion with David Rose. Concerned that anything I might say could be used to influence the public debate on Iraq just prior to Tuesday’s election, I had been promised that my remarks would not be published before the election.

I should have known better than to trust the editors at Vanity Fair who lied to me and to others who spoke with Mr. Rose. Moreover, in condensing and characterizing my views for their own partisan political purposes, they have distorted my opinion about the situation in Iraq and what I believe to be in the best interest of our country.
So what was the published excerpt from Perle?
"The levels of brutality that we've seen are truly horrifying, and I have to say, I underestimated the depravity," Perle says now, adding that total defeat—an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic "failed state"—is not yet inevitable but is becoming more likely. "And then," says Perle, "you'll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating."

According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly. ... At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."

Perle goes so far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not have advocated an invasion of Iraq: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' ... I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."
Well maybe. But then, the question remains, given the two premises in play at the time, could we take the chance.

Anyway, Perle finishes his rebuttal of Vanity Fair thusly:
I believe it would be a catastrophic mistake to leave Iraq, as some are demanding, before the Iraqis are able to defend their elected government. As I told Mr. Rose, the terrorist threat to our country, which is real, would be made much worse if we were to make an ignominious withdrawal from Iraq.

I told Mr. Rose that as a nation we had waited too long before dealing with Osama bin Laden. We could have destroyed his operation in Afghanistan before 9/11.

I believed we should not repeat that mistake with Saddam Hussein, that we could not responsibly ignore the threat that he might make weapons of mass destruction available to terrorists who would use them to kill Americans. I favored removing his regime. And despite the current difficulties, I believed, and told Mr. Rose, that “if we had left Saddam in place, and he had shared nerve gas with al Qaeda, or some other terrorist organization, how would we compare what we’re experiencing now with that?”

I believe the president is now doing what he can to help the Iraqis get to the point where we can honorably leave. We are on the right path.
Interesting. Very little denial about his assessment of the war and its aftermath. More of a statement of clarification. A "let me make it clear, I believe the president is now doing ... etc.".

David Frum is a little more specific in his criticism of Vanity Fair:
Rose has earned a reputation as a truth teller. The same unfortunately cannot be said for the editors and publicists at Vanity Fair. They have repackaged truths that a war-fighting country needs to hear into lies intended to achieve a shabby partisan purpose.
Not that Frum has no real problem with the interviewer, David Rose, but with the "editors and publicists" of Vanity.

Vanity Fair on Frum:
To David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who co-wrote Bush's 2002 State of the Union address that accused Iraq of being part of an "axis of evil," it now looks as if defeat may be inescapable, because "the insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them." This situation, he says, must ultimately be blamed on "failure at the center"—starting with President Bush.

[...]

"I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything."
Frum's reaction:
There has been a lot of talk this season about deceptive campaign ads, but the most dishonest document I have seen is this press release from Vanity Fair, highlighted on the Drudge Report . Headlined “Now They Tell Us,” it purports to offer an “exclusive” access to “remorseful” former supporters of the Iraq war who will now “play the blame game” with “shocking frankness.”

[...]

I can speak only for myself. Obviously I wish the war had gone better. It’s true I fear that there is a real danger that the US will lose in Iraq. And yes I do blame a lot that has gone wrong on failures of US policy.

I have made these points literally thousands of times since 2004, beginning in An End to Evil and most recently in my 22-part commentary on Bob Woodward’s State of Denial (start here and find the remainder here.) I have argued them on radio and on television and on public lectern, usually in exactly the same words that are quoted in the press release.

“[T]he insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them.”

“I always believed as a speechwriter that if you could persuade the president to commit himself to certain words, he would feel himself committed to the ideas that underlay those words. And the big shock to me has been that although the president said the words, he just did not absorb the ideas. And that is the root of, maybe, everything.”

And finally that the errors in Iraq are explained by “failures at the center.”

Nothing exclusive there, nothing shocking, and believe me, nothing remorseful.

My most fundamental views on the war in Iraq remain as they were in 2003: The war was right, victory is essential, and defeat would be calamitous.

[...]

Vanity Fair then set my words in its own context in its press release. They added words outside the quote marks to change the plain meaning of quotations.

When I talk in the third quotation above about failures “at the center,” for example, I did not mean the president. If I had, I would have said so. At that point in the conversation, I was discussing the National Security Council, whose counter-productive interactions produced bad results.

And when I talked in the second quotation about “persuading the president,” I was repeating this point, advanced here last month. In past administrations, the battle for the president’s words was a battle for administration policy. But because Bush’s National Security Council malfunctioned so badly, the president could say things without action following - because the mechanism for enforcing his words upon the bureaucracy had broken.

In short, Vanity Fair transformed a Washington debate over “how to correct course and win the war” to advance obsessions all their own.
Also featured in rebuttal are Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, Eliot Cohen and Michael Rubin (a veritable "who's who" of neo-cons).

I got the impression, reading their thoughts, that Vanity Fair forgot the "fair" part, but did the "vanity" part up rather nicely. That will obviously be a matter of reader interpretation. The fact that every person interviewed for the article reacted negatively adds some weight though.

Regardless, I did come away with an understanding that none of them are "remorseful" about Iraq so much as they're upset that we didn't have a better policy, and thus plan, to deal with the aftermath of the invasion. None are ready to say it's a failure yet either. I think Frum's words - "Obviously I wish the war had gone better. It’s true I fear that there is a real danger that the US will lose in Iraq. And yes I do blame a lot that has gone wrong on failures of US policy." - say it best. And I couldn't agree more.

Nope ... they reflect what a lot of us on the right who support the war have been saying: right thing to do, but the post invasion planning and execution have sucked. And despite the ankle-biters who have believed all along that the war wasn't the right thing to do and that nothing which came after D+1 was worth saving, these men all believe there is something to save in Iraq and we should continue to try.

I think they're right.

(HT: McQ2)
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’d already known of the neo-cons’ outrage over Vanity Fair for about twenty-four hours by the time I saw Tucker Carlson this afternoon on MSNBC hawking that story.

[laff, laff, laff]

"A clown can make it to cable-TEEVEE a whole day after the truth has gotten its boots on."

...or something like what Mark Twain once said.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The media has won a large victory in the Perceptions War, here. Everyone, even McQ, is talking about Bush’s "failures" and "mistakes" in Iraq.

Here’s a contrarian view. Everything is going according to plan in Iraq. The rough schedule that General Abizaid laid out in advance of the war is in force. And we’ve made all this headway despite the best efforts of daily photogenic "insurgent" attacks on Iraq’s soft-targets, and the endless sniping of the anti-American global media.

Here’s my list of Iraq-successes:
1. The hand-over to Maliki’s government is going as planned.
2. Saddam’s trial is progressing along nicely.
3. The nation is pacified (regular violence is ’gang-like" in nature and limited to a few urban provinces.)
4. The training of Iraqi police and military has progressed nicely.
5. The development of Iraq’s hospitals, schools, freeways, telecommunications and electric power grid are increasing monthly.

Forget for a moment about the latest media-directed "bomb of the day," and ask yourself, where’s the systemic military failure? Off the editorial pages, and outside of partisan Democratic talking points, there ain’t none.

Now, if the dead-enders would stop letting off bombs for the camera’s - and the media would begin to polish our military’s achievements instead of bleating about every "mistake," we could bring the bulk of our boys and girls home tomorrow, and declare "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

And all of America could feel proud for having finished a tough job.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Why on earth would Michael Ledeen be remorseful about Iraq?

Why he was a staunch opponent to the war from day one!

Really...

Maybe he’s just miffed because Simone lost her job?
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
The neo-cons demonstrate the most glaring error made in foreign policy decision making: a belief that failure is all due to tactics, and not the strategic choice. It’s like the football coach who blames his continual loses on "execution" rather than the game plan. It is their kind of approach — simply label Bush incompetent, and defend their theory despite reality — that makes it more likely that governmental mistakes are repeated. I suspect it’s a mix of group think and a cognitive bias to avoid dissonance. However, I think the American public is going to assure that we don’t have a neo-con foreign policy again any time soon!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"The neo-cons demonstrate the most glaring error made in foreign policy decision making: a belief that failure is all due to tactics, and not the strategic choice."
The strategic choices made prior to 9/11—ones made most proximately by the Democrat Bill Cliar, err, Clinton—those choices made 9/11 easy for AlQaeda.

The Democrats propose more of that same. Who is making the strategic error again?

The only way we can lose Iraq is to leave too early—like we did in Vietnam.

Steve has made the only sensible post in this thread above mine.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Yeah Scott because that NON-Neo-Con Foreign Policy yielded so much didn’t it? Rwanda, the debacle(s) in the Balkans, and finally 9-11....Tell you what I’ll take the Neo-Con FP, you take the apologize and bomb from 15,000 feet policy....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"I suspect it’s a mix of group think and a cognitive bias to avoid dissonance."

That’s pretty funny, coming from a hive animal.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Scott, tactics matter, for better or for worse.

For example, you use "Neo-con" as though it is a tactical slur.

Your usage reminds me of the old, dismissive canard applied during the 1980’s to space-based, missile defense by its detractors: "Star Wars." This insult was tossed around as a signifier for any American effort to create an aero-space based system designed to repulse offensive, intercontinental ballistic missiles.

This was, of course, a petty, media-driven caricature of a very serious aero-space defense intitiative.

I wonder; in light of the threats that the world faces today from the unchecked proliferation of WMD technologies, and the intersection of this destructive weaponry with non-state actors; was what now appears to be a snittish attempt to politicize Reagan’s SDI funding an effective tactic?

How about Clinton’s "Agreed Framework" with North Korea?

Come back.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
And despite the ankle-biters who have believed all along that the war wasn’t the right thing to do and that nothing which came after D+1 was worth saving, these men all believe there is something to save in Iraq and we should continue to try.
We ankle biters were right, and you were wrong, about the wisdom of invading and occupying and trying to transform Iraq. We based our opinions, at least in part, on the reasoning of the Republicans who, in 1991, decided not to invade Iraq and occupy it and attempt to re-make it. These Republicans included Bush 41, Cheney, Baker, and Scowcroft. At the time, they identified the current problems actually and currenlty plauging Iraq as, at that time, distinct probabilities and thus reasons not to invade, occupy, and attempt to re-make.

I have asked you several times to explain why these ankle biters were wrong in their assessment about the wisdom of invading and occupying and attempting to re-make Iraq were wrong. The larger question that you cannot answer is how, exactly, this endeavor was supposed to have been pulled off. What would you have done, why would that have worked, and why were Bush 41, Cheney, and Scowcroft wrong?

It was pure fantasy to think that Bush, of all people, could lead an effort to re-make an ancient, mostly muslim, ethincally diverse society masquerading as a nation into anything even representing a western style democracy. If one knew even the basic history of the Middle East, this would be clear.

Wingers respond that non-Bush cult people don’t understand the Middle East. Only Bush cult members understand the Middle East. Only Bush Cult members understand that the Middle East is a hotbed for Jeffersonian Democracy.

Sorry, but it’s not. Never has been. That’s not a comment on the morality or the intelligence of people who live there. It’s just a fact. A fact that Bush 43 never understood, or has wanted to, for so many reasons. To understand Iraq is to understand why Bush 41 and Scowcroft and Baker were right, and Bush 43 was wrong.

Republicans knew invading Iraq was wrong. Wingers have yet to explain why they were incorrect. That includes McQ, of course.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I wonder; in light of the threats that the world faces today from the unchecked proliferation of WMD technologies, and the intersection of this destructive weaponry with non-state actors; was what now appears to be a snittish attempt to politicize Reagan’s SDI funding an effective tactic?
Are you serious?

Do you really think that ballistic missiles represent a real threat to America?

Putting up a missile defense shield is like using an umbrella while standing in a lake.

Maybe you should look at a coastline map of the US and ask yourself one question. If the US had a perfect missile defense system, would it stop an attack, or just change it?

Think of missile defense like campaign finance reform. You can identify a problem and block that problem, then what happens? Does money leave politics since you put up a shield, or does people just a find another way in?

Here’s and interesting anecdote.

On September 11th, 2001, 36 days after the PDB indicating that UBL intended to strike inside the US, 63 Days after George Tenet and Cofer met with Condoleeza Rice and told showed top-secret intelligence pointing to an impending attack and “sounded the loudest warning” to the White House of a likely attack on the U.S. by Bin Laden, Condi Rice, the National Security Advisor, was on her way to deliver a speech about America’s security.

The topic of the speech that she was on her way to deliver while 19 hijackers were speeding toward the WTC, Pentagon, and perhaps the White House...

Missile Defense.

Yeah, brilliant.

Cap

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Winning the "Lamest defense award":
Yeah Scott because that NON-Neo-Con Foreign Policy yielded so much didn’t it? Rwanda, the debacle(s) in the Balkans, and finally 9-11....Tell you what I’ll take the Neo-Con FP, you take the apologize and bomb from 15,000 feet policy....
So, because bad things happened in the world before the neo-cons lead us into the Iraq fiasco, somehow that vindicates them. That’s really grasping at straws!

I go into the issue of biases in my blog today (November 7th), addressing both the neo-conservative refusal to confront the possibility that their world view may be wrong — far easier to say ’if only things were done differently our path would have worked,’ but also how biases shape how both the Left and Right predict the election tonight. The bottom line is that true intelligence requires the ability to avoid simply defending ones’ biases, but confronting reality and bringing ones’ own values and beliefs about how the world works into question when things go wrong. Unfortunately it is all too human to simply find ways to interpret reality into ones’ belief system and try to avoid tough questions.

At some point, though, those who claim Iraq isn’t anything but a failure sound not only silly, but a little pathetic.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The bottom line is that true intelligence requires the ability to avoid simply defending ones’ biases, but confronting reality and bringing ones’ own values and beliefs about how the world works into question when things go wrong.
We will see how intelligent you are, I suspect.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider