The "I Want to Believe" Party
by Robert Winter
Mulders poster DubyaMulders poster

Not long ago, a number of my conservative friends began talking about a new "real reason" why George W. Bush invaded Iraq.  (They had abandoned their previous "real reason," overthrowing a tyrant and spreading democracy in the Arab world, which had earlier superseded the original "real reason," eliminating a threat of Iraqi attack by weapons of mass destruction.)

Establishing military bases in Iraq was what these folks now saw as the purpose of the war.

According to this new view, Bush realized that lots of armed conflict was coming to the Middle East (not a bad prediction, considering what he was about to launch), and he wanted to make sure that America had a military presence in the thick of things to be able to deal with the situation.  The way my conservative acquaintances see it, such sophisticated strategic geopolitical considerations wouldn’t have been enough to convince the average childlike American voter to go to war, and that’s why the prospect of establishing democracy as well as the threat of weapons of mass destruction had to be concocted.

I can’t help but marvel at conservatives’ willingness to still believe good things about Bush’s actions in Iraq.

It still doesn’t seem to have registered with them that going in with too small a force to maintain civil order after Saddam Hussein’s downfall—despite clear warnings on this issue by virtually every official U.S. planning body convened to address the transition process, including some senior military commanders—was a strategic blunder only slightly less boneheaded than forgetting to bring bullets.  They also somehow manage to overlook the role of summarily disbanding the entire Iraqi military in giving rise to the insurgency—the first Iraqi fighting force to offer our troops any serious resistance. 

Rather than seeing a stunning level of incompetence in these actions, my conservative friends now treat them as if they were unavoidable and foreseen, and instead find new wisdom in the man who was willing to look past such difficulties in order to achieve the subtle and sophisticated geopolitical goal of establishing military bases.

What's going on these days in the synapses of the American right?