Sunday, June 10, 2007

I caught Joe Lieberman on Face the Nation this morning, and he's still frisky, the little devil. Joe thinks that we regrettably might have to use military action against Iran, though he was less clear about whose military we're going to use. He was vague but gung-ho, just as he and the administration neo-cons were five years ago when they spelled "Iran" with a "q." Of course, Joe has a way of sounding boring reasonable (or maybe I mean more than reasonably boring) even when he's talking like Dr. Strangelove, but today he sounded just hardcore enough that Bob Schieffer had to ease him over onto the side of the road to say that he was "making news" if he was doing what he seemed to be doing, i.e., firmly putting military action on the table as a likely consequence unless something is done. Joe confirmed that he was up for a little belligerant news making, and Schieffer asked Senator Blood and Guts to spell out just what kind of action he might be forseeing--was he thinking of boots on the ground or air bombardment or what? Joe said that, of course, he would have to leave that to the generals, and then he sort of silently burped and said that he figured a little air assault would do the trick. Maybe the generals sent him an inter-cranial fax.

On the same show, it was noted that General Peter Pace will not be having his chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff renewed after it expires later this year, and this was referred to as the decision that will fully cleanse the government of all "the architects" of the Iraq War. I'm not sure what you have to have done to be officially designated an "architect" of the failed war, though in a Washington culture that's eager to move on--if not from the war itself, then over the debate over accountability--you can see why Pace has sawdust on his hands and people like Bush and Cheney (and Lieberman), the people who basically ordered the architects to get the blueprints drawn up come hell or high water, and to do what it took to get rid of the people complaining that this thing wouldn't be up to code and it was built on swamp property and would sink anyway, get a pass. But it would be seemlier if Lieberman and his buddies would at least stop pretending that it's all up to the generals. They say that as a way of deflecting criticism: the people who have their doubts about military action are then obligated to explain why they don't have faith in the military. But if we've seen anything in the Bush era, it's that the military is at the mercy of the political leaders who learned everything they know about the cost and dangers of war from Sgt. Rock comics. We get to demonstrate our patriotism by pretending that the generals are the ones clamoring for the chance to fight the wars that the politicians want. After everything goes to hell, the generals get to demonstrate their patriotism by falling on their swords.

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