Saturday, April 14, 2012


So I read Peggy Noonan's column yesterday and learned that Republicans like war too much. Who knew?

Here she is, talking about what she learned from primary season:

Finally, in foreign affairs the Republican candidates staked out dangerous ground. They want to show they're strong on defense. Fine, we should have a strong defense, the best in the world. But that is different from having an aggressive foreign policy stance, and every one of the GOP candidates, with the exceptions of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, was aggressive. This is how their debates sounded: We should bomb Iran Thursday. No, stupid, we should bomb Iran on Wednesday. How could you be so foolish? You know we do all our bombings on Monday. You're wrong, we send in the destroyers and arm the insurgents on Monday.

There was no room for discretion, prudence, nuance, to use unjustly maligned terms.

Gosh -- why would the Republican candidates have said things like that? Why would they be proud saber-rattlers? Why would they have a negative attitude toward "nuance"?

You think it might possibly have something to do with the way Republican opinion-shapers -- very much including Peggy Noonan herself -- have talked for decades about war, and "nuance"?

Here's Noonan in April 2004:

[The American people] can tell [George W. Bush] is not doing it all by polls and focus groups. If he were doing it by polls and focus groups he wouldn't have defied the U.N., invaded Iraq, and pursued its democracy. He would have talked instead about nuance, multilateral negotiations and the need for child safety seats in SUVs. He moved on Iraq because he thought it was right and it would make the world safer. You can agree or disagree with him, but it is hard to doubt his guts....

Yeah, baby! "Guts" are good. "Nuance" is for wimpy liberal wussies faggy wimps who like child safety seats.

And I can't let this moment pass without quoting this classic Noonan passage, from the column she wrote just after the 2004 election:

About a year ago I was visiting West Point, and I was talking to a big officer, a general or colonel. But he had the medals and ribbons and the stature, and he asked me what I thought of President Bush. I tried to explain what most impressed me about Mr. Bush, and I kept falling back on words like "courage" and "guts." I wasn't capturing the special quality Mr. Bush has of making a tough decision and then staying with it if he thinks it's right and paying the price even when the price is high and--

I stopped speaking for a moment. There was silence. And then the general said, "You mean he's got two of 'em." And I laughed and said yes, that's exactly what I mean.

You can practically hear her sighing luxuriously. Nope, can't imagine where the Republican candidates would have gotten those crazy ideas about war.

1 comment:

Erik A. Prince said...

I get so sick of hearing that old line about making a decision and sticking to it, no matter what. That CAN be ballsy, but more often than not it's the mark of an inflexible mind or a person who is scared of looking foolish. Sure there are times you have to grit your teeth and just keep moving forward, but a smart leader tries very hard to avoid those situations. They don't seek them.

Who is a better commander, the tough SOB who rushes a trenchline head on or the one who flanks his opponent's trenches and forces them to retreat or surrender? The greatest generals in history were the ones who out thought their opponents before the first shots were fired. The Iraq war was a prime example of invading and only then developing a strategy.

Can you tell this bugs me? :-)