Saturday, August 11, 2007

HAWKS & SHEEPLE. A while back I said that Dean Barnett's Generation Nine Eleven article showed that pro-war conservatives have shifted their rage almost entirely away from Middle Eastern terrorists and onto Democrats. The President's statement that the Iraq adventure is the "decisive ideological struggle of our time" seemed, in its context last January, to refer to action in the Iraq and thereabouts, but his supporters appear to have reinterpreted it.

If you take a stroll through most of their opinion journals, you will find only occasional references to the war itself -- mostly based on favorable surge updates from milbloggers -- with most of the attention going to the treasonous activities of the domestic opposition.

It seems a bit rich, as the newly empowered Democrats in Congress are more or less rolling over for the President on war-related measures from funding to FISA. But these struggles are in the main not about winning a war, but about soothing the anguish of operatives who cannot understand how the consensus of five years ago slipped away from them.

I don't think they're even interested in changing people's minds anymore. Ten months after the last elections, they're just finding new and more entertaining ways of lashing out.

Here's a ripe example. I can't imagine any dispatch from Iraq -- aside from such citizens as are left alive gathering to spell out a giant WE LOVE YOU W message for an aerial photo -- getting as much attention from them as this amazing Philadelphia Daily News column, "To Save America, We Need Another 9/11."

Having only riffled the work of author Stu Bykofsky -- seen here delivering a fairly generic "Bush Derangement Syndrome" column -- I can't be sure whether he was in this case dead serious or merely provocative. His suggestion that another big attack is needed to unite the country did a lot of provoking, though, generally of the understandable WTF variety.

Less understandable is the response of some conservatives. This one goes for a denialist position that Bykofsky, as a "'mainstream' American political commentator," is merely doing more MSM treason. Others grasp the nettle, and take perverse comfort in the pain.

At National Review Mark Steyn paints this bleak picture:
For a start, the author overstates the immediate unity post-9/11. Even then, there was a big difference between the "righteous rage" crowd and those who wanted to wallow in bathetic weepy let's-hold-hands-and-drone-"Imagine" candlelight vigils and retreat into antiquated tropes about "root causes" like global poverty (notwithstanding the middle-class backgrounds of Mohammed Atta and co). The second time round, there won't even be a momentary veneer of unity...
He quotes approvingly Michelle Malkin, who says "We don’t need healing," which sentiment will come as no shock to her regular readers, and goes on:
We need the half of the country that doesn’t believe we are under threat from global jihad to wake up and smell the suicide bomb smoke.

The answer isn’t to pray for another mass terrorist attack. The answer is to educate the sheeple about our enemies, name them, shame them, fight them overseas, and fight them and their apologists with every fiber of our collective being here at home.
"Sheeple"! No wonder unity is hard to come by. Other unity-building alternatives to a Bykofskian holocaust include "Another Reagan" and, speaking of which, "Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson," with the sad caveat that these worthies "may be able to unite some of the nation, but not all." Well, a little unity is better than none, I guess.

As, for these folks, the war is not the problem, so is ending it not a solution: only a better explainer, one who can penetrate the thick skulls of the sheeple with oratory, is needed. This is at once a hopeful and a grim vision: half a nation, at least, given over to treason, but tractable in the right hands. I wonder how long they'll be content to prescribe mere words to solve the problem?

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