The Irony of Newt

Man the hits just keep on coming. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this kind of thing anymore, but with his recent cricitism of the war in Iraq, I can only assume that Newt Gingrich must hate America. (Video here.)

The United States should withdraw most of its troops from Iraq, leaving a small force behind similar to the postwar forces in Korea and Germany, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

"It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy that country after June of 2003," Gingrich said Monday at the University of South Dakota. "We have to pull back, and we have to recognize it."

He then launches into saber rattling regarding Iran, but that’s another point for later discussion. It’s also a bit of a distraction from the disarray of the once-mighty war party on the right. I pointed out before the number of conservatives-come-lately to the reality of the disaster that is Iraq. I guess everyone love a parade, even if they join it so late they’re merely bringing up the rear. It’s kind ironic and fitting if you imagine them figuratively at the end of the anti-war parade, preferably behind the elephants, skipping through pachyderm poo as they go.

It’s particularly ironic since Gingrich was on television just months ago accusing war critics of giving "great comfort" to America’s enemies. Now he’s effectively doing the same, joining the company of such Iraq hawks as Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice (who apparently realized she was still on the payroll and later tried to "back that thang up").

Well, it’s easy to join in criticizing the war after we’ve made Baghdad the worst city in the world to live in for three years running. It’s also a terrific distraction from the other disasters taking place while we’ve been occupied with the diversion of invading and occupying Iraq; disasters like military secrets for sale in Afghanistan, on hard drives and laptops taken from military bases there. 

No more than 200 yards from the main gate of the sprawling U.S. base here, stolen computer drives containing classified military assessments of enemy targets, names of corrupt Afghan officials and descriptions of American defenses are on sale in the local bazaar.

Shop owners at the bazaar say Afghan cleaners, garbage collectors and other workers from the base arrive each day offering purloined goods, including knives, watches, refrigerators, packets of Viagra and flash memory drives taken from military laptops. The drives, smaller than a pack of chewing gum, are sold as used equipment.The thefts of computer drives have the potential to expose military secrets as well as Social Security numbers and other identifying information of military personnel.

A reporter recently obtained several drives at the bazaar that contained documents marked "Secret." The contents included documents that were potentially embarrassing to Pakistan, a U.S. ally, presentations that named suspected militants targeted for "kill or capture" and discussions of U.S. efforts to "remove" or "marginalize" Afghan government officials whom the military considered "problem makers."

I’d make a crack about why our soldiers can apparently buy viagra but not body armor, but it’s too easy.

Of course, it’s also easy to be smug now and difficult to resist for those who were anti-war when anti-war wasn’t cool. And it’s hard to resist the urge to say "we told you so" (because we did, rather loudly at the time, and because just about every misstep and disaster predicted has since come to pass), but to some degree I think it’s important to point out to people that none of this had to happen if we’re to have any hope of not repeating it again.

Because the truth is that we’re all bringing up the rear on this parade. We’re all marching behind the elephants on this one. And we don’t have the option of skipping around the mess they’ve left behind. We’re all going to have to clean it up, including those of us who knew it was coming. But thanks, Newt for informing us that the "elephants" have pooped on us. But we already knew they have a habit of doing that. That’s why we didn’t particularly want to follow them in the first place. 

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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