April 10, 2003

Wolfy Is....Woodrow Wilson! Says Caleb

Wolfy Is....Woodrow Wilson!

Says Caleb Carr in the pages of the Observer.

"We are, after all, a country that has always profiteered with a noble fig leaf; and the man whose job it is in this case to spin a set of philosophical principles that will serve as a cover for the potentially exploitative occupation of Iraq is Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Possessed of a powerful intellect, along with ideas that, packaged in the best sort of benign American wrappings, are nonetheless characteristically self-interested, Mr. Wolfowitz is thought of as the eminence grise behind the idea that a democratic Iraq is possible, desirable—and will take far longer to embody than did the rehabilitation of Afghanistan (where a pre-assembled government was in place within weeks of the liberation of Kabul and where—not coincidentally—the potential rewards to American business were far lower).

Mr. Wolfowitz has been analyzed and reanalyzed in the press, yet he is not generally paired closely enough with the American to whom he bears the strongest ideological and psychological resemblance: Woodrow Wilson. This is perhaps understandable— Mr. Wolfowitz is a short, unassuming Jew, while Wilson was a puffed-up, posturing Presbyterian—but it’s also troubling. For whatever the superficial differences between the two men, they share one overriding quality: a belief in evangelical interventionism. This passion caused Wilson’s eight-year Presidency to become the greatest single period of American interference in the affairs of other governments in our nation’s history: He was a serial, unilateral interventionist, and one gets the feeling that Mr. Wolfowitz—who increasingly enjoys the ear of another democratic evangelist, George W. Bush—may be trying to duplicate the feat."

Ah yes, the wild messianic fervor of Paul Wolfowitz. Aren't these arguments getting mind numbingly dull given how often we hear them?

But Mr. Carr has other unfounded ruminations to share with us. While describing the occupation of Iraq as "potentially" exploitative-he appears to have already made up his mind that said occupation is doomed to be a neo--colonialist affair with Cheney and chums filling up their pockets (and so Republican party coffers too).

He concludes:

"Perhaps we will insist that our civilian leaders honor the achievements and sacrifices of our forces, and those Iraqis who have fought beside them, by rejecting the plan that Messrs. Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz are trying to railroad through Congress, even as various Iraqi opposition groups scream their protests. Perhaps we will recognize that "Iraqi Freedom" may not mean "Iraqi American-Style Capitalist Democracy"; but then, our commanders presumably chose the first name rather than the second because it had a distinctly better ring to it. This ought to tell them something: We have sacrificed and inflicted sacrifices in order to liberate Iraq, and let its people live as they wish—not to remake it in our image. That is the work we must now be about; that is the only work that can match what our troops have done in the field."

Will someone please explain to me what exactly is the "plan" that Dubya, Cheney and Wolfowitz are trying to "railroad through Congress" to "remake [Iraq] in our image"? I haven't seen it, have you?

Posted by Gregory at April 10, 2003 10:49 AM
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