George Will amazes me. Really. My hat’s off to the preppy bastard. Even after it’s been proven repeatedly that he’s both intellectually dishonest and horribly partisan, he seems to hang on to an inexplicable aura of respectability. Maybe it’s the glasses. Maybe it’s Dutch Boy brand Teflon Aura (TM). Who knows?
All I do know is that we need to figure it out, even if it takes a government grant and men in white lab coats poking him with sharp sticks for 19 hours a day.
Scratch that. I mean to say especially if it takes a government grant, etc. The grant money would hurt him as much as the sharp sticks.
Today’s column, if this were a just and honest world, would shatter his aura finally. Unfortunately, in Tom Delay’s America, the best we can hope to do is to ridicule him just a little bit and hope someone takes notice.
You see, today Will goes after Wesley Clark. He’s really ticked, too. Why, you ask? Is it because the hints Clark has given about future policy stances are unsound? Does the general have some deep, dark secret hiding in his past? Nope. Will doesn’t like Wes because Wes isn’t Dwight.
Comparisons of Clark to Dwight Eisenhower are ludicrous. Eisenhower, as well-prepared as any president for the challenges of his era, had spent three years immersed in the political complexities of coalition warfare, dealing with Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle and others. Clark's claim to presidential stature derives from directing NATO's 78 days of war at 15,000 feet over Serbia. It was the liberals' dream war: tenuously related to U.S. security, with an overriding aim, to which much was sacrificed, to have zero U.S. fatalities.
Let it sink in. Take a deep breath. I’ll wait.
OK. Now let me show you what a prick George F. Will is.
It’s true that Eisenhower’s task was a daunting one. All the countries involved had their own issues to deal with and Ike, my fellow Kansan, got them all together to fight evil. He did this, of course, with the help of Roosevelt and Gen. George C. Marshall, who were instrumental and not, as Will seems to suggest, just a couple more bees in Ike’s over-laden bonnet. Of course, Will doesn’t want to give any credit to a Democrat or his General, so he forgets that Eisenhower himself said he could never have achieved the things he did without their help and support. I recommend that Will pick up a little book called Crusade in Europe that Eisenhower wrote and find out for himself how much credit he gave to those two men.
But, again, Eisenhower was the man on the ground and got all the soldiers’ heads turned in the right direction. However, he had one major, oft-overlooked ally in his efforts: Hitler. Yes, at the end of the day, no matter what their petty political squabbles entailed, everyone commanded by Eisenhower knew that somewhere off to the east was a dangerous, scary motherfucker who had no qualms about destroying everything in his path. As hanging is said to focus the mind, so does a great evil focus the intentions of nations.
Wesley Clark, on the other hand, had no such evil to keep necks from swiveling on their pivots. He, also for three years, was immersed in a much less black-and-white world of international and military politics. He succeeded admirably.
Will’s apparent complaint that Clarks’s war was too short is ridiculous, as is the idea that a war in Europe -- in the Balkans, no less -- is only “tenuously” connected to our security. Also, Will is just livid that no Americans were killed. That’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow from a man who skipped out on Vietnam with a graduate school deferment and then complained to Naval Academy students that Americans are just too squeamish about the military’s violent nature. (He then left that speech and bought himself a new pair of short pants and big, shiny lollipop.)
Also, George should note, Clark wrote a book you may have heard of, Waging Modern War (does reading books by generals make Will feel inadequate?), which tells how he would’ve run that war quite differently, but was impeded by politicians, most importantly by a man Will agreed with in the last war, Prime Minister Tony Blair.
After saying that Clark isn’t the reincarnation of a dead president, he moves on to the new meme that conservatives are trying to spread about Clark: He’s a liar, just like Gore was a liar (even though neither Clark nor Gore are liars). Here’s George:
As Clark crisscrosses the country listening for a clamor for him ("I expect to have my decision made by Sept. 19," when he visits Iowa -- feel the suspense), he compounds the confusion that began when he said on June 15 that on 9/11 "I got a call at my home" saying that when he was to appear on CNN, "You've got to say this is connected" to Iraq. "It came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over." But who exactly called Clark?
July 1: "A fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank." There is no such Canadian institution. Anyway, who "from the White House"? "I'm not going to go into those sources. . . . People told me things in confidence that I don't have any right to betray."
First, Clark never said the man was part of a Canadian Middle Eastern think tank, but that the “fellow” was Canadian and is part of a Middle Eastern think tank. Therefore, whether or not such a “Canadian institution" exists is irrelevant. Also, for a man who has spent the last three years kissing the ass of the most secretive administration since Nixon’s, George sure does get his feathers ruffled easily when someone doesn’t want to betray a confidence and tell him everything he wants to know. George F. Will: dishonest and/or stupid.
Aug. 25: It came from "a Middle East think tank in Canada, the man who's the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium. He's very well connected to Israeli intelligence. . . . I haven't changed my position. There's no waffling on it. It's just as clear as could be."
Wow. George got him there. Now he really is making up that “Canadian institution” that he wasn’t making up in the first place. Damn. I guess I’ll just have to find someone else to vote for.
Or I would, if there wasn’t the B’Nai Brith Canada Institute for International Affairs, which says on its website that its job, in part, is to "better inform Canadians about Middle East developments" and calls itself "a distinguished think tank." I have no idea if this is the group in question. All I'm saying is that there's at least one group that's a) Canadian, b) a think tank and c) deals with Middle East issues. And, there's the Inter-University Consortium for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, which seems Canadian-think-tankesque and, you know has "Middle Eastern" right there in its fucking name! Now, I know that Will couldn't possibly be held responsible for knowing these two organizations exist. It's difficult to find these sorts of things out. I, for example, had to type five words into Google and search for almost three minutes. Those words? You guessed it: Canadian Middle East "Think Tank." How could Little Lord Fauntleroy ever have sweated that one out?
So George Will's full of shit (and so is The Weekly Standard). If you're surprised, you haven't been paying attention.
P.S. If you skipped the link to Will's speech at the Naval Academy, go back up and read it now. Pay special attention to the parts where he bemoans the number of veterans serving in government. What better way to increase that number than to give our youngsters a shining example, I say.
Update: I have no way of knowing if these are the only two such organizations, but I do know that neither does George Will.
Update: More at the Clark Sphere.
Update: More at BusyBusyBusy.