This article is from the site www.republicansforkerry.org
The Passion of George W. "Don" Quixote (with apologies to Miguel de Cervantes)
In our age of confusion about cultural and political things, I thought I'd confuse a few metaphors today in order to make a point.
Yes, it is true, that great Spanish Knight, Don Quixote, had a younger brother named George W. George W. and his sidekick, Richard "Dick" Sancho Panza, were on a great mission:
While fighting the "war on terror," they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that are on the plain of the Iraqi desert.
"Fortune," said George W. Quixote to his squire, as soon as he had seen them, "is arranging matters for us better than we could have hoped. Look there, friend Dick Sancho, where thirty or more monstrous giants rise up, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes. For this is righteous warfare, and it is God's good service to sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth."
"What giants?" said Dick Sancho.
"Those you see there," answered his master, "with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long. They are clearly, weapons of mass destruction."
"Look, your worship,'' said Dick Sancho. "What we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go."
"It is easy to see," replied George W. Quixote, "that you are not used to this business of adventures. Those are giants, and if you are afraid, away with you out of here and betake yourself to prayer, while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat."
Of course, Dick Sancho, being the servant, yielded his disbelief and tilted wholeheartedly at those same windmills. And since these two had previously been elected President and Vice President of the United States, they had the authority to take a mighty military with them on their adventures.
It is also true that Saddam Hussein killed very many Iraqis. But the American war effort killed very many innocent Iraqis in the process of providing them with "freedom." The Administration will tell you it was not too many, but how many is too many. This process has yet not staunched the killing in Iraq. The "evil" is still alive and well in Iraq, and according to US Military leaders there, it is growing and thriving. One wonders if the evil will overcome the good, and our people end up having to shoot their way out of a civil war. One certainly hopes not, but the possibility, however remote, exists. We have done many good things for the Iraqi people, it's true, but we have also ired many hackles in a land that we do not fully understand.
Believe it or not, I am with those of you who believe in Republicanism, in Conservatism.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy says this about Don Quixote:
The hero, Don Quixote (don is a Spanish title of honor), loses his wits from reading too many romances and comes to believe that he is a knight destined to revive the golden age of chivalry.
Well, a similar thing seems to have happened to our President and Vice President. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney both campaigned saying, "the purpose of the military is to fight and win wars." And yet these two have performed the mother of all flip-flops, and engaged this country, full-tilt, so to speak, against the windmills of Saddam's mind.
We are now where we are. Moving forward, What is the best way to correct this situation? Very many people have said to re-elect this President. Even Patrick Buchanan suggests that our President is reviving his wits:
In his cover article for the March 1, 2004 The American Conservative magazine, a review of the Pearle/Frum book, "An End to Evil," Buchanan suggests that a second Bush term would not feature such wars. He suggests:
Americans are coming to appreciate that, all that bombast about “unipolar” moments and “American empire” aside, there are limits to American power, and we are approaching them. U.S. ground forces of 480,000 are stretched thin. There is grumbling in Army, Reserve, and National Guard units about too many tours too far from home [a fact that weakens, not strengthens our military]. Backing off his “axis-of-evil” rhetoric, Bush said in this year’s State of the Union, “We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire.”
The long retreat of American empire has begun.
In Washington, there are rumors of the return of James Baker and the imminent departure of Paul Wolfowitz. As Frederick the Great, weary of the antics and peculations of his house guest Voltaire, said, “One squeezes the orange and throws away the rind.”
Moreover, the radicalism of their schemes for two, three, many wars, seems, given our embroilment in Iraq, not only rash but also rooted in unreality. Before Bush could take us to war with any of these regimes, he would have to convince his country of the necessity of war and persuade Congress to grant him the power to go to war. Yet absent a new atrocity on the magnitude of 9/11, directly traceable to one of the regimes on the Perle-Frum list, the president could not win this authority. Nor does it appear he intends to try. And were the United States to attack Libya, Syria, or Saudi Arabia, we would alienate every ally in the Islamic world and Europe—including Tony Blair’s Britain. To fight these wars and occupy these nations would bleed our armed forces and mandate a return to the draft. But how would any of these wars make us more secure from terrorism here at home?
But is this really the case? Wolfowitz is still in Washingon. And the rhetoric coming directly from President Bush and his administration militate against that. In fact, President Bush himself defined THE issue in the coming campaign, in his Sunday, February 8 Meet the Press interview:
RUSSERT: Biggest issues in the upcoming campaign?
BUSH: Who can properly use American power in a way to make the world a better place; and who understands that the true strength of this country is the hearts and souls of the American citizens; who understands times are changing and how best to have policy reflect those times (emphasis added).
The issue is, American power. Not American influence. Not "American ideals. Power. What does he mean by "power"? He qualifies it by referring to the "hearts and souls of the American citizens" who understand that the times are changing.
I would submit that there are some things that have not changed, and one of those things is what constitutes a just war, and what constitutes an unjust war. Those of us who would like this country to act only in a "just" manner would also hope that we would execute only "just" wars. But for now, if the US wants to win allies by demonstrating the moral superiority that George Bush professes constantly, then "exaggerating" intelligence (at best) to start – to sell the public on the need for – an unnecessary war, is going to send a confused message to the world, to our allies as well as our enemies.
Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call magazine (and a Fox News all-star panelist) has noticed and noted:
… a convergence - believe it or not - between Democratic Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) and the Bush administration on how to win the peace in Iraq.
In what seems an obvious move to the center now that the general election campaign is under way, Kerry is making it clear that he wants the United States (and also Spain, under its new Socialist government) to stay the course in Iraq.
While bashing President Bush for conducting a "stubborn" and "arrogant" foreign policy that "drives ... allies away," Kerry also declared "we must never give anyone else a veto over the national security of our nation" and characterized terrorism as "a mortal challenge" he wouldn't hesitate to fight with force.
Of course. We conservatives have a decision to make. Keep the current administration in power, with its (so-far unfulfilled) promises of fiscal responsibility and social conservatism, and hope that Buchanan is right. Or we can exercise the prerogative that is present in the Constitution, to vote for a new President, whose conscience is tempered, we think, by an aversion to using military force to solve the world's problems
See this article at www.republicansforkerry.org