Roger L. Simon

Not Edgy

Of the liberal newspaper triumverate of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post, these days the Post is by far my favorite. (Isn’t the Internet great? We can pick and choose as we want.) The Post seems to do true investigative journalism, without fear of where the chips will fall.

They also have the most lively oped page these days. Charles Krauthammer and E. J. Dionne are both smart guys and good writers. Yesterday Charles K. delivered a well-administered body blow to Kerry’s invisible Iraq policy, but it is Dionne’s column – a “polite” attack on his neocon “friends” – I wish to discuss. E. J. writes:

… I fear that my neocon buddies have embarked on a project in Iraq that risks sabotaging the very ideas and policies they cherish, in part because they did not consider those unintended consequences they so often advise us liberals to think about.

By those unintended consequences he means, of course, the “quagmire” in Iraq and, more recently, the showing of “totalitarian colors” by Mr. KGB himself, V. Putin.

This column is the essence of what I meant some time ago by “The Politics of the Last Five Minutes.” What Dionne does is condemn the War in Iraq… and by extension the War on Terror… because some people on some occasions bragged or implied that it would be easy. Well, they were wrong. (Never mind that some of those same people on other, more sober, occasions said we were engaged in a hugely long struggle.) This is the obvious truth that Dionne doesn’t want to deal with. We don’t know where we stand in Iraq because it changes from minute to minute (and we can’t see it anyway). When, in that rare moment, as with Bush when he admitted it on the Today Show, some politician tells the truth about the difficulty of what we are engaged in, those same “liberal” pundits immediately jump on him in a mass gotcha game, forcing Bush to “recant.” Those pundits then grin in triumph.

This reveals the essence of the “liberal’s” beef with the “neocons.” (Oh, how I despise these useless labels, but anyway…). The “neocons” have stolen idealism from the “liberals.” “Neocons” are for the militant spread of democracy. “Liberals” are for nothing but the status quo, as far as I can tell. No wonder the “liberals” hate the them. In their youth, these “liberals” always regarded themselves as the “cutting edge.” Who wants to have lost his “edge”? In Hollywood, I can tell you, that’s the kiss of death.