America and its Discontents
In the last post I suggested that Clinton needed a thorough psychiatric analysis—and then was apprised that a Pajamas Media contributor, Gagdad Bob, had offered a fine portrait of his narcissist tendencies. Clinton’s furious outburst illustrated a fundamental Democratic fear: even when events favor popular unease—an unpopular war, rising gas prices—contemporary Democrats are not sure that they can still capture 51% of the electorate.
And why, if not a deep unease with who they are, do Democrats wheel out an Ike Skelton, John Murtha, or Robert Byrd? Is it for no other reason than these supposedly middle-of-the-road crusty types offer a veneer for the ‘real’ Democratic party that drove out Joe Lieberman, and is best represented by Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer?
I can’t imagine the Republican party showcasing John McCain to broadcast its liberal tendencies as a fig-leaf for Bush, Cheney, etc. At least with the Republicans, what you see, is what you get. Almost anyone of them can get up on stage and more or less represent their conservative message.
On any given Sunday…
But with the present-day Democrats, they apparently must be careful that at any given second a Democratic Senator might go off and compare our troops to terrorists (Kerry), Pol Pot (Durbin), or Saddam’s jailers (Kennedy), or perhaps suggest Iraq was better off under the Husseins (Rockefeller). The result is an addiction to dissimulation, a constant paranoia that without warning someone will say what they feel, and thereby reveal to the American people just how far this bunch has strayed from Harry Truman, Henry Jackson, and JFK—and how radically they have become enthralled with the various victim industries, academia, Hollywood, and the fringe of Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and the Daily Kos.
Such a sad fellow, this Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter, the subject of the last blog, almost immediately was back in the news claiming that the United States was one of the world’s great abusers of civil rights (I wonder how our internecine body count in Plains, Georgia stacks up with that in Rwanda, Kosovo, or Dafur?). He adds that all Presidents—except the current one—have been supporters of human rights.
In his dotage, Carter is proving once again that he is as malicious and mean-spirited a public figure as he is historically ignorant. And for all his sanctimonious Christian veneer, and fly-fishing, ‘aw shucks blue-jeans image, he can’t hide an essentially ungracious and unkind soul.
Does he have any idea of Lincoln and Andrew Johnson suspending habeas corpus and shutting down newspapers, Woodrow Wilson jailing political dissidents, FDR interning American citizens and executing German agents in secret military tribunals? Do we have currently a Nixon’s enemies list? And can Carter point to just one aspect of current American life where civil liberties are materially curtailed, in which an American can't do what he wants? Getting on a plane without shampoo doesn't count--or not having your family at the gate when you land either: all thanks to al Qaeda, not George Bush.
We are not free?
We are in a war at a time when Alfred A. Knopf freely published a novel exploring the idea of killing the Commander-in-Chief. A movie wins accolades for filming the same leftist dream of shooting George Bush. Bush as a “Nazi” is standard stuff these days in the media.
All such venom is voiced freely and without restrictions. Contrast our enemies: the pope, an opera, a novel, a cartoon, a film—all either muzzled or intimidated by the mere fear of Islamic violence. Carter should reread Aristotle’s Ethics and learn what true morality is: action to combat evil, not sermonizing from the Carter Center or campaigning for a Nobel Prize at a time of war by trashing his own government.
If he can’t name an example of federal overreach, I surely can: the current political indictment of Scooter Libby, who, we know now, was not the leaker of the supposedly “classified” status of the much public Ms. Plame. That hit job seems to be a very dangerous abuse of federal prosecutorial power, especially when we learn that it was long recognized that Richard Armitage was the font of the “leak”.
The Golden Years: 1976-1980?
There is another disturbing element to Cartesian maliciousness. He asks us to forget all the dilemmas of being President, the necessity of making bad choices when the alternative is usually worse. And, of course, he seems to have amnesia about his own failings that put this country in grave jeopardy. He sanctimoniously lectured us on our Cold War fixation on communism—and got a murderous Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He talked of a post-Vietnam reappraisal in the midst of the Cambodian Holocaust. “Human Rights” was an admirable banner, but did not include any such audit of Sandinista Communists.
He wept for the middle class, but adopted policies that led to double-digit interest rates and inflation, ensuring that only the upscale could borrow for a house or ensure their salaries would keep up with the cost of living. No need to mention his energy policy or gas lines.
Remember the genesis of the Great Satan?
Carter’s Waterloo, of course was the Iranian hostage crisis. It was not just that his gutting of the military helped to explain the rescue disaster. Far more importantly, we can chart the rise of radical political Islam with the storming of the American embassy in Teheran and the impotent response of Jimmy Carter.
Long before George Bush was elected to anything, crowds in Teheran gave us the genesis of the Great Satan and “Death to Carter”. Does he remember that so great was the Iranian Islamist hatred of him, that Iran deliberately delayed the brokered release of the hostages until he was out of office—a lesson that appeasement wins contempt as the additional wage of its failure.
He’s Back—Oliver Stone Unmuzzled and "Ashamed"
After his recent string of movie flops—highlighted by the disastrous Alexander the Great fiasco—Oliver Stone seemed an unlikely director to entrust with a retelling of 9/11. Had we forgotten his praise of Hamas, his odd comparison of the Israeli encirclement of Ramallah to Auschwitz, or his cynical dismissal of the 3,000 dead on September 11 as “a revolt”.
So when Paramount released World Trade Center, and it went tamely into the night, what happened? I know little of Hollywood protocol, but I imagine somewhere in the multimillion-dollar negotiations, either expressed or implied, there was surely the understanding that a recently problematic (and no doubt cash-strapped) Stone could not deviate from his assigned script—and for a prescribed period of time, probably could not comment publicly on 9/11 or world events in general. When millions were involved, there was probably something agreed on like the following, ‘Stay with the party line, shut up, we both make money—and then, and only then, you’re’ on your own.’ Had Stone sounded off about the United States (see below) on the eve of World Trade Center’s release, he would probably have lost millions.
I think that period of grace is now over, as the movie heads for the rental business. So now we get, “Terrorism is a manageable action. It can be lived with." I guess that depends on whether Stone himself was in the World Trade Center on September 11 or whether his offspring were vaporized when the “revolt” broke out.
And how does he recently characterize the war, one debated over and voted for by a majority of Democratic Congressmen and Senators? "The far greater conspiracy occurred after 9/11 when basically a neo-cabal inside our government hijacked policy and went to war. That was as broad a conspiracy as we can get and it was about 20, 30 people. That's all, they took over and all these books are coming out and they are pointing it out.”
And how, like Jimmy Carter, has poor Stone suffered, perhaps especially when he heads for Europe: "This war on Iraq is a disaster. I'm disgraced. I'm ashamed for my country. I'm also ashamed that America has attacked itself with its constitutional breakdowns. I'm deeply ashamed."
These remarks will win him applause, not a FBI wiretap, in his shameful country of “constitutional breakdowns.” What a strange man: had he made one of his mendacious movies criticizing Islam, he’d be dead; had he lived in Europe and expressed sympathy with radical Islam, long ago he’d be on a British or French watch list, his phone bugged. Had he worked in China, Russia, or anywhere but the U.S. he’d long ago been muzzled.
So what is Oliver Stone? A creature par excellence of capitalism, an elitist who makes millions and spends them, pandering to popular culture—and shuts up when told to, and opens back up when the check is cut. How sad.
Article printed from Works and Days: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/the_hard_war