A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Thursday, October 28, 2004 :::
Nice Work, Guys

In what the British call the “run-up” to the war, the preferred expert on WMD of conservative commentators was the estimable Dr. David Kay. The no-less-estimable Kate O’Beirne dedicated one column to his testimony before a Congressional Committee, but other commentators were no less indebated to him.

And then he answered the call of the President and set about looking for those WMD as head of the CIA’s “Iraq Survey Group,” and found that they were not there in any way approximating what was claimed before the war.

And, suddenly, he became Public Enemy Number One.

Which is very frustrating to this writer, who initially was very doubtful about the war but became reluctantly convinced of its necessity exactly because of Dr. Kay’s work. In his “exit interview” before the Senate Armed Service Committee, there is a colloquy between Dr. Kay and the embodiment-of-every-Republican-virtue-you-can-imagine, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, which should be the basis of any future conservative policy on the fight against terror. It is built upon the evidence, and not on any need to defend what was said before the war. However, Dr. Kay loyally threw President Bush and anyone else who needed them enough bones to save face, saying repeatedly throughout his testimony such things as the war was “incredibly prudent.”

For this unflinching dedication to the truth, Dr. Kay was of course honored by those commentators who lionized him before the war, right?

No, he was ignored or villified.

This writer had wondered about the psychological effect of being isolated by the people who used to support you. There was a hint of an answer a few weeks ago, when Dr. Kay was interviewd on MSNBC about the most report of the ISG, now headed by Charles Duelfer. Dr. Kay is very good at providing soundbites, remarkable considering he has spent most of his career in service to various bureaucracies, including the mercilessly opaque United Nations system.

His answers were models of clarity and accuracy.

And also, perhaps, models of vengeance.

He provided Pres. Bush with precious little wiggle room, in sharp contrast to his appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee a few short months ago.

And now, when President Bush most needs—and actually deserves—cover, over those not-really-WMD explosives that have gone missing, what is Dr. Kay saying? He is right in there trying to push the Administration over a cliff, saying that they were there when we got to Baghdad.

That is plausible, but unlikely, in sharp contrast to most of his previous testimony, which regarded the likely and most reasonable.

How much does it take a man to actively work against people he has been associated with all his professional life? We now know.

Such are the consequences of the lock-step, closed-minded, on-to-victory mentality that has infected our conservative intellectual elite.

It is going to be tight Tuesday night, and there will likely be some lawsuits which will drag it out. But liberal Democrat and Arab-American activist John Zogby, who demonstrates a dedication the cold hard facts which many conservatives should emulate, says that his polling data indicate W. should win, though he will not make an absolute prediction. Over the last 15 years, Mr. Zogby has demonstrated a reliability which commands respect. Certainly, whatever “surge” Sen. Kerry got from the recent spate of bad news is quickly receding.

Will the conservative elite, who have done so much to choke off necessary debate, be chastened by the close call, or will they be emboldened to follow their reckless ways? Can the Republic survive much more of this hot-house theorizing about nation-building with oppressed peoples rising up to greet American liberators?

It would be nice if that elite would take a breath and think about these things, before the leaders of those oppressed peoples go all out to make it clear that they prefer to call the shots in their own lands.

Only time, as TV reporters love to say, will tell. This conservative is throwing his lot in with Sen. Roberts and Dr. Kay, even if he will ignore Dr. Kay in voting for George W. Bush.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 1:14 PM



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