Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More on Conservatism as a Failed Ideology...

Some excellent sources for this week's 'toon, as we're witnessing some relevant breaking news on Gerald Ford's death:
  • Ford's death is relevant, of course, because of Henry Kissinger's role in the Nixon and Ford administrations, which I also touched on in a previous cartoon. Many have argued over the years that Kissinger's involvement in the clandestine carpet-bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War and the 1973 Chilean coup have earned him an appearance before an international war crimes tribunal. It seems he can't go abroad these days without someone trying to indict him. And, according to Bob Woodward, this is the guy who has been advising Bush and Cheney lately on the best way to proceed in Iraq.

  • Check out the terrific introduction to Sidney Blumenthal's new book, How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime, a comprehensive retelling of the story of "the most willfully radical president in American history." The good points are too numerous to list, but he does note in the beginning that among Bush's 2000 campaign promises was to be a more "humble nation" with regards to foreign policy, and also to bring an end to the Clinton administration's policy of violating the civil liberties of Arabs accused of terrorism. Wow.

  • A generally well-argued piece by Alan Wolfe entitled "Why Conservatives Can't Govern," which makes the claim that contemporary conservatism is a fundamentally contradictory ideology, in the sense that the conservatives who hold office must operate within the same federal government that they want to make "small enough to drown in a bathtub." As a result, he says, they attempt to "split the difference" by operating the government in a way that gives them the most political gain, for example, by giving tax cuts to billionaires. His best example in support of this hypothesis is FEMA, an agency that worked so well under the Clinton administration, but under Bush was reduced to a skin-and-bones operation run by the former head of the International Arabian Horse Association. The problem is that the Bush administration was trying to run an agency when they were fundamentally opposed to that agency's mission.

  • Gary Kamiya's obituary of neoconservatism (which I think may be a bit premature). The neocons' foreign policy game plan is characterized by a belief that Americans hold a monopoly on nationalism, and by a purposeful ignorance of the varying cultural and historical contexts among different groups within the Arab-Muslim world. Which partially explains why, when we were attacked by a bunch of Saudis, we attacked Iraq...

  • Kevin Baker on the conservative art of "the back-stab."

  • A couple of articles on the back-story behind Robert Gates by Eric Alterman and Robert Parry, and a couple on Newt "the Outsider" Gingrich by Alex Koppelman and John M. Broder.

No comments: