"The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded." ~ Vance Packard
St(r)aying the Course: Advice for the War Bloggers
When it came to invading Iraq , you would allow no middle ground: Either you wholeheartedly supported the Bush Administration's ill-advised march to Baghdad or you were a craven 'Islamo-Fascist' hell-bent on destroying the American way of life. Or worse: a liberal.
Combining the deplorable instincts of the mob with a perverse love of snitching, you spent hours every night combing the web in the hopes of finding evidence of an existing 'Fifth Column.' In your unrelenting zeal to unearth terrorist 'sympathizers,' even the slightest sign of wavering was enough to unleash your spirited wrath.
While war was never your 'thing,' (you assiduously avoided military service), in your fervid imagination, the daily polemics posted to your blog were a courageous exercise akin to walking a nighttime patrol through the bullet-scarred streets of Faluja.
What a difference a year makes.
Today, your laughable war diary, once cited by your fellow patriots as an invaluable resource, has become something of a joke. Your ignorance of history, military tactics, and all things Arabic is apparent to all. Your glowing war reports, once linked to respectable conservative web pages, are now surfacing on libertarian and anti-war pages to be mocked.
Are you starting to get the distinct impression that people are laughing at you?
What does an armchair war fetishist do when he finds himself on the wrong side of a conflict that is quickly becoming one of the most egregious military blunders in recent history?
Perhaps it is high time you found an escape route from the white-hot fever swamp of your fellow war bloggers. Sure, you won't be 'staying the course,' but you also used to decry 'big government,' so it's not like you were ever big on principles anyway.
If you're still unsure how to proceed, as a public service, I've included a few handy suggestions below:
1) Nitpick Strategy---Remember the 'flypaper strategy'? Wasn't that Andrew Sullivan's inane attempt to put a positive spin on the deaths of US soldiers following the alleged 'conquest' of Baghdad ? The way I remember it, you fellows were convinced that our presence in the region was going to deal a death blow to global terrorism by drawing the evil agents of radical Islam into Mesopotamia for a pay-for-view showdown with US forces.
Obviously events haven't transpired as you predicted and people aren't quick to forget this and other boneheaded theories you gleefully propagated in your ill-suited role as online military tactician. While it may seem you've painted yourself into a corner, all is not lost!
The key to extricating yourself is finding and latching on to a narrow strategic issue in order to initiate a flame campaign against your former war party heroes, i.e., 'Had Rumsfeld allowed Ahmed Chalabi to personally liberate Iraq as David Frum suggests, we wouldn't be in the quagmire we are now. I'm disgusted with how this war has been conducted.'
With this opening salvo, you'll be off and running. Following Frum's lead, throw in a few sinister statements alleging a dark conspiracy among those 'turncoats' at the State Department who have allegedly 'undermined' the War on Terror. If your readers have short memories, you can reemerge in a short time as a 'leading critic' of the occupation and still maintain your war party credentials.
2) Enlist---Why waste your time lionizing Pat Tillman when you can follow in his footsteps? By unplugging from your blog and joining the military, you'll reestablish yourself as a warrior-blogger, and you can finally report firsthand on all the 'good news' emanating from Iraq . Sure, morale might be low, but once you've informed your fellow troops about 'Rummy's' military genius, they'll quickly fall into line.
Even if your war predictions were dead wrong, at least no one can say you didn't stand up for your beliefs. And don't let age be an obstacle. You can always join one of those nifty private security firms. Hell, if you're lucky, you might even be stationed at one of those Iraqi Detention Centers where you can play out your sadistic fantasies--I mean help 'gather intelligence.'
3) Change the terms of the debate---Sure, the anti-war camp has been right on this particular issue, but that doesn't make it any more palatable to the Fox viewing public. Why not make a big show of 'conceding' your pre-Baghdad miscalculations while still maintaining that the 'peaceniks were right . . . but for the wrong reasons.' This will then facilitate a nasty debate on your blog, which you can use to sanctify your former positions with precisely the sort of mealy-mouthed equivocations you were so quick to pillory the anti-war crowd with.
4) Invoke Tradition---As George Will has recently shown, even the most craven Neo-Con war wimp can transform himself into a 'traditional' conservative in one fell swoop. The key is engaging in a spirited debate about the 'future' of the GOP, which allows you to back away from your previous positions while at the same time emerging as an arch-defender of 'conservative values.'
Like Will, the key to your success is remaining markedly silent about your credulous acceptance of President Bush's war rationale during the run-up to war and the groundless optimism exhibited during the subsequent occupation.
Warning: You have to be particularly shameless to try this one.
5) Play the Human Rights Card---'I wanted to smash Hussein and every Al Qaeda cell from Montreal to Madagascar . . . but not like THIS,' you sniff in a blog entry discussing the ongoing Iraqi prison abuse scandal. This post will help facilitate your newfound status as oh-so-sensitive human rights advocate.
By declaring yourself the 'conscience' of America 's armed forces, you can weep for the dead and tortured (while secretly delighting in the carnage as you used to!). Here's the good part: If Kerry is elected, you might find yourself in a perfect position to start a whole new blog dedicated to the lawful treatment of those we don't kill in our next 'humanitarian' war.