Thursday, May 27, 2004

A Clear and Present Defector If there is a patron saint of the 101st Keyboarders, it is Tom Clancy, war whore enthusiast and frustrated short-term Minnesota Vikings' owner. If there is anybody who pranced about in a flightsuit for his amusement more than Commander-in-Codpiece, it was Clancy. More and more of the retired 4-stars have come out publicly about their opposition to BushCo's manufactured Iraq War. The trickle started with Wes Clark, but it was indicated for sometime before that with Shinseki and many others. But Bush went with the zealots of the Neocon civilians in the Pentagon, a small and rather isolated cabal until 9/11 gave them a chance to raise their voices with an opportunity that could otherwise have had as an academic discussion worthy of thinktankery. People like insane theorist Laurie Myolrie and crazed insider Richard Perle, Wolfowitz, and blending the two topics so far, Douglas Feith; who General Tommy Franks once called "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth." But really, I think, for a number of the warfloggers it wasn't and isn't so much the detestably stupid ideological thing that drove the support of the war. Rather, it was the element that so often has been involved in war support, a chance to treat war as "sport" and that "shootin', stabbin' and blowin' stuff up" is and always has been what passes for virile manhood, as opposed to what the worship of it actually is, puerile simplicity. That is why Clancy has always been popular, because he can write about the really cool technical stuff that is used in blowing up the cartoonish but noble bad guys, and draw stark pictures. A black and white world of the cold warrior, it's always been the nuanced liberals that have been the true villains. Clancy is the ultimate pop-culture product of the Reagan years. And thus, the individual who has most shaped the world view of brigade after brigade of the Bush-hugging manly virtue crowd aka 'The 101st Keyboarders'. But what now for them? For Clancy, has turned along with perhaps the ultimate Clancyesque General, Anthony Zinni, in the book the former wrote for the latter. Not that Clancy loves the liberals, but that he now views BushCo as just as dangerous ideologically and more dangerous because they are in power:
The novelty of the book isn't that Clancy has moved away from criticizing liberal elites; he hasn't. Rather, it's the suggestion that President Bush, who has so effectively positioned himself as the champion of Red State America, might in fact be no better than Clancy's old left-wing villains. Clancy, after all, seems now to be harboring contempt for both "flower children" and the Bush administration, raising the question of whether, in the author's mind, they are equally destructive forces. This is a possibility rarely considered in our polarized political climate. But in Battle Ready, Zinni and Clancy air a contention that has been percolating among right-wing realists for some time now--namely, that an overambitious Republican president can be just as bad for the U.S. military as a wimpy Democrat, albeit in a different way. Tom Clancy has long been one of popular culture's most reliable conduits of conservatives attitudes. If this is where those attitudes are headed, Bush is in trouble indeed.
And the Bush-Apologists, why all I've seen is the weak statement of Jonah Goldberg (is there any other kind of intellectual argument from Lucianne's womb-fruit?):
He comes out with some criticism for the Iraq war. I stopped reading Clancy a long time ago (not good enough a writer to simultaneously become an industry and deal with the end of the Cold War), but he's still got a lot of fans and they are a natural Bush constituenciy. Instapundit has more.
I don't know whether or not any of you got past Jonah Goldberg criticizing someone as a writer, but he does concede it is a problem. Brilliant analysis as usual (yes, I'm rolling my eyes).
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