Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2004 / 17 Shevat, 5764
Jay D. Homnick
Bush's full courting of Meet the Press (and other tales of Kay's treat)
The special Kay commission has placed its report on the table, bowling many of us over; liberals jump to its conclusions with joy. Iraq news can always be counted on to break fast, but this time the pace has been surreal. David Kay has been questioned by Kennedy, quoted by Kerry, and queried by Koppel, as he has been burning his way across the Washington landscape. His bottom line: although Saddam had catholic tastes, and he was writing for the theater (!!!), there was nothing in his repertory to effect mass destruction.
Now the peaceniks have been going on for some time, accusing the Bush administration of crying Wolfowitz (their joke) and filling Halliburton's piggy banks, but in saner intellectual precincts, we had been reserving judgment and judging the reserves. Now, unless we want to kayo Kay and shoot the messenger, it is time to accept the facts and ponder the matter.
Indeed, in the spirit of "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers", while Kay is being feted for his accomplishment, his findings have occasioned losses of approximately ten points in popularity for Bush. The President's men have wisely refused to strike out at Kay, but they are taking a battering from various self-appointed umpires crying foul.
The Democrats, who once asserted that Bush has no intelligence, now blame him for having too much, and bad intelligence at that. The CIA Director is being dissed, despite his appointment by Clinton. He is accused of violating the tenets of proper analysis and fanning the flames of Executive bellicosity with hyperventilating reports of worrisome weaponry. While Dr. Kay himself was quick to remind the Senators of Clinton's Secretary of Defense sitting before them in 1998 with a bag of flour to dramatize Saddam's putative stockpile of biological and chemical agents, they continued with their yeasty frothing, not easily diverted by mere facts.
We are left with a sort of Watergate situation in reverse: What didn't the President know and when didn't he know it? At least, the President said "Nix" on coverups and ordered up an investigation. And yesterday the Chief himself was haled into Meet The Press for a rare interview. He was hail fellow well met, as usual, but will that be sufficient to divert those who mete this hail of criticism?
Of course, I had argued in this column, as did many of my colleagues, that it was not wise to declare the war over WMD. We believed that it would be more seemly to stress the close-knit connections between tyranny and terrorism in the Middle East and the importance of dividing and conquering. It should have been a battle against those axes. In the case of the USS Cole, we saw enough mast destruction to convince us to clear the decks of these menaces. The Administration chose to place all its eggs in the basket of WMD and is now forced to scramble.
Mutant genes aside, we will punish genocide. Whether or not they can poison cells, their prison cells were certainly poison. And terror streaming down from above will only inspire waves of terror surging up from below.
Instead, the President is made to appear imperialistic in his chase after biological and nuclear weapons that appear to have existed only in his and Saddam's imaginations. Of course, if we must have imperialism, let it be a nuke-loathing Emperor. Still, Ronald Reagan taught us that when America is freer, America is stronger.
For us, the proud neocons (Hi, I'm Jay, and I'm a neoconaholic), grateful to the President for the respect that he has shown to our ideas, our job is not to savage, it is to salvage. I always thrilled to the symbolism inherent in the fact that Ronald Reagan's best man was Mr. Salvatore; our work is all about saving and healing, through strength and not through weakness. Even now, the President is well-advised to declare loudly and clearly that the tyrant and the terrorist should fear our ordinance and our ordnance. That truth is our own secret weapon.
And to our hero, Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of these United States, a happy 93rd birthday. May you live long and your vision live forever.
01/08/04: Is taking two tablets bad for your constitution?