You must grant Ross Douthat credit for being a dependable Republican myth-maker, there are other words for his particular endeavors, but let this mildest descriptor stand as adequate. You could call this essay by another title, ‘The Iraq War: A gift to the Democrats’ if you allowed yourself to engage in an extreme political cynicism. Mr. Douthat demonstrates no such scruple.
But more to the point is that Mr. Douthat writes as if his audience’s historical memory begins at year one, as 2000. The War in Vietnam is mentioned as mere place holder to the notion of the Democrats as losers, and perennially weak on National Security. In the post WWII Republican narrative,treasonist. An idea that has been buried with the dead, in many drone attacks, targets chosen by the bellicose President Obama.
The ‘Liberal’ Mea culpas on the Iraq War are the introductory to Mr. D.’s extended meditation on the continued blessings that the Democrats have received from this crime. His political estimation of the political benefits reaped by the Democrats is utterly divorced from the human cost of this obscenity, yet he can’t resist the pull of that extreme cynicism. Mr. Douthat as Catholic Moralist and guardian of ‘life’ is absent and unaccounted for, such are the demands of political ideology and propaganda. The bankruptcy of the Democrats, as inheritors of the extreme political/ethical failures of the Republicans is here subject to an unseemly kind of Pyrrhic victory celebration. One can say, with a certain assurance, that in American Conservatism, that the Strauss/Schmitt nihilism is ascendent and that Burke is in a precipitous decline.