Reading ‘The Collapse of the Dream Palaces’ in July 2019: American Writer’s selective commentary

Now that the war in Iraq is over, we’ll find out how many people around the world are capable of facing unpleasant facts.’

https://www.weeklystandard.com/david-brooks/the-collapse-of-the-dream-palaces

What to make of Mr. Brooks’ assertion in 2019? In the present, America is an Occupying power in Iraq, the white phosphorous attack on Falluja, Abu Ghraib and an American embassy that is 104 acres in size, are historically verifiable facts.

The embassy has extensive housing and infrastructure facilities in addition to the usual diplomatic buildings. The buildings include:[10]

Six apartment buildings for employees
Water and waste treatment facilities
A power station
Two “major diplomatic office buildings”
Recreation, including a gym, cinema, several tennis courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool
The complex is heavily fortified, even by the standards of the Green Zone. The details are largely secret, but it is likely to include a significant US Marine Security Guard detachment. Fortifications include deep security perimeters, buildings reinforced beyond the usual standard, and five highly guarded entrances.[citation needed]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy_of_the_United_States,_Baghdad

Not to forget Sec. Powell’s  pivotal UN speech, about non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sec. Rice’s looming  ‘mushroom cloud’  and Judith Miller’s New York Times propaganda. Brooks makes up his list of heretics, whose collective abode were those  ‘dream palaces‘.

There is first the dream palace of the Arabists.

Then there is the dream palace of the Europeans.

Finally, there is the dream palace of the American Bush haters.

Mr. Brooks’ literary invention of Joey Tabula-Rasa allows him to add a strategic distance between his bellicose sensibility, and that of 20 year old Joey T-B. Who is a manufactured political naif, whose uncritical acceptance of the Wise Political Elders judgement is an inept propaganda device.

 Invent a representative 20-year-old, Joey Tabula-Rasa, and try to imagine how he would have perceived the events of the past month.

This essay was written for an audience of Weekly Standard readers looking for a set of political rationalizations for the ‘Iraq War’ : an endeavor of the now defunct Project for a New American Century. Its Statement of Principals and its signatories:

June 3, 1997

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.
As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?
We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital — both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements — built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation’s ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.
Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

  • we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
    responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
  • we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
  • we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
  • we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett , Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky,Steve Forbes Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz 

https://web.archive.org/web/20050205041635/http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

Mr. Brooks’ evolution/de-evolution from Neo-Conservative war monger, to a self-appointed Political/Moral Prophet, with his books , riffing on the themes of an ersatz  Sociology made to measure: The Social Animal, The Road to Character and The Second Mountain places this essay, in a past that Mr. Brooks might find inconvenient? Although, like the adroit grifter, he might characterize this essay as a part of his moral/political evolution to his current point of enlightenment.

American Writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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