There’s something parricidal about disagreeing with Ron Suskind on a blog called The Reality-Based Community, but Suskind’s target list for Congressional investigations couldn’t be more wrong.
The fundamental fact the country is going to have to confront over the next decade is our catastrophic defeat in Iraq. The fundemental political challenge for the Democrats is to fend off the “stab-in-the-back” narrative that worked so well for the Republicans after Vietnam (and for which the Republicans have never acknowledged their debt to the Nazis, who invented it). That narrative gave the Swiftboat attack on Kerry its power: whether or not he was a war hero was secondary to the undisputed fact that he was an anti-war hero, and thus in the view of many of his fellow Vietnam vets one of the authors of our defeat and thus partly responsible for dimming their glory as warriors and making their sacrifices meaningless.
A truthful narrative about Iraq would be “We were arrogant, and overestimated our capacity to shape the world to our visions.” But that’s not a story the country wants to hear. An alternative narrative, equally truthful, is “We took on a tough but potentially manageable challenge and blew it due to the incompetence and corruption of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress.”
I would therefore nominate as the prime investigative targets for the next Congress:
1. Corruption and patronage in the CPA.
2. Corruption and crony capitalism in contracting in Iraq, especially for support of the troops but also for reconstruction.
3. Corruption and earmarking in the award of defense contracts.
4. Corruption and earmarking in the award of intelligence contracts.
5. Corruption and patronage in DHS and its White House predecessor office under Tom Ridge.
The goal should be to establish the following proposition in the public mind:
For all their tough talk, the Republicans are too incompetent and too crooked to entrust with the national security.
Hat tip: Kevin Drum, who agrees with Suskind.