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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Rod Dreher has a Come to Jesus Moment
Posted by Jill | 6:59 PM
This is really extraordinary. Rod Dreher is as staunch a Christian Conservative as you can get. But even he has decided to join the reality-based community. Glenn Greenwald transcribes an oral essay he gave on NPR last Thursday:

As President Bush marched the country to war with Iraq, even some voices on the Right warned that this was a fool's errand. I dismissed them angrily. I thought them unpatriotic.

But almost four years later, I see that I was the fool.

In Iraq, this Republican President for whom I voted twice has shamed our country with weakness and incompetence, and the consequences of his failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

The fraud, the mendacity, the utter haplessness of our government's conduct of the Iraq war have been shattering to me.

It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. Not under a Republican President.

I turn 40 next month -- middle aged at last -- a time of discovering limits, finitude. I expected that. But what I did not expect was to see the limits of finitude of American power revealed so painfully.

I did not expect Vietnam.

As I sat in my office last night watching President Bush deliver his big speech, I seethed over the waste, the folly, the stupidity of this war.

I had a heretical thought for a conservative - that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word - that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot - that they have to question authority.

On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me.

Will my children, too small now to understand Iraq, take me seriously when I tell them one day what powerful men, whom their father once believed in, did to this country? Heavy thoughts for someone who is still a conservative despite it all. It was a long drive home

I'm so torn about guys like this. On the one hand, I think it's important that those of us who know that what the Bush Administration was dishing out was evil-smelling, dangerous crap from day one be gentle with those coming to their senses so late. It can't be easy to have everything you ever believed dashed into a million pieces, and some kindness is in order. God knows David Brock has spent the last six years trying mightily to atone for his huge role in trying to bring down Bill Clinton.

Yet on the other hand, it's hard to have sympathy for them. WE knew about Bush. WE knew what he was. WE knew the war was based on lies and bullshit. How come guys like this couldn't come around to what was as plain as day? What is it about them that made them trust long after it was crystal clear that what they were trusting was a lie? Sure, I think Media Matters does a terrific job, and I'm glad it's there. But I haven't forgotten that article by David Brock in Esquire. I haven't forgotten his hit job on Anita Hill.

I don't want to keep a Scrapbook of Old Grudges around, because I think when you hold onto old resentments, they don't hurt the person with whom you're angry but they poison you from the inside out. So ultimately, I'm inclined to welcome these repentants into the fold and offer them a drink, and say "Don't worry, big fella....it's hard, but you'll be OK here. You'll see that we're not the demons you thought we were."
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