Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Parable of the President and the Neocons

Slate repeats this story from a recent book:

[...], Bush 43 still sometimes drew on his father's wide knowledge of the world. Though he refused to read newspapers, he was aware of criticism that his administration had been excessively beholden to a particular clique, and wanted to know more about them. One day during that holiday, according to friends of the family, 43 asked his father, "What's a neocon?"

"Do you want names, or a description?" answered 41.


"Well," said the former president of the United States, "I'll give it to you in one word: Israel."

Supposedly the author heard this story from several sources which meant to him that it must have really happened. Did it? I am really skeptical. It sounds too much like a political parable. It reinforces several points that everyone "knows" to be true.

First there is the image of Bush, the clueless president. He wants to know something but he can't go to a newspaper to look it up. Why? Because he refuses to read newspapers to the point of enforced ignorance. Never mind that he and his wife have said that he does read the news - it's the opinion pieces that he doesn't read. This detail is there to show that Bush is both ignorant and stubborn.

So who does he go to for information? His father. This is also part of liberal dogma. They hold that Bush is an ignorant party boy who only got to be president through his father's connections and who could barely dress himself without people from his father's administration.

So Bush 43 asks Bush 41 what a neocon is. The answer, Israel, is also part of liberal dogma. The left ascribes many motives to Bush for the invasion of Iraq - oil, revenge for an attempted assassination of his daddy, more money for Haliburtan. On the other hand they only ascribe one motive to the neocons - Israel. They are written off as a Jewish cabal intent on hijacking American foreign policy for the benefit of a foreign nation.

While it is true that some of the neocons are Jewish, many are not nor have any of them shown any indication that they are anything but loyal Americans.

So the whole purpose of the parable is to discredit the President, his advisers, and the war. Pretty convenient for a true story but typical for a parable.

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