I heard an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show yesterday with GEN John Abizaid, and he made a remark which I took to be an indirect rebuke of everything written recently with the pens of men like George Will and William F. Buckley: he said he noticed during his trips to the United States from his base in Qatar that the country didn’t seem to be very cognizant that there was a war going on. There was no broad kind of awareness of the war that he could easily pick up from random television viewing or newspaper-browsing.
I’m sad to say that I agree with him. It is something that has bothered me for quite some time. However, I am not content with the pat response to this phenomenon found on so many radio talk shows or conservative opinion pieces: namely that this is the result of the Bush administration not making the case to the public. Sorry, but I’m not buying that. That smacks, to me, of an all-too typical American cop-out, and one that conservatives in particular should be wary of: after all, we are the ones who continually remind other Americans that we should behave as grown-ups and that being an American is “advanced citizenship.” To turn and claim that it is up to our president to hold our hands and remind us daily of how dire the consequences of losing this war really are, strikes me as petulant and childish. We are responsible for our destiny as a nation folks — not George W. Bush, not Donald Rumsfeld, and not GEN John Abizaid. They work for us, not the other way round. Hearing Abizaid’s remark made me feel genuinely ashamed to be a conservative.
BTW: The interview was sent round by CentCom, and I received a note from the Washington Times Pentagon reporter Rowan Scarborough complimenting me on the interview, which is a little like having Tiger Woods tell you “Nice swing.”