Sullivan’s Descent Into Insanity Continues

Andrew Sullivan once again uncritically spouts yet another inane conspiracy theory on his blog. Whatever Time is paying him, it’s way too much.

Of course, Sullivan claims he’s merely passing on an interesting theory, and one which he doesn’t believe to boot. Of course, that’s like saying that Mr. Sullivan enjoys stuffing his underpants with the fur of freshly-killed kittens. Not that I actually believe that, mind you, but I thought I’d just pass it along.

This particular rumor is that Cheney and Rumsfeld, being the evil Bond villains that they are, intentionally sabotaged democracy in Iraq so that there won’t be all that pesky nation-building to worry about next time when we blow up most of Iran. As Sullivan explains it:

Under this interpretation, Bush was too trusting or dumb to understand the deviousness of their plan to fail in Iraq; Wolfowitz saw it too late and got out; Rice is stuck managing the debris that a democracy-promoting president and a democracy-hostile Pentagon created. The troops were just pawns in Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s strategy. This interpretation would mean that incompetence is not the issue. Cheney and Rumsfeld have succeeded: they have turned Iraq into a failed state, removed its capacity to make WMDs, and detonated a regional Sunni-Shi’a war. Now they want to use the same brutalist strategy against Iran. This theory is probably too complex and subtle to be true. The screw-up theory of history is more often the most plausible. But it does make some internal sense – if you assume that Cheney and Rumsfeld are not complete incompetents.

Or one could assume that there’s no such conspiracy, that the Bush Administration really does see democracy as the cornerstone of our fight against terrorism, and that they’re facing the results of a more more difficult fight in Iraq than they had counted upon and a world situation in which a certifiable nutball with messianic tendencies has taken over a major regional power. But hey, that’s not as cool as some complicated conspiracy theory, is it?

Sullivan, like many who want to ascribe the worst of motives to the Bush Administration, keeps putting common sense and logic on the back burner in order to justify his near-ravenous dislike of the President and his Administration. There are plenty of rational and intellectually rigorous critiques to be made of the Bush Administration, the war in Iraq, and our efforts to promote democracy abroad. But every time Sullivan posts some idiotic and easily-refuted tripe like this, it only causes him to descend to the level of the typical raving Kossack.

It’s a very valuable thing for someone to play devil’s advocate and challenge the policies of this administration, and provoke thought about the way in which we’re promoting democracy abroad. But this just isn’t the right way of doing it. The last thing our marketplace of ideas needs is another person selling used snake oil.

UPDATE: And the armchair psychiatry continues apace. One has to admire how Sullivan crafts his worldview to automatically assume the worst about the President on a personal level. If one were to play the game of trying to profile people, what would one say of a Catholic who rejects most of his Church’s teachings for what his faith says is a life of sin? I wonder if that would make one hostile to anyone who reminded him of that tension and cause one to surround oneself with sycophantic voices? Would it make one all the more moralistic on other issues in an attempt to regain some lost moral high ground?

Of course, such speculation is silly. No one knows what thoughts (if any these days) go through the head of Andrew Sullivan, and it’s usually foolish to try to ascribe hidden motives without strong evidence to support such claims. Given that, why does Sullivan continue to try to do the same with President Bush? Apparently he either must be incompetent, or the devil, or some combination of both. It can’t be that he’s making a good faith effort in a difficult and turbulent period in history. No, that would mean introducing shades of gray in Mr. Sullivan’s Manichean struggle, and that just doesn’t fly with his new role as polemicist.

2 thoughts on “Sullivan’s Descent Into Insanity Continues

  1. I don’t read KOS. So, off-topic: You’re moving back to MN? Did you get a new job?

    BTW, I would say “Good job” to a Catholic who rejects his church’s teachings for a life of sin. Sin is, for the most part, AWESOME.

  2. So, off-topic: You’re moving back to MN? Did you get a new job?

    Even worse. I’m going to law school. 🙂

    (Cues ominous music…)

    BTW, I would say “Good job” to a Catholic who rejects his church’s teachings for a life of sin. Sin is, for the most part, AWESOME.

    Heh… I have to remember that one.

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