In 2003, Canadian-American journalist David Frum wrote a lengthy denunciation of conservative-minded writers who had the audacity to question the motives behind the Bush Administrationâ€™s invasion of Iraq. Titled â€œUnpatriotic Conservatives,â€ the article is a goody bag of racist and anti-Semitic accusations fitting for the man who made â€œAxis of Evilâ€ a buzzword for unfettered imperialism. As a former speechwriter for President George Bush, it made sense for Frum to go on the offensive for his bossâ€™s fatal decision to invade a country that posed no threat to the United States. Instead of defending the mission as vital to Americaâ€™s interest, he instead went for the throat of the anti-interventionist wing of the conservatism by declaring they were cheering for an Al-Qaeda victory; not a U.S. In his words,
They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nationâ€™s enemies.”
Frumâ€™s tirade of blood and treasure patriotism was summed up in his likening of the paleoconservative ideology to Trotyskite-turned-conservative icon James Burnhmanâ€™s definition of liberalism: the ideology of western suicide. So scathing was Frumâ€™s piece that the average political dolt would be calling for charges of treason against anyone who questioned the wisdom of waging an undefined War on Terror. The flag-waiving crew over at National Review was no doubt pleased. Those anti-war traitors would finally be crucified as the haters of democracy they truly were.
Fast forward almost a decade and Frum, now writing under the auspices of being a born-again â€œmoderateâ€ conservative, is telling Politico that not only was the Iraq War a â€œdisasterâ€ but that he wishes someone would have relayed the future to him back then. In true happy-go-lucky style, he immediately counters â€œCome to think of it, they did tell me.â€ So behind the cheerful, worry-free persona, it would seem Frum has come around on his earlier neoconservative views.
Recently in the National Post, Frum proved that military hawking is still part of his blood. With sequestration cuts currently taking their toll on Washingtonâ€™s budget, the self-described moderate is busy fretting over the $42.7 billion due to be trimmed from Pentagon spending this year. Frum admits that $42.7 billion out of a total budget of $683 billion might seem negligible. Yet many tea party-style Republicans are not taking the sequestration seriously enough. The automatic cuts, Frum argues, â€œrisk national securityâ€ to the point where global democracy is now threatened.
The alarm about sequestration is being wrung all around Washington and Frum is not the first to jump on board. Newly appointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is warning the cuts will have â€œfar-reaching effectsâ€ even after he called the Pentagon â€œbloated.â€ Should sequestration be fully enacted, Frum and company would have us believe the United States will soon be left fully open to brutal attacks. This is not just deceptive, itâ€™s a blatantly contradictory statement when looking at the actual facts. In other words, itâ€™s yet another â€œnoble lieâ€ espoused for the purposes of keeping the goal of American imperium robust.
As economist Veronique de Rugy points out, the bulk of reductions in defense spending will occur only in 2012 and 2013. Following the cuts, â€œdefense spending will continue to grow in nominal termsÂ for all years after.â€ To call the sequestration an overall cut in spending is simply not true. Under current projects, the U.S. government will still be spending over $6 trillion in 2023. And as de Rugy explains, the 2013 fiscal year defense budget is â€œcomparableâ€ to the 2006 version. Back then, as Frum was still defending the former President’s escapade in Iraq, apparently Washington was stuffing Lockhead Martinâ€™s and Northrop Grumann’s coffers full enough to keep his columns giddy and pleased. In the course of seven years, something must have changed. How come Pentagon spending back in 2006 did not bring apocalyptic cries as it seems to be doing now? The answer is that a bloviator like Frum is not concerned with safety or defense. He and his neoconservative comrades always have a laser-eye focus on â€œnational interestâ€ over the simple longings of the masses.
Invoking â€œnational interestâ€ as justification for nonstop, worldwide military intervention is the lifeblood of the neoconservative movement. This â€œinterestâ€ has nothing to do with God and country. It little affects the middle and lower class that are forced by gunpoint into financing military adventurism. National interest is a euphemism for that which benefits the coterie of military, banking, and industrial interests who have Washington firmly in their pocket. The governmentâ€™s providing of national security is really an oxymoron: the state is an institution that acts to preserve itself and its dominant exploitation of the people within its territory. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe writes,
The historical evidence appears to indicate that, rather than protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of their citizens, governments must be considered the greatest threat to human security.
The democratization of the Middle East which Frum fervently championed is resulting in a more destabilized region than before. The U.S. just announced a beefing up of its support for the Al-Qaeda-linked, child killing rebels in Syria. If these rebel forces succeed in overthrowing the secular rule of Bashar al-Assad, itâ€™s not clear whether they will establish Westernized democracy or Islamic rule. In Libya, where just two years ago President Obama and allied governments armed and funded the overthrow of the Muammar Gaddafi, the murder of four Americans at the consulate in Benghazi last fall was a strict reminder of the lingering chaos brought by previous intervention. The Iraq War remains an unmitigated disaster. As Pat Buchanan writes, the casualties of the debacle are not revealed in just body counts. The consequences are numerous:
Four thousand five hundred American dead, 35,000 wounded, $1 trillion and 100,000 Iraqi dead. Half a million widows and orphans. A centuries-old Christian community ravaged. And, yes, an Iraq tilting to Iran and descending into sectarian, civil and ethnic war. A disaster of epochal proportions.
Frumâ€™s dream of democratic revolution is now a nightmare. The United States government has proven inept at bringing Western-style government to the Muslim world. Instead of recognizing failure and ending the feverish devotion to American preeminence, Frum doubles down over minuscule reductions in military spending. His ignorance will only incite more death and destruction in the false name of security.