Stoned Again

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”
John 8:7

If you haven’t had an opportunity to do so, I highly recommend an article by David Rose in the January issue of Vanity Fair called Neo Culpa.

The article recaps the reaction of a group of neo conservatives to the current state of affairs in Iraq. The particular group he interviews were those who built the intellectual foundation on which the whole invasion of Iraq rested. These were the people (Richard Pearle, Kenneth Adelman, James Woolsey, and others) who created the vision of regime change and democracy in Iraq as the first step toward radical change in the Middle East. They were the ones who predicted a quick win, Americans being welcomed as liberators, and a decisive victory in the war on terrorism.

Now they are virtually unanimous in blaming failure in Iraq on White House incompetence. Even though their view is in sync with the picture painted in Bob Woodward’s new book, I found another aspect of this article even more interesting.

I think it is amazing how sure all of these people are that they are still right. It’s also interesting that, when faced with what appears to be the complete failure of their strategy and analysis, they blame the implementers rather than themselves. In their minds, evidence of the guilt of the implementers is obvious – look at the results.

This sounds curiously like the Pharisees of Biblical Israel, so caught up in the letter of the law that they had completely lost sight of the spirit. They were convinced that their material success was ample evidence of their spiritual superiority. With this same logic they attributed illness, poverty, or any public failure with some sort of moral weakness which God was obviously punishing. This mind set was so powerful that even when Jesus tried to heal and teach them, they responded with violence.

So rather than rally to figure out where we go from here, we see those who led the way to Baghdad now leading the crowd starting to gather stones. The truth is in a democracy when stuff like this happens we have all failed. The only thing any of us should be casting is our future vote for public representatives who are willing to admit their mistakes.

3 Responses to “Stoned Again”

  1. Ria says:

    This is a good blog on the “think tank” ideology that got us in Iraq in the first place. Add Paul Wolfowicz to the list. If everyone knew about this decade old idealogy they would clearly see the manipulation to get to Iraq.

    We should have stabilized the budding democracies in Africa to help stabilize the Middle East. They have been screaming for help from Arab militiamen. America would have had a good standing in the world helping out there. Surrounding the Middle East with democracy would have worked just as well as trying to take Iraq. It wouldn’t cost as much in lives or money. I say this because I don’t think Iran is a threat, at least not for long.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:


    Thanks for the support.

    There was a good column in the Christian Science Monitor last week from a woman talking about the tribal structure in the middle east. Thomas Ricks also touches on this in his book, Fiasco.

    The bottom line is because of the practice of cousin-marriage, everyone really IS related to everyone in middle eastern tribes. The tribal chief wields great power because of the strong sense of family obligations. So it’s not to hard to image why there is also a strong revenge culture. Similarly nepotism and bribery are also expected practices both in business and government. Democracy, at least in the way that we understand it, is just not a good fit.

    Effective government in Iraq has to recognize the power of the tribal and religious leaders as well as the delicate balance between groups who implicitly trust those they are related to, but distrust everyone else.

    When trust is something that is associated with birth or marriage rather than the support of a majority, it is easy to see why monarchies, dictatorships, and even theocracies outnumber democracies in the middle east.

    It also calls into even sharper focus the hubris of those “think tankers” who felt this culture would quickly abandon tribal allegiances when given the choice of western democracy.


  3. Ria says:

    Jeff, we’re all tribes. Why do you think we adamantly support Israel? Want a good read on tribes, read Stephen M. Collins, “The Ten Tribes of Israel Found.” Stephen Collins is a former epigrapher and member of the National Epigraphic Society started by the late, great Norman Fell. Collins directed his research skills as an epigrapher to a comparison of secular historical records with the historical accounts of the Bible. What a read.

    Americans are taught only Greco Roman history. There were vast empires and much more history previous to that. Epigraphers read ancient writings and discovered ancient hebrew writings as far as the south seas. Ancient Phoenician ships sailed all over the earth before empires like Rome or Greece ever existed. The same time Solomon’s temple was built, ore and copper mines in Northern Michigan were depleted, yet nothing built with these metals exist that far back on our soil.

    If anyone out there is a history buff, you won’t be able to put these books down. We are so far out of reality with history. For instance, how many know of the great empire of Parthia? Stephen Collins has done a superior job of bringing things clearly into focus as to exactly who we are as Americans, as Brits, as French, as Germans, and so forth. It answers why we support Israel and always will. Christian readers will be blown away. These books are a definite source of pride for all of us.

Leave a Reply