The awesome predictive power of David Brooks was never more extravagant on display than in 2003 when he boldly began the second paragraph of his usual, bludgeon-the-hapless-stupid-Liberals column at The Weekly Standard with the words, "Now that the war in Iraq is over..." and then proceeded to pile his dudgeon up high enough to block out the sum just so he could have the proper altitude from which to gleefully rain this truckload of patented, Brooks moralizing down on those po', hapless hippies:
...Finally, there is the dream palace of the American Bush haters. In this dream palace, there is so much contempt for Bush that none is left over for Saddam or for tyranny. Whatever the question, the answer is that Bush and his cronies are evil. What to do about Iraq? Bush is evil. What to do about the economy? Bush is venal. What to do about North Korea? Bush is a hypocrite.In this dream palace, Bush, Cheney, and a junta of corporate oligarchs stole the presidential election, then declared war on Iraq to seize its oil and hand out the spoils to Halliburton and Bechtel. In this dream palace, the warmongering Likudniks in the administration sit around dreaming of conquests in Syria, Iran, and beyond. In this dream palace, the boy genius Karl Rove hatches schemes to use the Confederate flag issue to win more elections, John Ashcroft wages holy war on American liberties, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and his cabal of neoconservatives long for global empire. In this dream palace, every story of Republican villainy is believed, and all the windows are shuttered with hate.My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam's remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, "We were wrong. Bush was right." They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war's opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
Eleven years later, and you know what? Those Iraqi Dream Palaces really do exist...as gated communities full of wealthy, old Conservative psychopaths. They are upscale and condo, tenanted of the same vicious lunatics and amoral toadies who lied us into the Iraq war in the first place, and then glutted themselves on the bloodshed and chaos their lies created. Smirking, evil men who live lives of wealth and ease completely beyond the reach of justice, writing the occasional book, offering the occasional opinion, bestirring themselves from time to time to walk abroad in the land and collect the plaudits of their fellow delusional madmen.
Eleven years later and David Brooks' Iraqi Dream Palaces really do exist.
And it turns out they're full of people just like David Brooks.
From Jamie McIntyre, former CNN Pentagon correspondent, in the NYT:
I know Rumsfeld well enough at this point to know that he’s never going to have this kind of epiphany. He’s never going to have this introspective moment where he realizes, even though we had the best intentions, that many of his decisions turned out to be disasters. It was rare that he would ever admit that he was wrong about anything. Part of his defense was that he was very adept at putting caveats into everything that he said so that he could go back later and cite the caveat. “I never said how long the war would last.” “I never said how many troops would be needed.” “I never said how much it would cost.” He was very slippery. You couldn’t pin him down on things. And his favorite technique, of course, was to challenge the premise of your question and never actually answer it.