June 25, 2006

In Which We Correct Ourselves

Yes, we make mistakes. We are chastened. But we correct our errors! Quickly! We are not Big Media, offering corrections only after tens of thousands of utterly unnecessary and futile deaths -- and then quickly reverting mindlessly to repeating government propaganda. Thus, we are not worthy. We beg you: pity us.

In this post the other day (and in an earlier entry cited there), we misattributed a remark about "sing[ing] great songs" to Mr. Richard Perle. As it turns out, it was Mr. Michael Ledeen who offered this altogether remarkable statement. This was pointed out to us via email by the admirable and exceptionally witty Mr. Jonathan Schwarz. As Mr. Schwarz also notes, and a judgment in which we concur: Same difference. Nonetheless, accuracy is important. We therefore correct ourselves. And no one died, or was even hurt! Contemplate the wonder of it.

Mr. Schwarz points us to this transcript of a panel discussion at AEI moderated by Mr. Perle, which may be where the confusion arose. Since we have been directed into the muck (albeit it in the excellent cause of accuracy), perhaps we should note Mr. Ledeen's comments in more detail, to appreciate their full Splendour and Magnificence:
So we have to fight this war, and we are well equipped to fight this war. It is what we have always done. It is what we do every day. America is an enormously destructive country. People around the world love us and many of them dread us because we undo them every day. We undo them in every area of life, whether it is business or economics or whether it is entertainment or sports, just across-the-board.

Creative destruction is our middle name and we threaten everybody's stability. And one of the reasons that people like us are constantly upset with some of our professional diplomats is that they always stress the endless desirability of stability. Well, stability is not what we want and stability is not what the United States is about. We are one great revolutionary society in the world and we want revolution. We don't want stability. We want to bring these people down.


So we will fight this war and we fight it well and we will fight it enthusiastically.

But, above all, we have a winning Messianic vision because we are a Messianic country. And our message is--our Messianic vision is the triumph of freedom everywhere in the world. And that is built into our national DNA. We can no more get out of that than we can get out of our love for our foods and our sports and our clothes. That is just what we are.


Our ideas are not universally rejected in that part of the world, quite the contrary. Our greatest weapon against these tyrants are their own people. Because their own people want to get out from under. The vision of human freedom is not limited to one culture or another, it is really universal. We saw it in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War. We are seeing it in the streets of Iran today. We will see it in Syria if we give it a chance.

If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well and our children will sing great songs about us years from now.
On another occasion, Mr. Ledeen provided the condensed version of his policy prescriptions, as reported by Mr. Jonah Goldberg:
I'm not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." That's at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago (Ledeen is one of the most entertaining public speakers I've ever heard, by the way).
Yes, indeed, he's a laugh a minute.

With regard to this alleged "winning Messianic vision" business, we cannot resist saying: we told you so.

And we told you so even before that. And before that.

So. We ourselves are imperfect. We have problems with the "Messianic vision" thing, and also with the "creative destruction" thing in the form Mr. Ledeen employs that concept.

We are not worthy of being neocons or of transforming the world, or even of desiring to do so. For which our opponents, and we, give grateful thanks.