Reactions to Karl Rove's attack on liberals have run the gamut here and elsewhere in the liberal blogosphere from furious indignation ("How dare he question our patriotism") to glee ("This will prove once and for all that Republicans are 'round the bend") to curiosity ("I wonder what prompted this") to caution ("We're being set up...I can feel it").
What is truly unusual about Rove's remarks is not the remarks themselves, but that Rove made them. He has not been a mouthpiece until today, but a strategist. Only when you get to Karl's true motivation does this make sense.
He made the statement because others could not afford to. Rumsfeld could not. Cheney could not. Bush could not. Why not? Because they are part of the war machine -- the same war machine that is about to ask the ultimate solemn sacrifice.
That's right. This is about the draft.
Forget "last throes." We cannot put down the Iraqi insurgency without a draft.
Forget Iran. We cannot invade Iran without a draft.
Forget Syria, and North Korea. Forget border interdiction and WMD port protection, if you're naive enough to believe this administration really cares about those things.
None of these things can be accomplished without a draft, and a draft cannot be accomplished without the mother of all shitstorms. And what we're seeing here is a volley across the bow to suppress dissent to the draft before it happens. They will accomplish this by dividing our nation neatly into "patriots" and "traitors," and they will write the definition. Kiss your fantastic notions of an apology or redaction bye-bye. The drumbeat will only grow louder.
When the announcement is made -- and I predict it will be made by Christmas -- the debate will be neatly pre-packaged and pre-framed. If you oppose the draft, then you oppose the march of freedom, you oppose justice for the victims of 9/11, and you oppose America. Dissent, or so goes the plan, will be tantamount to treason at this point. Rove intends to work conservatives into such a froth that they will cheer the draft as the ultimate patriotic dictum, and at the same time work liberals into such a froth that every breath of opposition rings to the conditioned like an act of treason.
There is another aim. Not all drafts are created equal. All of the rules will need to be rewritten. And they want to write them. This means that when Democrats stand up against National Guard loopholes, special favors, and exemptions for the wealthy and connected, they will again be easily accused of standing in the way of victory.
I don't know about you. But I'm convinced. There are other rational explanations, certainly, but none that make more sense in a broader strategic context. I will leave it to wiser Kossacks to offer strategies to fight back. Have at it.