As Andrew Sullivan noted in the earliest hours of the Obama presidency, "it only took propagandist Michael Goldfarb twenty-two minutes" to start blaming Obama for Iraq.
Blogging for The Weekly Standard, Goldfarb -- a former McCain/Palin deputy communications director -- claimed at 12:22 p.m. Tuesday that "Obama has inherited victory in Iraq. ... The victory in Iraq is Obama's to lose."
Goldfarb cannot be this dumb. So we're dealing with a lie. An extravagant lie. It is the lie, as Andrew Sullivan correctly judged, of a propagandist.
Propagandists are impervious.
If Goldfarb weren't a propagandist, I'd urge him to read The Forever War or Fiasco or The Assassins' Gate. At minimum, I'd ask a non-propagandist to consider the ideas in "McCain"s Premature Surge Adulation," a July 30 post in which I argued that it is far too soon judge whether the Iraq troop surge has worked.
But like I said, propagandists are impervious. We won't get through to Goldfarb. We need to focus on reasonable people who might be misled by Goldfarb -- audiences at public events where Goldfarb might appear, impressionable interns strolling down the street with Goldfarb.
So let's try something different. I'll need your help.
If you ever find yourself standing next to Goldfarb in some place with Web access, pull up the following movie clip on your phone or laptop and point the screen at Goldfarb and his companions.
Anywhere else you come across Goldfarb, please point an accusing finger at him and exclaim, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to ..."
Then stop your sentence short. Walk away. You, after all, are not Inigo Montoya. Goldfarb did not kill your father. So there's no conceivable need for revenge or even the idle, movie-quoting, prosecutable threat of revenge. (Note: Obviously, don't do any of this if Goldfarb has little kids with him. No clue if he's a dad. But all of this stops being even the least bit OK if little kids have to witness it and get scared by it.)
Why do I want Goldfarb and every single person he tries to propagandize to be made to stare at scenes from The Princess Bride?
Simple. The story of Inigo Montoya -- the fictional Spanish kid who watches a nobleman murder his father and then perseveres over a span of decades until he gets revenge near the end of The Princess Bride -- reminds us in an especially accessible, non-wonky way that many, many, many years will have to pass before Goldfarb or anyone can make credible claims about a "victory in Iraq."
It took less than two dozen people to perpetrate the 9/11 massacres. Amid the carnage of Iraq, there are -- to laughably underestimate -- at least two dozen little Inigo Montoyas, at least two dozen traumatized kids who are growing up fantasizing about vengeance against the superpower that killed their fathers, the superpower that humiliated their mothers during middle-of-the-night house searches, the superpower whose presidential incompetence turned a liberation into a chaotic, childhood-spoiling terror.
I'm a dad. I ache for Iraq's kids. I wish them peace. In their neighborhoods. In their souls. I hope every last one of them will find the strength to devote their lives to something other than vengeance. But I doubt I would have found that strength. So I'm worried. For them. For us.
Goldfarb's propaganda is fantastically dangerous. It makes us stupid. How lucky for us that watching a charming, funny 1980s movie is an antidote to that stupidity.
Remember Inigo Montoya.
Huffington Post blogger David Quigg lives in Seattle. Click here to visit the blog where he's gradually posting his entire first novel. Click here for an archive of his previous HuffPost work. And finally, as now required by law, his Twitter feed.