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Full page in WSJ: 'I pray that Bush bombs Iran'

by Jerome a Paris Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:10:01 AM EST

In an explicit (and unambiguously titled) article that takes a full page in the Wall Street Journal (The Case for Bombing Iran - I hope and pray that President Bush will do it), one of the senior neoconservatives, Norman Podhoretz calls for an immediate bombing campaign against Iran, as a preemptive strike to avoid the nuclear destruction of Israel. It is full of hate, of scaremongering, of contempt for everybody that does not support the neocon views, and it is given a lot of space in what is supposed to be a serious newspaper. This HAS to generate some outrage. As the piece is behind a sub wall, I'll extract a few key paragraphs below:


Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what Sept 11, 2001, did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war. I call this new war World War IV, because I also believe that what is generally known as the Cold War was actually World War III, and that this one bears a closer resemblance to that great conflict than it does to World War II. Like the Cold War, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism, yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism; it is global in scope; it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and it is likely to go on for decades.
This is the traditional thesis of the necoons, and the basis for the "9/11 changed everything" mindset: the ardent belief in an all out ideological struggle - Good vs Evil, just like the good old days of the Cold War. It's the chance for today's pundits and Deciders to be heroes, too.
As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11, and as (according to the State Department's latest annual report on the subject) the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's weapon of choice, Iran too is a front in World War IV. Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it the potentially most dangerous one of all.
After dismissing Iraq and Afghanistan as mere skirmishes in a wider battle ("theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a protracted global struggle") Podhoretz zooms in on THE enemy - the evil nasties who dared humiliate the USA almost 30 years ago. This is never said, of course, but his whole texte just burns with hate for the absolute evil that emanates from that country, and its leaders, and it is the typical discourse of a bully that has just been smacked in the face and wants - demands! - cannot live without!! - retribution. 9/11 was a similar case of lèse-majesté for these guys, but created a great opening for action (read invading countries and killing the local population); the Iranian embassy hostage crisis is a festering wound that has yet to be given closure, and these guys desperately itch to go and smack the insolent offender once and for all.
Their first priority, as repeatedly and unequivocally announced by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to "wipe Israel off the map"--a feat that could not be accomplished by conventional weapons alone. (...) Still less would deterrence work where Israel was concerned. For as the Ayatollah Rafsanjani (who is supposedly a "pragmatic conservative") has declared:
If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession . . . application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.
In other words, Israel would be destroyed in a nuclear exchange, but Iran would survive.
The pretext for intervention, of course, are the recent provocative pronouncements of Iran's figurehead president. It doesn't matter that Israel has a couple hundred nuclear bombs to Iran's yet inexistent one; it doesn't matter that Iran has a 5,000-year history as a nation, has run a mostly pragmatic foreign policy in the past 30 years despite its fiery islamist leadership, and is highly unlikely to commit suicide, even for a twisted version of Islam. It also matters not at all that Iran (rightly) feels threatened by the USA, which engineered a coup against its democratically elected government not so long ago, and has been meddling in the country's politics for more than a half-century, and has been sending out regular messages seeking out some form of peace arragement with the USA. No, they are making threatening noises, so they have to be obliterated:
In exerting pressure for reform on countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, these nonmilitary instruments are the right ones to use. But it should be clear by now to any observer not in denial that Iran is not such a country. As we know from Iran's defiance of the Security Council and the IAEA even while the United States has been warning Ahmadinejad that "all options" remain on the table, ultimatums and threats of force can no more stop him than negotiations and sanctions have managed to do. Like them, all they accomplish is to buy him more time. In short, the plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force--any more than there was an alternative to force if Hitler was to be stopped in 1938. Since a ground invasion of Iran must be ruled out for many different reasons, the job would have to be done, if it is to be done at all, by a campaign of air strikes. Furthermore, because Iran's nuclear facilities are dispersed, and because some of them are underground, many sorties and bunker-busting munitions would be required. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, and the will, let alone the courage, of any of our other allies, it could be carried out only by the United States.
Ah, the reference to Hitler in 1938 (and there are several paragraphs comparing Ahmadinejad to Hitler). The sense that the USA has a God-given mission to save the world from itself. The casual encouragement to rain death and destruction from afar. It's to save the Iranians, you understand. Oh, but he is reality-based:
Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. It would attack Israel with missiles armed with nonnuclear warheads but possibly containing biological or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a lovefest. I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible. Nevertheless, there is a good response to them, and it is the one given by John McCain. The only thing worse than bombing Iran, McCain has declared, is allowing Iran to get the bomb.
It is with a heavy heart that he admits to catastrophic consequences. It's just that the alternative would be worse, you see. It's the goodness in him that makes him consider the alternative, and choose the least catastrophic one. Because, you see, it's because the damn Europeans are, again, appeasers. You'd think they'd have learnt, this time. alas, no:
But in the meantime, looking at Europe today, we already see the unfolding of a process analogous to Finlandization: it has been called, rightly, Islamization. (...) [The main European] countries have large and growing Muslim populations demanding that their religious values and sensibilities be accommodated at the expense of the traditional values of the West, and even in some instances of the law. Yet rather than insisting that, like all immigrant groups before them, they assimilate to Western norms, almost all European politicians have been cravenly giving in to the Muslims' outrageous demands. As in the realm of foreign affairs, if this much can be accomplished under present circumstances, what might not be done if the process were being backed by Iranian nuclear blackmail? Already some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia. Whatever chance there may still be of heading off this eventuality would surely be lessened by the menacing shadow of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, and only too ready to put them into the hands of the terrorist groups to whom it is even now supplying rockets and other explosive devices.
Muslims are uniformly evil; Europeans and liberals are uniformly cowardly, weak and spineless, and we need strong-willed men like Podhoretz and Bush to take things in their hands and protect us. :: :: And, again, this is given a full page in a serious newspaper, is given polite, thoughtful consideration in pundit circles, and influences everybody else's discourse. and, as we know, these people have a direct, proven influence on actual US policies. We don't have until September.

Display:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/30/83136/1842

Thansk for your support.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:12:46 AM EST
Thank you for this.  I have already sent it to everyone I know.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 05:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, let's go ahead and plunge the world into even more upheavel and chaos than it already in. (what an asshole)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:34:42 AM EST
Catharsis by fire.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If all of the references to Iran were changed to US (and other appropriate changes) and then published in Tehran it would be considered a declaration of war and absolute perfidy.

How is it that such barking nonsense is rewarded by being printed on the front page of the WSJ rather than winning its author a long stay in a rubber room wearing tight pajamas ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:39:27 AM EST
Like everything, even American foreign policy is about domestic politics. This is a battle for Georgie's Ear.

It occurs to me that while Rice and the real diplomats have been trying to work in the interests of the United States by talking to the "enemy", Darth Cheney is back to doing what he does best, behind-the-scenes assassination politics orchestrating the "The Empire Strikes Back". This undoubtedly commissioned anti-Assisi message "Where there is vision, discord. Where there is hope, despair.etc" is just a pre-emptive strike to try to sabotage any form of agreement at a set of meetings he tried to prevent happening.

Strangely, the very desperation of it may be hopeful that Cheney is out of the loop on the Middle East at last.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks to me a lot like a "Cartago delenda est" cry. Just rhetorics so far, but with the first opportunity they will find it "only natural" to do.

Ironically, Iran can be considered as the most Democratic country in the region. At least they have an elected president and quite functioning social institutions. Though the economy is said to be stagnatic, isolated. Hopw they are supposed to hold on against threatening rhetorics?

by das monde on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know how Carthago delenda est enden, right? Carthage was burnt to the ground and the ground sown with salt so nothing would ever grow there again.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 01:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we already see the unfolding of a process analogous to Finlandization
And that ended rather badly for that third-world country known as Finland, didn't it?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 09:52:19 AM EST
That was the most amazing thing I discovered when I visited Finland.  Here are these people who didn't really have enough to eat in the 1950s because of the damage of a war with USSR that they had NOT started and the resulting demands for war reparations, yet what this reality meant was that any random cab driver or doorman knew more about USSR than any "Russia Expert" at the State Department in USA (Yes Condi, I am talking about you.)

And what THIS meant was that USSR eventually would buy enough Finnish goods to help propel Finland to near the front of OECD in living standards.  

The Finns have created a very successful foreign policy based on the obvious model of attempting to turn the world into satisfied customers.  This is why the looney right had to make "Finlandization" into a swear word.  

Ghandi used to remind Christians that their doctrine was overwhelmingly a pacifist one.  He would wonder what went wrong.  And yet, probably since no one in Finland could be really called devout, they seemed to have employed those rarely-taught Christian virtues to create a successful society.

Finland could have used the post-war period to organize revenge.  Lots of folks on earth act that way.  Instead, they invented and organized and sold big-ticket items like turnkey hotels to a nation that had bombed their cities.  And now, the idea of Russia invading Finland is so unlikely, even the Finnish Army is more about male bonding than defense.

"Finlandization" simply HAD to become a swear word.  The last idea the warmongers want to see gain traction is that pacifism in an historically Christian country not only results is good relations with the rest of the world, it is a successful recipe for prosperity.


"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 01:39:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, I had no idea what Finlandisation meant.

That comment of yours might make a good LTE to the WSJ. Not that they'd publish it, of course.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 01:44:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this is what the WSJ prints before Murdoch gets his hands on it, how exactly could it get worse - other than tits and bums on the front page - if he acquired it?

(Do not take that as me being in favour of Murdoch acquiring anything, btw)

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:09:52 AM EST
Tits and bums would be less obscene.

(Do not take that as me being in favour of tits and bums in newspapers, btw) ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:37:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's time for some more Mr. Natural.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:40:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 12:34:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy old men. Someone take away that damn table already.

It doesn't even need to be said that this is all quite, quite Kubrick/Strangelove mad.

Let's say Iran gets the bomb. Then what? Does anyone really believe it's going to start lobbing nukes at Tel Aviv or London, just because it can?

Given the retaliation, what would be the point?

Meanwhile Musharraf's tottery regime which already has nukes is edging closer and closer to imploding. If anyone's going to nuke Tel Aviv it's not going to be Tehran.

A cynic might think this is really about systematically eliminating or enclosing oil non-vassal states with significant oil reserves. But I'm sure that can't possibly be the real reason for the rhetoric.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:14:42 AM EST
A cynic might think this is really about systematically eliminating or enclosing oil non-vassal states with significant oil reserves.

There's no way the US can sustain this attempt and remain a democracy.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:22:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It sure can. The only thing needed is that the American people support and vote for such monstrous policy. They did that in 2004...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No people would be so asinine as to support another war that's even bigger, messier, costlier and bloodier. It would demand a draft, gas prices would go through the roof, the economy going down, the government becoming bankrupt, the entire region out of control - I mean, come on, it's impossible to support it.
But then, I could not imagine Bush becoming re-elected.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Either a draft or the open use of nuclear weapons.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:41:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We were told most people really didn't want to reelect Bush in 2004, but the Democrats gave them no choice.  Though I managed to vote Democratic in 04, I can identify with the the difficulties many who voted for Bush faced. Strange as it may seem, I can almost see the Democrats doing it again in 08.  It will be easy for me to vote Democratic given the current field.


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, meant to say it wiil not be easy for me to vote Democratic in 08...

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe that's true in the abstract, but Americans are today actually three peoples:

I. 100 million people with a highly developed sense of civil and human rights, who struggle to find ways to implement policies that will make the U.S. and the world better places -- "struggle" because this is NOT easy in the U.S. We love to talk about those wonderful people "who've made a difference" but realistically almost no one ever does.

II. 100 million people, 50% of whom are too stupid, too uninformed, too self-satisfied, too fat and lazy -- and another 50% of whom who are too overworked, too oppressed, too focused on their own and their family's survival to keep politically informed, let alone vote. (It may seem unfair to lump these two groups together but they share the same vulgar "culture" and the same allergy to voting.)

100 million people who love war, all varieties of violence but especially torture, hate dark-skinned people, dream of bigger and bigger tax cuts (that will never benefit 99% of this group, but, hey, it's fun to fantasize), have scientific beliefs almost identical to those of 11th century Europeans, think Christ is about to swoop down and carry them naked into Heaven anyway, so what do a few Armageddon's matter?  

This is why I have no patience with generalizations like "Americans are a good people" or even "America is a great nation." Well, one third of us are, but we lost our country a long time ago and we're having a very hard time taking it back.

by Matt in NYC on Sat Jun 16th, 2007 at 11:29:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it can't. Short of escalating internal destruction (and we've had none since 9-11) fear based politics require a very steep increase in the rate of saber rattling to function as a rhetorical tool, and right now it's close to burned out (look at how desperate this article is). This is a near term last gasp, not the start of the apocalypse.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to burrow into a hole and hybernate until WWIII is over.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:21:14 AM EST
Hey, he says it's number IV.

And by the way, the (or at least some) elites are doing exactly that already. It's called gated communities. (though they exist for the middle class in other places too, I have an aquaintance who lives in one in Marseille, due to crime I guess)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:06:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This simply echoes much of elite opinion, which as we have recently seen does more to shape official imperial policies of the US more than quaint ideas like the will of the people.

This isn't going to end well.

My suggestion: if you were planning on visiting the US in the next decade, this summer and next are the time to do it.

Things may get far too interesting afterwards to do so.

For my part, I'm whipping my house into shape in case I need to sell.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:54:14 AM EST
I think the summers of 2000 and 2001 were the time to do it. I had a genuinely good time my first year there, but 9/11 changed everything.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:00:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an excellent point.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:04:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And don't forget that
bunker-busting munitions
are code-words for tactical nuclear weapons

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:19:01 AM EST
It's code for "the speaker of these words is criminally insane".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:25:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A European (and Canadian) context that seriously needs to be added to this discussion.

Taking the following quote out of context:

the damn Europeans are, again, appeasers. You'd think they'd have learnt, this time

It looks like the Neocons want to apply the US melting pot to the world. As far as liberal appeasers go, just look at the list of countries doing US dirty work in Afghanistan and Iraq. One hopes that these liberals have now got the message as to what it means to support the United States. When are these liberals going to leave NATO? Aren't they frightened yet?

If this is not enough then Europe may very well discover what it means to be on the front line of a war against one billion people who have nuclear weapons. It is not Iran that I am talking about, but Pakistan.

As Bush has stated, you are either with us or against us. It is time for some liberals to start and figure out just which side they are on. When it comes to Republicans, there is no middle ground.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:25:12 AM EST
the damn Europeans are, again, appeasers. You'd think they'd have learnt, this time

Yes, we're appeasing the US.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One hopes that these liberals have now got the message as to what it means to support the United States. When are these liberals going to leave NATO? Aren't they frightened yet?

Yes, we have got the message and yes we are frightened. However, if you can think of a single country in europe where liberals are in control, please let me know.

In every country I can think of the political elites are totally Atlanticist.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The main thing to note here is that the neocons are not giving up and (with a sigh of relief) going back to their occupations as scholars and lovers of knowledge, as Meyrav Wurmser made out not long ago.

Sometimes people express surprise the neocons haven't learned anything from - well, at least, have not felt just a teensy bit repudiated by - the ongoing mess in Iraq. But what mess? Smashing weak countries into chaos pour encourager les autres is what it's all about.

Next stop Iran.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:52:44 AM EST
No, they're not giving up and going home.  Never mind the first rule of holes.

On first reading, I got about three words in before I started thinking, Good god, is he serious?  Is he insane?  Why would they publish this?  Are they all insane?  Which is pretty much the soundtrack from inside my head thru reading the whole thing.

But then I thought, no, I'm glad the WSJ published it, I'm almost grateful to them for publishing it, because if the neocon cabal is really this far off the rails, we do need to know that, we do need to remember just how bad they can be... lest we be lulled into complacency, lest we fool ourselves into believing we're in the homestretch and they can't possibly make it any worse in the 600 days, 23 hours and 21 minutes they have left.  Because they can, and clearly, they want to.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It cost civilization a bloody world war in which millions died and whole nations were destroyed to stop the planet from being tipped mechanized Dark Ages from which is may never have recovered. And one of the casualties that perished in rubble of the Third Reich was the excuse that, when evil people tell you what they plan to do, they don't really mean it.
With a hat tip to Helen.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:44:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the WSJ has another article that attracted my attention, by Pascal Bruckner, one of those French intellectuals heavily involved in pushing for humanitarian interventionism, starting with Bosnia and Chechnya, and continuing with Iraq, and ending with supporting Sarkozy.


'Re-Arming' Europe

A civilization capable of the worst atrocities as well as the most sublime creation cannot examine itself only from the perspective of a guilty conscience. Genocide is far from a Western specialty, and it is the West which has allowed us to conceptualize certain acts as crimes against humanity; it is the West which since 1945 has distanced itself from its own barbarity to give a precise meaning to the term crimes against humanity.

Europe's genius is that it knows too well the fragility of the barriers separating it from its own ignominy. This lucidity, pushed to the extreme, keeps Europe from calling for a crusade of Good against Evil, inspiring it to substitute instead the battle of the preferable against the detestable, to use the excellent formula of Raymond Aron. Europe is constituted inside the very doubt which denies its existence, seeing itself with the pitiless gaze of an intransigent judge.

This suspicion weighing down our most notable successes risks degenerating into self-hate, into facile defeatism.

(...)

Europe does not need to blush because of its history. Here is a civilization which raised itself up from the apocalypse of World War II, representing today the peaceful marriage of strength and conscience -- it may indeed walk with head held high, serving as an example to other nations.

The time has come for a new generation of political leaders to mentally re-arm Europe, to prepare the Union for the confrontations which will soon be coming. We need a veritable intellectual revolution if we do not want the spirit of penitence to stifle in us the spirit of resistance -- to give us up with bound hands and feet to the fanatics and the despots.

This is a fascinating piece, because the starting point, about Europe as the worst sinner but also that which was able to acknowledge its crimes, repent, and change tis behavior, is quite correct.

Where he strays is in thinking that this process should be used as an excuse to go again on a rampage - on a fighting posture, he says, but the slope is slippery, as we know and Bruckner should know.

This is the 'we've learnt from our evil, so we're good, so we can do anything again' posture - that of exceptionalism, of missionary superiority which also inspires Podhoretz.

What's strangest is that perception of all these threats around us. That's close to paranoid. Some of that posture is linked to fears for Israel (grounded in both the history of the last century and the current absence of peace in the region), but it becomes a self-sustaining source of hate-mongering and conflict.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 11:59:33 AM EST
Confrontations with whom? Fanatics and despots? Does he mean Bush's US?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 12:01:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting that these two pieces are in the same issue.
Sadly, I am convinced that these pieces represent a large body of world thought.

Podhoretz, far from being a radical dingbat, is employing that most useful political talent and sensing a strong current of largely unspoken public opinion that flows beneath the surface of rationality. The vengeance that might have stilled the atavistic clamor for blood that whispers in the veins of the American people (and perhaps all people) has been spoiled by the fact that---we lost. They, the evil ones, the enemy---once again, kicked our ass. Podhoretz may have been put up to this- it really doesn't matter, does it? The Overton window shifts.

That matters.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 12:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Charolette Iserbyte documented the deliberate dumbing down of America yet there are still older people here who have awakened from the deep comatose state most are in.

Top eschelons in the US government made 911 happen.  Then they covered it up.

Al-qaida as an international organization exists only in the media and the minds of warmongers.

Every time 911 and "Islamofascism" are brought up at least in my mind I cringe and am saddended by the retardation evident in other Americans.  I pray that more Americans wake up to the facts.

by Lasthorseman on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 12:12:29 PM EST
sigh

A 9/11 troofer. Would you please stop embarrassing the rest of us Bush critics with your wild conspiracy theories?

The Shrub administration is leaking worse than a grounded Russian oil tanker. Why, just earlier this month the Shrub admin was further embarrassed by a very public accusation of highly inappropriate conduct (bordering in fact on a coup d'etat) by administration officials. What makes you possibly think that they could keep a conspiracy involving at least two dozen operatives from at least two or three different agencies a secret?

The relationship between the extremist neocons and the extremist islamists is an interesting issue, but I've wasted enough bandwidth on this troll already, so I'll stop feeding him.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 03:48:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That link sounds like a CYA to me.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 04:01:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt that. He's pissing off a lot of people in that testimony. Not to mention the fact that it's given under oath. Not that that has historically prevented Bush cronies from lying, of course, but it does add at least a little bit of credibility in my view.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 04:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah I "trust" the "media".
http://www.scl.cc/home.php
by Lasthorseman on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 05:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition to avenging an old humiliation I firmly believe that they want to shut off the flow of Iranian oil as they have done in Iraq.

These people are the poster children for criminal insanity.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

http://bobhiggins.wordpress.com/

by BobHiggins (rlh974@yahoo.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 12:58:56 PM EST
After that, Venezuela, right? Because Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are well-behaved.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a drug lord turf war.

The drug happens to be oil and the war could possibly go nuclear.

But that's the model here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 07:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, well guys, let's not get too depressed; the neocons got it all wrong and lost what credilibility they had, cf:

"These are lean times for the War Party. Their glorious "victories" have turned to dust. Their lies are the subject of front-page coverage and grand jury indictments. Their mission, far from being "accomplished," is further from success than ever, and the administration is in full retreat. Forced to negotiate with the Iranians over Tehran's nascent nuclear program, the full-bore neocon militarism once dominant in D.C. has been replaced by the centrist sensibility of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose influence is largely credited with the new moderation. Dick Cheney and his cronies are on the outs.

...the American military is being chewed up on the ground in Iraq. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), generally understood to be speaking for a significant group of senior U.S. military officers, avers: "The future of our military is at risk if the U.S. stays in Iraq much longer."

... the neocons, who foretold showers of rose petals flung in the path of U.S. troops and hailed the advent of a new era of capital-D Democracy for the Middle East, were dead wrong. As Pat Buchanan put it back in the summer of '03:

"The salad days of the neoconservatives, which began with the president's Axis-of-Evil address in January 2002 and lasted until the fall of Baghdad may be coming to an end. Indeed, it is likely the neoconservatives will never again enjoy the celebrity and cachet in which they reveled in their romp to war on Iraq."

Richard Perle and his friends can write all the op-eds for the Washington Post they want, but it'll be a cold day in Hell before anyone in this administration takes heed of their counsels.

... From now on, however, they'll be running from their record of inciting the worst strategic disaster in American military history - a reputation that, rather than fade with the years, will only become more vivid and closely associated with the neoconservative creed."

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9203

CF: "Neocon Mea Culpas

Posted on Feb 20, 2006

"Francis Fukuyama, one of the leading neocon intellectuals who argued the case for the Iraq war, admits in a blockbuster N.Y. Times Magazine essay that it is "very hard to see how [the removal of Saddam Hussein, and a few spillover benefits] justify the blood and treasure that the United States has spent."
Andrew Sullivan, another leading pro-war conservative, echoes Fukuyama's comment and points out three areas where neocons were tragically wrong..."

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/neocons_mea_culpas_20060220/

This kind of opinion piece in the WSJ  can be seen as hysterical bluster by desperate men.

Anyway, the ed pages of the WSJ have been described as a "comic strip" by Chomsky, but, since he doesn't see things in black and white terms, he acknowledges that in its actual reporting, as with the FT, one can often find good stuff, because the elite do need to know what is really going on:

"... those in decision-making positions in the economic, political, and ideological domains have to have a tolerably realistic picture of the world. The editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal may be mostly a comic strip, but the news pages are often excellent, and some of the best reporting in the world can be found in the London Financial Times and other business journals."

http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/ChomskyTimeTerror.cfm

And the reports show that the war is a disaster and the neocons were wrong, as Sullivan puts it: "We got cocky. We should have known better."

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/neocons_mea_culpas_20060220/

Many in the elite now do know better and won't take this sort of idiocy seriously.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 01:53:03 PM EST
Thanks for restoring a bit of reality.  This is the point I have been trying to make for a long time, but obviously without much success.

Did anyone comment on or even notice Ryan Crocker's recent talks with the Iranians?

From AP

"Despite the tensions, the U.S. and Iran held landmark talks in Baghdad earlier this week. Though the ambassador-level meeting was limited to Iraq's security, it was the first formal talks between the two countries since the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran."

 

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed May 30th, 2007 at 10:56:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See also this, on the origins of "shrillblog.blogspot.com":

"The accusation--the only line of critique--is that Paul [Krugman]"only sees what's wrong with the other side, in fairly crude terms," or--in shorthand--is "shrill."

God alone knows why they thought this line of attack would do anything other than shred their own reputations. God knows why others took up this line of attack. But take off it did, both as a narrowly-focused attempt to degrade the reputation of Paul Krugman, and as a broader attempt to marginalize all who pointed out that the policies of the Bush administration were (a) stupid, and (b) justified by lies, and it took off both among the yahoos of the right and also among the denizens of the center-left.

...

"...given that criticisms of George W. Bush and the malevolence, mendacity, incompetence and disconnection from reality of him and his administration are--no matter how sound their analytics or how true their factual claims--going to be dismissed by many as impolite and "shrill," why not have some fun with and embrace the term?

And so the idea was off and running...

Faisal grabbed the website http://shrillblog.blogspot.com/, after emailing "must. resist. temptation. to set up. shrill.org group weblog" and being answered "Why is this temptation to be resisted?
...
And the ranks of the shrill are now... impressive indeed. Even the truly cowardly are now shrill. Only the bought-and-paid-for have not joined the ranks of the highly critical who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by the mendacity, malevolence, incompetence, and disconnection from reality of George W. Bush and his administration.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Krugman R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] And, of course, it was only a month later that Cohen became what he had sneered at:

I do not write the headlines for my columns. Someone else does. But if I were to write the headline for this one, it would be "Impeach George Bush."... Not since the Spanish-American War has the United States gone off to war so casually, so half-cocked and so ineptly.... Yet from Bush comes not a bleep of regret, not to mention apology. It is all "steady as she goes" -- although we have lost our bearings and we no longer know our destination. (Don't tell me it's a democratic Middle East.) If the man were commanding a ship, he would be relieved of command. If he were the CEO of some big company, the board would offer him a golden parachute -- and force him to jump...

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2006/07/the_history_of_.html

And from shrillblog itself:

"Chris Matthews Is Shrill!

Don't be worried. Some viewers were shocked when you changed shape before their eyes and grabbed the Bush-defending guests with your suckers and rent them into shreds and gobbets with your parrot-like beak. But ratings are up:

Crooks and Liars » Matthews Gets Fired Up: On yesterday's "Hardball" Chris Matthews was in rare form and fired up about Iraq, Immigration and fact-free Republican Presidential candidates. During his interview with Democratic Presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) he slams President Bush for his Iraq rhetoric and playing the terror card when it suits him, but his main target was Republican Presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani. Matthews questions why Giuliani has been allowed to spout off the wall , fact-free talking points and nobody has stepped up to challenge him. I think this quote to Biden after watching a clip of Giuliani says it all: Matthews: "Absolute B.S., Senator. Absolute B.S."

Posted by brad on 5/27/2007  

http://shrillblog.blogspot.com/

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 05:18:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why are they always at least half the screen in any talking heads show? Even PBS, God bless them, wouldn't have a report on bombing orphanages without presenting, as they love to say, "two opposing points of view."

It's sort of a duh, isn't it, that everyone in the Left Blogosphere denounces and ridicules them. But Joe and Mary SixPack don't know that. When they see an article like this, they think, "Hey, this guy was just on MSNBC, CNN or PBS -- he can't be that big an idiot."

by Matt in NYC on Sat Jun 16th, 2007 at 11:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, we had a couple of good discussions on this, I think, more than a year ago.  As I recall the discussions, there was excellent information sharing along the lines of how close Iran really could be to a nuclear weapon; and there was good discussion along the lines of what the appropriate responses should be from the EU and US.  I agree this article seems extreme (I have read the entire article at WSJ).  But given the excellence of those discussions/debates, and the fact that even though Iran's nuclear program has fallen off the MSM front pages, the problem has not been resolved, (and hopefully will not be resolved along the lines suggested in this article).

But perhaps posting those two debates/discussions as background, and then beginning a discussion of What Now? might be very interesting.  My recollection of our consensus was, at least I guess it was what I walked away with, that Iran was a minimum of 5 years away from a nuclear bomb.  And we had great concern that the West, led by the US, would act precipitously and lead the world into a situation that would be catastrophe.

But I like the thought of doing this again, because things have changed as time goes on, and looking at what we thought before, and seeing where we are now, puts us a little more in the position of decision makers--those who have to make judgements based on the facts now.  We can see what we thought then, and discuss a course of action informed by what we thought previously, and what we understand now.

Actually I imagine this will be an issue that evolves over the next several years, and it might be informative for us to have discussed this, and documented our thoughts in the current setting, and have that as a record as we proceed forward. Given all of the great commentary from a year ago, I would think this might position the website uniquely in discussing what may turn out to be a critical worldwide issue--following our initial discussions now, and then maybe more in future years as this gets played out.

What do you think?  Timing of course should be thought through.  Maybe the French parliamentary elections needs to take front stage the next few weeks.  But whatever, I thought I would bring this to your attention.

And btw, I thought Colman did a great job of leading this before, so why not again.  he probably has plenty of spare time.<snark>

by wchurchill on Thu May 31st, 2007 at 03:16:02 AM EST
Why do I see no discussion of the foibles of the human race in governance?

Is there no threat from religionism? Religiofascism? Why CAN'T one religion fight another, while we frustrated humanists watch the world explode?

The recent flood of anti-religion books are trying to tell you that the world is ready for, and badly needs reason, if the reasoners can learn to distinguish between respect for viewpoints, and people who have encapsulated their mirror neurons in some kind of neurotubercule.

Start thinking clearly, and forget political correctness. Israel is at base a religious problem. Islam is at base a religious problem. Millenialism is at base a religious problem. Do I bore you? You should be thinking "Wow! That's a pretty large percentage of the world's population susceptible to fundamentalism!"

And neocons need a base all primed for nuttiness. Religion gives it to them, as it did for Hitler and his supporters.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 09:18:55 PM EST


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