February 9, 2012

Great moments in neocon strategizing: Bomb Paraguay!

From an old Newsweek article:
Days after 9/11, a senior Pentagon official lamented the lack of good targets in Afghanistan and proposed instead U.S. military attacks in South America or Southeast Asia as "a surprise to the terrorists," according to a footnote in the recent 9/11 Commission Report. The unsigned top-secret memo, which the panel's report said appears to have been written by Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, is one of several Pentagon documents uncovered by the commission which advance unorthodox ideas for the war on terror. The memo suggested "hitting targets outside the Middle East in the initial offensive" or a "non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq," the panel's report states. U.S. attacks in Latin America and Southeast Asia were portrayed as a way to catch the terrorists off guard when they were expecting an assault on Afghanistan. 
The memo's content, NEWSWEEK has learned, was in part the product of ideas from a two-man secret Pentagon intelligence unit appointed by Feith after 9/11: veteran defense analyst Michael Maloof and Mideast expert David Wurmser, now a top foreign-policy aide to Dick Cheney. Maloof and Wurmser saw links between international terror groups that the CIA and other intelligence agencies dismissed. They argued that an attack on terrorists in South America—for example, a remote region on the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where intelligence reports said Iranian-backed Hizbullah had a presence—would have ripple effects on other terrorist operations. The proposals were floated to top foreign-policy advisers. But White House officials stress they were regarded warily and never adopted.

As far as I can tell, there's no grand, carefully plotted, centrally controlled neocon conspiracy. There is just a small, somewhat loose network of energetic and overly excitable intellectuals who continue to have far more influence than their track record would suggest they deserve, and far more immunity from criticism of their network and their tendencies than is wise. They have a number of tendencies -- a love of international Rube Goldberg schemes; a love of conspiracy theorizing; dual loyalties; a strong willingness to play the anti-Semitism card to bully skeptics into silence; an aversion to leave well enough alone, to let sleeping dogs lie, and to try to fix things that aren't all that broken; an unhealthy love of violence in the abstract; and so forth. Not all of the neocons share all these tendencies, but there is plenty of overlap. And these problems generally get worse over time, because not only are they backed by powerful and wealthy interests so that they don't suffer much from their world-historical screw-ups like pushing the Iraq Attaq, but they aren't even exposed much to more than piecemeal criticism.

Let me go back to an incident I blogged about in 2005:

You may recall that prominent neocon Francis "End of History" Fukuyama jumped ship awhile ago and criticized Charles Krauthammer in The National Interest for his lack of realism about the Iraq War. Krauthammer responded, predictably, by playing the anti-Semitism card. Here is part of Fukuyama's rebuttal:
"Krauthammer says I have a "novel way of Judaizing neoconservatism", and that my argument is a more "implicit and subtle" version of things said by Pat Buchanan and Mahathir Mohamad. Since he thinks the latter two are anti-Semites, he is clearly implying that I am one as well. If he really thinks this is so, he should say that openly."

A little late, perhaps, Francis? "First they came for Pat Buchanan, but I was not Pat Buchanan, so I said nothing. Then they came ...". But better late than never. Fukuyama continues:
"What I said in my critique of [Krauthammer's] speech was, of course, quite different. I said that there was a very coherent set of strategic ideas that have come out of Israel's experience dealing with the Arabs and the world community, having to do with threat perception, preemption, the relative balance of carrots and sticks to be used in dealing with the Arabs, the United Nations, and the like. Anyone who has dealt with the Arab-Israeli conflict understands these ideas, and many people (myself included) believe that they were well suited to Israel's actual situation. You do not have to he Jewish to understand or adopt these ideas as your own, which is why people like Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld share them. And it is not so hard to understand how one's experience of Arab-Israeli politics can come to color one's broader view of the world: The 1975 "Zionism is racism" resolution deeply discredited the UN, in the eyes of Jews and non-Jews alike, on issues having nothing to do with the Middle East. This is not about Judaism; it is about ideas. It would be quite disingenuous of Charles Krauthammer to assert that his view of how Israel needs to deal with the Arabs (that is, the testicular route to hearts and minds) has no impact on the way he thinks the United States should deal with them. And it is perfectly legitimate to ask whether this is the best way for the United States to proceed."

Well said. America's foreign policy blunders since early 2002 have less to do with the fact that so many highly influential people in Washington and New York, like Krauthammer, think about Israel and its welfare all the time, as to the fact that it has become extremely dangerous to one's career to point out that they do. People like Feith and Krauthammer like to believe deep down that are tough sabras, who would do whatever it takes. Feith wasn't acting on orders from Tel Aviv, he was fantasizing about what his Israeli heroes would have done. Similarly, Krauthammer wasn't acting on orders from Ariel Sharon when be demanded America invade Iraq. Sharon was a smart, fairly realistic guy. Iraq was way down the list of countries he'd like America to attack. The Iraq Attaq was something neocons dreamed up themselves and the Israelis said, in effect, "Iraq? Well, okay, sure, go for it if that's what you want to do."

As Gene Expression blogged:
And I'm sorry, but ethnicity will and should legitimately be a topic brought up in the ensuing debate. Consider an analogy. Suppose that Wolfowitz, Perle, Shulsky, Feith, Ledeen, and all the rest were South Asian Americans rather than Jewish Americans and had names like Ramachandran, Patel, and Choudhury. Again they'd be selected from a highly educated group that was less than 2% of society (there are about 2 to 3 million South Asian Americans, about 1/2 to 1/3 the number of American Jews depending on how you count).
Now suppose they were pushing the US to invade Pakistan, and talking about how the Islamic terrorists killing Indian citizens in Kashmir were the same ones bombing the US on 9/11. Assume that they did this whilst having relatives, extended families, and significant contacts in India. 
Now, their arguments would not - and should not - be dismissed out of hand. After all, it is probably more accurate to say that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the ISI are/were more closely involved in Muslim terrorism in Kashmir than they are with anti-Israeli terrorism in Palestine. (As far as I know, Al Qaeda has never directly attacked Israel.) 
But while their arguments would not be dismissed out of hand, clearly their visible ethnicity would figure into the debate. Plenty of people would take their opinions with a grain of salt, knowing that humans tend to be ethnocentric on the population level if not the individual level. It would be scurrilous to dismiss their arguments simply because they were of Indian ancestry, especially if they were born in America. But it would be foolish to think their ethnicity wasn't impacting any of their arguments, and to rule out mention of their ethnicity as "anti-Subcontinental."

What we need, now more than ever, is free discussion. Policing the "bounds of public discourse" helped get us into Iraq.

70 comments:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Remember that Frank at "In My Arrogant Opinion" suggested that we Nuke The Moon, or one of our own national parks, to show the terrorists we were crazy and capable of anything. I confess I remain fond of those ideas.

Monetheless, you are again falling into the same trap that the neocons do, assuming that had we not done "x," everything now would be exactly the same, except for the negative consequences of "x" that we wish we hadn't paid. We do not know, and the assumption that "Hell, nothing as bad or worse could possibly have gone wrong in the Middle East in the last ten years" strikes me as a rather over-optimistic assumption.

Not to be taken as a claim that our adventures were a success or not amazingly expensive. But the other-than-that-status-quo assumption is apparent in this and most other criticism of neo-cons.

Or post-hoc criticism of anyone by anyone, actually. It's human nature, but it's still bad logic.

Anonymous said...

"As far as I can tell, there's no grand, carefully plotted, centrally controlled neocon conspiracy"

Nice to hear you admit it. Are you finally going to drop this bogeyman? "Neocons are under our bed, ahhhh!"

It's getting creepy. (I kid - it's been creepy for years).

Anonymous said...

"U.S. attacks in Latin America and Southeast Asia were portrayed as a way to catch the terrorists off guard [...]"

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

What we need, now more than ever, is free discussion. Policing the "bounds of public discourse" helped get us into Iraq.
Neocons, ScotsIrish, "new york elite' liberals (with the bomb iran tinge) don't want public discourse. They want their agenda carried out. Discussing it, stopping to think about it.. gets in the way. The aggresive askan - oops - scots-irish 'psychological intensity' is what gets them ahead not brains or reason.

Truth said...

And these are the people you guys want to put back in office.

Anonymous said...

"First they came for Pat Buchanan, but I was not Pat Buchanan, so I said nothing. Then they came ..."

The same can be said of Steve's attitude towards Palestinians.

not a hacker said...

... who continue to have far more influence than their track record would suggest they deserve ...


One day Max Boot is editing The Daily Californian ("new trash receptables in Sproul Plaza), and a few years later he's an expert on defense.

Ray Sawhill said...

Genius posting.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear you admit it. Are you finally going to drop this bogeyman? "Neocons are under our bed, ahhhh!"

It's getting creepy. (I kid - it's been creepy for years).


What's creepy is the fact that the nation listened to them post 9-11, and even with all that has transpired, is apparently ready to listen to them again. That's creepy. What more do they have to do to prove that they are wrong?

MQ said...

Neocons, ScotsIrish, "new york elite' liberals (with the bomb iran tinge) don't want public discourse. They want their agenda carried out. Discussing it, stopping to think about it.. gets in the way. The aggresive askan - oops - scots-irish 'psychological intensity' is what gets them ahead not brains or reason.

aaaand...the crazed anti-semite makes his mandatory appearance in an Isteve thread. I like how the tiny little cabal of neocons is identified with all Jews, even those ('new york elite liberals') who demonstrably hated the Iraq war. But once you pick up the anti-semitism bug you never have to think again.

Moanie Moanie said...

Ok Assistant Village Idiot, what would have happened? Or could have? We know Saddam didn't have WMD, and in fact we knew it before we attacked. I wish I had a cite but, as a lefty the articles I read said they didn't. So what /would/ have happened? Some more mistreatment of Saddam's people and ... not much else. Christopher Hitchens argued that the Arab Spring wouldn't have happened without Saddam's removal but, how much does that affect /us/?

Whiskeeeeeee said...

Steve, we Scots-Irish are born fighting!

dearieme said...

Why not attack Bradford?

Anonymous said...

There is just a small network of energetic and overly excitable intellectuals who continue to have far more influence than their track record would suggest they deserve and far more immunity from criticism of their network than is wise.

I think you're being too kind, Steve. You have a tendency to give them the benefit of the doubt.

They're arguably responsible for a lot of death, destruction, and suffering, of both soldiers and innocent civilians.

Any self-deception or lack of conscious intent is no excuse. It means that they're even more dangerous.

Propeller Island said...

Was there really a Hizbullah outpost in Argentina or did Feith invent it? It's not impossible, after all they did blow up two bombs in Buenos Aires. If such outpost actually existed by all means it should've been attacked. If anything, for daring to set up shop in our hemisphere.

Anonymous said...

"Iraq was way down the list of countries he'd [Sharon] like America to attack"

But it was very high on the list of countries the Saudis wanted us to attack, as Iran is now.

Not sure why no one is pointing this out.

Paul Lynde for the Win said...

Remember when neocons had a domestic policy agenda? I guess Clinton-era welfare reform solved all that so they're freed up to focus like a laser on playing Game of Thrones IRL as Blackwater patrols the U of Chicago campus.

IHTG said...

Great moments in paleocon blogging: Beat the Dead Horse! ;>

Bob Arctor said...

"I like how the tiny little cabal of neocons is identified with all Jews, even those ('new york elite liberals') who demonstrably hated the Iraq war."

Don't dissimulate; the overwhelming majority of the official, mainline liberal Jewish establishment vigorously supports America's horrible policies toward Palestine. The difference between them and the neocon elite is one of tactics and emphasis rather than substance.

Case in point, when Sen. Paul suggested earlier this year that in order to balance the budget we should cut foreign aid globally by 50% (including Israel), J Street - ostensibly a collection of brave left-leaning dissidents from the AIPAC party line - raised a shitstorm of complaint and got a number of their bought and paid for shabbas goyim Democratic Senators to go on the various Sunday Morning shows to denounce Sen. Paul's rather sensible proposal. After that, it was quietly shelved and never heard from again.

When the allowable range of discourse on Israel (in the Jew community and, by extension, America as a whole) is between ridiculously one-sided pro-Israel policies and an massive increase in aid (AIPAC) and ridiculously one-sided pro-Israel policies with at least no cuts in aid (J Street) it's senseless to speak of "vast disagreements amongst Jews on foreign policy matters." They simply don't exist, at least not in the mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Make sure it's a soccer bomb at least.

Anonymous said...

"...even those who demonstrably hated the Iraq war..."

It's called "plausible deniability". Also, hedging one's bets.

But of course, you knew that. And chose not to mention it. Hmm, wonder why.

Thrasymachus said...

The idea that the US is a natural ally of Israel and should fight wars with it is somewhat less ridiculous than the idea that the US is a natural ally of Great Britain should fight wars with it, an idea much more viciously crammed down on America, and with much worse consequences.

What's the reverse of ad hominem? If a guy named Patel says we should nuke Pakistan, why, he's absolutely right- just kidding, a 500 pound bomb on every mud hut in the Northwest Territory, along with selected targets in the rest of the country would be fine- and his ethnic background doesn't cast aspersions on his argument, because it has nothing to do with its inherent merits.

Bob Arctor said...

"If such outpost actually existed by all means it should've been attacked. If anything, for daring to set up shop in our hemisphere."

You and your kin can go blow it up all you want, with your own money and your own damned lives. The war between Hezbollah and the Zionists is of no concern to 98% of Americans.

Should we attack the headquarters of Zionist foreign agents, such as AIPAC, J Street, and the ADL for "daring to set up shop" not merely just in our hemisphere but in our own country itself. They've killed over an order of magnitude more Americans than Hezbollah ever did.

"We do not know, and the assumption that "Hell, nothing as bad or worse could possibly have gone wrong in the Middle East in the last ten years" strikes me as a rather over-optimistic assumption."

Here's a simple thought experiment; how many American servicemen died in the Middle East annually prior to 2003 and how many died annually after that? Does that answer your question?

Anonymous said...

Sounds a bit like a narrative fallacy. The policy should be questioned and debated. The tangential religious/ethnic background of those debating seems a bit like visiting the deeds of the father upon the son--it inflames the debate but resolves nothing.
Forbes

Anonymous said...

Be sure to bomb the dark side of the moon. Nazis there.

Anonymous said...

Most ethnic groups view the blood of their own group as being more important than the blood of outsiders. It's like a set of scales with a weight on one side.

The more outbred an ethnic group is the lesser the weight placed on one side of the scales and the closer it gets to being evenly balanced - which has problems of its own. The more inbred an ethnic group the heavier the weight placed on one side of the scales and the more unbalanced they become up to the point where they're fully unbalanced and the blood of outsiders is of no importance at all.

Bob Arctor said...

"Be sure to bomb the dark side of the moon. Nazis there."

The laughably disproportionate hysteria towards the National Socialists is interesting, isn't it, considering they haven't held political power (or even came remotely close to holding it) anywhere on the globe in over 66 years.

I suppose if the media and "culture" industry were thoroughly dominated by Ukrainians we'd all be absolutely sick of hearing about Stalin, Beria, Kaganovich and the Holodomor by now.

Hunsdon said...

MQ said: aaaand...the crazed anti-semite makes his mandatory appearance in an Isteve thread. I like how the tiny little cabal of neocons is identified with all Jews, even those ('new york elite liberals') who demonstrably hated the Iraq war. But once you pick up the anti-semitism bug you never have to think again.

Hunsdon replied: New York elite liberals like Judith Miller, MQ? Also, I find your use of the hoary anti-semitic phrase "cabal" to refer to the neocons to be offensive.

Hunsdon said...

IHTG said: Great moments in paleocon blogging: Beat the Dead Horse! ;>

Hunsdon replied: Why yes, beating a dead horse. Certainly. Given that Krauthammer no longer writes for the WaPo, certainly. Given that the neocons are shunned by all polite society, but of course. Given that these same fools are now beating the war drums for an attack on Iran, well, naturally.

Yes, that horse is dead.

Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Hunsdon said...

Truth said: And these are the people you guys want to put back in office.

Hunsdon replied: I kid you not, Truth, I am seriously considering voting for Obama this time around. I'm used to holding my nose and voting for Republicans, so if I have to hold my nose to vote Democratic, well, I've had the practice.

ERP (Except for Ron Paul), I think the foreign policy of the Republican candidates for the White House is batshit insane.

sunbeam said...

Perhaps you said this in other ways.

Maybe there is nothing to get.

The whole thing makes no sense. From the beginning if you want say it all started on 9/11 nothing has made any sense about any of this.

This isn't any grand, cold blooded, calculus of manipulation to a strategic end.

It is a total, FUBAR mess.

And anyone with a lick of sense has known it from the beginning.

Yet it happened. And it continues to happen.

Everyone knows exactly what is going on, and is still going on.

Yet no one does anything.

No one believes in this shit. Not from what passes for a salon in New York, to Mad Dog's Biker Bar in Texas.

It would almost be comforting if the neocons were some kind of mad geniuses pulling strings behind the scenes. But they are not.

Most people who are aware of the group of people termed "neocons" think they are as dumb as a box of rocks.

They just aren't that smart. They don't come across as smart. They never do anything smart.

Remember this quote from Tommy Franks about Doug Feith?

"the dumbest fucking guy on the planet.”

There is no mystery about the political posturing or the calls of anti-semitism when someone criticizes the group, or something they are in favor of.

Everyone knows what the score is on this matter. Yet it happens.

It kind of makes me think of Jerry Sandusky's wife. She had to know what was going on in his basement. Hell they had a number of adopted children. Yet she did nothing.

This is just total bullshit. The whole thing is ridiculous. The fact that it has continued so long, after ever occurring in the first place is definitely a sign of deep seated flaws in the American system.

Dmitri Orlov has written several items comparing the current US situation to the state of the Soviet Union leading up to it's collapse.

I truly believe he is correct in this. Inertia is the only way you can describe this system at the current time.

Hunsdon said...

Thrasymachus said: The idea that the US is a natural ally of Israel and should fight wars with it is somewhat less ridiculous than the idea that the US is a natural ally of Great Britain should fight wars with it, an idea much more viciously crammed down on America, and with much worse consequences.

Hunsdon replied: How is it somewhat less ridiculous? At least, when that propaganda (oh and it was propaganda) was being pushed, a majority----or at least a statistically not-insignificant portion---of the US population traced back to the United Kingdom.

Even if we admit your premise (and, honestly, we don't, but for the sake of argument), why should being gullible enough to fight another country's wars in the past justify being gullible enough to fight another country's wars today?

Hunsdon said...

Steve said: Feith wasn't acting on orders from Tel Aviv, he was fantasizing about what his Israeli heroes would have done.

Hunsdon replied: From your lips to God's ear. (To G-d's ear? Whichever.)

Feith, Krauthammer, and a number of the other more prominent neocons are internet tough guys. For all my policy disagreements with Bibi Netanyahu, Bibi ain't no internet tough guy, he's the real thing.

Feith is Ryan Gosling to Bibi's Robert Mitchum.

Defeated said...

"...the crazed anti-semite makes his mandatory appearance in an Isteve thread"

"It’s pointless to ask what “anti-Semitic” means. It means trouble. It’s an attack signal. The practical function of the word is not to define or distinguish things, but to conflate them indiscriminately — to equate the soberest criticism of Israel or Jewish power with the murderous hatred of Jews. And it works. Oh, how it works." - Joe Sobran.

RIP Joe. The tag ruined him. I still miss him.

Anonymous said...

@MQ - how quickly we forget - the NYT supported the iraq war - remember judith "miller"? And now they are giving editorial space to former mossad chiefs.. but not conservative opponents to the war like Buchanan.

"anti semitism" - that may work in the beltway, but not on isteve.

Anonymous said...

@hunsdon
I find your use of the hoary anti-semitic phrase "cabal" to refer to the neocons to be offensive.
WOlfolwitz jokingly referred to the neocons as 'the cabal'

Anonymous said...

And it works. Oh, how it works." - Joe Sobran.

frankly I would not be surprised to one day find isteve 'off the air'

Olave d'Estienne said...

And these are the people you guys want to put back in office.

No.

Anonymous said...

*Douglas* Feith... must be Scotch-Irish.

bobn said...

Well, there are 2 unrelated things I have to say about NeoConservatives:

1) They have shown a signal failure to conserve anything;

2) At least they are not "yet more Jewish Liberals" (I am an American of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and the number of big time Jewish Liberals is truly disgusting.)

Propeller Island said...

Ethnicity will and should legitimately be a topic brought up in the ensuing debate.

Fair enough; but the problem is, in this particular case this theory doesn't have much explanatory power. In effect, you are saying that the neocons support interventions in Middle East because they want to help their co-ethnics (but apparently are too stupid to understand what they are doing.) But if helping Israel was truly their main concern they would concentrate on Middle East only. They would have no opinions about places far from Middle East that have nothing to do with Jews, or at least they would have conflicting opinions.

However, we see something very different. The neocons as one foam at the mouth at the mention of the names of Putin or Chavez. They push for NATO expansion all the way to Caucasus. They advocate building missile installations in Poland. They love colored revolutions in various God-forsaken sh!tholes. They hold it as their sacred right to lecture Chinese about human right, and also to get into their faces in regards to Taiwan and Tibet. They want American troops to forever protect South Korea from North Korea. And so on, and so forth.

Now the most unhinged will say that all of this is somehow still in Israel's interest. For the rest I will offer my own explanation. The neocons are none other than a modern version of the good, old-fashioned, pith-helmeted imperialists. And the reason they have so much influence is not due to some magic Jewish juju but because Americans like being an Empire. They may sometimes grumble about the costs but they like it nonetheless. They would certainly hate it if they stopped being an Empire.

Propeller Island said...

Here's a simple thought experiment; how many American servicemen died in the Middle East annually prior to 2003 and how many died annually after that? Does that answer your question?

In 2004, Putin said that Iraq was planning terror attacks in American cities. I don't know why Putin of all people would lie about something like that, so it has a high probability of being true. It's possible that nn unknown number of American civilians are alive now because we went into Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Now the most unhinged will say that all of this is somehow still in Israel's interest.

There's nothing "unhinged" about evolutionary biology. Some groups will tend to support the formation of centralized, imperial authority as a result of their evolutionary history depending on such structures to survive as peripatetic groups.

And the reason they have so much influence is not due to some magic Jewish juju but because Americans like being an Empire.

Pretty much anyone can get addicted to heroin if they take it enough. Having people around that are skilled at pushing heroin will result in more heroin addictions.

They would certainly hate it if they stopped being an Empire.

Americans are generally against interventions, military bases everywhere, foreign aid, etc. Just like they're against immigration but immigration somehow continues.

Anonymous said...

Now the most unhinged will say that all of this is somehow still in Israel's interest. For the rest I will offer my own explanation. The neocons are none other than a modern version of the good, old-fashioned, pith-helmeted imperialists. And the reason they have so much influence is not due to some magic Jewish juju but because Americans like being an Empire. They may sometimes grumble about the costs but they like it nonetheless. They would certainly hate it if they stopped being an Empire.

Maybe, but look at the words of one Norman Podhoretz from 1979:

There was, to be sure, one thing that many of even the most passionately committed American Zionists were reluctant to do, and that was to face up to the fact that continued American support for Israel depended upon continued American involvement in international affairs– from which it followed that an American withdrawal into the kind of isolationist mood that prevailed most recently between the two world wars, and that now looked as
though it might soon prevail again, represented a direct threat to the security of Israel.

Tom Regan said...

@Propeller Island
"However, we see something very different. The neocons as one foam at the mouth at the mention of the names of Putin or Chavez."

Hmmm. Why would the neocons oppose Putin, and Russia's influence under his rule?
Try a search including the terms Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Abramovich, oligarchs, Jewish and Putin, and see what you come up with.
Then look for Amy Chua's book World on Fire.
Then get a clue.

Propeller Island said...

Why would the neocons oppose Putin, and Russia's influence under his rule? Try a search including the terms Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Abramovich, oligarchs, Jewish and Putin, and see what you come up with.

So, in the 1990s, when the Jewish oligarchs supposedly controlled Russia, you'd think the neocons would support Russia? Instead they pushed through the NATO expansion, supported the Muslim (!) Chechen rebels, and caused the bombing of Serbia.

Sorry, your theory is still bunk.

Luke Lea said...

Anonymous - ""Iraq was way down the list of countries he'd [Sharon] like America to attack"

But it was very high on the list of countries the Saudis wanted us to attack, as Iran is now."

That reminds me of my own paranoid conspiracy theory from back then: W. was blackmailed by some Saudis to invade Iraq instead of doing the logical thing and invading their own country. They threatened to divulge hard evidence regarding some career-destroying piece of wankery W. had engaged in back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Charles Krauthammer broke his neck diving into an empty swimming pool - why would you take advice from a man who did that?

amit said...

"However, we see something very different. The neocons as one foam at the mouth at the mention of the names of Putin or Chavez. They push for NATO expansion all the way to Caucasus."
1. Because russia is a major power that has interests in middle east and have historical and political connections to middle east, which are not necessarily aligned with israel. Now given that russia aint lichtenstein and is for sure a big player on world stage is not under the influence of neocons, and in fact russia and usa takes opposite positions on many international realpolitik issues much to the displeasure of neocons. So given the likelihood of russian influence on arabs in middle east whether that be in arms, technology, political or dipolomatic support, UN support, disaster relief or whatever, russia appears to be a problem in middle east for israel and/or american hegemony worldwide.
2. If NATO somehow gets in involved in caucasus which means indirect and implied involvement in middle eastern politics which will only grow on the part of NATO due to the inherent inertia and complexity of middle eastern politics, who stands to gain the most from this situation if it comes to pass? European elites might not be israel firsters like american elites but they are definitely friends of israel.
3. Basically america as a hegemonic superpower going around the world smacking people into democratic heavens and outposts of tolerance and multicultural feminist ideology is beneficial for israel in the short term and long term.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Israel having a special relationship to America is inevitable. Even with animals, some--like dogs and cats--are more special to us than others.

But is Israel more like a cuddly dog or a ferocious badger?
And even if it's like a dog, who's the master and who's the dog?

Marlowe said...

I've heard former Nazis still enjoy high level contacts within the Argentine government and I suggest the USAF bomb Buenos Aires flat forthwith. My British identity has nothing to do with it, of course.

Anonymous said...

That reminds me of my own paranoid conspiracy theory from back then: W. was blackmailed by some Saudis to invade Iraq instead of doing the logical thing and invading their own country.

I call it the Bush-WoG (Wahhabi Occupational Government) theory, and it does make some sense. And it doesn't need blackmail; Bush was a Christian Wahhabi deep at heart.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Douglas Feith - ALPHA!

amit said...

addendeum re: #2 and #3, nato involvement would also work against russian ambitions and interest. And i dont think long term, nato or us involvement will only help israel for the short and intermediate term. Long term everything is too murky to tell outside of the main long term trend, which IMHO is israel will eventually be conquered by her neighbors either way regardless of anything us or europe wants or does.

No Name said...

A well written blog post. But again, the problem isn't little ethnic groups trying to involve us in *their* wars, its the weird American willingness, even eagerness, to crusade and fight other people's battles around the world.

What after all did the Korean civil war or the Vietnamese Civil war have to do us? Nothing really, but the US couldn't wait to jump in & fight.

So this current mau-mauing of Iran is just a 21st century offshoot of that bizarre "We'll bear any burden, pay any price" JFK chest thumping, that Americans love.

Of course, the Neo-cons start it all, but the Doofus Americans always go along.

Jacob Roberson said...

Thrasymachus said...

The idea that the US is a natural ally of Israel and should fight wars with it is somewhat less ridiculous than the idea that the US is a natural ally of Great Britain should fight wars with it, an idea much more viciously crammed down on America, and with much worse consequences.


Wait what?

Anonymous said...

So, in the 1990s, when the Jewish oligarchs supposedly controlled Russia, you'd think the neocons would support Russia? Instead they pushed through the NATO expansion, supported the Muslim (!) Chechen rebels, and caused the bombing of Serbia.

Nobody really "controlled Russia" in the 90s.

Russia was up for grabs in the 90s. Nothing was settled.

Putin was supported by some Jewish oligarchs and looked at relatively positively by some neocons. They believed that his leadership would result in a further consolidation of their control and influence in Russia. It became clear to them, however, that Putin wasn't really a team player and would hinder or reverse some of their gains.

Anonymous said...

aaaand...the crazed anti-semite makes his mandatory appearance in an Isteve thread.



Do you people REALLY think that trotting out the "racist" card ... oops, the "anti-Semite card" ... serves as a useful substitute for intelligent thought?

If you disagree with what somebody says, use facts and reason to make the case for why they are wrong. This stupid ad hom (and "anti-Semite" is nothing but ad hom) convinces no one and only serves to discredit you.

Whiskey said...

Bombing Paraguay, or rather the parts that Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other Jihadi networks occupy is no more "off the wall" than using drones to kill AQ leaders in: Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Tanzania, all of which have happened to general acclaim under Obama.

Obama, the most hard-left and anti-Israel President in generations, has done so. Why?

Because killing leaders in a network dedicated to mass terror attacks on the US (to generate funds, men, following, and acclaim in the Muslim world) is the only rational action by Democratic leaders. Who wants to get blamed for not stopping an attack on say, Los Angeles, or NYC?

We can't simply deport all Muslims. Politically impossible. We can't simply profile -- politically impossible there too. We can't make rubble bounce in places like Afghanistan or Pakistan (a major AQ center as you noted, Osama bin Laden's protector). Politically impossible.

What IS possible is bombing, discretely, through drones, a bunch of people conspiring to kill us all over the world. They generally hang out in places with no or little law: Paraguay, and the tri-border region (known for the last 30 years as lawless and occupied by crime groups of various stripes); the Horn of Africa, Sudan, and Pakistan.

Feith was and is entirely sensible -- even Obama copied his strategy. Because it works! And is the only thing left within political constraints.

Whiskey said...

The problem nearly every paleo has is a refusal to face reality. Their fantasy is we can have an economy running on oil, avoiding far WORSE social tensions, if we just got rid of those darn Israelis and "troublesome Jews." Its a fantasy. If Israel had never existed, we'd have the same damn problems.

WE want cheap oil, from the ME, because our economy depends on it. Sure production at home, assuming the Greens/Hollywood/Silicon Valley/Media rulers don't kill it, offer long term (timeframe: 20 years out) solutions. But in the meantime, who ever dominates the Persian Gulf, and to a lesser extent the Easter Med (the Suez Canal ships lots of oil, as do pipelines) controls effectively the world price of oil.

Our conflicts with Iraq and Saddam? Driven by oil. Our conflicts with Iran and the Ayatollahs? Driven by oil? Our conflict with Russia, Venezuela, and even China? Again driven mostly by oil. Its a scarce resource. Whoever has the most dominates, and whoever has the least loses. That's why every President since FDR inclusive has acted to preserve American naval domination of the Gulf, and Eastern Med.

Its the oil. Simple as that. Don't like it? Get ready to move to the nearest "vibrant' inner city near you!

Svigor said...

aaaand...the crazed anti-semite makes his mandatory appearance in an Isteve thread. I like how the tiny little cabal of neocons is identified with all Jews, even those ('new york elite liberals') who demonstrably hated the Iraq war. But once you pick up the anti-semitism bug you never have to think again.

You spelled it wrong. It's ANTI-SEMITE!!! Anyway, yes, those evil ANTI-SEMITES, how dare they return the favor. The Culture of Critique (Jews using small subsets of Whites to criticize them all) = good, the Counter-Culture of Critique = bad. The pages of this story are well-worn...

MQ said...

What I wonder about is why so many anti-semites (Svigor perhaps excepted) resist the label. I mean, the point of crossover to anti-semitism line is pretty clear...it's obviously not accurately pointing out Jewish ethnic influence where it exists, like Mearsheimer and Walt* or what have you. It's the idea that the Jewish people are sinister parasites on Western civilization, a unified conspiracy to undermine and destroy the non-Jewish societies they live in, that everything you dislike about your society is somehow the fault of the Jews. (Which assumes that non-Jews, inevitably the great majority of key figures in every important decision and social movement, are incredibly weak, craven, and manipulable, but never mind). If you feel that way, why deny anti-semitism? You should stand up and be proud of it. Hell, I would hate any group that really were the way the anti-semitic crowd describes the Jews. Have the courage of your convictions and come out and say it!

*As a note, Mearsheimer and Walt's Israel Lobby book was a NY Times best seller, showing the power of the might Jooz to repress debate).

Svigor said...

Any self-deception or lack of conscious intent is no excuse. It means that they're even more dangerous.

Of course it isn't an excuse. It's par for the course. It's impossible to get up to the things they get up to without these things; smart people need really complex rationalizations, given how the game is played (i.e., via persuasion, rather than traditional authority).

It's called "plausible deniability". Also, hedging one's bets.

Right. Tim Wise is my classical example. Basically, he scrawls "I oppose what Israel's doing to the Palestinians and support a two-state solution" on a bathroom wall once a year. Then the usual suspects wave this fig leaf around (but only when the audience is ANTI-SEMITIC!!!) when it suits their purposes, granting it the same weight as the door-stops he's written inveighing against the White race.

Sounds a bit like a narrative fallacy. The policy should be questioned and debated. The tangential religious/ethnic background of those debating seems a bit like visiting the deeds of the father upon the son--it inflames the debate but resolves nothing.
Forbes


Right. Cluelessness and eternally fresh naivete as intellectual rigor.

However, we see something very different. The neocons as one foam at the mouth at the mention of the names of Putin or Chavez. They push for NATO expansion all the way to Caucasus. They advocate building missile installations in Poland. They love colored revolutions in various God-forsaken sh!tholes. They hold it as their sacred right to lecture Chinese about human right, and also to get into their faces in regards to Taiwan and Tibet. They want American troops to forever protect South Korea from North Korea. And so on, and so forth.

They've thrown their lot in with the Armaments industry. Jews have a long history of packaging their interests as "universal" interests. So it's to be expected that they'll push for interventionism, because without it they can't intervene where they want to, and because to get Americans to go along they have to broaden the appeal.

It's not like we've actually stepped things up in any of those places the way we have in central Asia.

But pointing out that there are other players in this game doesn't really make the point you're trying to make, I think.

Svigor said...

In 2004, Putin said that Iraq was planning terror attacks in American cities. I don't know why Putin of all people would lie about something like that, so it has a high probability of being true.

You don't know why a pol would cut a deal and lie to sell it? My guess would be that (at least at the time), Putin was looking for some PR air cover of his own vis-a-vis terrorism. He has definitely linked his "anti-terror" efforts to America's in the past (I don't know what his position is ATM).

And the reason they have so much influence is not due to some magic Jewish juju but because Americans like being an Empire.

I like how you guys all seem to be reading from the same playbook. Whiskey loves that "magic Jewish juju" stupidity, too. But people like you are the only ones saying these stupid things. So, have fun with them, I guess.

So, in the 1990s, when the Jewish oligarchs supposedly controlled Russia, you'd think the neocons would support Russia? Instead they pushed through the NATO expansion, supported the Muslim (!) Chechen rebels, and caused the bombing of Serbia.

Sorry, your theory is still bunk.


Right. Turf wars mean the mafia does not exist.

Re Krauthammer and the empty swimming pool, a preliminary G**gle indicates that the pool was not empty. I don't see how someone could survive that. On the other hand, I don't see how someone could break their neck diving into a full swimming pool, either.

But is Israel more like a cuddly dog or a ferocious badger?
And even if it's like a dog, who's the master and who's the dog?


If we're talking about the state of Israel, then it's the dog. But that isn't really worth talking about. The nation of Israel (state + diaspora), the Israel referred to between whatever B.C. and whenever it was that Zionism's state of Israel took over the term, is much closer to master than dog.

What after all did the Korean civil war or the Vietnamese Civil war have to do us? Nothing really, but the US couldn't wait to jump in & fight.

True. But Vietnam really drained most of the fervor. And (heavily Jewish) media and academia were instrumental in draining that fervor.

This is the other side of the alliance I was referring to. The Warfare State and the Nation of Israel need one another. NoI wants intervention in the ME. The Warfare State wants intervention - anywhere will do (though un-forested areas are a bonus).

Of course, the Neo-cons start it all, but the Doofus Americans always go along.

Well, yeah. But we still prosecute people for fraud.

Svigor said...

Obama, the most hard-left and anti-Israel President in generations, has done so. Why?

See what I meant (a few threads back I think) about what the Whiskey Caucus considers "anti-Israel"? This only serves to show that extreme "hard-left" has little real meaning in this context, and "anti-Israel" means "not extremely pro-Israel enough." Israel-firsters are really spoiled for choice. Dialing the volume down below an ear-splitting "10" is "inaudible."

Because killing leaders in a network dedicated to mass terror attacks on the US (to generate funds, men, following, and acclaim in the Muslim world) is the only rational action by Democratic leaders. Who wants to get blamed for not stopping an attack on say, Los Angeles, or NYC?

Whiskey really can't help himself. I (and others) have mocked this tendency on his part (and that of many Jews) to conflate NYC/LA and the US*, but he keeps playing right into it. Of course, if he subs in Indianapolis and St. Louis we'll mock him for that, so I guess it's a lose-lose kind of situation.

* Most elegantly encapsulated in Arsenio Hall's line in Coming to America (paraphrasing): "But America is so big, the choices so vast. Where should we go - Los Angeles, or New York?"

We can't simply deport all Muslims. Politically impossible. We can't simply profile -- politically impossible there too. We can't make rubble bounce in places like Afghanistan or Pakistan (a major AQ center as you noted, Osama bin Laden's protector). Politically impossible.

Right. The same people who make "discrimination" and ending the race-replacement of America impossible, want us to bomb the ME (because going bankrupt is eminently politically possible). We know already, but thanks for reminding us.

Because it works! And is the only thing left within political constraints.

Some of us would prefer to destroy those "political constraints," rather than treat them as sacrosanct, as you do.

Polish submarine door said...

The "empty swimming pool" crack was funny, then the local deputy Wikipedia editor here had to go & ruin it

Simon in London said...

"Krauthammer wasn't acting on orders from Ariel Sharon when be demanded America invade Iraq. Sharon was a smart, fairly realistic guy. Iraq was way down the list of countries he'd like America to attack."

I think you're clearly right about neocon fantasising of themselves as Israeli action heroes in the mold of Yonatan Netanyahu -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yonatan_Netanyahu
- But I am unsure if their 'dual loyality' is really about US & Israel. You must remember that their ideology is fundamentally Trotskyite, not Nationalist. Everything I've seen indicates that their ultimate loyalty is not to Israel but to the ideology of Global Democratic Transformation - revolutionary Marxism with a right-Liberal face.

David said...

Forget it, Steve. Israel Against the Nations in encoded in their bloodstream. They don't call themselves Tribe for nothing. You will simply be attacked as a Nazi for your viewpoint, forever, world without end. Remember that they are still angry about stuff that happened (?) 5000 years ago. There are reasons why the WASP establishment tried for a long time to keep Jews away from official power. The problem is older than lack of a football team.

Mr. Anon said...

"Propeller Island said...

In 2004, Putin said that Iraq was planning terror attacks in American cities. I don't know why Putin of all people would lie about something like that, so it has a high probability of being true."

Or perhaps Putin just wanted to goad us into embarking on a pointless military adventure that would squander american lives and resources, as indeed it did. Also, any dicking around in the middle east tends to raise the price of oil, which is advantageous to an oil exporter like Russia.

Mr. Anon said...

"Whiskey said...

WE want cheap oil, from the ME, because our economy depends on it."

And thanks to advice from nitwits like you, we are now paying an exorbitant price for our cheap oil. Where does the money come from for the vast military infrastructure necessary to secure cheap oil? Or do those drones, and humvees, and Black-hawks, and carrier groups run on Unicorn farts (to use your own stale cliche)? Oil this cheap is proving too expensive to afford.