Home / General / The Answer Is Always War: The Four Traits of Neoconservatism

The Answer Is Always War: The Four Traits of Neoconservatism

Comments
/
/
/
1806 Views

Wherever there’s a non-ally of the United States not being invaded by the United States, Fred Hiatt is there to find a crackpot to advocate that the problem of non-invasion be solved immediately:

Obama’s stance implies that we have no choice but to accept Iran’s best offer — whatever is, to use Rice’s term, “achievable” — because the alternative is unthinkable.

But should it be? What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.

Such visionary regimes do not trade power for a mess of foreign goods.

Conveniently, the ridiculous-though-not-treasonous letter to Iran from most of the Republican Senate conference has allowed Chait to distill the 4 crucial characteristics of neoconservatism:

  •  “First, of course, is the wild confrontationalism, which in this case was directed not against Iran but against the Obama administration.”
  • “the letter was drafted and signed with maximum haste and a total contempt for planning or serious thought of any kind.
  • “the ploy has failed even by the standards of its own logic.
  • “And, then, finally, there is the stubborn refusal to concede the plan has backfired even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

The mere summary doesn’t do it justice — it’s all worth reading. Muravchik’s letter has already scored highly on points one and two…

…as if often the case, Fallows is excellent.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • wjts

    Two things:

    First, oh noes! An ideological nation state! Thank goodness neither the US nor Israel has any sort of ideology as a raison d’etre, one that legitimates their rule and inspires their leaders and supporters. If they did, they’d be Bad Guys.

    Second, I’d like to quote from an editorial that I’m pretty sure ran in The Tehran Picayune-Observer this week: “The Iranian American regime that Netanyahu Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described so vividly — violent, rapacious, devious and redolent with hatred for Israel and the United States Iran — is bound to continue its quest for fear-mongering regarding Iranian nuclear weapons by refusing any ‘good deal’ or by cheating.”

    • humanoid.panda

      The best counter-example to the idea that revolutionary-ideological regimes cannot be negotiated with or deterred is the fact the US very succesfully negotiated with and deterred the USSR and China. However, I am pretty certain Muravchik thinks we should have nuked them as a statement of general principle.

      • CP

        The response nowadays is that the Soviets and Chinese had a rationalist materialist ideology and therefore could be negotiated with, whereas the Iranians are religious end-times loonies who can’t be.

        Ignored is that 1) when the Soviets and Chinese were the bogeyman of the times, they were saying the exact same thing about them, not talking about how rationalist they were, and 2) Iran has not behaved like an end-times loony government in recent decades.

        • Lee Rudolph

          2) Iran has not behaved like an end-times loony government in recent decades.

          Unfortunately, there seems to be a global Law of Conservation of End-Times Looniness.

          • mikeSchilling

            Ah, for the good old days when we all knew that Shiites were fanatics and Sunnis were moderates.

            • CP

              It blows my mind to read stuff from the Reagan era that will pretty much say this verbatim. This is what passes for “analysis” at the top ranks of the U.S. government.

            • joe from Lowell

              I remember reading once that one faction of a political movement in Colombia was nicknamed “the Shiites,” because they were so radical.

              • tsam

                That must have been a slam on Iran?

                • joe from Lowell

                  Indirectly, I guess.

                  The notion that Shiite mean radical – there are Muslims, and then there are those crazy Shiite Muslims – sort of seeped into the popular culture.

          • rhino

            Yes, The republicans have been stealing more and more end-times looniness from the middle east…

      • Ahuitzotl

        Better than that, the US nearly-successfully negotiated with Microsoft

        • Hogan

          Talk about your violent, rapacious, devious regimes.

      • Mike G

        The neocons who like to invoke Regan as a deity/cudgel for whatever batshit international excursion they are pushing, are counting on people not remembering how much criticism Reagan took from the neocons for having any discussions with Gorbachev at all, and how they pushed the Soviet-automaton-trickster-bogeyman storyline even after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    • America, the exceptional nation, the city on the hill, the greatest country to ever exist, that stands for truth, freedom, and… wait, no, that sounds too ideological.

    • MacK

      I posted this down thread – but there is a bit of a problem with the argument that the Iranian regime are is driven by its ideology and the concept that they will therefore seek to obtain nuclear weapons. That problem is the fatwa from the supreme leader:

      “the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”

      This is something Khamenei has said repeatedly and often. It is not therefore a fatwa that can be vanished away – it is part of the Iranian regime’s ideology.

      • Lee Rudolph

        That’s just the exoteric form of the fatwa. In its esoteric (or “dogwhistle”) form, it goes something like “GOTTA GET US SOME SWEET, SWEET NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!” I’m surprised you don’t know that.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          It’s the radical islamic equivalent of “Right To Work” laws, then.

      • cpinva

        good point, I’d forgotten about this, probably because it never gets mentioned by the powers that be, when they discuss attacking iran. I have no idea who this muravchik character is, but I’m guessing (with 100% accuracy guaranteed) that neither he, nor any members of his family, will be in any direct way involved physically in any military action against iran. no, that’s for the “little” people to attend to.

        • Deggjr

          And neither he or any of his bosses will be involved in paying for the war. His war will be funded by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits.

        • MacK

          To quote Cheney “they will have other priorities than military service.” Like making money in the consulting/military complex.

      • Malaclypse

        It be fair, he could be lying, jut like we lied when we signed on to Article 6 of the NPT.

      • Thom

        But as Tom Lehrer had Israel sing, “The Lord’s our shepherd says the psalm, but just in case, we better get a bomb!”

      • mikeSchilling

        That’s what he says in English. In Arabic (OK, Farsi. Whatever.) he says “make the rubble bounce!”

      • joe from Lowell

        Now, if someone wants to say that that statement isn’t a reliable indicator of what the regime will do, that’s fine.

        But you can’t do that and cite their ideological rigidity at the same time.

      • That’s just takfiri or jizya or ummah or something. You know, the deeply-held tenet of Islam that right-wingers invented that says Muslims always lie.

    • LeeEsq

      The problem isn’t necessarily having an ideological nation-state but when you say this type of ideological nation-state is fine but this one isn’t. There is a lot of that going around on both sides. You have people who find fault with the idea of a Muslim state but don’t mind Israel as a Jewish state. You also have lots of people who are honky-dory with the concept a Muslim state and even a Muslim world but find tons of things objectionable with the idea of a Jewish state. A good chunk of Iranian leadership falls under this category.

      So the problem isn’t necessarily that ideological nation-states exist but diplomacy does become at least a tad problematic if you hold that some ideological nation states should not exist but others are good things or value neutral.

      • MacK

        Yes, but….

        You cannot on the one hand argue that the Iranians are ideological and then ignore their stated ideology. The neocons want to argue gat Iran is a ideological state whose ideology is set by the supreme leader, Khamenei, he say as a Fatwa (an absolute ideological position), nuclear weapons are forbidden in our ideology – and now you say that, ideologically hey will build nuclear weapons.

        It is irrational

  • tsam

    Hmmmm, -Iranian expansion? Never heard of it. They better not–it’s our job to invade both of Iran’s neighbors.

    • Derelict

      You do have to love the warning that any deal would immeasurably strengthen Iran’s position in the Middle East. Iraq was the only counter-balancing power in the region, but under the brilliant guidance of the neo-cons, we turned Iraq into an Iranian client state.

      • tsam

        Client state out of pure necessity. Even those dopey superstitious clerics understand that a failed state on your border is inherently dangerous.

        Also, who gives a shit if Iraq is a client state? It would keep us from having to babysit them while they rebuild the destruction we left behind. Also, say Iran gets a nuke. WHO FUCKING CARES? People who buy into the bullshit narrative that led to 47 senators completely embarrassing the nation with a threatening letter.

        • Derelict

          Also, say Iran gets a nuke. WHO FUCKING CARES? People who buy into the bullshit narrative that led to 47 senators completely embarrassing the nation with a threatening letter.

          You have to understand how conservatives see America. The United States is the greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known. We are invincible because we are always and forever on the side of good and right–and God loves us and has made us exceptional among the nations.

          Because of this, America is tragically weak and vulnerable. We can be conquered within minutes by the Taliban holed up in their caves in Afghanistan; we can be subdued in mere days by ISIS driving their Toyotas of mass destruction; we will be forced to submit to Sharia by the overwhelming force of the crippled Iranian economy.

          • tsam

            Your comment brought to mind the conservative portrayal of Obama. Simultaneously weak and cowardly while being an imperial dictator who is destroying the Constitution.

            I know people are complicated, but it’s pretty difficult to live a near perfect dichotomy. So they represent our government as both freedomy as all fuck and exceptional, but also oppressive and thuggish.

            Critical thinking; how the fuck does it work?

            • CP

              Also used to be their portrayal of the Communist Bloc, and the UN.

              Critical thinking; how the fuck does it work?

              Not very well, I’m afraid.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          “Even those dopey superstitious clerics understand that a failed state on your border is inherently dangerous.”

          Make you wonder if Canada has enough “dopey superstitious clerics”

          • tsam

            Ha! Well, we’re not particularly dangerous to them yet, But if we turn into an outright oligarchy, expansion will be needed to feed the monsters.

            • Larrry

              I’m already hearing the whispers and cries for lebensraum in the great northern tundra.

              • Hogan

                The moose will greet us as liberators, just before we hunt them to extinction.

          • Davis X. Machina

            Only sleepy, happy, sneezy, grumpy and bashful ones. Due to recent cutbacks, they’ve lost the dopey ones, and as for Doc — well, let’s just not talk about it.

          • rhino

            Canadian here. I’m scared shitless of you crazy fucks and your failed state.

            By ‘you fucks’ I mean the people in charge who regrettably are not the ‘you magnificent bastards’ here in this blog. Hell, even most of the trolls here would commit better governance than most of your current pols.

        • CP

          Also, who gives a shit if Iraq is a client state? It would keep us from having to babysit them while they rebuild the destruction we left behind.

          I’ve been thinking for years that we’d be massively better off if we just pulled out of Iraq/Syria and Afghanistan/Pakistan, and let the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians struggle to control the mess (which they would have to – they don’t like the chaos and disorder any more than we do and it’s a lot closer to their borders).

          Also, say Iran gets a nuke. WHO FUCKING CARES?

          Yep. That’s me too.

        • mikeSchilling

          I care, just like I care that India and Pakistan both have them. You know how often some glitch making it look like one side had launched almost caused WWIII, and we were saved only because the distance between the US and the USSR gave cooler heads a chance to prevail? When two countries border each other (or close enough), there’s no time to think.

          Nuclear non-proliferation is goddam fucking important. Don’t let the idiots obscure that.

          • tsam

            Yes, non-proliferation is always the best policy. However, the hand wringing from the nation that invented those fucking things and remain the only one to use them on people is pretty fucking rich. Since when do we get to keep the biggest and baddest nuke arsenal and then decide who else gets a bomb? I know some of this isn’t really relevant to the discussion of Iran, but until we start moving toward getting rid of those abominations forever, we don’t have any standing to be the arbiter of who is nuke armed and who isn’t.

            • Ronan

              I’d prefer the US to have nuclear weapons than the major powers in the middle east, at this stage.The middle east is going through a moment of profound destablisation where most of the regimes dont have meaningful insitutional contraints on elite decision making. A nuclear armed security system wouldnt be ideal.
              And there are different rules for major global powers and middling or regional powers. Plausibly nuclear weapons *helped* keep the peace between the Soviets and US during the Cold War, the same might be true for a nuclear armed middle east, but I wouldnt bet the house on it.

              • tsam

                Aren’t we past betting the house already?

                • Ronan

                  No, when we’re at the betting the house stage /hyperbole on/ youll be pulling my limp body from the nuclear crater in downtown wisconsin /hyperbole off/

                • tsam

                  The point is that nukes are already in the hands of some arguably hit headed states. I don’t know how much the risk is increased with Iran.

                • Ronan

                  I dont know how much it is increased either, and certainly dont think military action to prevent it (if Iran actually intends on developing one) is anything approaching a good idea. I just wouldnt be blase about the aspiration (which Im not saying you are, but plenty do treat the situation with a meh)
                  As mike says, nuclear non-proliferation is a positive goal, and thats not negated by the fact that the US might be hypocrites on the subject.

                • tsam

                  its less blasé than having come to terms with the fact that if Iran wants nukes, they’ll have them. I’d rather focus on keeping the rabid warmongers away from DC in the next election, and keeping up the positive engagement with Iran. We’ve made more headway with them in the last year than when they traded those missiles for our diplomatic staff.

                • Ronan

                  But I dont believe in that simple story of ‘what Iran wants.’ Policy is generally contingent. It’s the product of bargains domestically and internationally. I think the position of the Iranian regime is to be purposely ambiguous on the topic (in part because there’s disagreement internally) so I wouldnt accept it as inevitable.
                  But yes, if it was set in stone, then theres nothing you can do about it.

                • Ronan

                  sorry, read you too quickly (on kindle) I agree

                • joe from Lowell

                  tsam says:
                  March 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm
                  The point is that nukes are already in the hands of some arguably hit headed states. I don’t know how much the risk is increased with Iran.

                  The point is that AR-15s are already in the hands of some arguably hot-heated individuals. I don’t know how much the risk is increased if more and more people get them.

                  and keeping up the positive engagement with Iran.

                  The positive engagement with Iran that you want to keep up has developed out of the effort to contain their nuclear program. I want it continue, too. Hopefully, a positive resolution to that narrow issue will open the door to a broader rapprochement.

            • joe from Lowell

              We aren’t the arbiter here, tsam. This isn’t some unilateral American initiative.

              The UN, the IAEA, the Europeans, and Iran’s neighbors are all pushing this just like us. We aren’t even the official contact – that’s the P5+1.

            • mikeSchilling

              Well, sure, deciding who gets to say “Nukes are bad” is much more important than reducing the risk of their use.

        • joe from Lowell

          Also, say Iran gets a nuke. WHO FUCKING CARES?

          Saudi Arabia. Turkey. Egypt. Europe.

          Weapons proliferation is actually a thing.

          “Iran is going to nuke Israel and give nukes to terrorists” is the insane belief of the insane hawks.

          “It would better if the Middle East didn’t experience a nuclear arms race” is the quite reasonable belief of the Obama administration, the UN, the IAEA, Iran’s neighbors, and ours allies in Europe.

          • tsam

            I agree with that. I’d rather not have nuclear proliferation anywhere, but even among supposedly even handed news outlets, there is talk that if the P5-1 fails, the only option is an Israeli strike or all out war.

            I think what I’m getting at is that whether we succeed in reaching an agreement or not, I do NOT want another war in the Middle East. I’llntake a nuclear Iran over war. I don’t think there’s a single defensible argument to go to war with them. Sooner or later the rest of the world is going to get fed up with all this shit.

            • rhino

              We’re already fed up with this shit, but we’re all scared of American power. Especially since america seems to want the power of empire without the responsibility of governance. We have to do as we are told, but we get nothing out of it but the opportunity to be fucked by the messes uncle sam leaves behind.

              There isn’t a world leader who does’t dream at night of a magic button to erase the american nuclear arsenal. The planet would joyfully unite and build a fifty foot wall all the way around the US and we would pretend it never existed for a few decades, at least until finally the civil war you never really finished all those years ago gets settled. Maybe then you could find a direction as a nation.

              It’s that unassailable nuclear power, having defeated (more accurately outlasted) the old soviet union, which kept you from needing to finish that civil war, and it’s that power which is killing america now. Nobody can spank your elites and take away their toys, and they refuse to grow up, because they don’t have to. The few people with enough vision to see the problem, and the power to make any changes (I count Obama in this group) are forced into pragmatic compromises that mainly serve to delay and hold back the tide.

              Of course in the end the real problem is the constitution and federation. Designed to ensure constant instability, the system has no way to take the long view, no way to care about anything past the next election and the next quarterly report, and you blunder from fiasco to disaster like elephants drunk on fermented fruit, oblivious of what you trample in your quest for more.

              You think it sucks being astride that elephant and hanging on for dear life? Try being underfoot…

            • joe from Lowell

              but even among supposedly even handed news outlets, there is talk that if the P5-1 fails, the only option is an Israeli strike or all out war.

              I agree completely. That’s nuts.

              • mikeSchilling

                In fact, if there’s anything pushing Iran in the direction of thinking they need nukes, it’s that.

  • humanoid.panda

    I did the unthinkable, and skimmed the comments section of that demented rant. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that opinion ran 1:99 against the idiot. Perhaps, there is hope for humanity yet!

    • MacK

      There were one or two who kept agreeing with him too – and called those who accused him of being a Zionist Neocon “Jew-haters”

      • humanoid.panda

        Schmucks.

      • CP

        It’s a weird meme I’ve heard from time to time, and basically their version of a dog-whistle accusation, to claim that “neocon” is a stealth for “Jew” and therefore anyone complaining about neocons is a closet anti-Semite.

        Which is pretty much nonsense; I’m sure there are Jewish people in the group, but what’s associated with the word “neocon” are usually names like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton. The odds of these people being mistaken for Jewish are fairly slim.

        • Lee Rudolph

          “Neoconservatism” as an intellectual movement (which excludes Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bolton) is strongly associated with Commentary under the editorship of Norman Podhoretz.

          • CP

            Sure. But that’s not what most people think of when they say “neocon.”

          • wjts

            Many of the more prominent folks associated with the Project for a New American Century are Jewish. Of course, PNAC would be equally odious had it been founded by a couple of guys named McElwain and Keller rather than Kristol and Kagan.

          • tsam

            Lol @ intellectual.

        • Derelict

          The neo-con movement could be entirely made up of Jewish men. As far as I can tell, that would not make disagreeing with the neo-con philosophy of “kill Kill KILL!!!!!” anti-Semitic. In fact, given how much their stated position goes against the vast bulk of Judaic teaching and law, I think a valid argument could be made that the neo-cons are anti-Semitic, and their actions are chillul Hashem as they bring shame upon themselves and try to deflect it by hiding behind their religion.

    • cpinva

      “Perhaps, there is hope for humanity yet!”

      not as long as he and his ilk are given a major soapbox to fling their swill on an innocent public.

      • grouchomarxist

        The propaganda doesn’t catapult itself, you know.

  • humanoid.panda

    The mere summary doesn’t do it justice — it’s all worth reading. Muravchik’s letter has already scored highly on points one and two…

    The genius of that article is that his logic is impervious to point 3: no matter how much bombing the US does, he can always argue that we didn’t do enough bombing.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      “…no matter how much bombing the US does, he can always argue that we didn’t do enough bombing.”

      Nuke them from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

      what, the Iranians?

      No, the neocons. They’ll never shut up, otherwise.

    • gratuitous

      Speaking of dopey, superstitious clerics, the Muravchik letter is a manifesto writ large for the High Church of Redemptive Violence. Violence is the first, last and every resort in between, and if it appears that violence didn’t achieve the stated goal, it was our failure to use enough violence. Violence is the god that cannot fail. If we only had sufficient faith to use enough violence, we would once and for all (or at least until next week) rid ourselves of all our enemies!

      You won’t see that kind of faith demonstrated by any of the usual religious extremists. The acolytes of the HCRV are willing at all times and in all places to send out the military to practice violence.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        If only Abraham Lincoln had been aware of that philosophy, we wouldn’t be having these problems.

        QUICK! To the Time Machine!

  • wjts

    Sanctions could succeed if they caused the regime to fall; the end of communism in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and of apartheid in South Africa, led to the abandonment of nuclear weapons in those states.

    It’s funny to see a champion of Israeli-American military strikes to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran talk up the effectiveness of sanctions against South Africa, but not ha-ha funny.

    • mikeSchilling

      I wonder if he supported Richard Lugar, whose greatest achievement was to secure the weapons from the former Soviet Republics. I’m guessing no.

  • Morse Code for J

    If you go to his Wiki, there’s a list of his books and articles.

    On November 19, 2006, his “Bomb Iran” article was published in the Los Angeles Times. He’s been at it for some time now.

    He also apparently resents any attempt to make Israel responsible for what it does, based on book titles like “Liberal Oasis: the Truth about Israel” and “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned against Israel.”

    • CP

      This is pretty much how our right, and unfortunately still most of the nation, sees Israel. Any international isolation and general resentment for Israel is simply proof that the entire world is an antisemetic conspiracy and that Israel should be even more militaristic and we should be even more intransigent in our support of it.

    • deptfordx

      Anyone find a copy of the 2006 article text. 20 Quatlooson it saying that it’s urgent Iran is bombed, or Iran will definitely have a Nuke in the next 2-3 years.

      • deptfordx

        Actually suprisingly easy to find.

        http://www.latimes.com/news/la-op-muravchik19nov19-story.html#page=2

        To be fair he’s not actually explicit about when exactly, but an overwhelming impression of relatively soon is given.

        Other highlights.

        Iran woundn’t care about Israeli nuclear retaliation because it would only ‘damage’ them. Several hundred nuclear weapons hitting your cities. Pfffttt, walk it off you pussy.

        Did you know President Ahmadinejad is the new Lenin, dedicated to leading the billion Muslims of the world in a global Jihad.

      • Hogan

        Here you go.

        Apparently the “mess of pottage” reference is some kind of verbal tic (Old Testament Tourette’s, perhaps).

        Other highlights:

        Now, according to a report last week in London’s Daily Telegraph, Iran is trying to take over Al Qaeda by positioning its own man, Saif Adel, to become the successor to the ailing Osama bin Laden.

        Boy, it’s always something. And if the Daily Telegraph says it, then BOOKMARK IT, LIBS.

        And apparently the Sunni-Shiite divide doesn’t matter much any more (that’s right, he’s saying this in 2006); Iran’s charisma as the great champion of anti-Great Satan will bring them all into line. And by “all” he means every Muslim everywhere.

        And finally this:

        Russia was poor and weak in 1917 when Lenin took power, as was Germany in 1933 when Hitler came in.

        Holy mother of I can’t even whoa.

        But wait: Churchill!

        After the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917, a single member of Britain’s Cabinet, Winston Churchill, appealed for robust military intervention to crush the new regime.

        Bingo!

  • Murc

    I don’t even know where to begin.

    What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons?

    That’s a hell of a what if there, buddy. But even if I take your question at face value, if Iran is so set on getting a nuke that only force will dissuade them, then the answer is they get a nuke. They’re not hard to get! North Korea has them! Iran just hasn’t really wanted it badly enough to turn themselves into a complete pariah state. If we do the latter to them anyway, they will have nothing left to lose.

    Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters.

    So they’re like literally every single other modern nation-state, including our own.

    Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond.

    True, but so what? The USSR aimed to export their revolution as well. We aim to export our particular brand of livin’ at the point of a gun as well. It tends not to be that easy. Our massive nuclear arsenal hasn’t made it all hearts and flowers when it comes to exporting Americana.

    A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.

    Yeah, how? How exactly? What, are the Saudis just going to roll over for Tehran because they have a nuke? Is Iraq’s large Sunni minority? A nuke makes Iran a lot harder to invade, because it means they can make a powerful retributive strike, but it doesn’t really let them project force in any way. They strike first, their country becomes a cinder. They know that. They’re not dumb.

    Such visionary regimes do not trade power for a mess of foreign goods.

    They do that all the fucking time. We traded favors with the USSR all the time and the USSR dealt with us from a position of strength!

    I can’t even read the full article.

    • humanoid.panda

      What you don’t understand is that the Russians were white, and therefore, deep down, deeply rational. You can’t trust the Mooooslims to think like the rest of us, can you?

      • Lurker

        I really wonder at this. You can’t get much more Aryan than Iranian, can you? The whole country is named for it: Iran translates as “Land of Aryans”, I’ve heard.

        • wjts

          It’s almost enough to make me think that 19th century ideologies of racial and linguistic identity aren’t 100% accurate.

          • The good news is that phrenology has yet to disappoint us.

            • Malaclypse

              And we can solve global warming by harnessing the natural energy source of phlogiston!

            • MAJeff

              During my last physcial exam, I wan informed that all of my humours are in balance. Feeling good!

              • Cheerful

                Not that a little bleeding wouldn’t still be in order. Perk you right up!

            • tsam

              I’m just ONE electron away from turning all my fishing gear to gold. GOLD

              • mikeSchilling

                You started with platinum?

                • tsam

                  I was thinking lead, but that should be protons, huh? Fuckingnautocorrect

                • mikeSchilling

                  It should be protons in any case; messing with electrons gives you an ion, not a different element. But lead is three away from gold, not one.

            • mikeSchilling

              In Moby Dick, Ishmael does a phrenological analysis of different kinds of whales. It’s pretty hilarious (and I’m sure that’s intentional.)

    • Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond.

      True, but so what?

      How is this meaningfully true?

      First, in what sense is Iran a revolutionary state anymore? In decades?

      It’s a rather stable regime with highly constrained democratic elements.

      Second, in what sense has it been an exporter of revolution, even in its ideology?

      I mean, for decades now, it hasn’t, as far as I know, been an element of either it’s internal or external propaganda. At least not a major element. Even it’s regional ambitions seem to be not very territorial. (You have Iraq and Afghanistan as neighbors, what become your goals? 1) avoiding their chaos and 2) avoiding US spillover.

      • MacK

        Moreover, its democratic elements is why sanctions have worked so far, have brought Iran into negotiations in the 5+1 talks. Protecting the stability of the regime – and the spoils that many in the regime have collected, legitimately or illegitimately, is a major incentive to reach a deal

        And finally is one accepts that:

        Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters

        Then how do you deal with the fact that Khamenei has issued a fatwa with respect to nuclear weapons, holding that they are:

        that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons.

        I mean, if they are in fact ideologues – if that is what drives the regime in Tehran, then you have to accept that the ideology condemns nuclear weapons as haram.

        So which is it – they are ideologues, or they are not?

    • Davis X. Machina

      We traded favors with the USSR all the time and the USSR dealt with us from a position of strength!

      Not really — we had Reagan, albeit not a fully weaponized Reagan, and they did not.

    • cpinva

      “They strike first, their country becomes a cinder.”

      funny how none of these people ever mentions that inconvenient little fact in any of their screeds, whether it’s discussing bombing iran or north korea. fearless leaders of both countries want to continue being fearless leaders, being the fearless leader of a glass glazed black hole in the ground isn’t nearly as much fun.

      • CP

        Their logic in re Iran is that the Iranians are Muslims, therefore end-times fanatics who would gladly commit national suicide.

        It doesn’t tally with Iran’s behavior at all, but they’ve never let that kind of thing stop them before.

        • UncleEbeneezer

          Have you forgotten 9/11?!! Those guys were all Iranian heads of state, right?…

    • gmack

      Yeah, how? How exactly? What, are the Saudis just going to roll over for Tehran because they have a nuke? Is Iraq’s large Sunni minority? A nuke makes Iran a lot harder to invade, because it means they can make a powerful retributive strike, but it doesn’t really let them project force in any way. They strike first, their country becomes a cinder. They know that. They’re not dumb.

      I think this understates the downsides of Iran getting nuclear weapons. For instance, tt seems likely/possible that if Iran gets nuclear weapons that it could set off a regional arms race, which is not something anyone should want. It also makes it easier for Iran to support proxy forces (e.g., Hezbollah) in ways none of us on the left should like. At minimum, the more countries that get these weapons, the more likely it is that they eventually get used.

      Don’t get me wrong. I don’t support this idiotic article, and I certainly don’t support a war with Iran. Still, I don’t think we should be flip about the consequences of nuclear proliferation (or another way of putting it: I think Obama’s policy on this issue looks pretty close to optimal).

      • Malaclypse

        For instance, tt seems likely/possible that if Iran gets nuclear weapons that it could set off a regional arms race, which is not something anyone should want.

        It didn’t when Pakistan got the bomb.

        • tsam

          Or when we countered by giving India the bomb.

          • liberal

            India tested a nuclear device in 1974.

            • humanoid.panda

              And at that point, Pakistan was much, much closer ally of the US than India.

            • tsam

              Bush legitimized the program-which was a display.

              • joe from Lowell

                Bush got blindsided by the Indians and put on a brave face.

          • liberal

            Wikipedia seems to claim that Pakistan’s first test explosion was in 1998, though I’m sure they had expertise to finish making a bomb at least sometime before that.

        • joe from Lowell

          It didn’t when Pakistan got the bomb.

          The Sunni bomb is often given as one of the motivations for Iran to develop its own program.

      • CP

        Sure. Iran getting the bomb is not a good outcome, and like I said below, because of the enormous power imbalance between us and them, we’re in a pretty good position to pressure them out of getting the bomb – if we actually negotiate in good faith. The problem is that if the Republicans have their way, Iran will conclude that that’s not what we’re doing, that nothing they can do short of abdicating and dissolving the regime will satisfy the U.S, and that any agreements they sign will be ignored as soon as a Republican president is back in power and feels like it. That kind of climate will do a lot to bolster any hard-liners arguing that they should get the bomb because it’s their only guarantee of survival.

        The other problem is that for whatever reason, the Saudis have gone full metal Likudnik in the last half-decade or so – I’m not sure there’s anything we can do short of bombing Iran that can calm them down. Yes, they might get a nuke if Iran does, but in their current paranoid mood, they might get one even if it doesn’t (justified on the off chance that Iran might someday get a nuke).

        So the question becomes “is it worth it to bomb or even invade Iran just to stop a regional arms race.” I’d lean towards “no.”

        • joe from Lowell

          The problem is that if the Republicans have their way, Iran will conclude that that’s not what we’re doing, that nothing they can do short of abdicating and dissolving the regime will satisfy the U.S, and that any agreements they sign will be ignored as soon as a Republican president is back in power and feels like it.

          This is yet another reason that embedding ourselves in international institutions like the UN, IAEA, and NATO is a good idea. We’re kind of at our best when we’re the muscle, and have allies that can handle the brainier end of things.

  • C’mon, taking out somebody’s (alleged) nukes will be easy as pie! Took this dude/soulless automaton a mere (14:57).

  • Cheerful

    “And beyond”… Los Angeles?

  • John Revolta

    Muravchik’s idiocy aside, just the fact that a major newspaper, one that people read and take seriously, would print an article with the headline “War with Iran is probably our best option”
    has just about finished me off. Tell me Colbert is behind this somewhere, yeah?

    • MacK

      What really astonishes is that this is in the Washington Post – I mean, yes Fred Hiatt has shit for brains, but still. Had it been in say the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Times it would have been shocking (and they interestingly have never gone this far) but the Washington Post!!

      Holy crap

      • Davis X. Machina

        Harumph. In the bad old days, leaders gave scary stories to major newspapers. Now it’s the other way round. And with leaders, there’s usually a foreign minister to drag them away from the mike.

        Who drags Hiatt — or his proxy — away from the mike? He is the mike.

      • joe from Lowell

        The Post has been trending right for quite so time, and it just keeps on going.

    • Shakezula

      The WaPo has long been known for letting reactionary neo-cons and quasi-fascists have their way with domesticated poultry on its opinions pages.

      When readers respond by spitting their coffee all over the morning paper and writing the ombudsbot to ask if the Post has lost its motherfucking mind over there, the Post issues a collective shrug. “It’s JUST an opinion!” “We like to give a wide range of people a chance to express their opinions!”

      The WaTimes would put this guy in charge of its international coverage or something. Or maybe not, since he wimped out and put that qualifier in there.

  • I continue to be baffled by the “mad mullahs” concept that appears to be part of the right-wing catechism. The idea that Iran is run by millennial suicide-cultists is countered by about five minutes’ worth of observation. You don’t have to go to the library or anything. Literally just read the newspapers.

    Iran is a large industrialized nation with growing economic links with the rest of the world. It is not an autocracy — anyone remember when people were calling Ahmedinejad a dictator? (In reality, he was the Iranian Dubya.) It is a theocratic state and an illiberal republic. I don’t like either of those things, but it’s hardly notable for that. The Middle East is full of illiberal republics and monarchies. The idea that Iran is itching to drop the bomb on Israel is completely laughable.

    • Cheerful

      Well part of it is that Iran’s leaders have a tendency to shoot their mouths off, as noted by Goldberg in a recent column listing all the threats to Israel and the Jews Iranian leaders are perfectly willing to tell their fellow Iranians without actually doing anything about it.

      It reminds me a little of Kaiser Wilhelm II before WWI who was actually fairly reluctant to engage in a war (there are accounts by his advisors of their near despair at his pacifism and weakness) but liked to bluster publicly and thus pushed England into seeing Germany as a real and immediate threat.

      What struck me about the Post article was, again, the failure of conservatives to imagine what happens next, even if they are, somehow “successful”. What if the current Iranian regime falls? What possible reason to think what comes after is going to be something better for us? Was Libya not a reasonably good recent example? Or of course that long, long past dusty piece of history – Iraq?

      Sure the Czar fell when the war went badly. Then what happened?

      • Nobdy

        We’ll be greeted as liberators and Iran will become a stable ally democracy, as every country naturally does when its bad leaders are pushed aside.

        Conservatives are naturally right so they are exempt from learning lessons.

        • Derelict

          Here’s the thing, though: America would never allow Iran to become a democracy. If history provides any evidence, it’s that America despises democracy in other countries–at least going by the number of democracies we’ve helped overthrow in order to install “our” strongman/junta/dictatorship. The last time Iranians attempted democracy, we teamed up with the Brits to install the Shah. So I’m sure that, if the mullahs fell, we’d do everything in our power to bring back something like the Shah.

          And then we’d spend the next few decades wondering why Iran, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East is such an incomprehensible mess.

          • Nobdy

            The natural outcome of a democracy is alliance and fealty to America. Therefore if those countries were in opposition to America’s interests they must not have been true democracies, and thus we were morally bound to overthrow them!

            Also, I don’t think it’s fair to say that America despises Democracy. I think it’s more accurate to say that we’re sort of indifferent to it. We care about our own interests. If a given democracy is useful we leave it in place.

            • Larrry

              How about America Fears Democracy, because if a people democratically oppose America then those people shall be bombed into submission until a more favorable democracy appears, which of course must be proceeded by American-applauded autocracy that oppressess all the previous democratic instincts.

              Yeah, well, I think Derelict, above, is right. America Despises Democracy. At least its usual leadershipness does.

              • Snarki, child of Loki

                Which explains a lot of US domestic policy as well. On the GOP side, certainly.

              • Ronan

                No this is bullshit, or at least you have to break it down a lot to make the point you’re trying to make. A lot of US policy (particularly since the end of the Cold War) has centred around promoting democracy. The Middle East *might* be an outlier in these more general trends, but it is difficult (as has been shown post 2011) to support democracy in contexts where there arent strong institutional supports and elite buy in for the democratic process. But the US has, after the Arab Spring, generally erred on the side of ‘promoting democracy’ in the region(ie Egypt) where it has been able to. The point is that (certain actors) in the US FP establishment do put ‘democracy promotion’ (as well as integration into the global economy) as important national interests for the US.
                By ignoring that fact you cant really understand US policy. The fact that the US helped depose Mossadegh 60 years ago is really beside the point at this stage. (Of course all this varies regime to regime, context to context. The US only has so much influence. But ignoring this aspect of US foreign policy ignores the reasons, at least from my position, that the US makes such a balls of things, from time to time)

                • Derelict

                  What you write is true, provided you ignore an awful lot of what the US has actually done. We supported democracy in Egypt–at least until the Egyptians elected a government with lots of the Brotherhood in it. Then we decided that having the military run things wasn’t so bad.

                  We supported democracy in Libya until it became clear that Islamic radicals were making serious inroads. Now, not so much.

                  Venezuela has a fully functioning democracy that we’ve been trying to overthrow because they keep electing left-leaning governments.

                  Nicaragua has a democratically elected government that we don’t like for the same reason–too leftist for our taste.

                  I’ll believe the US actively promotes democracy when some smaller country elects a government we don’t like and the US actually stands behind that government because it is the choice of the people of that country.

                • Ronan

                  No you supported the MB even when it caused you a lot of trouble in Egypt and regionally.
                  (I also made the main point of reference post cold war.)
                  Venezuala is debatable. i dont know enough about Latin America, but it did show the limits to how much the US was willing to oppose a regime that was actively hostile towards it. I mean they werent going to intervene miliartily over it. Chavez died in power, I dont think this makes the strong case some above are making.

                • Ronan

                  I mean yes, obviously, the US wont support a radical anarchist democratic experiment. It supports very limited definitions of democarcy. And yes it also opposes (in various ways) regimes it perceives as working against US interests (however defined) But there’s a lot of different ways for the US to oppose regimes it deems unfriendly, and most of them do end up ‘living with’ the regime in question.
                  Im not saying the US doesnt have ‘preferences’ Im saying we need to be cleaer on what ‘opposing’ means

                • joe from Lowell

                  We supported democracy in Egypt–at least until the Egyptians elected a government with lots of the Brotherhood in it. Then we decided that having the military run things wasn’t so bad.

                  This is not even remotely true. The Obama administration worked to develop a relationship with the Morsi government, even teaming up to negotiation a cease fire in the Gaza war.

                  We supported democracy in Libya until it became clear that Islamic radicals were making serious inroads. Now, not so much.

                  Does “Now, not so much” translate to anything you can actually articulate in terms of how American policy has changed or operated? Because I literally do not know what you are talking about.

                  Venezuela has a fully functioning democracy that we’ve been trying to overthrow because they keep electing left-leaning governments.

                  Well, Mr. Van Winkle, what do you remember most about the Bush administration?

                  Nicaragua has a democratically elected government that we don’t like for the same reason–too leftist for our taste.

                  Wow, did we not invite them to our sleepover? What, exactly – be specific – is anti-democratic that this administration has done to the Nicaraguans?

                • Ahuitzotl

                  A lot of US policy (particularly since the end of the Cold War) has centred around ostensibly promoting democracy while ensuring american-led capitalism obtains a stranglehold on commerce and resource allocation in all locations

                  FTFY

            • CP

              Also, I don’t think it’s fair to say that America despises Democracy. I think it’s more accurate to say that we’re sort of indifferent to it. We care about our own interests. If a given democracy is useful we leave it in place.

              This seems about right. Latin America, the place we’ve been interfering in the longest, is the poster child for this trope. We don’t mind democracy when it elects the kind of governments we see in Colombia – but when it elects the kind of governments we see in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, we do.

              For that matter, the wave of democratization that happened in the region during the 1990s didn’t bother us… because we thought they’d be nice bourgeois democracies, whose governments would put a nice PR-friendly face on things in a way the old Pinochet types couldn’t… while basically maintaining the class structure, and the profit margins of American corporations. Then in the 2000s, people like Chavez and Morales started getting elected, and that was not okay.

          • joe from Lowell

            Here’s the thing, though: America would never allow Iran to become a democracy. If history provides any evidence, it’s that America despises democracy in other countries–at least going by the number of democracies we’ve helped overthrow in order to install “our” strongman/junta/dictatorship. The last time Iranians attempted democracy, we teamed up with the Brits to install the Shah. So I’m sure that, if the mullahs fell, we’d do everything in our power to bring back something like the Shah.

            Or not, depending on who is in the White House. The Obama administration didn’t lift a finger to help ben Ali. They hung Mubarak out to dry. They actively took the side of the democratic revolution agains the then-compliant oil dictator in Libya.

      • Good thing there isn’t an insanely violent and extremist band of terrorists in the general vicinity itching to form some type of Islamic state or I would think his war plan was somewhat risky.

    • When Ahmadinejad was President of Iran he was apparently an absolute dictator.

      Whenever they have a more moderate President, suddenly he’s merely a weak puppet of the “mad mullahs”.

      • Nobdy

        When there’s a Republican president and a Democratic congress any attempt by Congress to do anything other than what the president wants is obstructionist and a traitorous impediment to executive power.

        When there’s a Democratic president it’s okay for Republican congressmen to attempt to conduct foreign policy by sending threatening letters to foreign powers, let alone block every domestic policy to the point of threatening to let the country default on its debt.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Yeah, if those Republican congressmen just stuck to sending embarrassing selfies to foreign leaders, it wouldn’t be as bad.

          And NO, I DO NOT want to see what Boner sent to Bibi! T! M! I!

    • CP

      (In reality, he was the Iranian Dubya.)

      Generous way of putting it. The President of the United States does have power in foreign and national security policy (W just chose to exercise it however his puppetmaster Cheney told him to for far too long) of the kind that the President of Iran can only dream of – ultimate command authority over there goes to the Supreme Leader.

      In matters of national security, it might be more accurate to call Ahmadinejad the Iranian Ari Fleischer.

      • Ari Fleischer

        You really know how to hurt a guy.

    • John Revolta

      Look, these are people who no doubt still have bumper stickers that say “JANE FONDA- AMERICAN TRAITOR BITCH”. It’s IRAN, ferchrissakes. Once the enemy, ALWAYS the enemy! KICK THEIR ASS AND TAKE THEIR GAS!!11!11!

  • Nobdy

    One of the glories of American exceptionalism is that you never have to question your own morality because you ARE the good guy. In a movie when the good guy hits or shoots someone you don’t need to worry if it was morally justified because of course it is. He’s the good guy. whatever he does is good. by definition.

    Republicans actually think this way. This is why they’re against teaching even the OBVIOUS EVILS that America has committed. The good guy doesn’t enslave millions of people. The good guy doesn’t set dogs on peaceful school children. Therefore we, as the good guys, must not have done those things. It’s simple logic.

    Also note that the good guy always wins in the end. That’s why invading Iraq without a plan (and invading Vietnam) were fated to end up well, and would have, if the TRAITOROUS BAD GUY LIBERALS HAD JUST LET US WIN.

    • CP

      What interests me about this is the constant flip-flopping between denying/ignoring these atrocities, and justifying them. It’s not like they’re ignorant of things like slavery or the ethnic cleansing of American Indians – or, in the more modern world, torture or the destruction of a country on false pretenses. And if you back them into a corner, they will energetically defend the country’s record on these things – but they’d rather not have to.

  • Ken

    This editorial is perilously close to saying that Saint Reagan was mistaken when he sold arms to the Iranians thirty years ago, just a few years after their Islamic Revolution.

    • stryx

      Talk about glossing over history. The fact that Ronaldus Magnus sold weapons to the Iranians is forbidden territory. I have always believed that Reagan made a deal with the Iranians prior to the 1980 election for the Iranians to release the hostages upon Reagan’s inauguration.

      Regardless, this Reagan war thing just keeps going. The local paper tells us this morning

      Vides Casanova, a former defense minister of El Salvador, first surfaced in the wake of a conspiracy to cover up the 1980 rapes and murders of Sister Dorothy Kazel, an Ursuline nun, fellow Clevelander Jean Donovan, a lay missionary, and Maryknoll nuns Ita Ford and Maura Clarke

      .

  • max

    Conveniently, the ridiculous-though-not-treasonous letter to Iran from most of the Republican Senate conference has allowed Chait to distill the 4 crucial characteristics of neoconservatism:

    Except you left out two other important traits that form the foundation for the whole edifice: lying and projection.

    To wit:

    Sanctions could succeed if they caused the regime to fall; the end of communism in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and of apartheid in South Africa, led to the abandonment of nuclear weapons in those states. But since 2009, there have been few signs of rebellion in Tehran.

    Only South Africa gave up the nukes that Israel helped them create after the abandonment of apartheid. Strictly speaking speaking the vast discriminatory apparatus fell apart, but the government maintained continuity including free elections the whole way.

    Neither the Ukrainians or the Kazakhs ever controlled the nuclear weapons on their soil – the Russians controlled them. It was slightly hairy process of convincing those two governments to allow removal of the Soviet/Russian operation units from their soil.

    As for projection, we can take this:

    Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.

    …and make this:

    Ideology is the raison d’etre of Likud’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Likud aims to carry its Neoconservative revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only possessed, vastly enhances Likud’s power to achieve that goal.

    Such visionary regimes do not trade power for a mess of foreign goods. Materialism is not their priority: They often sacrifice prosperity to adhere to ideology. Of course, they need some wealth to underwrite their power, but only a limited amount.[…]

    Nonetheless, we might absorb some strikes. Wrenchingly, that might be the price of averting the heavier losses that we and others would suffer in the larger Middle Eastern conflagration that is the likely outcome of Iran’s drive to the bomb. Were Iran Likud, which is already embroiled in Iraq, Syria, Yemen Egypt, Lebanon and Gaza, further emboldened by becoming a “nuclear threshold state,” it would probably overreach, kindling bigger wars — with Israel Iran, Arab states or both. The United States would probably be drawn in, just as we have been in many other wars from which we had hoped to remain aloof.

    Of course, as Morse Code for J says, this guy is just recycling the same OpEd he wrote in 2006, also the last quarter of a President’s term. And that was, in turn, a case of recycling of the explicit arguments made for war against Iraq (including preventing the development of nukes) starting in ’98 or ’99.

    I expect that if the neocons got their war, they’d be explicitly arguing for war against Saudi Arabia in the last quarter of Hillary Clinton’s second term.

    And that’s why both Iran and Saudi Arabia are probably going to get nukes – it’s going to be the only way they can defend themselves from the revisionist power attempting to overthrow their governments and establish an empire.

    max
    [‘Ya know, like old what’s his name.’]

    • Cardinal FANG

      …and exquisite torture techniques!

      Our SEVEN main weapons are…

      I’ll come in again.

      • humanoid.panda

        Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of Likud, and needless to say I think Moravchik is a blood-thirsty moron, but your reformulation is simply not true. Israel, whatever its faults is not involved in Iraq, Syria, or Egypt, unless you subscribe to the “Zionists are puppet-masters” theory of history. Iran might not (and isn’t) the death cult that Muravchik imagines, but it does have regional ambitions, and is involved in fighting far from its borders.

  • Matt

    Nonetheless, we might absorb some strikes.

    General “Buck” Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

    President Merkin Muffley: You’re talking about mass murder, General, not war!

    General “Buck” Turgidson: Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

    • Joshua “slim pickin’s” Muravchik

      Yeeee Hawww!
      YEEEE HAWWWW!

      *BOOM*

      We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…

  • MacK

    Hey, I have a comment awaiting moderation – what?

  • Larrry

    My reply to the new Washington Post editorial begging for a new war that people other than the Washington Post editorial board and their families will fight, kill, and die for.

    http://lapiltz.blogspot.com/2011/05/wars-wars-wars-of-state-wars-wars-wars.html

  • Davis

    So we bomb their nuclear facilities and Iran, with the world’s the eighth largest military including a substantial air force, does nothing?

    • liberal

      We’d crush Iran in head-to-head air combat. I’m sure we’d take out most of their fire control radar, etc.

      The real problem is that Iran could make things difficult for us in the rest of the Middle East, and perhaps attack us elsewhere around the world.

      • Davis

        Wouldn’t Iran immediately attack Israel? Then there’d be a call for full scale war here, right?
        That’s what they (the neoconservatives) really want.

        • joe from Lowell

          The Iranian government is not irrational enough to invade Israel is response to a bombing campaign, specifically because of what the neoconservatives and other anti-Iran hawks would do in retaliation.

        • wengler

          Iran would be much more likely to attack Saudi Arabia to destroy their oil infrastructure. For as much as Israel likes to think Iran thinks about them all down, Israel is well down the list of security concerns for Iran.

    • wengler

      They mine the Strait of Hormuz and the price of oil goes through the roof. Also we get to see if their Chinese super torpedoes take down any US ships in the Persian Gulf.

  • Joe_JP

    Random thought — the author of the great graphic novel Persepolis regarding her growing up in Iran etc. directed a film recently about a guy who thinks his pets are encouraging him to kill people. I think I got that right. Guy is more sane than this.

    This “kill kill kill” philosophy brings to mind the theme from a horror movie. And, pacifists are the ones deemed loonies.

    • about a guy who thinks his pets are encouraging him to kill people.

      David Berkowitz? No wait, that was his neighbor Sam’s dog saying “Kill them all.”

      • Joe_JP

        No. Ryan Reynolds, well the guy he plays in “The Voices.”

  • MacK

    And starting in the race to run away from Muravchik, I give you:

    The American Conservative

    • liberal

      What’s this “run away” business. Larison might be conservative in many regards, but re foreign policy he’s probably less interventionist than many people who post here.

      • IM

        right. The American Conservative defines itself as heterodox conservatives and one of the things they have in common is opposition to neoconservatives. Larison almost exclusively writes about foreign policy, attacking neoconservatives, conservative interventionists and from time to time liberal interventionists.

    • We have come to the point where Pat Buchanan is the leader of the moderately sane branch of conservatism.

    • joe from Lowell

      TAC was founded by Buchananites who broke from the rest of the conservative movement over the Iraq War.

  • CP

    But should it be? What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons?

    Actually, the real question is whether it “should be” unthinkable for Iran to HAVE nuclear weapons. To which my answer has been “no” for years, and is still “no.”

    Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime

    It really isn’t. The Iranian regime is in the same place the Soviet Union was in the Brezhnev era – an oligarchy filled to the brim with apparatchiks who’ve spent the last three decades accumulating wealth, power, and status. They mouthe platitudes about Islam, anti-imperialism, and the Palestinian plight for the benefit of their image, but they’re not about to endanger said wealth, power, and status by actually doing anything about them. Even the Revolutionary Guards are at least as much a business or a mafia as they are an army or a secret police.

    The only difference between them and the Brezhnev types is that they have an honest and very realistic fear of being taken out by a foreign power. Which is something we actually could leverage into scaring them away from a nuclear weapons program, if we allowed ourselves to negotiate in any competent way (as Obama is trying to).

  • IM

    And this whole Iran is fanatic shiitic fundamentalist country , bent on spreading it’s dominion to the other shiites in the gulf region- I have heard this sine the eighties. Was quite plausible then.

    But now, thirty years later – what ever happened to the mullah of steel?

  • joe from Lowell

    My God, there is so much wrong in that excerpt that I don’t even know where to begin.

    Iran, the mullah government in Iran, has an aggressive, world-transforming ideology? Are you kidding me? I could see somebody believing this is, say, 1981, but we’re coming up on four decades of their rule, and what have they ever done to indicate that they adhere to such an ideology? They seem pretty content to squat on their own little patch of earth and transform that, and even then, they seem to stop well short of any totalizing, utopian effort.

    Everything is Munich to these people, because the Munich story gets them where they want to go, just like the people for whom everything is Vietnam. They’re like libertarians talking about environmental problems: they don’t know anything about the issue, and they don’t think they need to know anything about the issue to know exactly what the answer is. All they need is the proper ideological framework about government endeavor (environmental regulation, American use of force) in the abstract, to know exactly what the answer is to any particular question.

  • Since I’m not beyond shameless self-promotion, here’s my somewhat related diary:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/14/1370746/-B-52s-for-Israel-Oy-vey

    • tsam

      Well done!

  • simonmd341

    Truly one of the most depraved editorials I’ve ever seen.

  • CSI

    Imagine what bombing the crap out of Iran, turning the entire country into a no-fly zone, and then continuing to bomb the crap out of it would entail. It would be incredibly expensive in dollar terms. It would be extremely bad publicity for America. And it would so badly disrupt the economy and infrastructure of Iran it would cause a humanitarian disaster. Which America would be obligated to try and pay for.

  • rdennist

    “And, then, finally, there is the stubborn refusal to concede the plan has backfired even in the face of overwhelming evidence.“

    Huh, sounds like a recent war I remember reading about. Was it Grenada? No, I think it was more recent than that…

It is main inner container footer text