This doesn’t make a goddamned bit of sense:
You know, if we had been firm in 1979, [Iran] wouldn’t think they could get away with these kinds of threats. If we responded firmly now, we’d get less of that in the future.
But we probably won’t, because our political culture makes a firm response to threats almost impossible. Which is why we get so many.
Actually, Glenn, it seems that as I write this, we’re four years and three months into a “firm response” mustered by “firm” people to a threat that wasn’t . . . um . . . actually very firm to begin with. And I hate to point this out — because it’s such an unbelievably inconvenient fact for people who want to simply bring the pain and bring it faster, please — but the “political culture” we inhabit still happens, for the time being, to qualify as a democracy. And wingnut protestations aside, we don’t actually inhabit a “warrior culture” that envelops the entire social order in an ethical code of submission and violence. It’s worth remembering that if certain advocates of “firmness” had been given the kind of free hand that Reynolds thinks is necessary to keep America from being threatened, the war on Iraq would have started in September 2001. That may be a small comfort, but it’s not an insignificant one.
And to take a historical detour, what precisely does Reynolds think a “firm” response to the 1979 hostage crisis would have been? Quiet assassinations of mullahs and scientists? Unilateral military action against Iran — a nation armed to the teeth with weapons we’d sold to its deposed ruler, and a nation bordering awkwardly upon another nation that the Soviets were a month away from invading? Or perhaps a declaration to the world that America’s hegemony over Persian Gulf oil was not up for negotiation, and that outside interference with those resources would be “repelled by any means necessary?” Or how about supporting Iraq in a brief, cakewalk of a war against its neighbor, whose army was by all accounts in a shambles after all the shah’s men had been purged? Oh, wait. That last one didn’t work out so well. Rummy’s handshake must not have been firm enough.
Anyhow, we get the point. Reynolds is a loon with a minimal grasp of history and utter contempt for reason. He’d have worked out quite well in the current administration, if only people like him hadn’t made such a bloody mess of things already.
Keep screwing in those lightbulbs, Glenn.