Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The insanity of pResident Simple

Administration’s temporary insanity continues
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2006

In politics, it’s crucial not to be overwhelmed by irony.

Nobody knows what will happen in the Middle East. But if the U. S. and France, working through the U. N. Security Council, have succeeded in negotiating a lasting cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel, the temptation will be to make jokes. How long ago was it that a (pardon my French ) rapprochement with France would have been deemed suspect by all hairy-chested, God-fearing Americans? Diplomacy may fail. Powerful forces inside the Bush administration are trying to circumvent it. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, like her predecessor Colin Powell, is ridiculed as an incompetent weakling by the same geniuses who predicted a “cakewalk” in Iraq. True, Rice may not be the second coming of George Marshall, but they liked her fine when she was emitting warlike noises and “end times” gibberish.

The stakes are higher than many Americans understand. Should the ceasefire hold, French diplomats and U.N. bureaucrats will have rescued Israel and Hezbollah from a conflict both appear to have blundered into, saving countless civilian lives. A brokered peace also would confound neo-conservative zealots eager to start what Newt Gingrich excitedly calls World War III to “defend civilization.” As such, a cease-fire could mark the beginning of the end of a period of temporary insanity in American life. Or not.

Writing in the newspaper Haaretz, Israeli diplomat Daniel Levy offers a history lesson: “In 1996 a group of then-opposition U.S. policy agitators, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, presented a paper entitled ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’ to incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The ‘clean break’ was from the prevailing peace process, advocating that Israel pursue a combination of rollback, destabilization and containment in the region, including striking at Syria and removing Saddam Hussein from power in favor of ‘Hashemite’ [Jordanian ] control in Iraq.”

Alas, even Netanyahu’s far-right government showed no enthusiasm. (If the U. S. Army can’t control Iraq’s Shiite militias, how could Jordan?) Similarly recalcitrant were Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, who as an army general led the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, resulting in a disastrous 18-year occupation. His military credentials in order, Sharon answered Hezbollah provocation with small-scale counter-attacks and negotiation.

Levy again: “The key neo-con protagonists, their think tanks and publications may be unfamiliar to many Israelis, but they are redefining the region we live in. This tight-knit group of ‘defense intellectuals’ —centered around [Weekly Standard editor] Bill Kristol, Michael Ledeen, Elliott Abrams, Perle, Feith and others—were considered somewhat offbeat until they teamed up with hawkish well-connected Republicans like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Newt Gingrich, and with the emerging powerhouse of the Christian right. Their agenda was an aggressive unilateralist U. S. global supremacy, a radical vision of transformative regime-change democratization, with a fixation on the Middle East, an obsession with Iraq and an affinity to ‘old Likud’ politics in Israel. Their extended moment in the sun arrived after 9/11.”

And a catastrophic mess they’ve made of it. All save Gingrich signed a “Project for a New American Century” position paper urging an attack on Iraq years before 9/11, part of a grandiose scheme for world domination that would have credited a James Bond villain or V. I. Lenin.

Achieving high rank in President Simple’s administration, the neo-cons—no war veterans among them—convinced him that removing Saddam Hussein, a secular military dictator, was crucial to defeating al-Qa’ida religious fanatics hiding in Pakistani caves several time zones away. With a grateful citizenry strewing rose petals in their path, American liberators would turn Iraq into an Arab Switzerland.

Now they’re eager to double down on that calamitous bet. The Jerusalem
Post recently reported that Israeli defense officials received “indications from the U. S. that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.” Thankfully, sources told veteran American reporter Robert Parry, even hawkish cabinet members think that’s “nuts.” After the smoke clears, Israel, a functioning democracy, will doubtless investigate.

Since the fall of Baghdad, moreover, some neo-cons have joked that “real
men go to Tehran.” U.S. intelligence sources can find no evidence that Iran controls Hezbollah’s actions, although they arm Lebanon’s Shiite militia as surely as the U.S. sponsors Israel. Neo-cons see one last chance to achieve their megalomaniacal daydreams before the November congressional elections, provoking a war whose scale—from the Mediterranean to the Himalayas—most Americans don’t comprehend, and which couldn’t be “won” without resorting to nuclear weapons. The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh contends that the Pentagon is resisting White House pressures to plan exactly that. Daniel Levy thinks that “disentangling Israeli interests from the rubble of neocon ‘creative
destruction’ in the Middle East has become an urgent challenge for Israeli policy-makers.” Had George W. Bush heeded France in 2003, allowing United Nations inspectors to document that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction, today’s situation wouldn’t be so scary. This time, Americans need to listen.

Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."


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