There is God! A moment (a second) of humility for War Hawks

Please don't! Iraq is flat. No peace in the Promised Land. But not all is lost. Your books are selling like Katyushas and IEDs.

K. in a Unipolar Moment:Ich bin ein Israeli. But I'm fighting in the War of Ideas in Washington, DC. It's more fun and lucrative.

These are depressing times. Israelis, Lebanese and Palestinians in the Levant and American and Iraqis in the Persian Gulf have become the casualties in the great Let's-Remake-the-Middle-East movie that the Bushies and their cheer-leaders have produced. But in every tragedy one can discover the silver lining. In this case, it's the idea that some of the war hawks are admitting that they were wrong. Read Tom ("countries with McDonalds don't go to war with other countries with McDonalds") Friedman who bascially admits today in Time for Plan B in the New York Times that:
It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war.

When our top commander in Iraq, Gen. John Abizaid, tells a Senate Committee, as he did yesterday, that “the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it,” it means that three years of efforts to democratize Iraq are not working. That means “staying the course” is pointless, and it’s time to start thinking about Plan B — how we might disengage with the least damage possible.

And this"
But the administration now has to admit what anyone — including myself [No! No! No!]— who believed in the importance of getting Iraq right has to admit: Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons, it is not happening, and we can’t throw more good lives after good lives.

Friedman still believes that his script (A Democratic Iraq) was great and that it's the Bushies that screwed up by not listening to the wise advice for the Oracle from Davos. And now he thinks we should have an international conference on Iraq and invite almost everyone out there (even Iran) with the exception of the Eskimos. Yeah. If we destroy (Iraq), they will come (to the conference).
And then there is Charles Krauthammer's Israel's Lost Moment in the Washington Post in which he blames Israel for not playing its part as a "strategic asset" of the U.S. in the Middle East in his own America-and-Israel-defeat-the-Bad- Guys script:
America's green light for Israel to defend itself is seen as a favor to Israel. But that is a tendentious, misleadingly partial analysis. The green light -- indeed, the encouragement -- is also an act of clear self-interest. America wants, America needs, a decisive Hezbollah defeat.

Unlike many of the other terrorist groups in the Middle East, Hezbollah is a serious enemy of the United States. In 1983 it massacred 241 American servicemen. Except for al-Qaeda, it has killed more Americans than any other terror organization.

More important, it is today the leading edge of an aggressive, nuclear-hungry Iran. Hezbollah is a wholly owned Iranian subsidiary. Its mission is to extend the Islamic Revolution's influence into Lebanon and Palestine, destabilize any Arab-Israeli peace, and advance an Islamist Shiite ascendancy, led and controlled by Iran, throughout the Levant.

America finds itself at war with radical Islam, a two-churched monster: Sunni al-Qaeda is now being challenged by Shiite Iran for primacy in its epic confrontation with the infidel West. With al-Qaeda in decline, Iran is on the march. It is intervening through proxies throughout the Arab world -- Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq -- to subvert modernizing, Western-oriented Arab governments and bring these territories under Iranian hegemony. Its nuclear ambitions would secure these advances and give it an overwhelming preponderance of power over the Arabs and an absolute deterrent against serious counteractions by the United States, Israel or any other rival.

The moderate pro-Western Arabs understand this very clearly. Which is why Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan immediately came out against Hezbollah and privately urged the United States to let Israel take down that organization. They know that Hezbollah is fighting Iran's proxy war not only against Israel but also against them and, more generally, against the United States and the West.

Hence Israel's rare opportunity to demonstrate what it can do for its great American patron. The defeat of Hezbollah would be a huge loss for Iran, both psychologically and strategically. Iran would lose its foothold in Lebanon. It would lose its major means to destabilize and inject itself into the heart of the Middle East. It would be shown to have vastly overreached in trying to establish itself as the regional superpower.

The United States has gone far out on a limb to allow Israel to win and for all this to happen. It has counted on Israel's ability to do the job. It has been disappointed. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has provided unsteady and uncertain leadership. Foolishly relying on air power alone, he denied his generals the ground offensive they wanted, only to reverse himself later. He has allowed his war cabinet meetings to become fully public through the kind of leaks no serious wartime leadership would ever countenance. Divisive cabinet debates are broadcast to the world, as was Olmert's own complaint that "I'm tired. I didn't sleep at all last night" (Haaretz, July 28). Hardly the stuff to instill Churchillian confidence.

His search for victory on the cheap has jeopardized not just the Lebanon operation but America's confidence in Israel as well. That confidence -- and the relationship it reinforces -- is as important to Israel's survival as its own army. The tremulous Olmert seems not to have a clue.

"Victory on the cheap!" Isn't that what Rumsfeld is being accused of doing in Iraq? So let's fire Olmert and things would work out just fine like during the Six Day War. What can I say. Like you-know-who in his last moments in you-know-where, the War Hawks are feeling that they have been betrayed by all of those who should have followed their lead to the Great Victory (not on the cheap! and that's coming from the chicken hawks). It's not happening. The War Hawks are gradually giving up on all of us, Americans, Israelis, Palestinians. We just didn't deserve them. Shame on us!


Anonymous said…
Krauthammer refers to Saudi Arabia as moderate? How many times has Krauthammer written something that would suggest he does not really think the Saudis are moderate or pro western?

Why don't people laugh in his face when he makes these insincere shifts in his outlook?
Anonymous said…
Here's another one:

"Iran is on the march. It is intervening through proxies throughout the Arab world -- Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Iraq -- to subvert modernizing, Western-oriented Arab governments and bring these territories under Iranian hegemony. Its nuclear ambitions ..."

Perhaps. But what about all of Krauthammer's ideological allies - They say Iran is on it's last legs/ They say the pro Bush Iranian youth just need some help clearing the hated Mullahs away.

If they are so weak - then why does Krauthammer fear them so? Does he think that his fellow partisans are wrong - or just full of BS?
Anonymous said…
"It is now obvious that we are not midwifing democracy in Iraq. We are baby-sitting a civil war."

Friedman is half right - we are not mid wifing democracy . That Democratese was just a Democra-tease.

But we are also not baby sitting a civil war.

Rather, we are aborting the Iraqi. state, which was conceived illegitimately by Britania shortly after WW1.

Bush is pro choice. War of choice, that is.
Anonymous said…
Friedman's uses the term

"Plan B" - So you see abortion might be too strong a word.

Shows he may have been thinking along those lines though.

Perhaps Gertrude Bell's Iraq birth pangs were like Condi's wider middle east birth pangs.
Anonymous said…
"Krauthammer's Moderates"
-That's the new term - a shorthand reference to Saudi, Egypt, and Jordan
globetrader said…
Churchill again.

Perhaps Olmert should should gain some weight and lose some hair so he is more "Churchillian."
Anonymous said…

Did you hear David Brooks tonight?

He said, without any sense of irony or self-consciousness, that Israel's goal is now to craft a narrative that will allow for victory to be declared, so withdrawl can take place and someone not named Hezbollah can hangout out in S. Lebanon.

We are all postmodern now.

That was a estimate of what he said - the transcript is not up yet.
Thanks. I'll try to watch the Lehrer Newshour although I can't stand Brooks. And don't except for any logic in K's argument. I saw him last week on Inside Washington in which he defended the Iraqi PM condemning Israel...
Anonymous said…
Don't you think it would be funny to watch a reality TV show of Brooks traveling around red state America? Trying to ingratiate himself - maybe carrying along a hanful of James Q. Wilson policy papers to show to local mayors?
Anonymous said…

You wrote about Brooks, "he defended the Iraqi PM condemning Israel..."

Is that because Brooks instinctive default position is sympathize with whatever seems politically necessary at a given moment?

Privately, he must be concerned about this potential rising Shia power.

Iraq is sitting on 155 Billion barrels of proven reserves - accoring to the US DEP.

That means Iraq's oil resources , by itself, is worth about 8.5 trillion dollars.

That could fund a lot of Shia 'freedom' all over the mid-east.

Brooks and the other neocons say they don't care about oil - guess what, Iraqis do.

Does Brooks support Sistani's recent veiled threat against the US?
I was referring to Krauthammer's comments on the Iraqi PM and not Brooks. Why is he saying these things? Because he has committed himself to a certain agenda. He made a major intellectual and personal investment and conceding that he was wrong will result in a major loss for him. So he'll always find a way to come up with an explanation. He was never wrong.
Anonymous said…
I purposely confused Brooks and Krauthammer (though Brooks is less an original pundit) because Brooks
was on the NewsHour yesterday and he was mimicing the whole Krauthammer position of 'shia on the move' as what we are facing. The Iranian thrust, etc....

So Brooks is a derivative - he seems confused, so before he shows up on PBS to play his role of being a tolerable conservative, he reads, copies, synthesizes, then softens up the ideas that other columnist and writers created.

Amazingly - Brooks seemed to be deliiberatly provoking you - because you posted about 'narrative' and Derrida - and Brooks said Israel's goal now was to create a narrative that allows them to say they 'won.'
Anonymous said…
That picture of Friedman is hilarious.
globetrader said…
Regarding postmodern narrative, neocon views, etc, I find the phrase "on the march" interesting.

"On the march" implies someone moving purposefully from one place to another for a militant confrontation. It fits into the linear neocon narrative nicely and paints the desired picture. The Nazis were "on the march" from Germany to Poland, France, Russia, etc.

In reality, it is a strange choice of words for the Shi'a. Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese Shi'a are "on the march"? From where to where?

To my knowledge the only significant numbers of Shi'a "on the move" (vs. "on the march") are the Iraqi Shi'a fleeing violence against mixed neighborhoods to Shi'a neighborhoods and Lebanese Shi'a fleeing north from the fighting in the south.

Aside from a small number of Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon and intelligence operatives in Iraq, the overwhelming majority of Shi'a engaged in violent confrontation are on their home turf.

That's not an attractive reality for neocons. It highlights that their grand scheme has had the unintended consequence of an Iran that can cause a lot of trouble with very little effort and has the motivation to do so.
Anonymous said…
One of the blogs mentioned "on the march" as a phrase might have it's origin with Zola and then it was used by Dewey and others.
Anonymous said…
Meaning it's use in contemporary political phraseology -
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
great blog. Truth with sense of humor. really needed.
Anonymous said…
Re Friedman, On the Zossen blog, you can read how faux-Friedman, explains it all in the comments.

Maybe not humility.
Thanks for the comments and the compliments. You'll make my Mom happy (I hope...).

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