Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 19, 2006

Pay the Price?

While other neocons are pulling back a bit from there thesis' and their support for the war on Iran, one is just starting up.

Joshua Muravchik, a former socialist but now working at the American Enterprise Institute, has mind boggling OpEds in two major publications today.

In the Washington Post he asks: Can the Neocons Get Their Groove Back? Proving that he never lost his groove he is demanding Bomb Iran on the pages of the LA Times.

From the first piece:

Neoconservative ideas have been vindicated again and again on a string of major issues, including the Cold War, Bosnia and NATO expansion. It is the war in Iraq that has made "neocon" a dirty word, either because Bush's team woefully mismanaged the war or because the war (which neocons supported) was misconceived.
No doubt, the results of the midterm elections will produce some course corrections (as Rumsfeld has discovered). But neocon ideas are unlikely to be jettisoned -- either by Bush or his successor -- until a viable replacement is found. So far, there is none.

Sorry, just bad management, all my ideas have been always been right and there are no alternative ideas anyway. We just had to kill those hundred thousands of people.

I did fool you once? Sorry for that but I have to fool you again. There are no alternatives.

That is why:

WE MUST bomb Iran.

It has been four years since that country's secret nuclear program was brought to light, and the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.
The reality is that we cannot live safely with a nuclear-armed Iran. One reason is terrorism, of which Iran has long been the world's premier state sponsor, through groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. 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. How could we possibly trust Iran not to slip nuclear material to terrorists?
Tehran can build influence on a mix of ethnicity and ideology, underwritten by the region's largest economy. Nuclear weapons would bring regional hegemony within its reach by intimidating neighbors and rivals and stirring the admiration of many other Muslims.
The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use of force. Not by invading Iran as we did Iraq, but by an air campaign against Tehran's nuclear facilities.
What should be the timing of such an attack? If we did it next year, that would give time for U.N. diplomacy to further reveal its bankruptcy yet would come before Iran will have a bomb in hand (and also before our own presidential campaign). In time, if Tehran persisted, we might have to do it again.
Finally, wouldn't such a U.S. air attack on Iran inflame global anti-Americanism? Wouldn't Iran retaliate in Iraq or by terrorism? Yes, probably. That is the price we would pay. But the alternative is worse.

Is that not a beauty? The second paragraph even uses the terrorist bogeyman citing the ridicules unsourced Con Coughlin piece from last weeks Telegraph - the neocon echo-chamber in full operation.

But the most remarkable issue I find with this war-mongering is this.

Even if one would accept the completely unproven thesis that Iran does want a nuclear weapon, Muravchik gives no, absolutely zero reason why the U.S. should intervene.

Iran, he phantazises, would be "threat to Israel", it would become a "hegemon" in the Middle East, it would endanger Europe and the Far East. But he does not lose one word, except the yawn inducing terror bogeyman, about any danger to the U.S. itself. Still he asks the people of the U.S. to pay the price.

But why should the U.S. pay that price?

After the unintended consequences of the war on Iraq are visible, that question may even make the deepest redneck think twice about a new "adventure".

It is the question the Neocons can not answer and it is time to ask it again and again.

Posted by b on November 19, 2006 at 14:31 UTC | Permalink


Never trust a cornered rat.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 19 2006 14:35 utc | 1

Yeah, yeah, yeah... and the USA couldn't "live with a nuclear North Korea", either. Necessity sure is a mother.

Muravchik is beating an increasingly dead horse in hopes that it will get up and pull that gravy train again. Neocons were right about "the Cold War, Bosnia and NATO expansion"...? Hell of a lot of Eastern Europeans would contest that statement, as do I.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 19 2006 16:12 utc | 2

Hersh: CIA analysis finds no Iranian nuclear weapons drive: report

A classified draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.

Seymour Hersh, writing for The New Yorker, reported on whether the administration of Republican President George W. Bush was more, or less, inclined to attack Iran after Democrats won control of Congress last week.

A month before the November 7 legislative elections, Hersh wrote, Vice President Dick Cheney attended a national-security discussion that touched on the impact of Democratic victory on Iran policy.

"If the Democrats won, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran," Hersh wrote, citing a source familiar with the discussion.

Cheney said the White House would circumvent any legislative restrictions "and thus stop Congress from getting in its way," he said.

The Democratic victory unleashed calls for the Bush administration to begin direct talks with Iran.

The administration's planning of a military option was made "far more complicated" in recent months by a highly classified draft assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency" challenging the White House's assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb," he wrote.

"The CIA found no evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," Hersh wrote.

Hersh is on "Late Edition" in a few minutes - maybe he has more ..

Posted by: b | Nov 19 2006 16:14 utc | 3


No doubt, the results of the midterm elections will produce some course corrections (as Rumsfeld has discovered). But neocon ideas are unlikely to be jettisoned -- either by Bush or his successor -- until a viable replacement is found. So far, there is none.

This is not much different from the Frank Rich article you posted earlier : nothing can be done. The dogma for the NYTimes and the neocons, Republicrat and Demoplican. Remember that the neocons got their start in the Demoplican Party. It was Pat Moynihan who coined the term "benign neglect"... although I cannot imagine that Moynihan could have imagined applying that policy on 9/11.

Iran has long been the world's premier state sponsor, through groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

Israel is the midwife of both of these groups. Both of them formed to succor and defend the victims of Israel's genocidal policies in the Middle East.

Wouldn't Iran retaliate in Iraq or by terrorism? Yes, probably. That is the price we would pay.

No. That is the price we Americans would pay. It may be that the alternative for those wedded to the murderous, genocidal notion of "Greater Israel" find the alternative worse : for on the one hand they have more dead Americans and a ruined nation while on the other another postponement of the inevitable collapse of Israel's overblown dreams of dominance in the Middle East. From their sick and wrong point of view, what's not to like about that?

A couple of days ago I posted the quote that opened Sibel Edmonds article, primarily on the Saudi influence on American policy The Highjacking of a Nation:

In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned that America must be constantly awake against "the insidious wiles of foreign influencesince history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government."

I view and viewed that as her act of desperation, an appeal directly to these self-proclaimed, duped patriots who voted and still vote for these traitors. For they are traitors. They are willfully destroying the United States of America for another roll of the dice for a bunch of greedy, far-right wing Israelis.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Nov 19 2006 16:44 utc | 4

The (long) Hersh piece is online: THE NEXT ACT

The White House’s concern was not that the Democrats would cut off funds for the war in Iraq but that future legislation would prohibit it from financing operations targeted at overthrowing or destabilizing the Iranian government, to keep it from getting the bomb. “They’re afraid that Congress is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, à la Nicaragua in the Contra war,” a former senior intelligence official told me.
A retired four-star general who worked closely with the first Bush Administration told me that the Gates nomination means that Scowcroft, Baker, the elder Bush, and his son “are saying that winning the election in 2008 is more important than the individual. The issue for them is how to preserve the Republican agenda. The Old Guard wants to isolate Cheney and give their girl, Condoleezza Rice”—the Secretary of State—“a chance to perform.” The combination of Scowcroft, Baker, and the senior Bush working together is, the general added, “tough enough to take on Cheney. One guy can’t do it.”
In the past six months, Israel and the United States have also been working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group known as the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan. The group has been conducting clandestine cross-border forays into Iran, I was told by a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon civilian leadership, as “part of an effort to explore alternative means of applying pressure on Iran.” (The Pentagon has established covert relationships with Kurdish, Azeri, and Baluchi tribesmen, and has encouraged their efforts to undermine the regime’s authority in northern and southeastern Iran.) The government consultant said that Israel is giving the Kurdish group “equipment and training.” The group has also been given “a list of targets inside Iran of interest to the U.S.” (An Israeli government spokesman denied that Israel was involved.)
many in the White House and the Pentagon insist that getting tough with Iran is the only way to salvage Iraq. “It’s a classic case of ‘failure forward,’” a Pentagon consultant said. “They believe that by tipping over Iran they would recover their losses in Iraq—like doubling your bet. It would be an attempt to revive the concept of spreading democracy in the Middle East by creating one new model state.”
In the current issue of Foreign Policy, Joshua Muravchik, a prominent neoconservative, argued that the Administration had little choice. “Make no mistake: President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office,” he wrote. The President would be bitterly criticized for a preëmptive attack on Iran, Muravchik said, and so neoconservatives “need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes.”
The Administration’s planning for a military attack on Iran was made far more complicated earlier this fall by a highly classified draft assessment by the C.I.A. challenging the White House’s assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb. The C.I.A. found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The C.I.A. assessment warned the White House that it would be a mistake to conclude that the failure to find a secret nuclear-weapons program in Iran merely meant that the Iranians had done a good job of hiding it. The former senior intelligence official noted that at the height of the Cold War the Soviets were equally skilled at deception and misdirection, yet the American intelligence community was readily able to unravel the details of their long-range-missile and nuclear-weapons programs. But some in the White House, including in Cheney’s office, had made just such an assumption—that “the lack of evidence means they must have it,” the former official said.
The former senior intelligence official added that the C.I.A. assessment raised the possibility that an American attack on Iran could end up serving as a rallying point to unite Sunni and Shiite populations. “An American attack will paper over any differences in the Arab world, and we’ll have Syrians, Iranians, Hamas, and Hezbollah fighting against us—and the Saudis and the Egyptians questioning their ties to the West. It’s an analyst’s worst nightmare—for the first time since the caliphate there will be common cause in the Middle East.” (An Islamic caliphate ruled the Middle East for over six hundred years, until the thirteenth century.)
As the C.I.A.’s assessment was making its way through the government, late this summer, current and former military officers and consultants told me, a new element suddenly emerged: intelligence from Israeli spies operating inside Iran claimed that Iran has developed and tested a trigger device for a nuclear bomb. The provenance and significance of the human intelligence, or HUMINT, are controversial. “The problem is that no one can verify it,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “We don’t know who the Israeli source is. The briefing says the Iranians are testing trigger mechanisms”—simulating a zero-yield nuclear explosion without any weapons-grade materials—“but there are no diagrams, no significant facts. Where is the test site? How often have they done it? How big is the warhead—a breadbox or a refrigerator? They don’t have that.” And yet, he said, the report was being used by White House hawks within the Administration to “prove the White House’s theory that the Iranians are on track. And tests leave no radioactive track, which is why we can’t find it.” Still, he said, “The agency is standing its ground.”
The Bush Administration, if it does take military action against Iran, would have support from Democrats as well as Republicans. Senators Hillary Clinton, of New York, and Evan Bayh, of Indiana, who are potential Democratic Presidential candidates, have warned that Iran cannot be permitted to build a bomb and that—as Clinton said earlier this year—“we cannot take any option off the table.” Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has also endorsed this view. Last May, Olmert was given a rousing reception when he addressed a joint session of Congress and declared, “A nuclear Iran means a terrorist state could achieve the primary mission for which terrorists live and die—the mass destruction of innocent human life. This challenge, which I believe is the test of our time, is one the West cannot afford to fail.”
In August, according to the former senior intelligence official, Rumsfeld asked the Joint Chiefs to quietly devise alternative plans for Iraq, to preëmpt new proposals, whether they come from the new Democratic majority or from the Iraq Study Group. “The option of last resort is to move American forces out of the cities and relocate them along the Syrian and Iranian border,” the former official said. “Civilians would be hired to train the Iraqi police, with the eventual goal of separating the local police from the Iraqi military. The White House believes that if American troops stay in Iraq long enough—with enough troops—the bad guys will end up killing each other, and Iraqi citizens, fed up with internal strife, will come up with a solution. It’ll take a long time to move the troops and train the police. It’s a time line to infinity.”

On CNN Late Edition Hersh didn't said much, but this:
"Election had no impact on military options ..."

"Never underestimate Mr. Cheney ..."

"Iran is far away from a nuclear weapon ..."

Posted by: b | Nov 19 2006 17:02 utc | 5

Bush and Cheney's current push to ship an extra 20,000 unwilling grunts to Baghdad for a few months for "one final push" to win that war is not rationally connected to the Iraq fighting, since ten times that number cannot now guarantee any change on the ground.

But it can be a necessary part of defending against blowback from a new Iranian front. An air war over Iran would require bolstering the soldier boys and sand bags around the Green Zone, which is where the 20,000 are planned to go.

Cheney can fail forward or give up right now, and report to Leavenworth. Guess which option he drools over . . . ayep. That one.

If I want you to call the Fire Department and Police, talking you into it won't get me very far. But if I set fire to your sofa, bookshelves and kitchen cupboards I won't have to ask you at all.

That's how Cheney will get his war. He'll have Israel or some black operators create the incident, and away we go. There will be no winning that one without nuclear weapons. Once Cheney pulls that cork out, it will not be possible to put the genie back in the bottle.

This is exactly what Cheney wants.

Posted by: Antifa | Nov 19 2006 17:50 utc | 6

Kissinger says Iraq cannot be won militarily.

"If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

so he's with the Iraq Study Group now presenting a unified front to the Cheney gang. I hope that all the "blame democrats" Rover acolytes will notice that many of the ppl who are pushing against the Bush strategy are Republicans.

doesn't fit the meme, tho, so it will probably go unremarked by the media, as well, and so the polarization will be allowed to go forward. maybe the media owners have finally turned back to reality too.

in the meantime, Saudi Royal family threatens GB for investigating them...says they will pull out their investments in GB defense firm. (yo, antifa)

Who really has any use for this corrupt royal family except for the Bush crime family?

Is it any wonder that the only choice seems to be siding with an Islamic fundie led opposition in the region when the Saudi Royal family holds other govt's law enforcement hostage? --is it any big news that the region sees this capitulation to bribery as collusion?

I cannot believe, btw, that ppl in "think tanks" here are STILL talking about "bringing democracy" anywhere. they ought to try it in the U.S. first, by assuring free and fair elections, but then they'd only win the old confederacy.

Thankfully most Americans have enough common sense to know that you cannot "force" democracy (or what is called that) on any other nation unless you treat the other nation as a fully hostile force and basically install a totalitarian (ala Napoleon, which, btw, was one of the neo think tankers, role models) and this action flies in the face of the claims of the neocons...and the American ppl see this.

Of course, the neocons forget to mention that the french eventually turned on their despot and fell into years of struggle between monarchists and republicans. but no matter. Italy got the decimal system.

Posted by: fauxreal | Nov 19 2006 18:18 utc | 7

oh, and fwiw, if the American ppl REALLY want to effect a change in the region, they'd start victory gardens and would carpool and support local small scale renewable energy sources that would take some of the power away from the Saudis, for instance. --and create jobs locally, and work toward eliminating the poor and hungry in this nation...local farmer produce is better than corporate mac and cheese dinners, and local govts can use these sources.

but of course, no Bush is ever going to call for any of these things because their interests, and the interests of their Saudi buddies, top any concern for or attempt to empower the American ppl.

THAT would be real steps toward democracy.

the log in our own eyes, that sort of thing...

Posted by: fauxreal | Nov 19 2006 18:24 utc | 8

Nowhere in the two OpEds does Muravchik use the word 'oil'.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Nov 19 2006 18:29 utc | 9

@Dick - good observation and definitly significant

@fauxreal - The LAT has a Kissinger interview - democracy? - bad mistake ...

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, a frequent advisor to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, has concluded that the United States must choose between stability and democracy in Iraq — and that democracy, for now, is out of reach.

"I think that's reality. I think that was true from the beginning," Kissinger said in an interview last week.

"Iraq is not a nation in the historic sense," he said, pointing to the ferocity of the conflicts among Kurds and Sunni and Shiite Arabs. "The evolution of democracy … usually has to go through a phase in which a nation [is] born. And by attempting to skip that process, our valid goals were distorted into what we are now seeing."

Hail Allawi ...

Posted by: b | Nov 19 2006 18:46 utc | 10

Sy Hersh’s article and corporate media ignore the 33 day Lebanon War. Israel has been taken out of the GWOT. They cannot afford to shutdown Northern Israel for the duration of the Iran Bombing Campaign by retaliatory rocket bombardment. If the USA does not attack Iran or Syria in the next two years, thank Hezbollah.

Posted by: Jim S | Nov 19 2006 19:15 utc | 11

"The evolution of democracy … usually has to go through a phase in which a nation [is] born. And by attempting to skip that process, our valid goals were distorted into what we are now seeing."

How incredibly arrogant, given that Iraq/Mesopotamia has existed in some form or another for a helluva lot longer than the USA (ie, some 4000 years longer...)?? How amazing of him to assert that the nation is just now "being born" as if it could not have occurred without our divine intervention.... as if it was not born back when it was the cradle of civilization... Ur and Babylon and all that... in fact, relative to the US, Iraq by now is a wise wise old sage compared to our nation, which has clearly not even reached toddlerhood...

These people just boggle one's mind.

Posted by: Bea | Nov 19 2006 19:18 utc | 12

Happy as the election results were, all my instincts tell me that this is just an intermission. The play goes on. Cheney hasn't lost all of his influence, yet; though Poppy and his boys are pushing hard, and the neocons have fractured along one side or the other.

If Poppy and the Fabulous Baker Boys are able, we may see a plan to increase American troop strength in the short term (that's what will be said, anyway), while promoting a plan to completely remake and retrain the Iraqi army and police. There will be timetables and sort-of promises of withdrawl if we can't succeed. Alawi may return to the helm in Iraq.

At the same time, there would be negotiations with major players (visible and not), linking Iraq's stability to multiple issues -- Iranian nuclear ambitions, UN sanctions; Syrian and Hezbollah influence on Lebanon (more remotely, Palestinian Statehood); the 'Kurdish Question'; and financial incentives courtesy of Paul Wolfowitz. This will be Condo's chance to shine, in her tasteful Ferragamo boots.

This would also involve an amazing balancing act between factions of Shias and Sunnis in Iraq, and the strength of the insurgency. If all politics is local, then in the Middle East it's even more complicated by sectarian, tribal and clan loyalties -- and so far, we've shown all we can do in sailing these waters is to get lost.

The hopeful view is that Baker and Daddy want to press for real, constructive movement forward to benefit America, and insure some degree of control over the oil supply... and oh, yes; to benefit Iraqis, and the region. The troops will return to a heroes' parade down the Avenue Of The Americas and a speech before Congress and the Nation by the Peevish Sock Puppet, minduful of our sacrifice but filled with reference to noble duty... all of it dominating Fox, CNN and the major networks. Jim Lehrer wil have a tear of joy in his eye for his friend, the Little Sock.

This would allow the Puppet to leave the stage on a high note, his time in the White House much like Nixon's: Marred by scandal and whisperings... but all papered over in the glow of America's greatness, and helpful teleprompters. The world might just have a few more years of lower levels of violence.

This miracle will need to occur by the middle of 2008, to give maximum effect to the Republicans' version of taking back Alsace-Lorraine, and Guliani's or (more likely) McCain's candidacy.

The cynical view is that Baker/Daddy's efforts will only be self-justifying white noise. One more illusion, that we have "peace with honor", and that the troops can come home to that same wonderful parade and noble speeches. In the bubble-world of the Peevish Dullard, America will be the winner. In the real world, no major question in the Middle East will have been settled, and the ultimate effect of the 2003 invasion will be catastrophic.

Set against this is the vision of Cheney, 'his' neocons and the DoD/Military elements that believe we should kill the snake in its nest before it can grow into an Anaconda. This is the same group of brilliant True Believes who had no plan for Iraq beyond invasion -- and their plans for striking Iran are just as myopic. Double-down, indeed, and you betcha: Never trust a cornered rat.

At the moment, my instinct says Cheney just doesn't have the muscle any longer to force America into yet another war (particularly after Rumsfeld's pending departure), but who knows. At the moment, Poppy is calling in every marker he has to bail out his horrible little toad-killing spawn.

What could upset the balance between Cheney and the (relatively) more moderate Daddyites would be another 'incident', which would provide the most radical elements in the Cheney administration to re-assert their authority. And god help us all, if that comes to pass.

But, you never know. We might get lucky.

Posted by: Austin Cooper | Nov 19 2006 20:36 utc | 13

fauxreal wrote: I cannot believe, btw, that ppl in "think tanks" here are STILL talking about "bringing democracy" anywhere.

Ha! History and its long trail..

"We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a friend; and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic governments of the world. We are now about to accept gage of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretence about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included: for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them."

--- From Woodrow Wilson’s war speech, 1917>link

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 19 2006 21:13 utc | 14

oh man, dude was on democracynow last week in a three-way w/ mcgovern & kuncinich and, man o man, did that guy whine like a spoiled schoolboy

JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Wait, wait, wait. Miss Moderator, you didn't interrupt the other two gentleman when they were having their say. So, there’s no --

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, I just interrupted Congressmember Kucinich to find out what he thought of Jack Murtha.


JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Amy, let me get in on this, please. Let me get in on this. It's my turn. You let him interrupt me, now let me -- let me have my turn! You let him interrupt me! Now it’s my turn!


JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: But, wait a minute, I didn’t interrupt you. I didn’t interrupt you when you were talking, Senator.

GEORGE McGOVERN: -- and we started bombing him, although he was trying to preserve a neutral stance on the war.

JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: Senator, I didn’t interrupt you when you were talking.

and so on, until his mike was turned down toward the end of the segment. if the media would replay muravchik's whining to amy like they did dean's scream (w/ the added plus that there's no need to digitially anything) that guy would be toast.

here's the right web profile of muravchik

Posted by: b real | Nov 19 2006 23:47 utc | 15

re wilson & his rhetoric on spreading democracy

recently read this

There was one person in the American government who had questions about this and it happened to be Wilson’s Secretary of State, a man named Robert Lansing. Lansing was a New York City, Wall Street lawyer. A person who was deeply versed in Europe, who knew about European politics, when Lansing heard Wilson talk about democracy he wrote a very interesting passage in a letter in which he said, “I do not believe the president understands that this is dynamite. I do not believe he is clear in his own mind about whether he means that this is democracy on a territory, it is a democracy to determine along racial lines, it is a democracy to determine by a community. I do not think he has thought any of this out, and as a result,” he said, “I think there could be an explosion.” Lansing was right. Wilson had not thought this out. He had been an American political scientist, and in one of his speeches to Congress he said, “I will annunciate American principles, I can do no other.” And self-determination and the tradition of elections in the American sense is what Wilson was talking about. But by 1918 and 1919 when you began to talk about elections in places like the Austro- Hungarian empire or the collapsing Turkish empire, in the Middle East as we know it right now this was a very different kind of thing, and Lansing did not believe that Wilson would be able to ever use this particular principle that had begun to unite the world and put Wilson at the center of it; that he’d ever be able to translate that principle into effective diplomacy, and he was not.

When he went to Paris he was greeted as the savior and very quickly ran into a whole series of difficulties. One of those difficulties involved the region of what is now Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. The British and the French, and particularly the British, were determined that they were going to have Iraq, and the reason why they were going to have Iraq as a colony was because they knew that Iraq had a lot of oil. They approached Wilson about this and instead of talking about self-determination, Wilson essentially allowed the British to cut a deal with the French to take over Iraq and to draw the boundaries of Iraq pretty close to where they are right now. Wilson was unable to translate the idea of American democracy in the Middle East, nor was he able to translate it very effectively in parts of even Eastern Europe. There was an election in a place like Hungary, but Hungary returned a communist candidate and at that point Herbert Hoover, a young progressive who was very close to Wilson, went in and with the control of food which he, Hoover, and the United States had, essentially overthrew the communist candidate and brought in one that was more amenable to the French, the British, and to the United States. In Austria again, Hoover used food to make sure that the elections in Austria turned out correctly and as Lansing looked at this he essentially said to himself, “I told you so. This is an extremely dangerous idea of expanding democracy.”

The people who began to be enthusiastic about Wilson in 1916, 1917, 1918, were young American liberals; one of them was a man named Raymond Robins who was the head of the American Red Cross in Russia. Robins knew Wilson and he had been a supporter of Wilson, but after he watched Wilson in Mexico and then he watched Wilson in the Middle East, and then he watched Wilson and Hoover in Eastern Europe, Raymond Robins passed judgment on Wilson which I think it quite accurate. He said that what Wilson never understood was that with luck you can help people, but Wilson never understood they had to save themselves and that seemed to be the situation in 1918-1919. The people who took this hardest were some young liberals on the Wilson delegation who went to France with him. A number of rather distinguished historians in later years including Samuel Eliot Morison who was a young liberal and went with Wilson to Paris, but this group was led by a mainline Philadelphian. The handsome and quite wealthy William Christian Bullet. Bullet was 28 years old when he came to Washington in 1917 to help Woodrow Wilson and Lansing and others somehow try to liberalize what was left from World War I. Bullet went to Wilson and tried to convince him that one of the things Wilson should do is to talk to Lenin. Wilson sent Bullet to talk to Lenin and Bullet came back from the conversations believing that there was a possibility for Wilson and Lenin to sit down and begin to work things out. Wilson did not agree with this, would not see Bullet when he came back, and began to make the deals that Bullet watched in the Middle East with Japan as Japan took over parts of China and parts of the German empire and Wilson went along with it. And by the early part of June of 1919 Wilson, Samuel Eliot Morison and a number of the young liberal idealists, who had gone with Wilson to make the world safe for democracy and to export democracy to the remains of Europe after World War I, resigned.

Early June, Bullet signed out of the Clione Hotel and as he walked out the doo,r some journalists asked him exactly what was going on and Bullet said we’ve resigned, all the young liberals have resigned and have left Wilson. That Wilson had not made the world safe for democracy, he had not understood how democracy travels or does not travel, he had not understood how he would have to compromise, he had not understood the difficulties of planting democracy in certain parts of the world, he had not understood how important it was that he not agree to the Japanese taking over parts of China but he said we knew he had to do it, otherwise Japan would not have joined the League of Nations but we believe he did the wrong thing and some of us are going to go back to Washington and oppose what we have tried to create here and have not created. Bullet walked on out the door and got in a cab to go to the train station in Paris and one reporter asked Bullet, “Now Mr. Bullet, what are you going to do?” and Bullet said, “I’m going to lie in the sands of the Riviera and watch the world go to hell.” He went and it did.

--walter lafeber, retirement lecture

and this

History matters not just for its progression of "fact, fact, fact," Michael McHugh, a pioneer of fundamentalist education, told me, but for "key personalities." ... Key personalities are often soldiers, such as General Douglas MacArthur. After the war, McHugh explained, MacArthur ruled Japan "according to Christian principles" for five years. "To what end," I asked. Japan is hardly any more Christian for this divine intervention. "The Japanese people did capture a vision," McHugh said. Not the whole Christian deal, but one of its essential foundations. "MacArthur set the stage for free enterprise," he explained.

-- jeff sharlet, through a glass darkly: how the christian right is reimagining u.s. history, december 2006 harper's

this is what is meant nowadays by "bringing democracy" to the planet

Posted by: b real | Nov 20 2006 0:14 utc | 16

"bringing democracy to ___________" is just manifest density endlessly remarketed and relabelled

Posted by: gmac | Nov 20 2006 0:43 utc | 17

"the lack of evidence means they must have it"

I can't be sure from the context if this refers to their moronic fantasies about the mighty Soviet war machine, the WMD in Iraq, or the nukes they believe Iranians are just scant years away from. They were wildly wrong about the first two, and yet these fools are still in positions of influence, shouting their blind idiot predictions for all to hear.

Hell, if I were the Iranians I'd want nukes too, knowing that these bloodthirsty bastards were cheerleading for my overthrow. And that's the problem -- these neocon fantasies are self-fufilling, bringing about war and destruction by running up the volume on the rhetoric.

One thing is clear, Bush, Cheney Stovepiping Intelligence On Iran, Hiding Information From CIA while our saviors, the dempublicans play the 'look over here' game. As a commenter says at TP, What would motivate this administration to start another war? I’m just guessing, but I think it would be a pre-emptive strike against the new Congress who will be starting investigations in 2007. If I ignored warnings of a 9/11 attack that killed 3000 Americans;if I lied about the casus belli for starting an elective war in Iraq;if I drained the US Treasury to enrich my friends;if I strummed a guitar while New Orleans drowned….what would I do to avoid accountability? Start a real war that will assure a real scorched Earth result? And hope I can use this as an excuse to shutdown Congress and make myself a dictator beyond the bounds of Constitutional law? These guys are really dangerous now…they are wounded but still in the wheelhouse of the ship of state., Further, 32% of Americans are so delusional that they approve of the way little boots is doing his job. So they already have the base down. Once the think tanks the warmongers in congress AIPAC and the corporate whore media start flogging the story in ernest they’ll have more than enough support for the next act. The American people sent a pretty clear message with the elections: “We’re not buying your crap anymore, Mr. President.” But that is not what the democrats pretend they heard...

Somebody mentioned it earlier and I share this assessment. Bush is planning to implement his ‘Executive Orders’ and abandon Congress and Senate. First they will attack Iran, then in the following economic chaos they will declare a national state of emergency and with it Martial Law.

Then the NWO neocon ideology can begin to manifest in earnest:
'Bush doesn't think America should be an actual place'

Tancredo says president believes nation should be merely 'idea' without borders

Welcoming in the NAFTA Super Highway... fuck the people, God talks to me (Bush).

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 20 2006 5:04 utc | 18


Well worth your time...


der teufel hat viele namen!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 20 2006 6:12 utc | 19

"bringing democracy to ___________" is just manifest density endlessly remarketed and relabelled

and moral superiority too.

to add, democracy in different forms & cultures have been around for a long time. Longer than the Greeks. Nobody invented democracy.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 20 2006 7:15 utc | 20

Pentagon Review Sees Three Options in Iraq: "Go Big," "Go Long," and "Go Home." "Go Big" and "Go Home" have already been ruled out.

The group has devised a hybrid plan that combines part of the first option with the second one -- "Go Long" -- and calls for cutting the U.S. combat presence in favor of a long-term expansion of the training and advisory efforts.
That combination plan, which one defense official called "Go Big But Short While Transitioning to Go Long," could backfire if Iraqis suspect it is really a way for the United States to moonwalk out of Iraq -- that is, to imitate singer Michael Jackson's trademark move of appearing to move forward while actually sliding backward.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 20 2006 7:22 utc | 21

Did anyone else watch Ted Koppel's Discovery channel piece on Iran: the Most Dangerous Nation?

Here's WaPo's take.

I expected something else--I guess I was contaminated by the complex humanity of Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Koppel, slouching around Iran in faded blue jeans, seems intent on portraying a country full of martyrs-in-training. I found Sister Mary much more compelling.

Posted by: catlady | Nov 20 2006 7:41 utc | 22

@ U$, re: moonwalking out of Iraq-

GHWB in a white glove: "the kid is not my son."

Posted by: catlady | Nov 20 2006 7:44 utc | 23

You Can't Handle the Truth
Psy-ops propaganda goes mainstream.

Also see,
Strategic Communication Laboratories

Also, MOA archives are your friend...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 20 2006 8:13 utc | 24

TO Bea/12. When Kissinger told that, he was thinking as a jew, no as an american

Posted by: curious | Nov 20 2006 13:11 utc | 25


they could probably put the entire Iraqi army and police through Harvard for all the money they have spent on training them so far.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 20 2006 14:31 utc | 26

heh. uncle's mention of the pentagon's "three options" reminds me of carlin's routine about bushdaddy's "dick-waving" in iraq

As far as I am concerned, the whole thing in the Persian Gulf was one big dick-waving cockfight, and it was because Saddam Hussein had questioned the size of George Bush’s dick. And George Bush had been called a wimp for so long that apparently, he felt the need to act out his manhood fantasies by sending America’s white children in to kill other people’s brown children. Clearly, the worst kind of wimp.

Bush, the name, is related to the genitals, without actually being the genitals. Bush is just sort of a passive secondary sex characteristic. It’s even used as a slang term for women: "Hey, pal, how’s the bush in this area?" I can’t help thinking, if this president’s name had been George Boner . . . he might have felt a little better about himself, and he wouldn’t have had to go and kill all those children."

When he got right down to it, he even used teenage slang to describe his foreign policy, saying that, "This will not be another Vietnam – We’re going all the way!" That is an actual quote of Bush’s. Of course, when it came right down to it – he didn’t. Faced with going into Bagdad, he punked out. No balls. Just Bush, okay? He applied sanctions, so that an extra half a million brown children would die, so that his oil buddies could continue to fill their pockets.

You wanna know what happened in the Persian Gulf, just remember the first names of the two men who ran that war: Dick Cheney and Colin Powell. Dick and colon. Someone got fucked in the ass.

Posted by: b real | Nov 20 2006 18:35 utc | 27

A link to the Carlin rant b real excerpted - it's great. I like this passage too

If you want to know what happened in the Persian Gulf, just remember the first names of the two men who ran that war: Dick Cheney and Colin Powell.

Dick and Colon.

Someone got fucked in the ass.

And those brown people better make sure they keep their pants on, because Dick and Colin have come back for an encore.

Posted by: b | Nov 20 2006 20:11 utc | 28

@ Heh...Just Bush, okay? b real

Via Wikipedia:

bush-league (n. or adj.) — amateur, unsophisticated, unprofessional. From the baseball term for a second-rate baseball league (n.) and therefore its players (adj., as in bush-league pitcher etc). OED cites its first baseball use as 1906, non-baseball in 1914.

No one could argue against the fact that since January of 2001, everything about American foreign -- and domestic -- policy has been strictly bush-league.

Posted by: Austin Cooper | Nov 20 2006 21:40 utc | 29

where's Delilah with her clippers when ya need her?

Posted by: catlady | Nov 20 2006 22:08 utc | 30

The reason why we COULD live with a nuclear armed Soviet Union was:

a. its leadership included many chronic alcoholics;

b. its conventional military forces posed a serious threat to US strategic interests in their own right;

c. it had a demonstrable track record of initiating wars of aggression;

d. its leaders were white;

e. its leaders were atheists.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Nov 21 2006 2:23 utc | 31

The White House has responded to Hersh's article... or, more accurately, to Hersh. They don't actually bother to address anything he states since:

"The White House is not going to dignify the work of an author who has viciously degraded our troops, and whose articles consistently rely on outright falsehoods to justify his own radical views," [White House spokeswoman Dana Perino] said on Monday.

"Consistently rely on outright falsehoods"...? Like, um, Nigerian uranium claims, you mean? Sorry, couldn't resist with so much déjà vu in the air. For instance, does this sound familiar to anyone...?

The White House dismissed a classified CIA draft assessment that found no conclusive evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, The New Yorker magazine reported.

The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said the CIA's analysis was based on technical intelligence collected by satellites and on other evidence like measurements of the radioactivity of water samples.

"The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," according to the article.

"A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis, and told me that the White House had been hostile to it," it said.

Does that not sound like "stovepiping" intelligence again? AGAIN?? And then a White House with a record for lying to the public accuses a detractor of "relying on outright falsehoods"...?! All that's left now is for a report to be leaked of Bush the Younger peeking into Condi's office long enough to pump his fist and say "F--- Mahmoud... We're taking him out!" and we're back to to 2003.

Somebody needs to smack the turntable, the needle seems to be stuck.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 21 2006 5:03 utc | 32

Harper's Silverstein has a nice takedown of neocon Adelman: Ken Adelman: A Rat Abandons a Ship of Fools

Now, after all this, Adelman would have us believe that he has absolutely no responsibility for the Iraq disaster? His breaking point on Iraq, he told the Post, was Bush's decision to award Medals of Freedom to Paul Bremer, General Tommy Franks, and George Tenet. “The three individuals who got the highest civilian medals the President can give were responsible for a lot of the debacle that was Iraq.” Adelman sounds jealous, not righteous. It's too bad there’s no medal for being a whining, war-promoting hypocrite.

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2006 7:38 utc | 33

Ken Adelman: A Rat Abandons a Ship of Fools

And snakes refuse to eat him, too.

Posted by: Austin Cooper | Nov 23 2006 7:29 utc | 34

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