Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bill Kristol's Balls

Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard wants the U.S. to use the current Israel-Lebanon confrontation as an excuse to attack Iran. Coming from the guy who wanted to use any excuse to invade Iraq, that's hardly surprising.

In case you don't already know it, Kristol's father Irving is considered to be the "godfather" of the American neoconservative movement, and Kristol himself was the founding chairman of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the think tank whose membership has included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, John Bolton, Bill Bennett, Jeb Bush and other luminaries of the political right.

As its paper trail reveals, the PNAC began pushing for removal of Saddam Hussein by military force in early 1998. Between then and the 2003 invasion, PNAC's justification for such action ranged from weapons of mass destruction to ensuring the Middle East oil flow to protecting Israel to establishing a larger military footprint in the Gulf region. Its September 2000 publication Rebuilding America's Defenses baldly confessed that Saddam Hussein was in reality a convenient excuse for its ambition of a U.S. occupied Middle East:
"While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." (Page 14.)

PNAC did not stress terrorism as a supporting argument for its Iraq policy until after 9/11, and even then they stated that Hussein should be removed by force whether any proof surfaced that he was connected to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks or not.*

This very same Bill Kristol and his neo-confederates are now characterizing the Israel-Lebanon confrontation as Iran's Proxy War, and are urging "pursuit of regime change" in Syria and Iran and "countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities."

Proof by Lack of Evidence

The Bush administration justified its invasion of Iraq with then CIA director George Tenet's "slam dunk" proof of Saddam Hussein's active weapons of mass destruction program and ambiguous intelligence claims of links between Hussein andal Qaeda. Both allegations proved false.

In the war dance currently being choreographed for military confrontation with Iran, the usual suspect chicken hawks aren't even making a pretense at having a shred of evidence to support their claims of Iranian actions or intentions.
President Bush and leading administration echo chamberlains like PNACer Charles Krauthammer consistently insist that Iran is actively pursuing technology necessary to produce nuclear weapons. Iran has consistently insisted that it only wants to establish a nuclear energy industry for reasons that are obvious to anyone who can read the writing on the wall about the future of fossil fuel as an engine of industrial development.

Who are we to believe?

As Seymour Hersch's recent piece in The New Yorker revealed, Pentagon war planners can't come up with a coherent target set for a contingency air operation on Iran because they can't find any indication of the existence of nuclear weapons production facilities. Hersch wrote:
A former senior intelligence official told me that people in the Pentagon were asking, “What’s the evidence? We’ve got a million tentacles out there, overt and covert, and these guys”—the Iranians—“have been working on this for eighteen years, and we have nothing? We’re coming up with jack shit.”

Evidence that Iran and its strategic partner Syria are behind Hezbollah's recent kidnapping of Israeli soldiers that sparked the Israel-Lebanon conflict is equally jack-less.

More than ample evidence exists to prove the Iran has sponsored and equipped Hezbollah throughout the history of its existence, and has used the organization as a proxy in its struggle with Israel. But crystal clear evidence exists that America created and supported Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. And there's no question at all that America backed Saddam Hussein in the, Iran-Iraq War, or that the U.S. supplied Hussein with chemical weapons to fight that war, or that the United States Navy actively participated in that conflict on the side of Iraq.

Are we then to conclude that senior officials in the Reagan and Bush I administration like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were responsible for launching Iraq's WMD program, or Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, or of the 9/11 attacks? Is it unreasonable to conclude that the people in charge of the United States government right now are the very ones who created the "axis of evil" and "Islamo-fascism?"

Islamo-fabulism

The Sunday political gab fest was positively electric over the Israel-Lebanon conflict. Newt Gingrich thinks we're seeing the beginning of World War III (and here I though we were already engaged in World War IV. Or V. Or VI. I'm losing count.) The blogosphere is swarming with conspiracy theories--Olmert ordered his soldiers to let themselves get kidnapped, Bush secretly promised Olmert the U.S. would let Israel do whatever they want in Lebanon, and somewhere I think I saw mention of the real mastermind behind the whole thing being the man in the moon.

Pundits and politicians on the left and right are pointing fingers at Iran and Syria, but all we really know for sure is that the Middle East appears to be headed for hell in a handbag, and that nobody really knows what the hell's going on or who the hell's really behind it.

And in the middle of this insanity steps good old Bill Kristol saying, "Hey, I know, lets bomb Iran's nuclear reactors."

Yeah, Bill. That will fix everything. Just like your great idea about invading Iraq did.

Young Mister Bush is catching heat from all sides regarding his reaction to the Israel-Lebanon crisis. Some say he's not doing enough to show that America stands behind Israel. Others say he's not doing enough to stay Israel's hand. I say that for once, Bush is doing the right thing by waffling. Not that waffling is a good thing to do, but it's the only real choice he has right now.

He certainly can't come out strongly in favor of Hezbollah. If he speaks out strongly in favor of Israel, he'll further solidify anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world--Arabs, Persians, Sunnis and Shias alike.

And Allah help us all if Bush listens to the likes of Kristol (again) and starts flinging two thousand pound bombs at Iran on the basis of allegations supported by zero intelligence.

As Senator Joe Biden (D Delaware) said on Meet the Press, the Bush administration's Middle East policy has placed America in a very deep hole. The best thing we can do now is to stop digging. We need to change the U.S. political equation in November, but we need to do a lot more than that. We must utterly reject the neoconservative philosophy, and that means turning our backs on Bill Kristol, his PNAC cabal, and their associates in hawkish organizations like the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute.

Then we'll need to take a fire hose to the sacred cash cow known as America's military industrial complex.

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*For a more comprehensive account of the neoconservatives' long march to the war in Iraq, see The PNAC Paper Trail.

Also see Jeff's Next World Order series.

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Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.

22 comments:

  1. ISLAM IS THE RELIGION OF ABRAHAM, MOSES, JESUS AND MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON THEM ALL).
    THINK ABOUT IT HOW COULD AN ILLITERATE MAN INSPIRE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND 1400 YEARS LATER STILL BE HAVING AN EFFECT ON THE WORLD.
    WAKE UP FEAR THE GOD OF ISRAEL AND THE UNIVERSE.
    AS A WESTENER THE RATE OF ISLAMS INFLUENCE IS SKY ROCKETING ESPECIALLY IN EUROPE. SO STOP BURYING YOUR HEADS IN THE SAND (no pun intended) LIKE OSTRICHES.
    STOP DEMONISING THE FUTURE FAITH OF MANKIND.
    IF ISLAM IS AN ARAB RELIGION FOUNDED BY AN ARAB IT WOULD NOT HAVE SPREAD FURTHER THAN MECCA OR MEDINA.

    Visit the following websites for further information on ISLAM.
    http://www.al-sunnah.com/muhammad_in_the_bible.htm
    (MUHAMMAD IN THE BIBLE)
    http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/default.htm
    (Quran and Science)
    http://www.harunyahya.com/
    http://www.barnabas.net/
    http://www.answering-christianity.com/ac.htm
    http://www.islamicity.com/
    http://www.islamonline.net/english/index.shtml

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  2. Good essay, Jeff, as we've come to expect. As I read through it, I realized that, if Hezbollah is the Iranian "proxy" then isn't Israel our "proxy"?

    Wouldn't that mean that we're having Mr Kristol's woodie-producing war with Iran right now?

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  3. Yeah, Lurch, that's precisely what I think.

    Our kids have become mercenaries.

    BTW,this post is up at Kos, and is in the "recommended" column. If you get a chance, do me a favor and stop over there and click the button.http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/7/16/12912/2652

    Jeff

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  4. According to this WaPo article, Israel (with US support) is going to "let this play out on the battlefield". In other words, they are going to try to defeat a terrorist insurgency through precision bombing of civilians.

    Nothing like this has ever worked before in history. It is a combination of the worst aspects of the collective punishment Israel has been using for years coupled with the boundless optimism of Americans in the value of precision air strikes, plus the reliance of the Mafia on brutal intimidation to keep people in line.

    Well, maybe it will work for once. If not, maybe the conflagration that results will leave the survivors in a stable state.

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  5. There is no positive outcome possible in the current situation. The U.S. has it's hands tied by our continued support of Israel and failure to support a legitimate government in Palestine or Lebanon. We are militarily unable to intervene and the U.N. is already stretched to the breaking point. We have no credibility in the Arab world so anything we say will be considered a lie.
    Thousands are going to die and everyone is going to suffer crippling destruction of critical infrastructure.
    The U.S. has a lot of responsibility for the current mess and Jeff is probably correct in saying that anything we do will just make it worse.
    This is another phase of the tragedy created after WWII when we deigned it our duty to pay off the Jews with someone else's property and until that fundamental issue is resolved we will have some flavor of this conflict extant...or until one side or the other completely obliterates the last person on the other side.

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  6. Monk,

    I agree that there's no "positive outcome" possible, and it both saddens and angers me that the world's mightiest nation has painted itself--and the rest of humanity--into such a perilous courner.

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  7. This situation seemed really simple to me when I first started to think about it. But the more I think about it, the more questions I have, and the number of answers at my disposal are rapidly decreasing.
    The Middle East has been unstable for some period of time, and it only ever needed one good nudge and off it went, exploding.
    Maybe this is that nudge.

    I agree with Fallenmonk is as much as that this problem was started off years ago when someones country was handed over to the Jews as some kind of compensation or reward. The powerful feelings have just been gathering since then - justifiably. Israel has done much to the Palestinian people and to the countries surrounding it.

    I'm afraid that this "war", "battle", whatever you want to call it wont stop anytime soon - not till hundreds of thousands die or the issues are laid to rest or Israel once again conquers all with its much, much superior weaponry. Is there another option???

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  8. navywife7:56 PM

    I don't think that if Bush came out and told Israel to stop killing civilians that it should be considered siding with Hezbolah. About 100 people in Lebanon have died so far, and all but about 3 were civilian. It doesn't matter what "side" you are on, killing innocents is wrong.

    Bush isn't going to say anything b/c he sees it as a way to further his PNAC-type agenda without actually getting his hands dirty. I read a report last night that said a van carrying two Lebanese families was blown up as they were trying to escape. There were 15 children in that van. This is wrong. There has also been speculation that Israel has used some kind of chemical weapons in Gaza and Lebanon. There has been no confirmation, just speculation.

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  9. I'd happily click any button. What button??

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  10. Tahnia,

    No, I don't think it will be over any time soon eitherr.

    Navywife,

    Another day's gone by. Sounds and looks to me like Bush is staying waffley.

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  11. Juan Williams cut off some of Kristol's cahones this morning. See LINK

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  12. Seesdifferent,

    Quite a show. Thanks for the link. Glad to see Kristol told off on FOX.

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  13. George Will also criticized Kristol on This Week (of course Will often criticizes Kristol and the neocons, whom he said are horribly misnamed because they are the most radical people in the country today).

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  14. I'll have to confess that I never quite know what to make of Will. He dances around quite a bit, position wise. Certainly more so than a lot of other conservative pundits.

    But I suppose that's a good thing.

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  15. I like Will because he's extremely bright and has a very dry sense of humor that I like. That's not to say that I agree with him too often, but I think he's basically a good guy. And he's consistent - he's a conservative and no mistake (but not a neocon), but he doesn't equate conservative to republican, and if the republicans deserve a beating he'll give it to them. I respect that a lot more than the partisan talking heads who basically toe the party line.

    I like Juan Williams for many of the same reasons. If the Dems screw up, he'll point it out. Plus I agree with Juan on many more issues.

    Here's something interesting, though: did you see Fareed Zakaria on This Week? He said Israel was "justified" in its actions against Lebanon, but questioned whether or not it was smart. I was surprised he said they were justified.

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  16. consider, however, the view from the neocon/likud cabal's front porch: attack Iran...Iran immediately goes after the easiest target...the US forces across the border...and Shazam...all the leftover Trotzkyites are tickled...oh...and we get the rapture on top of it! Perfect!

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  17. George Will is an excellent commentator on the sport of baseball.

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  18. All,

    I hear Will has a scathing column coming out in WaPo tomorrow.

    Fixer,

    Yes, he's good at baseball.

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  19. Here's the WaPo piece:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/17/AR2006071701152.html?sub=AR

    Will is a good political commentator as well. One may not agree with him, but he's good at what he does.

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  20. Anonymous1:34 PM

    and people still don't believe 9/11 was an inside jobs.

    sheesh.

    Notably not ONE iota of evidence has ever been presented to the Amurrikan publik to support the "19 arab" conspiracy theory.

    is it that Amurrikans are just stupid or gullible?

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