Saturday, September 16, 2006

Krazy Like a Krauthammer

God bless the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Thanks to our guaranteed freedom of speech, and columnists like Charles Krauthammer who aggressively practice it, we all have an insider's view of just how insane the brain trust of the neoconservative right really is.

We know not to take the likes of Limbaugh, O'Reilley and Coulter too seriously. Their function is to keep the knuckle dragging crowd entertained with round-the-clock, schoolyard-level insult humor. But Krauthammer's different. A Pulitzer Prize winner and an influential member of Project for the New American Century (PNAC) who helped convince young Mister Bush to invade Iraq after the 9/11 attacks "…even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack," Krauthammer is a darling of the neocon intelligentsia.

Now, Krauthammer is a leading voice in the call to bomb Iran even though there's no evidence to contradict its consistent claims that it has no intention of seeking nuclear weapons. And Krauthammer admits that such a preemptive, unprovoked strike would produce consequences even more dire than the invasion of Iraq.

In his September 15th Washington Post column, he wrote that a strike on Iran will likely "…send oil prices overnight to $100 or even to $150 a barrel. That will cause a worldwide recession." Iran will close the straights of Hormuz, "through which 40 percent of the world's exports flow every day." Krauthammer cautions that, "The U.S. Navy will be forced to break the blockade. We will succeed, but at considerable cost."

As to how a strike on Iran will affect the situation in Iraq, he says, "Iran will activate its proxies in Iraq, most notably, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army… Iran could order the Mahdi Army and its other agents within the police and armed forces to take up arms against the institutions of the central government itself, threatening the very anchor of the new Iraq. Many Mahdi will die, but they live to die. Many Iraqis and coalition soldiers are likely to die as well."

I agree with Krauthammer up to that point, but here's where he turns myopic: "There will be massive criticism of America from around the world. Much of it is to be discounted."

Discounted? Oh please, Chuckie. The Iraq fiasco you helped create has already made America quite arguably the most isolated super power in world history. A strike on Iran based on no more proof of its nuclear weapons intentions other than the rants of your neo-pals like Dick Cheney and John Bolton would set America's influence on global affairs back a century or more. Even our British yap dog won't want to play with us. Even if we throw it a big old box of beef-flavored Nylabones .

Where Krauthammer's Wheels Come Off

Here's where Krauthammer reveals the fundamental flaw in the neoconservative rhetoric:
These are the costs. There is no denying them. However, equally undeniable is the cost of doing nothing.

In propaganda terms, this is often called a "limited choices fallacy." It's also called "binary thinking," a malignant practice that reduces the entire spectrum of possibilities into terms black and white absolutes. It's a common practice of ideological regime propagandists who practice a form of mass hypnosis over large populations. And Krauthammer's as good at this sort of thing as anybody. He should be. He has an MD degree in psychiatry.

We have a wide range of options with Iran, all of which are superior to Krauthammer's "their version of Armageddon" versus "our version of Armageddon" model. Here's the one I suggested last week in The Walrus, the Carpenter and Iran:
If the neoconservatives took a sane, realistic approach to foreign policy…they'd be sitting at the table in bi-lateral talks with Iran right now saying, "Hey look…"

"We appreciate what you hope to accomplish [by becoming the source of nuclear energy for the Muslim world], and we know you need help from a big guy to accomplish it. Tell you what. You don't want any of that Chernobyl and China-boy crap. Ditch those Commie losers. You want the good stuff, and you can only get it from us--at least, in the quantities you need. So if you agree that we can look at every damn thing you're doing with nuclear power, then by golly, we'll help you become the biggest thing in your part of the world since Alexander the Great.

"However, comma, if you ever cross us up by trying to develop nuclear weapons under our nose, or try to use them on Israel or anybody else, we'll smoke your sorry rear ends like an El Producto and turn your sand lot of a country into the world's biggest solar panel."

I don't claim that my approach is the penultimate strategy for Iran, but it's a sight saner than the one that Krauthammer and his neocon cronies propose. Those characters have White Rabbit, Red Queen, March Hare and Mad Hatter genetics in them.


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


Related articles by Jeff Huber:

Wars and Empires

In an Arms Race with Ourselves

The Next World Order


  1. Isn't amazing how much Krauthammer's argument resembles Dr Strangelove (with the appropriate shift for a different a different decade and different bogeyman) ?

    But still the madness stems from a wheelchair, although I'll admit up front that is significant only as far as image is concerned.

  2. I hear you on the Strangelove imagery. As far as I'm concerned, the Krautster is one sick psyciatrist.

  3. Jeff, back from your time off I see. You ought to write for some of the alternative printed media such as Austin's 'The Chronicle'. I think you'd find quite a receptive, 'alternative' (left, right everyone reads it) crowd.

  4. Hi, Ingrid. Yes, I had a nice time in South Carolina.

    I'll check out Chronicle.

  5. Anonymous10:53 AM

    "Insane" may be a bit strong in describing Krauthammer. Sooner or later everyone grows so old that they can no longer rethink their assumptions. I suspect Krauthammer has reached that point. I just can't see him, back in the late 70s, when he worked for Carter, saying that he stood for torture. Nor can I see him advocating torture during his time at Oxford.

    What I don't understand is why others who work with him don't realize that.

  6. I suspect for someone who works with Dr. K. that he's losing his grip would kind of be like a young musician telling Tony Bennett he's hitting a lot of flat notes these days.

    "Bomb Iran or do nothing" is is a distinct form of illogical insanity. Does Krauthammer really believe the choices are that limited or does he simply want to convince other that they are.

    Either way, it's pretty nutty.

  7. Anonymous6:41 AM

    I've loosely followed Krauthammer's writings for the last two decades, and noted that the twin lodestars of his Weltanschauung are Munich and Auschwitz. If these are your *only* points of reference, you'll gravitate towards his course.

    The reason I only loosely followed his writings is because I've noted that MDs almost never really understand political realities, but think that their status as gods in white renders their pontifications infallible.

    In my opinion he's not nuts, just arrogant and opinionated like the vast majority of MDs are.

  8. Anonymous3:42 PM

    Binary thinking is really Reptilian, which Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et. al. speciallize: Krathhammer is disabled, so he has all the time in the world to be anal-retentive. He thinks if G-D did not agree with him, he is no G-D.