Arthur Chrenkoff says that he and his neocon buddies don’t consider Walid Jumblatt an authority on anything. Well, Michael Young sure does, as he has now highlighted Jumblatt’s testimony in two essays (here’s the first) affirming the efficacy of the Bush Doctrine in Iraq and/or calling for more of it in Lebanon/Syria. In the latest, Young writes:
- Writing in the Washington Post on Wednesday, David Ignatius offered up this quote from Lebanon’s paramount Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who, after siding with Syria for decades (he didn’t have much choice; they killed his father) and opposing the U.S. war in Iraq, has become the leading figure in the anti-Syrian Lebanese opposition: “It’s strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world . The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.”
Jumblatt, for whom political changeability has long been the price to pay for protecting his minority community (and his control over it), nevertheless means what he says. Like many Lebanese, albeit at much greater risk to his own life, Jumblatt has gone too far in attacking Syria to turn back now. And while there are those in the Middle East and the United States who will refuse to give the administration any credit on democratization, at this end of the table, and in Iraq, the more pragmatic view is that it’s best to take what one can from the outside if expanded freedom is the upshot.
Unlike the warbloggers, who do nothing but read each other’s babble, Young, an editor at Beirut’s Daily Star, can be expected to know better about Jumblatt. Yet here he is, offering not an argument from a dubious source – which would have to be addressed on its own merits – but a sort of hunch or vibe, as if Jumblatt is equivalent to a journalist on a political roundtable saying that he doesn’t think the American people are ready for Social Security reform. We may disagree with said journalist, but we do take him to be something of an authority, insofar as we believe him to have his finger on the national pulse and to have no hidden agenda.
So it’s absolutely fair to say that anyone broadcasting Jumblatt’s hunch as proof of the correctness of Jumblatt’s assertions does, in fact, consider him an authority. Which means it’s also fair to question exactly where Jumblatt’s finger is and what the hell it’s up to. If David Duke comes out in favor of an affirmative action program, saying that he’s had a sudden change of heart, any reasonable person will question his motives, and more importantly, the validity of his analysis of that program. Ditto for Jumblatt, who, incidentally, rather sounds like David Duke:
- The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice-president and top advisers, including [Condoleezza] Rice, who is oil-colored, while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz, the leading hawk who is inciting (America) to occupy and destroy Iraq.
And Jumblatt wasn’t just saying such things 50, 20, or even five years ago – he was saying them right up to the goddamn minute he issued his calculated switcheroo to David Ignatius. ‘Scuse me for being a little, er, cynical about both his motives and the validity of his analysis.
This is the best you’ve got?