Majority Leader Tom Daschle is shocked shocked!
that President Bush and the Republicans are playing politics
with the onrushing war. In a emotional speech on the Senate
floor, Daschle demanded an apology from the White House for
cited in a Washington Post story that accused the
(Democratic-controlled) Senate of not caring about national
security. Daschle, who usually has all the passion of a pocket
calculator, was visibly angry, his voice husky with conviction:
ought not politicize this war. We ought not politicize the
rhetoric about war and life and death."
worries Daschle is that he and his fellow Democrats have been
cornered by the President and the GOP, and will soon either
be forced to come out against the war or else share in the
responsibility for starting it. But Daschle & Co. have
a problem: Iraq is at
the center of the public consciousness, and it is no longer
politically tenable to sit on the sidelines. The Post
a fundraiser for GOP House candidate Adam Taff in Kansas Monday,
Vice President Cheney said security would be bolstered if
Taff were to defeat Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.). 'Cheney
talks about Iraq at congressional fund-raiser/ Electing Taff
would aid war effort,' read the headline in the
his speech to the assembled Republicans, who paid $250 a plate
to partake of his wisdom, Cheney tied the conquest of Iraq
to the GOP's conquest of the state's Third Congressional District.
Iraq's offer to admit the UN inspectors "without conditions"
was dismissed by the Vice President as, er, "another
attempt by Hussein to avoid weapons inspections." According
to the Capital-Journal, Cheney suggested a military
motif for the Taff campaign:
said the administration's efforts would be helped by sending
Taff to Congress. Taff is a Navy veteran running against two-term
incumbent Democrat Dennis Moore, and Cheney said Taff's military
experience would be an asset. After Cheney's speech, Taff
said he intended to emphasize his military background in the
is hard to fathom why Daschle is shocked by any of this. After
all, Democrats have used war as a political bludgeon to beat
down the opposition more ruthlessly than any Republican:
the "great debate" over the Korean "police
action," Truman descried conservative Republican "appeasers,"
and the President's liberal supporters at The New Republic
Stalinist caucus in the [Chicago] Tribune tower"
for questioning the war.
Bush and his supporters are now questioning the patriotism
of any and all who look cross-eyed at his policy of perpetual
war and the student of history can only ask, with a world-weary
sigh,"So what else is new?"
Democrats are crying foul because they had their hearts set
on a campaign about Enron, "corporate greed," and
other social democratic shibboleths and now George W. Bush
has gone and spoiled it all by starting a war. Oh, boo hoo
hoo! But even as Daschle was going ballistic in the
Senate chambers, his fellow crybaby Democrats were negotiating
with the White House on the final wording of a war resolution
that would give the President most of what he asked for. What
Hyde has crafted a
compromise resolution that strikes the administration's
phrase implying the possibility of intervention on a "regional"
scale, much to the Democrats' relief, but the latter are fooling
only themselves and perhaps not even that. For once the
dogs of war are unleashed, our legislators will be hard put
to rein them in: what will Daschle and Henry Hyde do,
exactly, if U.S. forces spill into Iran, in "hot pursuit"
of Iraqis? To imagine that a congressional resolution can
hold back the chaos unleashed throughout the Middle East by
a massive U.S. invasion of Iraq recalls
King Canute, who commanded the tides to be still.
was trying to point out to his fawning courtiers that his
power was limited, that even kings are helpless before such
elemental forces, but our own rulers lack Canute's wisdom.
They really believe they can unleash chaos in the Middle East
and control it, as one would control an atomic explosion in
order to extract and utilize some benefit: if this sounds
like the scheme of some mad scientist, rather than the policy
of an American President, then the roots of such madness are
to be found, not in the Middle East, but right here at home.
idea that a war must not be "politicized" is like
decreeing that a child must not resemble its parents. For
the causes of the Iraq war, like all wars, are the result
of the internal political dynamics of the aggressor regime
in this case, the U.S. Why an American President would interrupt
a war against non-state terrorists who have killed 3,000 of
our citizens to go after Saddam Hussein is a mystery to those
who fail to examine the politics of the President's misdirection.
core of the GOP's activist base is an unholy alliance of neoconservatives
and "born again" Christian
fundamentalists who both believe, for different reasons,
that Israel must be unconditionally supported and that
a war of the West against Islam is inevitable. Beholden to
his power base, the President, in opting for this war, is
appeasing Ariel Sharon and catering to the Israeli lobby.
A war with Iraq will pit the U.S. and Israel against the entire
Arab world and give Sharon the kind of cover he needs to
finally expel the Palestinians from their homeland, into Jordan.
A U.S. military occupation of Iraq would eliminate a major
threat to Israel and focus the anger of the Arab world on
the Americans, leaving Ariel Sharon free to become the architect
of a Greater Israel.
Israel's amen corner isn't going to be satisfied with just
Iraq's scalp they want the U.S. to take out the entire
Middle East. Norman
Podhoretz, the grand old man of the Israel Firsters, advances
this agenda in the current issue of Commentary
magazine, wherein he writes that it isn't enough to go after
the Afghans and the Iraqis: we must also, he avers, take out
after the Iranians, the Syrians, the Saudis, the Egyptians,
and naturally the Palestinians, etc., etc. "Changes of
regime are the sine qua non throughout the region," writes
Field Marshall Podhoretz, because we must "fight World
War IV the war against militant Islam."
world war this is what Israel's fanatic partisans look forward
to, and I like what
Paul Craig Roberts has to say in reply to Poddy:
are indebted to Podhoretz for making it clear that a U.S.
invasion of Iraq is the beginning of World War IV. President
Bush and his strategic thinkers should ponder this carefully
and be upfront with the American people. Getting rid of Saddam
Hussein will not solve the Israeli-American conflict with
militant Islam. On the contrary, it will widen the conflict."
thanks a lot, Poddy, for coming clean. If only the Bushies
had your brutal sense of honesty. But perhaps Karl Rove, the
President's chief political strategist, would have a word
or two to say about such a frank admission. Perhaps, like
Roberts, he would be asking:
many sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, grandsons, uncles,
cousins and friends are Americans willing to give to a war,
the object of which is the social and political reconstruction
of the Middle East?"
many are willing to sacrifice their sons, husbands, fathers,
brothers, grandsons, uncles, cousins and friends to a war
for Israel's sake? The answer is surely almost none. Is this
because Americans are "anti-Semites" or because
they believe Israel needs to fight its own battles?
the Democrats whine that they want to talk about the economy,
instead of the war, Roberts points out that the two issues
cannot be separated:
the American people prepared to bear the tax and economic
burden of such a prodigious undertaking? Indeed, with significant
portions of its manufacturing and high-tech capability now
located offshore, can the U.S. economy bear the burden?"
war will cost anywhere from $50 billion to $200
billion, according to some estimates, but in reality the
price of "victory" is going to be so high as to
be incalculable. Since there is no way to know what businesses
might have been created, how wealth seized by the government
in taxes might have been productively invested, there is no
way to know how much World War IV is going to cost us. Suffice
to say that the vast diversion of capital will siphon off
economic energy and divert it from productive investments,
slowing down and eventually stalling the engine of the market.
Conservatives are already complaining about Bush's retreat
on the tax cut issue, and they aren't buying the "everything's
changed" post-9/11 mantra. The day conservatives start
opposing tax cuts is when they starting morphing into big
government liberals. I just can't wait until they hear the
Bush administration's rationale for a tax hike
captive by his core constituency, a coalition of war-mad fundamentalists
and kill-crazy belligerati
who pine for a world war, the President and his War Cabinet
are hurtling toward disaster but Roberts has a sensible
plan to stop World War IV before it starts:
the United States finds itself embroiled in a Middle East
conflict for which it lacks both economic means and popular
support, I propose a different solution: Terminate the Middle
Eastern conflict by inviting the 5 million Jews in Israel
to settle in the United States. The entire population of Israel
amounts to no more than two years of illegal Mexican immigration
is a great idea, one
that I have long advocated on the grounds that the "promised
land" described in the Bible is not Israel, but America
not some socialist
Sparta plonked down in the middle of the desert, but the
freest, the strongest, and the most culturally diverse nation
and, by the way: if you oppose this, you're obviously an anti-Semite
doesn't matter how many Palestinian school-kids General "Bulldozer"
Sharon rolls over, in the end the Arab
birth-rate is the ultimate Palestinian weapon, and the
Zionist project is doomed whether by its own excesses or
an inherent impracticality, is open to debate. In any case,
Roberts says it is time for the Israelis to jump ship:
extreme measures, Israel is unable to defend itself from Palestinian
terrorists. The United States will not be able to defend Israel
or itself from one billion Muslims. Trying to create a small
Jewish state in a sea of Muslims was a 20th century
mistake. Trying to reconstruct the Middle East would be a
bigger mistake. Why not recognize the mistake, evacuate the
Jews, leave the Muslims to themselves and focus on saving
our own country?"
good question, but one the arbiters of political correctness
(neocon version) would rather not hear asked. Roberts' column
enraged James Taranto, whose copy exhibits a zeal on behalf
of a foreign power not seen in the pages of a major American
newspaper since Walter
Duranty's paeans to the Soviet Union in the 1930s. The
pundit's Wall Street Journal column, somewhat dishonestly
titled "Best of the Web," has become the Iskra
of the War Party, and really should be re-named "The
Amen Corner." Under a typically clever subtitle, 'Stupidity
Watch," Taranto interprets the Roberts plan thusly:
way to solve the problem in the Middle East is to dismantle
virtually the only state in the region that is not an abject
failure in the hope of appeasing its neighbors' envy. Of course,
it seems unlikely that all five million Israeli Jews
including those who are U.S. citizens, and who already can
come here to live anytime they like would accept Roberts's
'invitation,' so his call to 'evacuate the Jews' sounds like
a forced relocation."
course, it is okay, from the Tarantonian point of view, to
forcibly relocate the Palestinians driven off their land by
the Israelis. Naturally no one would or could force the Israelis
to give up their failed attempt to found a state: a policy
of non-intervention would certainly forbid it. We could,
however, let Israel fail on its own, and not allow ourselves
to be dragged down along with it. That means cutting off all
foreign aid, economic as well as military, and basically saying:
"Well, guys, you're on your own: goodbye, and good luck."
Call it international welfare reform and tell the Israelis
the truth: it's for your own good.
for those Israelis who are also American citizens, the solution
is simple: we ought to issue an official State Department
"alert" to the effect that we cannot guarantee the
safety of our citizens who choose to live in Israel and
stipulate that there will be no rescue by American military
personnel if they choose to stay. In any case, we ought to
get rid of this dubious idea of "dual citizenship,"
which seems highly problematic if not totally counterintuitive,
and make everyone choose either the American way or the highway.
fine spray of spittle seems to spew forth from the page as
Taranto rants and raves:
proposal is both monstrous and naive. It's monstrous to the
Jews, whom it treats as mere pawns to be shipped from continent
to continent en masse for America's convenience."
isn't the present policy monstrous to the American taxpayers,
who have so far shelled out $90
billion-plus and counting, and are about to be fleeced
for far more all to keep Israel's leaky ship of state
afloat? Must our sons and daughters, as well as our tax dollars,
be shipped off to the Middle East for Israel's convenience?
As for the Israelis being our pawns, try explaining that to
Prime Minister Sharon, who seems to believe with some justification
that it's quite the other way around. But naturally a party-lining
apologist for the Israeli government doesn't quite see the
world in these terms, and Taranto works himself up into quite
even more monstrous to the Muslims, whom it blithely condemns
to continued tyranny and misrule. And what about the Middle
East's Christians and other religious minorities? They don't
even rate a mention in Roberts's column."
have news for Taranto: the Christians of the Holy Land, at
least the Orthodox and
the Catholics, are sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians
and certainly do not look forward to a new world war
centered in the Middle East. The Orthodox Patriarchate is
the single biggest private landowner left standing in a country
where most land is state-owned (i.e. stolen from Palestinians
and Israelis), and the Israeli government has had its
eye on these rich pickings for quite a while. Now
they are refusing to recognize the Patriarch in order to loosen
Orthodox control over church property. The mainline Protestant
churches are likewise hostile
to Israeli expansionism. It is only the nut-ball
millennialists who can't wait for Armageddon, and they
are numerically minuscule in the Middle East.
Taranto is so concerned about "misrule," then let
him start his crusade to rid the world of it in Washington,
D.C., where at least there is some slight chance of success.
He writes that "it's laughably naive to suggest that
dismantling Israel would solve all the Middle East's problems"
but that is precisely the point made by the "isolationist
right," as Taranto would have it. Why should the
goal of U.S. foreign policy be concerned with solving the
Middle East's problems, including but not limited to Israel's?
It can't happen, it won't happen, and it shouldn't
happen let them solve their own problems in their own way.
But Taranto, oblivious to the obvious, barrels right along:
would appear Roberts has forgotten that the last time America
intervened militarily in the region, it was to liberate one
Muslim country from another. Or does Roberts think the Jews
were somehow responsible for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait?"
we intervened, and look what it got us: Khobar Towers, the
assaults on our African embassies, the attack on the U.S.S.
Cole, and the worst terrorist atrocity in our history.
Was it worth it? I don't think so. Who cares if the
Emir of Kuwait gets to sit on his golden throne? As Pat Buchanan
said in 1990, that isn't worth the life of a single American
soldier and the same goes for the entire Middle East today.
Paul Craig Roberts is right: let the Israelis come home to
America, let the Muslims stew in their own stagnant juices
and, for once, let's concentrate on ensuring the safety
of our own citizens. Minding our own business, and avoiding
foreign quarrels, would be a good place to start.
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