Sunday, November 19, 2006

Joshua Muravchik, fool or knave?

This guy, a "scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, has two OpEds in major newspapers this Sunday. In the Washington Post, in an essay titled, Can the Neocons Get Their Groove Back? we read: (excerpts, emp add)
... is neoconservatism dead? Far from it. Neoconservative ideas have been vindicated again and again on a string of major issues ...

... even if the invasion of Iraq proves to have been a mistake, that would not mean that the neoconservative belief in democracy as an antidote to troubles in the Middle East is wrong ...

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 ... [confronted] the United States with a deadly enemy and an urgent need for a strategy. ... What could we do to change all this?

... neocons did have answers. ... The neocon solution involved overhauling the way the region thinks about politics so that terrorism would no longer seem reasonable. This was a wildly ambitious idea, of course, but similar transformations had occurred in Europe and much of Asia over the previous half-century. If democracy had shown its potency in discouraging war elsewhere, it stood to reason that it also could be a cure to terrorism in the Middle East.

This latter extrapolation, admittedly, was just a hypothesis, but Bush embraced it because it was the only strategy on offer.

As badly as things have gone in Iraq, the war has not disproved neoconservative ideas.

... American woes in Iraq may be traced to the conduct of the war rather than the decision to undertake it.

Until someone comes up with better ideas ... the neocon strategy of trying to transform the Middle East, however blemished, remains without alternative.
His essay constructed a straw man, that "liberals" think the way to stop terrorism is to look at "root causes", but many non-neocons advocated the police/criminal-gang approach to finding, catching, and stopping terrorists. Muravchik ignores this and instead says the neocon approach to "root causes", which involves toppling governments, was the only alternative and it's just bad luck that it didn't work out.

But it's not all "root causes" for Muravchik and the Middle East. Here, if you can believe it, is a second OpEd on the same day, in the Los Angeles Times, titled, Bomb Iran. And that's not just an editor's choice of a provocative title. The first sentence in the essay reads:
WE MUST bomb Iran.
And continues with: (excerpts, emp add)
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.

Our options therefore are narrowed to two: We can prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, or we can use force to prevent it.

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?

The only way to forestall [various scenarios of] 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. We have considerable information about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500 targets. If we hit a large fraction of them in a bombing campaign that might last from a few days to a couple of weeks, we would inflict severe damage. This would not end Iran's weapons program, but it would certainly delay it.

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.
The United States is already paying a price for heeding the neocons. And Muravchik is eager to have the country pay more. Enough is enough. These AEI "scholars" have been proven wrong time and again (in the first essay he incorrectly claims neocon policy was why we won the Cold War). Yet they get prime space in the editorial pages of major newspapers. That's how they are able to continue guiding policy in the wrong direction.

CODA: In the first essay, Muravchik writes:
Let me confess to the obvious: I am a dyed-in-the-wool, true-believer neocon.
When you are a true-believer neocon, that is your starting axiom. Never mind the facts. They are secondary. And that's why you can end up with unrealistic policies that fail.


What's the bet that Ahmedinejad quotes from this idiot during his next rabble-rousing speech to the Iranian public?

These neocon morons are are not only wrong, they're counterproductive.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/19/2006 10:25 PM  

My thoughts as well. Somebody from the AEI, a group with clear policy (and personnel) input to the current administration, sure looks like a credible voice for U.S. foreign policy. Or at least a not-to-be-ignored faction.

Years ago, if somebody from an outfit with close contact with the Kremlin wrote something about how to attack NATO, it would generate great concern, if not outright panic.

By Blogger Quiddity, at 11/20/2006 1:42 PM  

They intend to be counterproductive. Their existence is a co-existence, with jihadists and nutcases all over the Middle East; each side says outrageous things so the other side can then say and do outrageous things, and they feed on each other in a feedback loop, which escalates all this to the point of war. That's how they do it -- it's no accident -- and they've been doing this for 3 decades.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/20/2006 3:31 PM  

"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."

Really? They've seen the will? Saif Adel is listed sole beneficiary and will inherit bin Laden' billions?

These neo-con are clueless (or think we are). When Osama bin Sugar-daddy dies (of old age if it's left up to the Republicans) the only thing Arab militants will miss is his money.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/21/2006 12:34 PM  

That has about as much logic as the Ulster Orange Men electing a catholic as their new leader or Ian Paisley becoming the new head of Sinn Fein.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/22/2006 2:35 AM  

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