Thursday, June 10, 2004

Deformed Comment

Juan Cole is a history professor, whereas I am a simple Cowboy. That being said, I don't find Juan Cole all that smart. In his "informed comments" about the political death of the 'neocons', Mr. Cole raises some interesting issues.

He notes an LA Times obituary "...of the neoconservative movement, which has fallen on hard times."

This is simply "Cronkite" - calling a defeat regardless of the facts on the ground.

The Neo-Conservatives, meaning the Jews involved in advising the Bush administration, have not fallen on hard times. They have awakened people to issues, which though unpopular, are essential to the survival of the United States. It was only after the Reagan administration, which ushered neo-conservatism into the American political mainstream, that people started taking the threat of terror-sponsoring states seriously. The neocons introduced an awareness of the folly in our policy of "even-handedness" in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it took an attack on US cities with a death toll of over three thousand to make the lightbulb go on.

Mr. Cole also says, "The other scarey thing about the Neocons is their warmongering. David Wurmser and Scooter Libby would have dragged us into wars with Syria and Iran if they could have. If American supporters of the Likud want to take down Bashar al-Asad, they should get Ariel Sharon to do it with Israeli troops, not put American soldiers at risk for no good reason. Al-Asad is not a threat to the United States, and he is not even a threat to Israel (Israel could be in Damascus tomorrow if it wanted to)."

Mr. Cole doesn't recognize that being in Damascus and controling it are two different things? Doesn't he watch TV? The media are clamoring over the lack of control in Iraq by US forces, which I believe are the overwhelming military presence in the region.

That aside, I disagree with him anyway. Every modern President applies the military aspect of foreign policy based upon contingency planning. His advisors can present hypotheticals and advise him on potential impacts of US involvement in any region in the world. That doesn't mean that the President does anything more than nod and say, "Thank you, Scooter". Furthermore, Israel depends a great deal on American political and popular opinion in any overt campaign to impact the Middle East.

Mr Cole goes on to say, "Richter also notes that the Neocons cry 'anti-semitism' about all this. What a crock. There are many prominent Jewish Americans in the Bush administration who are not philosophically aligned with the neocons and whom I have never seen attacked in the press."

Neocons defines Jews associated with the administration and no others. Just because Mr. Cole feels that "not all those Bush Jews are bad guys" doesn't disabuse anyone of the notion that blaming the neocons (and only the neocons) for the administration's problems is any less anti-semitic.

What caught my eye first was this comment: "Jimmy Carter was a far better president than W. can ever hope to be. Carter made peace between Israel and Egypt. He resolved the Panama Canal issue to everyone's satisfaction, and we've never heard any more about it because there haven't been subsequent problems. He avoided a potentially disastrous US attempt to prevent or roll back the Islamic Revolution in Iran."

If you mean because he is the only (modern?) President to never (successfully) deploy troops abroad then you might be right. Jimmy Carter did not create peace between Egypt and Israel, he got credit for it. Israel and Egypt created the peace. Just as you cannot force democracy on a nation, nor can you remove hatred between people who are intent upon hating each other - the Palestine Arabs are proof of that. They have been offered the most comprehensive plans for peace and autonomy, with framework for cooperation in the future and turn it down everytime. Why? Because they hate.

There have been subsequent problems with that peace, the Egyptian President was murdered by Islamic zealots and Egypt has provided us with some pretty effective terrorists.

"Reagan did not overturn Khomeini, rather he sold him arms. Although Reagan got the Soviets out of Afghanistan, he did it at the cost of creating a radical Islamist international and destabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan."

Prior to the Reagan administration helping fighters in Afghanistan, that region contained no radical islamists?

"The vilification of Carter and the hero worship of W. is a sign of how morally warped the American Right really is. Carter's political and economic environment made it impossible for him to be a great president, but he was a damn sight better than W. any day of the week."

Carter isn't villified, he's criticized for short-sightedness. Carter didn't create radical islamic zealots - that was the result of a lack of reform and democracy in the Middle East. The difference is, now we have an administration using 30 years of hindsight and what has become clear is: Where there is freedom and opportunity in the Islamic world - we see little extremism. If we can help create opportunity for people in the Middle East, they will have little need to come to America and kill us.

Maybe Jimmy Carter was the better President - but at what cost?


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