I’ve written my own critique of Bill Kristol’s It’s Our War, in which he posits that Israel’s war against Hezbollah should be but the first step in a long march toward regime change in Iran. Madison Guy of Letters from Nowhere pointed me to a telling speech delivered by Dick Cheney to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2002, which laid the groundwork for war in Iraq. His comments about “regime change” regarding that country ring ominously true after reading Kristol’s “call to arms” against Iran. Who doesn’t read this and weep a little at how utterly delusional and bereft of sense and reason it was:
Another argument [against going to war with Iraq] holds that opposing Saddam Hussein would cause even greater troubles in that part of the world, and interfere with the larger war against terror. I believe the opposite is true. Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace. As for the reaction of the Arab “street,” the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are “sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.” Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced, just as it was following the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.
The nutjob actually believed that war with Iraq would LESSEN the troubles of the region. Then there’s the quotation from Fouad Ajami about Iraqis erupting in joy at their American liberators. That crackpot should hide his head in shame instead of raking in the bucks as a talking head analyst for cable news. How ’bout those “extremists” who’d have to “rethink their strategy of Jihad.” If they did rethink anything it merely reaffirmed and strengthened their determination to kill as many Americans as they could. And where are those Arab moderates taking heart? Probably in a bomb shelter somewhere as the bullets, fired by sectarian militants stirred up by Cheney’s adventurist foreign policy, whizz by their heads.
But of course the laughingest and bitterest laugh of all is reserved for the last sentence in which he touts our enhanced “ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.” Worked just like a charm didn’t it? Israel is sittin’ pretty. Peace is all around us. Oh, that must’ve been in Cheney’s alternate neocon universe.
All this is by way of warning that if anyone buys Kristol’s nostrums for solving the U.S.-Iran impasse, a few years from now someone like me is going to parse his stupidity and chuckle at all the people who had to die because some knucklehead thought he could impose some ridiculous neocon construct on an entire region.
Newt on Lebanon: ‘This is World War III’
GINGRICH: …This is not the fifth day of the [Lebanon] war. This is the 58th year of the effort by those who want to destroy Israel. As Ahmadinejad, the head of Iran, says, he wants to defeat the Americans and eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. So we should not see this event in isolation. There is an Iran/Iraq/Syria—I mean, an Iran/Syria—was an Iraq before Saddam was replaced—Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas alliance trying to destroy Israel.
…This is absolutely a question of the survival of Israel, but it’s also a question of what is really a world war. Look what you’ve been covering: North Korea firing missiles. We say there’ll be consequences, there are none. The North Koreans fire seven missiles on our Fourth of July; bombs going off in Mumbai, India; a war in Afghanistan with sanctuaries in Pakistan. As I said a minute ago, the, the Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hezbollah alliance. A war in Iraq funded largely from Saudi Arabia and supplied largely from Syria and Iran. The British home secretary saying that there are 20 terrorist groups with 1200 terrorists in Britain. Seven people in Miami videotaped pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda, and 18 people in Canada being picked up with twice the explosives that were used in Oklahoma City, with an explicit threat to bomb the Canadian parliament, and saying they’d like to behead the Canadian prime minister. And finally, in New York City, reports that in three different countries people were plotting to destroy the tunnels of New York.
I mean, we, we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war…
RUSSERT: This is World War III?
GINGRICH: I believe if you take all the countries I just listed that you’ve been covering, put them on a map, look at all the different connectivity, you have to say to yourself: this is, in fact, World War III.
And he ain’t talkin’ ’bout Nazis or Commies either. He’s talking about a global war against Islamists and jihadis. ‘World War III!’ Wake up and smell the coffee people. These neocons are certifiable, dangerous lunatics who are ready to take us to full-scale war because of some hysterical notion that Islamists want to–and even more importantly–have the capacity to destroy our way of life. Somebody’s got to put a stop to this. I just hope it’s at the ballot box in November.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.