“We’ve got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody’s big fat résumé that maybe shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state.”
If I didn’t say otherwise, wouldn’t you guess this statement would fit the description of John McCain’s political career? A consummate Washington establishment figure–even if slightly iconoclastic–with decades of foreign travel meeting oodles of foreign leaders. So isn’t it odd that this is how Sarah Palin chose to attack Joe Biden? Wouldn’t you say it’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle?
Not to mention that it’s terribly convenient for someone who’s never heard of the Bush doctrine and never met a foreign leader to argue that her ignorance is actually a political plus for her ticket. But will Americans buy this pig in a poke? Oops, there I’ve said it–that nasty word “pig.” She’s not one–at least not literally.
For the Jewish community, one of the small revelations of Sarah Palin’s ABC interview was her stance on an Israeli attack on Iran:
Mr. Gibson…asked Ms. Palin whether she would back Israel if it were to seek to eliminate Iran’s facilities militarily.
“We are friends with Israel,” Ms. Palin said, “and I don’t think that we should second-guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.” Pressed, she twice more said she would not “second-guess” Israel.
One should add that her position is a flat-out contradiction of current Bush policy, which has clearly discouraged Israel from attacking Iran. We’ve sent both State Department diplomats and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to make clear our view that Israel should not attack.
There has been much scuttlebutt, a good deal of it generated by the neocons, that John McCain feels otherwise; and that Israel would take advantage of this by attacking Iran after the presidential elections but before the next president takes office. If that person is McCain, they will have acted as he tacitly would’ve wished them too. At least that’s the argument I’ve heard.
Now, one can argue that Palin’s bellicose position is a political one that doesn’t reflect real policy deliberations. Or one can argue that John McCain wouldn’t allow her to say something like this unless he actually believed it. I’m inclined to believe the latter is the case. Which further reinforces the likelihood that Israel will indeed attack Iran.
The American electorate should know this and factor it into their deliberation about whom they vote for. Vote McCain if you want a new front in the war on terror. If you haven’t had enough of quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, McCain-Palin have a new war to sell you. And make no mistake–an Israeli attack will not be a single discrete military action. It will be responded to by Iran, who may attack not only Israeli targets but American as well. So I say to Americans, if you want to stick your hand in a hornet’s nest, then by all means vote McCain. Just make sure you have the antidote to wasp venom near at hand. Otherwise, you’re in for a nasty time of it.
Aipac must be rejoicing at this new development. They couldn’t have articulated her position any better if they’d written it themselves. And come to think of it with Joe “Mr. Aipac” Lieberman coaching her–they DID. Does anyone need further evidence of the noxious influence of this organization on U.S. Mideast policy?
gene schulman says
Very good post, Richard. Problem is, I believe the Bush doctrine on Israel is phony and they will ultimately encourage an attack on Iran. Probably before the election. A worse problem is that the Obama camp feels the same. Regarding Israel, they are on the same wave length. Both campaigns have kow-towed to AIPAC down the line. Palin, on this issue, is no different than Biden.
The bad thing is, with all that talk about tactical nuclear weapons they may think they have it already at hand. And considering Olmert’s recent threat of total war against Lebanon, if he’s only given a pretext, inhibitions seem down there as well, compared with the late, unlamented days of MAD.
Sadly you will be the ones crying a few years from now when Iran bombs Baltimore and Philadelphia that our government did nothing to protect us from insane dictators who have no fear of mutually assured destruction and who even desire it to bring about the coming of the 12th Imam.
I wish I could remind you of how much you sound like isolationists from the 1930s who were afraid of starting a small war with a relatively weak Germany only to find themselves in a large war with a strong Germany.
Having Israel bomb Iran is in the security interests of America.
Richard Silverstein says
@bernie: I wish I could remind you how much you sound like Col. Mandrake in Dr. Strangelove. Did you know that the Iranian mullahs are injecting fluroride into our water supply to sap our “precious bodily fluids???”
But keep on raving. With representatives like you for yr position, no one in their right mind (except perhaps our current president, v.p., Republican presidential candidate, Norman Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes, Pammy Gellar, David Horowitz, Michael Ledeen, & a few Israeli generals will take anything you say seriously.
Francis W. Porretto says
Palin’s willingness to back Israel in a preventive war with Iran is one of the reasons I support her and hope for her continued political elevation. To imagine that Israel has no such right, or that the U.S. should try to restrain Israel when its national existence is on the line, requires the vilest sort of moral equivalence.
Richard Silverstein says
@Francis W. Porretto: “Preventive war.” Now, YOU seem to understand the Bush Doctrine. Too bad you couldn’t have been whispering into Sarah’s ear during that Charlie Gibson interview. It might’ve helped her look a little less like a fool than she did.
So you’re calling Israel sending 100 airplanes to drop bombs over mutliple Iranian targets and thereby inaugurating a region wide war–a “preventive war.” That’s not what Iran will call it. Nor what the UN will call it. Nor what other Arab nations will call it. Most of the rest of the world will call it blatant aggression. And they’ll be right. And what will we call it when Iran takes revenge on Israeli targets or even American? That will be those horrible Iranians killing the innocents. You have an interesting view on reality. A little skewed, but interesting nonetheless.
I support Sarah’s elevation too: to the evangelical equivalent of sainthood. St. Sarah. She can strap on an Air Force flight suit and lead the first F-16s into Nantanz to drop the bunker busters on those bearded towelhead mullahs. Maybe she’ll want to ride the first bomb down to its target like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. That would be fitting.
You know what? Let Israel attack Iran. That’s the “moral” thing to do according to you. Only, when the Iranians are looking for American targets to get revenge, can I give them your address?
“Preventive” war is agression. When someone is right about to attack you any minute, and you hit them first, that’s preemptive, and may be justified. When you think that someone might perhaps some time in the future develop the means to attack you, so you strike them now (“first”), which suits your policy fine anyway, that’s not preemptive by any stretch of imagination. You can mix it with the koolaid and sell it as “preventive”, and unfortunately there will be enough buyers for this claptrap, but it will be illegal all the same.
But then, that’s just the reality-based view, and we’re not living in a reality-based world.
@Richard Silverstein: saying I am raving is such a cogent, well-crafted rebuttal to my argument that I am at a loss for words in reply.
As for your response to Francis W. Porretto: Yes Iran will fight back like Saddam did in 1981 and the world will condemn Israel as they did back then … yawn.
@fiddler: I like the idea of waiting until the enemy is just about to attack you within seconds, in order to be legal and all, you know, to satisfy your concerns that we not be too pre-emptive. So your position is that JFK telling the Soviets to get their missiles out of Cuba or else was too provocative? That we should have waited until the rockets were aloft and headed for the US before almost starting WWIII? Ah, I wish I had your idealism and your faith in timing these decisions of life and death just right.
Richard Silverstein says
I doubt it but it’s a nice thought…
No idea what this is supposed to mean…
Regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis, we came within a hair’s breath of actual nuclear war in 1962. Even the participants concede this. Had this happened you wouldn’t have the luxury of arguing that Israel should attack Iran. YOu might not even be here now. That would change the terms of the argument quite a bit, wouldn’t it?
Not only is Iran not currently in a position to attack Israel directly, it’s arguable that even if it could whether it would do so. It has never said it would attack Israel directly & certainly never said it would attack Israel with nuclear weapons if it had them.
On the strength of all those “certainties” you’d be willing to sink your own people & the entire region in a cesspool of vengeance & bloodshed. Your head is certainly screwed on right.