Monday, February 05, 2007

One of those quote posts

By Heraclitus

Hey, I hate to put up a post that's basically just quoting someone else, but when someone's this good, you just have to. Glenn Greenwald is always good, but lately he's been en fuego.

Start with this portrait of Joe Lieberman, which Greenwald rightly takes as emblematic of neocon war-mongers:

[Jeffery] Goldberg [author of a recent New Yorker profile of Holy Joe] also includes this seemingly insignificant but quite revealing incident from Lieberman's past:

Lieberman likes expressions of American power. A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, a few seats down. The film was “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, “Yeah!” and “All right!”

That is about as vivid a profile of the neoconservative warrior mentality as one can get: paranoid and frightened guys who derive personal and emotional fulfillment by giddily cheering on military destruction from a safe and comfortable distance -- who see war as a fun video game to play, through which one can feel the pulsating sensations of power and triumph -- combined with an obsessive focus on, really a paranoia of, the threat of Islamic fantacism to the seeming exclusion of every other issue and danger.

He then says this about the self-important but vacuous and indeed noxious posturing of self-styled Washington insiders, who are just too damned sophisticated and statesmanly to have principles:

For the eager-to-please, self-styled Beltway insider-experts, a failure to form a clear political opinion is the mark of both intellectual and moral superiority, of emotional maturity, and is the hallmark of that most coveted Washington virtue -- seriousness. Unlike you, who has formed one of those dirty opinions that the President has no right to break the law, Wittes understand that these matters are much, much more complex and sophisticated than that -- after all, this involves computers and national security threats and data and things you cannot possibly begin to understand -- and it is only your ignorance, your extremely unserious partisanship, that has enabled you to think that you are in a position to oppose or condemn what George Bush has done here.

As Greenwald goes to note, the Bush administration itself has now tacitly admitted that their wire-tapping was indeed illegal, which makes the pompous equivocating of the article he's shredding all the more inane.

Finally, there's this, on the way the "debate" over war with Iran is shaping up:

There is a real, and quite disturbing, discrepancy between the range of permissible views on these issues within our mainstream political discourse and the views of a large segment of the American public. The former almost completely excludes the latter.

That has to change and quickly. In the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, we did not have a real debate in this country about whether that was wise or just. Cartoon images and bullying tactics supplanted rational discourse -- not only prior to the invasion but for several years after -- and we are paying the very heavy price for that now. That is simply not a luxury that the country can afford this time. It is genuinely difficult to imagine anything more cataclysmic for the United States than a military confrontation with Iran...

Just as is true for Iraq, we have been subjected to a carousel of ever-changing, unrelated "justifications" as to why Iran is our mortal enemy against whom war is necessary. First was the alarm-ringing over Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Then, the President began featuring the (highly misleading) claim that Iran is the "leading sponsor of international terrorism." That was followed by an unrelenting emphasis on the ugly statements from Iran's President (but not its "leader"), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now the emphasis has shifted to Iran's alleged (but entirely unproven and apparently overstated) fueling of the civil war in Iraq.

The only clear fact that emerges from this morass of war-fueling claims is that there are significant and influential factions within the country which want to drive the U.S. to wage war against Iran and change its government. What matters to them is that this goal is achieved. The "justifications" which enable it do not seem to matter at all. Whatever does the trick will be used. Candid and explicit debates over these issues -- and clear, emphatic opposition to the course the President is clearly pursuing with regard to Iran -- is urgently necessary.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share