About one thing the squalling Neocon Democrats are consistent. They claim that their positions--centrism and hawkishness--are the winning positions. But they ignore that in both recent elections and recent wars, those "winning" policies brought Democrats and the US only failure.
Which is about all you need to know about Marty Peretz' latest straw man op-ed, beyond the fact that is filled with nasty name-calling. Here is Peretz' little bit of wisdom:
But he does have one issue, and it is Iraq. He grasps little of the complexities of his issue, but then this, too, is true of the genus of the peace candidate. Peace candidates know only one thing, and that is why people vote for them.
Now Mr. Lamont's views are also not camouflaged. They are just simpleminded. Here, for instance, is his take on what should be done about Iran's nuclear-weapons venture: "We should work diplomatically and aggressively to give them reasons why they don't need to build a bomb, to give them incentives. We have to engage in very aggressive diplomacy. I'd like to bring in allies when we can. I'd like to use carrots as well as sticks to see if we can change the nature of the debate." Oh, I see. He thinks the problem is that they do not understand, and so we should explain things to them, and then they will do the right thing. It is a fortunate world that Mr. Lamont lives in, but it is not the real one. Anyway, this sort of plying is precisely what has been going on for years, and to no good effect. Mr. Lamont continues that "Lieberman is the one who keeps talking about keeping the military option on the table." And what is so plainly wrong with that? Would Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be more agreeable if he thought that we had disposed of the military option in favor of more country club behavior?
Let's see. I'm sure Peretz would consider me a "peace" Democrat, even though I'm against stupid wars rather than all wars. But here's what this "simple-minded" peace Democrat who "grasps little of the complexities" of the issues in the Middle East knew, before the war in Iraq.
I knew that, given the atrophied civil society created by decades of harsh dictatorship, there was little chance we could get rid of Saddam and end up with a functioning democratic state. Another thug, yes. An imposed solution, perhaps. But the process of building civil society to the point where it would support democracy wasn't going to happen without a strong force to keep the peace.
I knew that we needed to be that strong force, or we would lose all chance of getting the democracy we claimed to want.
I knew that, on top of the unlikely prospect of spreading democracy at the point of a gun, there was also likely to be a good deal of sectarian strife. Strife which could easily spin out of control into a civil war (which has happened), and which might turn into a regional war (which we might yet avoid).
I knew that, given the Shiite-heavy population, Iran's long investment in the then-opposition parties that would end up being the core of a new Iraqi government, and Shiite control of the southern oil fields, even a successful Iraq war would end up strengthening Iran's hand.
I knew that the invasion of Iraq was not likely to achieve the objectives we wanted to achieve. I knew that it would be hard to win the Iraq War Marty Peretz got us into. And I knew it was the wrong solution to the problem at hand.
I may have little grasp of the complexity of the situation. But at least I understood this much, which Marty Peretz still seems not to understand at all. His "winning" option brought us stunning defeat. And that was predictable from the beginning. But Peretz is anxious to try it again.
Which is what Peretz is missing, both in his twisted understanding of the Middle East and of American politics. The DLC Democratic strategy lost us the last Presidential election; Holy Joe's own appeasement was one thing that lost us the 2000 Presidential recount. Domestically, these DLC types have a fixed idea of what works, just no awareness that "what works" has netted us nothing but losses.
Similarly in the Middle East. Peretz is right about just one thing--the Iranians are real cause for concern (though Pakistan is greater cause for concern, and Saddam was not cause for concern). But he has turned the available tools into his option, war, pitted against a straw man of negotiation. What he seems not to have noticed is his option, which he's so sure is the correct one, just caused us to lose a war of choice. His foreign affairs solution is a proven loser.
Just like his electoral one.