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July 23, 2006


emptywheel, with no teevee till American football, I thought you'd like to know Timmeh just started of MTP calling Lebanon a "humanitarian crisis," which must have pissed off DeadEye and Rummy so end.
He's also going to interview the WaPo's Thomas Ricks author of FIASCO about Iraq. Hope springs eternal with us Packer fans, thanks for all you do.

Thanks for the update, John. I am glad to hear that.

I'm not betting against the Neocons yet--the press has caught onto their game. But it might be easy to woo them back into stupidity with a few accusations of anti-Semitism.

But let's hope the Timmehs of this world hold their ground.

It's the desperate act of a compulsive gambler, who after losing big, puts all his remaining chips on the table.

This is the "flight forward" that Billmon predicted ( here and here) a few weeks ago. He was expecting an attack on Iran, not a proxy war like the one we're seeing, but the rationale is the same.

The left blogosphere has been nervously saying for some time that we're in great danger from these cornered neo-con animals, and it's true. To mix metaphors, they're willing to ride the warhead down to ground zero and quite happy to take us all with them. I never thought in all my lefty peacenik life I'd be hoping for the armed services to face down their civilian bosses, but here we are. I think the rational parts of our military may be the only parties with the power to put the brakes on -- they probably already did, seeing that this turned out to be (so far) a proxy war instead of the direct attack we'd all expected.

see, that's part of my point. If the Neocons had been ascendent, we might well have taken our bunker busters to Teheran. But instead, they're going to try to draw us into their regional war by appealing to American identification with Israel. It might work, too. They'll have the Christian Dominionists on board. The question is how well will AIPAC be able to sway the rest of the country?

And frankly, I think the Big-C Convseratives may be on our side in this fight too. Not that I'm comfortable aligning with William Buckley. But he's helpful to have in the short term.

Isreal responded with the 'fact' that the forces who opposed Sharon and his third party had planned the invasion for over a year.

Now, it's a proxy war. Isreal is saying it wants to be taken care of and will invade other countries to do this. It wants the UN help, but is not a member. It wants NATO help, but is not a member.
The real answer is it wants help for free.

The threat has always been that the US is on the ground in Iraq. Sharon is out and the powers that opposed his third party believe we have been in Iraq too long and will not hesitate to invade, etc. to get the US involved bombing Iran or Syria. This should be seen as a goal.

Condi has said that Lebanon, Syria, and Iran must accept 'the new middle east.' This is the wrong thing to say after the invasion of Lebanon.

Have Americans ever before been asked to line up behind Israeli overreach at a time of such great war-weariness in this country? I think the vast majority of Americans are neither AIPAC fellow-travellers nor Christian Dominionists and are in most cases going along with our tight alignment with Israel because they are assured by elites that it's in our long-term interest (and it won't cost much). The fact that the Buckleys of the world are peeling away shows how shallow that commitment is for many Americans. Perhaps this is an opportunity to reexamine just to what extent America's interests do or do not exactly line up with Israel's. Sure, the AIPAC faction will, and already have, played the anti-Semite card, but that won't be a very powerful play if Americans come to believe that being so close to Israel is both costly and dangerous to us.

I agree, in general, mamayaga.

But already, the majority of the country soundly opposes the Iraq war. Yet that's not pushing Congress to do anything to resolve it.

The vast majority of the country doesn't support this. But the vast majority of Congress, with a little pushing from the Christian right and AIPAC? I don't know...

Impotently & idiotically, I've been e-mailing
the prez, my senators, my congresswoman every
day, harping on the same subject. I'm sure
they sick of it already.
Here's today's:

Mr President, Senators, Congresswoman,

UK Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, said referring to Israel: 'The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people: these have not been surgical strikes. If they are chasing Hizbollah, then go for Hizbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation.' The minister added referring to the US Government: 'I very much hope that the Americans understand what's happening to Lebanon.'
Secretary Rice is more than a week late and
a dollar short, I'm ashamed to say. And
will arrive no doubt, on the wrong side
of the moral divide, to use a favorite
phrase. Iraq, Katrina, and now Lebanon.
Clueless, feckless, shameless.
My government makes me so proud, every
day, I could just die. Thank you.


There's been a lot of conjecture in the blogosphere about why the DC elites appear to be so panicked over Lieberman's coming loss in the primary. One thing I haven't seen discussed is the possibility that it could signal the end of AIPAC's kingmaking role in politics. As you say, Congress has been completely feckless not only on the highly unpopular Iraq war, but also totally unwilling to cross the Likudiks of AIPAC, fearing their wrath at election time. Joe is their darling, and he's going down. Could it be they are not invincible after all?

I've thought of that myself, mamayaga. Though it's a threat to a much larger economy of influence (think of the Pharma interests, who are Joe's real constituents--I'm sure they're wondering why they've invested so much in buying themselves a Senator if he can just be thrown out by the rabble).

But Joe is critical for AIPAC for another reason, because he's the chief Democratic Neocon. If the Neocon movement loses its bipartisan face, it will be less effective (and easier, I suspect, for others to buck AIPAC.

The neoons are concentrated in the East (and a few places in CA) and the Christian Dominionists in the South. The Midwest and West are more historically isolationist by nature, or, in the case of the West Coast, increasingly engaged farther west, to Asia, or south, to Latin America.

Your analysis makes sense, as usual. This truly may be the twilight of the neocons, and I think that we will see war-weariness and wariness manifest themselves in November.

mamayaga, I want to piggyback on your 11:51. The latest polls showing Lamont leading are unbelieveable. He had name recognition in the single digits when he announded in January?. Even after his debate, and "Plan B," I will only support the winner of the primary if it is me, Whinerman still strongarmed all these high profile endoresements from labor, NARAL, PP, other Dems and STILL he is sinking faster than the Titanic.
IMHO, that may be what has Vichy Dems and Goopers so scared. This is evidence that the machine style policical techniques that they have used in the past are not working any more. Evidence, however, is not proof. People still have to vote in the CT primary on August 8.

There are six decades of history in the Middle East trying to modernize while the GDPs in the West climb.
With respect to the other Near East, Rice probably appreciates that dynamic better. Proxy diplomatic elbowing imparts the sensation of safety for both Russia and China. Iran has one of the ponderous economies in the region. Russia has accomplished a lot based on collateral profits in oil. China has one of the preponderant economies in the world this year, as well.
I thought ew might have found this peculiar translation of a proto-neocon letter; here is the link; it is some of the very short sighted right wing intellectual bordering on fascism racism of eight decades ago, with excellent commentary by the translator including a political assessment of NYT's recent coverage of a related topic.
Someday I hope in heaven WFBuckley is assigned to debate D Brower, tho who knows what they might have in common sufficiently to take opposite views, at least for declamation's own sake. A gentleman from Yale, indeed; I would opt for a few others rather than having to listen to either.
These past two weeks in the Lieberman campaign, one of the iconographic representations has reminded me of that also far gone time known as the Dobry(nin)-Kiss(inger). Must be the summer heat; in our part of the world the mercury has surpassed 110 for many days recently.

The frightening similarities between the Loons in Tehran and the Blue Meanies in WingNut Nation, rests with their shared notion of their archtypal role in facilitating the "Emd Times" foretold by prophets under different book cover, but sharing the same ultimate ideology.

Islam (Ishmael) arose from Abraham through his surrogate lover,
and was cast out,when Abraham's wife Sara, conceived a son needed to fulfill the promise of a bloodline through Abraham which led to Jesus Christ. The Jews rejected Christ, and Ishmael's descendents floundered until the prophet Mohammed appeared to lead them out of their own wilderness.

Christianity, the Jews and Islam share many of the same prophets (Moses etc) and thereby have a shared history. Like Cain and Abel, fratricide is the legacy of this religious triumvirate. Scary are the parallels of today and the determination of key players to act our their perceived roles to their conclusion.

Another point lending credence to your abnalysis: In "The One Percent Doctrine" Suskind describes how Bush did the opening to Libya with Tenet and Cheney. He wanted to keep both Powell and Rumsfeld cut out of the picture. Cheney was the big skeptic because "we don't reward bad behavior." (Kappes was the one who conducted the negotiations. He doesn't really say where Rice was.)

I can see Cheney and Rummy deciding after that not to let it happen again.

I don't know how much I can agree with the assessment that this reflects any sort of change in neocon tactics.

Just like with Iraq, the attack is being billed as a response to terrorist threats. Just like with Iraq, facts are being twisted and misrepresented to justify the attack. Just like with Iraq, the international community is being called upon to abandon any even-handedness and support the aggressor. And, just like with Iraq, the end product will be a US military presence ostensibly providing security.

All of this is transparent to administration skeptics, but Reep partisans and Israeli expansionists (and Audience Member One, the President himself) swallow the official narrative hook, line, and sinker. Just like with Iraq. The desired course of action is presented as the only rational choice by means of a false dichotomy -- "either we invade Iraq, or we allow Saddam to continue to threaten the world" or "either we give Israel a free hand in Lebanon, or we allow Hezbollah to continue terrorizing civilians" -- and "the Decider" is handed the job of making that choice. The growing tendency of the radical right to rationalize war crimes by seeing Muslims as subhuman combine to make Israel's present course of action the only possible solution. And the fact of open conflict serves to embolden those radicals, bringing their doctrine of naked aggression back to the light. Just like with Iraq.

As far as the argument that the timing and specifics were calculated to forestall any diplomatic solution in the region, it's certainly possible. Of course, if the administration knew that a plan like this was in the works, it would be easy to let Condi negotiate potential diplomatic solutions, since once shooting broke out and changed everything they'd be "forced" to chuck all that out the window. Sort of like going through the UN process to attempt to disarm Iraq before Saddam's refusal to cooperate "forced" them to take matters into their own hands.

Events now unfolding seem totally in line with what has always been the stated purpose, to "transform" the region into something more in line with "American" "values". Lebanon could not be allowed to find its own democracy, any more than Iraq or Iran or Syria can. We don't want to wind up once again with a region full of nationalist democratic governments accountable to their own people. Got to get in there and help them along. This is what it's always been about -- thinly-veiled neocolonialism.

"That still means that Dick, and his now openly-bloodthirsty Neocons, are driving the decisions of the administration."

This has not changed one iota. The Cheneyites have always run this administration and will continue to do so. They have all the levers of power.

If they can now make this about ensuring Israel's security then they have the Dems boxed in. The Dems including Hillary and Feingold have come out in support of Israel. They have 4 months to change the equations for the Nov election. The more mayhem in the ME, the more they can shift the debate to terrorists aka Hezbollah, Hamas, et al and the security of our "democratic" ally Israel, the more it helps Rove and the Chenyites in Nov. And boy, if they can get an OBL video even better.

Israel splits the liberal blogosphere. Witness the discourse on dKos regarding the Lebanon fiasco. We have come to the point were reasoned discourse about policy when it comes to Israel and the ME is not possible in the US. And after the shellacking that Howard Dean received for stating that the US policy should be even-handed no Dem will risk that again. So the ME will continue to burn and who knows what the blowback will look like in the years to come.

Facts on the ground will determine the outcome, as they have in Iraq. Hezbollah seems at present to be well dug-in, and well-disciplined, unlike the adversaries Israel has faced to this point. If they can hold out for six weeks and continue to impose significant casualties on the IDF (the military kill-ratio is hard to judge, but it doesn't seem lop-sided), they will have won the match; any Israeli victory will have been pyrhhic.

The kicker in all this is that Cheney now needs the Saudi's more than they need him. The Saudi's can cut a deal with Iran when the time comes, and the US will not be able to do anything about it. Propaganda aside, Iran is not a threat to Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States; it is a threat to American interests in that region. They cut a deal with Iran and what the Neocons said would come to pass will have come to pass: a region transformed, though not as they envisaged it.

As to the Arabs bailing out Condi and Olmert by sanctioning a cease-fire by contributing troops; think again. That is lose-lose for them.



Ah geez, I hadn't thought about that. Ahmadinejad was chatting up the Saudis already.

Off topic, but Hoekstra related. Hmmm...


Maybe now we know who was funding those Al Qaeda moles in the CIA. :-)

My feelings for Our Dear Leader are very similar to my feelings about... well, PORN! It looks sort of good at first... but, well... there's no thought of winning there, nothing is real there, given a choice I'd really prefer to know much less about the varied actors than I already do. Where do I go to wash?


This may bolster your opinion on the Saudi's dealing with Iran

Yo Kurt:

so Iran could shut down the Saudi tap without bombing the Saudi oil docks ???

if Iran can't stop Saudi exports any other way, the oil docks are well within range, and the Strait of Hormuz is only 17 miles wide (or so)

Wrt the Strait of Hormuz, at it's narrowest, navigable point it is two (2) channles, each one (1) mile wide. In addition at that point, it's also very shallow. If a supertanker sinks there, it's possible it could block one or the the other channel.

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