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Monthly Archives: September 2007

The neocons and their critics

September 30th, 2007 - 11:27 am

Oh dear, the neocons are at it again, both according to the (conservative) London Telegraph and the fanciful American New Yorker’s Sy Hersh.

The main allegation is that powerful neocons, like Norman Podhoretz, are exerting their Svengali-like influence over Bush and Cheney to inspire a military attack on Iran. The Telegraph‘s Tim Shipman nicely summarizes both the tone and the hollowness of the allegations:

American diplomats have been ordered to compile a dossier detailing Iran’s violations of international law that some fear could be used to justify military strikes against the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.

Whenever you see “some fear could be used,” you know you’re dealing with gossip, not news. Shipman has no evidence that the Bush Administration is planning to launch military strikes against anything in Iran, let alone its nuclear program, indeed all he has, really, is an account of a session at the White House involving the president, the vice president, and Norman Podhoretz, who has called for us to bomb Iran. Podhoretz thinks Bush and Cheney are resolved to do it, but even he has no evidence for this belief, aside from chuckles and body language at the meeting.

Hersh has been announcing the imminent bombing of Iranian nuclear sites for many months, and has now changed the lyrics to that chant. He now says that there’s been a change in program: we’re going to bomb military targets, Revolutionary Guards bases, and so forth. As usual, his sources range from the unnamed to the unreliable. He relies on Vincent Cannistraro, who has lied about me among his other inventions, and on Vali Nasr, who rarely sees anything to criticize in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The quality of Nasr’s analysis emerges in an amazing statement that Hersh quotes with favor:

It’s clear that the United States cannot bring security to Iraq, because it is not doing everything necessary to bring stability. If they did, they would talk to anybody to achieve it—even Iran and Syria,” Nasr said. (Such engagement was a major recommendation of the Iraq Study Group.) “America cannot bring stability in Iraq by fighting Iran in Iraq.

Apparently, despite all the public announcements, press conferences, photo ops, and the like, we really aren’t talking to the mullahs at all.

It’s mysticism, not reporting.

Traveling Again…

September 24th, 2007 - 8:20 am

I’ll be away from computers for the next three days…back online thursday or thereabouts.

intellectuals and tyrants

September 22nd, 2007 - 10:55 pm

So it turns out that Columbia University would have been delighted to have the Fuhrer on campus and “answer questions” from students and faculty.

This is part of an old pattern, to which I’ve called attention in the past: there is a certain kind of intellectual who likes to talk to tyrants, flattering himself in believing that his brilliance will have an effect, and secretly hoping he will thereby acquire real political power. We see it all the time, from journalists conducting “interviews” with the likes of Mussolini, Hitler, Saddam, and Khomeini, to members of Congress holding “meaningful discussions” with the Assads, the Arafats, and the Chavezes, to “conflict resolution experts” from universities and think tanks organizing the political equivalent of T-groups with foreign leaders and their satraps who are meanwhile organizing our destruction.

President Bollinger is nothing new, even for Columbia University, which hosted Italian fascists in the twenties while closing its stages to the anti-fascists.

Every now and then, some intellectual, who understands that these people are our enemies, refuses to kiss up to the tyrants and embarrasses them with real questions. Oriana Fallaci’s fabulous exchange with the Ayatollah Khomeini is one of the finest examples of real intellectual integrity, but I do not see anyone with her courage on the current scene.

In time, these cowards will join the long list of their shamed predecessors. One can only hope that the parents of university-bound youngsters will refuse to fund such institutions. That is the most effective way to enforce true freedom on our campuses. The Federal Government should likewise hold these people accountable. As Duncan Hunter says, any place that does such a thing should not receive our tax dollars.

Alert: PETA Calls For Bombing Iran

September 17th, 2007 - 7:00 pm

Only kidding. But it may happen, after the revelation that the mullahs are arresting pet dogs. No, not vicious pit bulls, not escapees from the Vick ranch, but ordinary house dogs.

Why? Because, for a regime so crazed it could not be invented, people who own dogs are “morally depraved.”

One poor woman was walking her puppy, Jessica, when the police grabbed the pup and took her to a “dog jail” for the crime of walking in public. “We want to get rid of Western culture,” she was told. Westerners have dogs, ergo Iranians can’t.

A Mr. Reza Javalchi, who heads the Society to Defend the Rights of Animals, claims that in fact pet dogs existed in Persia well before Westerners started the practice. But this is quite beside the point. A couple of years ago I argued that the humorless mullahs sought, above all else, to deprive the Iranian people of fun.

Except for themselves, of course. The real doctrine of the Islamic Republic is, “if it’s fun, it’s evil…unless I, your master, do it.”

But they’re in trouble now. Our airedale, Thurber, is organizing…

Now We Know Why Karl Rove Resigned

September 7th, 2007 - 9:25 pm

In one of the most brilliant covert action operations in CIA history, Karl Rove left his post at the White House in order to penetrate al Qaeda, and become Osama bin Laden’s top political adviser. Dressed in flowing robes and a turban, and sporting a pepper-and-salt beard provided by central casting, Rove quickly won the trust of the world’s most wanted man.

And then he wrote ‘the speech.’

As a leading Senate Democrat put it: “there is no other explanation for that speech; it does not reflect bin Laden’s thinking at all. It could only have been written by Rove.”

The White House had a brief comment: “Karl Rove is now a private person and it would be improper for us to speak for or about him. All questions have been referred to Mrs. Rove.”

Book is Out, and I’m Debating It

September 7th, 2007 - 8:28 am

With my friend Richard Fernandez, the Pajamas man in Sydney, Australia.

“The Iranian Time Bomb” is doing well, and just got a terrific review over at the Wall Street Journal (sorry, it’s subscription only)…so there is hope.