Thursday, June 18, 2009

WSJ is edited by Visigoths

by Smitty

...or so claims Gary Kamiya in Salon in a piece entitled "Night of the living neocons". As this is a full-service blog, I've tried to render the first paragraph into a table, so that the reader might locate the nouns.
NOUNCONTENT
neoconservativesLike Rasputin, the unhinged "Mad Monk" whom they sometimes seem to have adopted as an intellectual role model, the neoconservatives who brought us the Iraq war refuse to die.
theyAlthough they have been figuratively stabbed, poisoned, shot, garroted and drowned, they somehow keep standing, still insisting that history will vindicate George W. Bush's glorious crusade.
conservativesIn a world governed by the Victorian moral code conservatives claim to uphold, they would be shunned, shamed and forbidden to appear on television or write Op-Ed columns.
disgraced punditsBut because Beltway decorum apparently requires that disgraced pundits be given a permanent platform to bray their discredited theories, the rest of us are condemned to listen to their ravings.

This post's title comes from the second paragraph. I'll highlight it amidst the effluent:
In a piece titled "Obama's Iran Abdication," the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, that bastion of unreconstructed neocon lunacy, attacked Obama for not supporting the Iranian protesters more vigorously and derided his "now-familiar moral equivalence" in citing the 1953 CIA-backed coup that toppled Iranian leader Mohammad Mossadegh. In an Op-Ed two days earlier, the paper's Visigothic editors, who have been calling for the U.S. to bomb Iran for years, took the opportunity to climb into the Wayback Machine to pay homage to one of George W. Bush's greatest hits. "It turns out that the 'axis of evil' really is evil -- and not, as liberal sages would have it, merely misunderstood," sneered the editors, suggesting that the crackdown should make Obama rethink trying to strike a grand nuclear bargain with Iran.
Recalls that old lawyer saying "if your side has the law, then argue the law; if your side has the facts, argue the facts; and if your side has neither the facts nor the law — pound the table!"
After the pyrotechnics, the article does offer some useful links.
The Senator McCain interview for the Washington Times covers a wide range of topics, in addition to Iran. The next bit is cute, too:
Neocon stalwart Danielle Pletka also made a not-so-subtle attempt to use the turmoil in Iran to justify Bush's invasion of Iraq. In a piece in the New York Times, she and fellow American Enterprise Institute pundit Ali Alfoneh wrote, "Encircled by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, besieged from within by disgruntled citizens, the supreme leader has turned to a bellicose strongman to preserve the system that elevated him." Earth to Pletka: George W. Bush is not president anymore, and even if he still was, the U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going to attack Iran. It would be more accurate to say that the soon-to-depart U.S. troops in Iraq are encircled by Iranian forces than the other way around.
Mr. Kamiya sir, there is no mention of Bush in the editorial. Stating the fact that US troops are present to the East and West of Iran is by no means an apology for Bush policy. Since you bring up Iraq, you might also care to research the Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder Iran’s Involvement in Iraq. Tidbits such as
[in 2007] President Bush said the United States had evidence of Tehran supplying “material support,” including mortars and elements of sophisticated roadside bombs, to insurgents in Iraq who in turn target and kill U.S. forces. Bush promised to respond firmly if Iran extended its influence in Iraq and vowed to “seek out and destroy” weapons-supply networks used by Iranian agents.
are extremely useful in developing an even-handed view of the situation. Granted, moving beyond the Romero-centric weltanschauung does require effort.
Kagan, who's at least got some credentials to his credit, gets special attention from Kamiya, a "writer at large" for a WaPo editorial that makes the flattering case that BHO is playing a realist foreign policy hand. Kagan's verdict could have been a more overt slap, like Victor Davis Hanson calling the situation shameful, for example.
Of course Kamiya returns to the ritual Beating Around the Bush that you could expect from Salon.

But this paragraph is especially funny:
It should be amply clear by now that America's ability to influence events in the Middle East is severely limited. Indeed, as the Bush years showed, U.S. actions in the region tend to result in the exact opposite of their intended consequences.
Yes, that Bush speech in Cairo that triggered the outburst of peaceful elections was particularly memorable, no?
We are assured that the good POTUS's "foreign policy is still evolving, but it is becoming clear that he is pursuing what Robert Wright has called progressive realism." <cheap shot>Basically a copy of this essay positioned at Foggy Bottom for easy reference.</cheap shot>
Kamiya's penultimate paragraph strikes an optimistic note:
[Obama's] approach has already borne fruit. The success of the March 14 Alliance in Lebanon, a major victory for the U.S., is widely attributed to the "Obama effect." Just one month of U.S. pressure induced Israel's far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to utter the magic words "Palestinian state." And most critically, as David Ignatius noted in an important column in Tuesday's Washington Post, Obama's openness to the Muslim world and more sophisticated presentation of America has empowered the reformers in Iran and throughout the Arab/Muslim world, and diminished the appeal of militant jihadism.

It's about time the region had some peace. Should BHO affect the situation positively, it would be peevish not to acknowledge such. One truly hopes Kamiya is not counting his chickens like Ahmadinejad counts his votes.

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