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In an explicit (and unambiguously titled) article that takes a full page in the Wall Street Journal (The Case for Bombing Iran - I hope and pray that President Bush will do it), one of the senior neoconservatives, Norman Podhoretz calls for an immediate bombing campaign against Iran, as a preemptive strike to avoid the nuclear destruction of Israel.

It is full of hate, of scaremongering, of contempt for everybody that does not support the neocon views, and it is given a lot of space in what is supposed to be a serious newspaper. This HAS to generate some outrage.

As the piece is behind a sub wall, I'll extract a few key paragraphs below:

Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what Sept 11, 2001, did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war. I call this new war World War IV, because I also believe that what is generally known as the Cold War was actually World War III, and that this one bears a closer resemblance to that great conflict than it does to World War II. Like the Cold War, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism, yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism; it is global in scope; it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and it is likely to go on for decades.

This is the traditional thesis of the necoons, and the basis for the "9/11 changed everything" mindset: the ardent belief in an all out ideological struggle - Good vs Evil, just like the good old days of the Cold War. It's the chance for today's pundits and Deciders to be heroes, too.

As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11, and as (according to the State Department's latest annual report on the subject) the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's weapon of choice, Iran too is a front in World War IV. Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it the potentially most dangerous one of all.

After dismissing Iraq and Afghanistan as mere skirmishes in a wider battle ("theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a protracted global struggle") Podhoretz zooms in on THE enemy - the evil nasties who dared humiliate the USA almost 30 years ago. This is never said, of course, but his whole texte just burns with hate for the absolute evil that emanates from that country, and its leaders, and it is the typical discourse of a bully that has just been smacked in the face and wants - demands! - cannot live without!! - retribution. 9/11 was a similar case of lèse-majesté for these guys, but created a great opening for action (read invading countries and killing the local population); the Iranian embassy hostage crisis is a festering wound that has yet to be given closure, and these guys desperately itch to go and smack the insolent offender once and for all.

Their first priority, as repeatedly and unequivocally announced by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to "wipe Israel off the map"--a feat that could not be accomplished by conventional weapons alone.

(...)

Still less would deterrence work where Israel was concerned. For as the Ayatollah Rafsanjani (who is supposedly a "pragmatic conservative") has declared:

If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession . . . application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.

In other words, Israel would be destroyed in a nuclear exchange, but Iran would survive.

The pretext for intervention, of course, are the recent provocative pronouncements of Iran's figurehead president. It doesn't matter that Israel has a couple hundred nuclear bombs to Iran's yet inexistent one; it doesn't matter that Iran has a 5,000-year history as a nation, has run a mostly pragmatic foreign policy in the past 30 years despite its fiery islamist leadership, and is highly unlikely to commit suicide, even for a twisted version of Islam. It also matters not at all that Iran (rightly) feels threatened by the USA, which engineered a coup against its democratically elected government not so long ago, and has been meddling in the country's politics for more than a half-century, and has been sending out regular messages seeking out some form of peace arragement with the USA.

No, they are making threatening noises, so they have to be obliterated:

In exerting pressure for reform on countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, these nonmilitary instruments are the right ones to use. But it should be clear by now to any observer not in denial that Iran is not such a country. As we know from Iran's defiance of the Security Council and the IAEA even while the United States has been warning Ahmadinejad that "all options" remain on the table, ultimatums and threats of force can no more stop him than negotiations and sanctions have managed to do. Like them, all they accomplish is to buy him more time.

In short, the plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force--any more than there was an alternative to force if Hitler was to be stopped in 1938.

Since a ground invasion of Iran must be ruled out for many different reasons, the job would have to be done, if it is to be done at all, by a campaign of air strikes. Furthermore, because Iran's nuclear facilities are dispersed, and because some of them are underground, many sorties and bunker-busting munitions would be required. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, and the will, let alone the courage, of any of our other allies, it could be carried out only by the United States.

Ah, the reference to Hitler in 1938 (and there are several paragraphs comparing Ahmadinejad to Hitler). The sense that the USA has a God-given mission to save the world from itself. The casual encouragement to rain death and destruction from afar. It's to save the Iranians, you understand.

Oh, but he is reality-based:

Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. It would attack Israel with missiles armed with nonnuclear warheads but possibly containing biological or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a lovefest.

I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible. Nevertheless, there is a good response to them, and it is the one given by John McCain. The only thing worse than bombing Iran, McCain has declared, is allowing Iran to get the bomb.

It is with a heavy heart that he admits to catastrophic consequences. It's just that the alternative would be worse, you see. It's the goodness in him that makes him consider the alternative, and choose the least catastrophic one.

Because, you see, it's because the damn Europeans are, again, appeasers. You'd think they'd have learnt, this time. alas, no:

But in the meantime, looking at Europe today, we already see the unfolding of a process analogous to Finlandization: it has been called, rightly, Islamization.

(...)

[The main European] countries have large and growing Muslim populations demanding that their religious values and sensibilities be accommodated at the expense of the traditional values of the West, and even in some instances of the law. Yet rather than insisting that, like all immigrant groups before them, they assimilate to Western norms, almost all European politicians have been cravenly giving in to the Muslims' outrageous demands.

As in the realm of foreign affairs, if this much can be accomplished under present circumstances, what might not be done if the process were being backed by Iranian nuclear blackmail? Already some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia. Whatever chance there may still be of heading off this eventuality would surely be lessened by the menacing shadow of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, and only too ready to put them into the hands of the terrorist groups to whom it is even now supplying rockets and other explosive devices.

Muslims are uniformly evil; Europeans and liberals are uniformly cowardly, weak and spineless, and we need strong-willed men like Podhoretz and Bush to take things in their hands and protect us.

:: ::

And, again, this is given a full page in a serious newspaper, is given polite, thoughtful consideration in pundit circles, and influences everybody else's discourse. and, as we know, these people have a direct, proven influence on actual US policies.

We don't have until September.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Wed May 30, 2007 at 06:08 AM PDT.

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