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February 12, 2008

That Wacky, Wacky Max Boot
Posted by Michael Cohen

In yet further evidence that neo-conservatives seem immune from the clutches of reality and common sense, Max Boot has written an incredible op-ed on American power.

According to Boot, America's biggest problem today is that rogue nations and leaders are not afraid enough of the United States. So what's Boot's brilliant solution for reversing America's "fear factor" - elect John McCain President. Why you ask? For those of you with a strong stomach read on:

Ask yourself which presidential candidate an Ahmadinejad, Assad or Kim would fear the most. I submit it is not Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Mike Huckabee. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, the leading candidate to scare the snot out of our enemies is a certain former aviator who has been noted for his pugnacity and his unwavering support of the American war effort in Iraq. Ironically, John McCain's bellicose aura could allow us to achieve more of our objectives peacefully because other countries would be more afraid to mess with him than with most other potential occupants of the Oval Office -- or the current one.

So let's see if I have this straight. We went to war in Iraq, in large measure, to show the world that you can't mess with the United States. Five years later, we are less feared today then we were then and the countries we were supposed to intimidate with our impressive display of American power are actually acting more mischievously.

But now according to Max Boot the problem wasn't that we wasted blood and treasure on an unnecessary war; it wasn't that we showed the world the true limitations of American military power; it wasn't that we poisoned relations with our key allies; it wasn't that we completely eschewed diplomacy in the name of a muscular and aggressive militarism.

No, no, the problem was we weren't bellicose enough. You see if we just elect someone who makes bat s*** crazy statements like we should be in Iraq for 100 years or jokes about bombing Iran, rogue nations will simply cower in fear and do America's bidding. Problem solved, now we can go back to cutting taxes and raping the environment.

I can just see it now, White House aides in a McCain Administration influencing foreign affairs by telling reporters sotto voce, "I've never seen McCain this angry before. He keeps talking about bombing back to the Stone Age. I tell you if the Iranians don't stop with that civilian nuclear program I don't know what he's going to do; maybe something really, really crazy."  Honestly, do you think it's the best selling point for a Presidential candidate to argue that people should vote him because he's a crazy SOB?

One would really think that after seven years of the Bush's Administration's disastrously confrontational and unilateralist foreign policy, conservatives would realize that maybe "flagwaving" is not the smartest approach to foreign policy. Guess not.

And right on cue, Josh Marshall links to an AP piece about recent talks between Ambassador Crocker and his Iranian counterpart. Goes to shows in foreign policy sometimes you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar:

The result, the officials said, was Iran's pledge to stop backing the Mahdi Army in return for the Bush administration lowering its rhetoric about Iran's nuclear program. The Iraqis who spoke about the talks said they believed the release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate in December was a quid pro quo to Tehran for it having turned its back on the Mahdi Army.

The NIE, in an about-face, said Iran had halted its secret attempts to build nuclear weapons in 2003, contrary to White House claims that Iran was using a civilian nuclear energy program as cover to build nuclear weapons.

Since then, Washington's pronouncements have softened significantly.

George Bush, you coward you!



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Curtis LeMay for President! He's only slightly older than McCain anyways. And while some question his decision-making ability because he's dead, I'm confident that he'd surround himself with very capable advisers.

I haven't been by in about a year. Today I thought, "Hmm - why not?"

So I was reading this piece and wondering what was off. Then it hit me - 'the war'. You write, and this whole site writes, as if Congress had legally declared war on a sovereign nation that had first attacked the U.S and we were dealing with the adminsitrative triva of a lingering conflict.

None of which is true, of course.

Instead of 'the war' why don't you write the truth: 'illegal invasion and continuing occupation'? It would certainly change the tone and perhaps the thrust of this and every other post on this site. Try it: do a global REPLACE on 'the war' with 'illegal invasion and continued occupation'.

Max Boot does, indeed, have issues. Which is not, really, the point.

Ultimately, this site is as irrelevant as it was last year.

Would anyone like to join Nick in dancing on the head of a pin!

Interesting response - what you seem to be saying is that you, and this site's other authors, have ceded the illegal invasion and current continuing occupation of Iraq to the White House.

Ipso facto, all other immoral/illegal acts arising out of this criminal behavior are also not worth debating, "let's put it behind us and move on". And, of course, your idea of moving on is to write somewhat overwrought critiques on other folks who - like yourself - are also behaving as though it were perfectly normal to invade, ruin & occupy a country for the foreseeable future. For no discernable, much less legitimate, reason.

You, and sites like you, are the ultimate enablers.

Should McCain win the Presidency this fall, you, and this site, will soon be writing arch articles declaiming the nonsense spouted by his detractors. You know, those unworthy folk who don’t believe we should occupy Iraq for another 100 years.

Head of a pin, indeed.

Doesn't Boot recall that this was a tactic Nixon tried? Nixon had Kissinger tell the Russians that Nixon was just out of control, and he was going to go crazy on North Vietnam. That tactic didn't work then and it's stupid to think it will work now.

But it's typical of Boot, who I recall seeing on a panel at the New School shortly before the war, er the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Boot thought that we were on our way to revolutionizing the Middle East, and after Iraq we'd go on to Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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