Thursday, September 06, 2007

The madmen who would be Serious

Glenn Greenwald shoves Bush fellating deep-thinkers and Beltway neo-con vernier knobs, Fred Hiatt and Michael Ledeen, face first against the wall and then give the backs of their heads a good shove. You have to read the whole thing, but here are a few snippets: (all emphasis mine)
Fred Hiatt today unleashes an Editorial Page attack on Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency whom Hiatt labels "the Rogue Regulator." Bizarrely, though revealingly, Hiatt begins by complaining that "Mr. ElBaradei was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war for debunking Bush administration charges that Saddam Hussein had restarted his nuclear program before the 2003 invasion" -- as though having been right about Iraq, and thus admired by "by opponents of the Iraq war," is a sign of low credibility.

It is hard to overstate the bitterness and resentment which the Serious Pro-War Beltway Elite like Hiatt, who were wrong about everything, still harbor towards those, such as ElBaredei, who were right about Iraq, principally because those who were right serve as an ongoing, painful reminder of what poor judgment the likes of Hiatt possess, of how untrustworthy are the foreign policy pronouncements of the Serious People in Hiatt's world. Thus, Hiatt's attack on EdBaredei begins with the complaint that he "was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war" for being right. That's because in Hiatt's world, having been right on Iraq -- and being "lionized" by war opponents -- are actually hallmarks of unseriousness. Ask Scott Ritter (if you can find where he can be heard). Or Howard Dean.

And there is the position which Hiatt placed himself and the rest of the "Bomb Iran" crowd: The point that they are somehow "saner" than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Greenwald makes clear, that provides credentials that are worth four-fifths of fuck all.

Hiatt, like most of official Washington, is desperate to maintain the Seriousness credentials of those who want to bomb Iran, as that group now includes such luminaries as Joe Lieberman, Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and by all reports, Dick Cheney. To do so, Hiatt lowers the Seriousness standard about as far as it can be lowered -- thus, the members of Bomb Iran crowd are, Hiatt assures us, "saner than many of the statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," and thus presumably worthy of respect.

It should go without saying that being "saner than many of the statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" is a worthless standard, entitling those who meet it to absolutely nothing in the way of respect and credibility. But as low as it is, it is highly questionable whether, as Hiatt claims, the leading members of the "Bomb Iran" crowd meet even this standard.

Greenwald then moves to that piece of crap that the American Enterprise Institute keeps leaving on the sidewalk, Michael Ledeen:

Whenever right-wing warriors want to urge a new war with Iran, they invariably cite Ledeen, who serves as "Freedom Scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, a contributor to National Review, and some sort of regular contributor to "Pajamas Media." Simply put, there is no more ridiculous, deceitful, untrustworthy and just outright laughable political figure of influence than Michael Ledeen.

To begin with, Ledeen is plagued by the single most absurd yet fundamental contradiction one can imagine. His central argument, repeated over and over and now a staple in neoconservative mythology, is that Iran has been at war with the U.S. continuously ever since 1979. We just haven't fought back yet.

Yet Ledeen played a central role in brokering the sale by Israel to Iran of highly advanced weapons as part of the Reagan administration's Iran-contra shenanigans in the 1980s. A military confrontation with Iran would likely subject U.S. troops to attack from the very same nasty weapons which Ledeen and his friends provided to Iran during a time when, Ledeen and neoconservatives now insist, Iran was waging war on the U.S. As Scott Lemieux, among many others, has noted, providing arms to a country "waging war against the U.S." -- as Ledeen did with Iran in the 1980s if his central premise is to be believed -- is called treason.

And if you need one more teaser, this should get you hustling over to Salon because what follows is just plain delicious.

Ledeen's credibility-destroying pronouncements are too numerous to chronicle here. In January, he declared in Pajamas Media that "Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, is dead." Days later, Khamenei appeared in public and gave a major speech, and continues to live. Even Michelle Malkin's Hot Air called Ledeen's announcement "a major embarrassment" for Pajamas. Identically, Ledeen has repeatedly announced that Osama bin Laden is dead, even after he is proven to be alive. This individual -- with this ludicrous record, who does not speak Persian, and who has never even set foot in the country -- is the right-wing's leading and most respected "Iran expert" when it comes to urging war.
Go read the whole thing.

And, just in case you need more evidence of the "sanity" of the "serious" crowd in Washington, take a look at Digby. She adds to the list by exposing the madness of art-critic turned political-genius Mark Steyn.

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