Friday, September 28, 2007

Inflating a Little Man

TIME magazine gets it (mostly) right in a column by Joe Klein [Inflating a Little Man].
Well, at the top of the list are our old friends the neoconservatives, the folks who provided the intellectual rationale for Bush's war in Iraq, many of whom are now itching for a war with Iran. Norman Podhoretz, the neocon paterfamilias, has written a trifle called World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism and loves to posit Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden—a far more dangerous character—as the heirs to Hitler and Stalin. "They follow the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism," he writes. This is incendiary foolishness. Terrorists have the ability to wreak terrible damage intermittently, but they don't represent an existential threat to the U.S. Ahmadinejad commands no legions—not even the Hizballah forces in Lebanon that attacked Israel in the summer of 2006—and if Podhoretz doesn't know that, he should. Taking Ahmadinejad literally, as the neoconservatives do, is being disingenuous with lethal intent. It gives license to a conga line of politicians—especially Republicans running for �President—to strut their stuff by jumping on Ahmadinejad and Columbia University and liberals in general. Mitt Romney runs an ad in which he brags that he denied the milquetoast reformer Khatami a police escort to Harvard University in 2006. Now there's a man! The New York Daily News, owned by neoconservative Mort Zuckerman, runs the headline the evil has landed. The cable news networks hyperventilate. Even the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, feels the need to demolish Ahmadinejad — elegantly, I must say — before the speech. A giant toxic bubble overwhelms the public square.

And then, there he is — and laughter is freedom's only appropriate reaction. The bubble bursts. He denies not only the Holocaust but also homosexuality? Suddenly, it all becomes obvious: We are being played by extremists on both sides. To be sure, Iran does arm Hizballah, and it does have an active nuclear program that may or may not be proved to have hostile intent, and it is making trouble for the U.S. in Iraq, supplying weapons to our enemies. These are all problems to be addressed soberly and perhaps even, eventually, with multilateral force. But the neoconservative campaign to transform Ahmadinejad into Hitler or Stalin, to pretend that he has the ability to destroy the world, to make a hoo-ha over letting the little man speak, is a cynical attempt to plump for war. Ahmadinejad may be ridiculous, but Podhoretz—who recently spent 45 minutes with Bush arguing for more war—isn't very funny at all. 

[Hat Tip: John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts (How to fix Iraq, and not invade Iran)]


  1. Framing, framing, framing, framing...

    Even Klein is framing, framing.

    What we need is Professor Nisbet to help us reframe the foul frames into the ethical frames - the more better frames.

  2. Re Norman Podhoretz

    Just to show what a schmuck this nitwit is he publishes the crap of David Berlinski in his rag, Commentary Magazine. In a discussion of Berlinski, Richard Dawkins said that anyone who disbelieves in the theory of evolution is either ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but he didn't want to consider that). Berlinski, in Dawkins' opinion, was neither ignorant, stupid or insane.

  3. The envisioned threat from terrorists have mainly been that they may cause major disruptions of social structure by relatively easy means.

    That has not been born out yet, and most of the minor disruptions are from overly aggressive protective actions. (Read: Iraqi war and flight security.) The body of society has an allergic reaction, and we need to find an antihistamine.

    [How am I doing with the framing, gerald? :-)]

  4. Torbjorn, you are squeaking by, but if you want to polish your framing, you will need professional help.

    It "has been established" by those who have taken the training (remember EST and Werner Erhard?)that only the annointed know how to administer the mystical spells and powers of FRAMING - bacon, bacon, bacon.

    Ja kan snukker och forstor lite Norske, but I sure as hell can't spell it.

  5. Bloodthirsty Zionist Norman Podhorentz has recently "prayed" for our President and decider to rain murder and destruction on the Iranian people.

    Podhorentz has objectively framed the Iranian people as ISLAMOFASCISTS, a frame invented by fellow murdering Zionist, Frank Gaffney.

    What else can you do with Islamofascists but murder them? It's a framing thing.

    Podhorentz lovingly and openly preaches: "As an American and a Jew, I pray that he (Bush) does."

  6. In retrospect, I feel ahmadinejad's invitation to columbia was more of a circus than a fruitful exercise in free speech.
    Yes, the guy is a totalitarian.But what if George Bush were invited to an Iranian university? They could fling him some pretty uncomfortable questions too. Do you think Iranians would have stooped to introduce him to the audience as a "petty dictator", as they did in columbia?

    I think this says some scary things about how what americans truly thinking about "free speech". In this case the president of columbia was SO fucking AFRAID of been called an antiamerican, he made this more of "an opportunity to come and laugh at the dictator".

    I think Columbia ultimately reinforced the feelings of those who want Iran invaded. The opportunity was not seized to touch on profound topiocs. Irna is a people, and a people with a history in a conflicetd region.
    This is the reality that neeeded to be discussed; whether the gays in Iran get proper treatment or not...I wish they did but this, really,is NOT be a central point: other much more deadly and urgent problems must be attented to and solved first.

    I'm honestly pissed at the columbia circus

  7. Wow, Joke Line actually wrote something halfway intelligent? I think the end of the world may be at hand.

  8. Do you think you can flatter and smack your master at the same time? Hehehe

  9. gerald:

    Thanks for the accolade. I'm sure we could all benefit from the pros.

    Btw, I'm swedish. Which makes me pretty much in your position, norsk aer icke hva som passer for meg. At least in spelling. :-P