Zombies of the Twilight Zone

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Middle East, Obama Administration

On the same day we learn that Dan Froomkin was fired from the WashingtonPost.com, WaPo runs separate op eds by Paul WolfowitzPaul Wolfowitz, mind you — and Charles Krauthammer. They both argue that President Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing and should more forcefully and directly come out in support of the demonstrating Iranians.

Jonathan Chait:

President Obama has taken a cautious tone toward the demonstrators in Iran, with his stated reason being that more open support would discredit their cause. This strikes me as a sensible position. The revealed preferences of both sides suggest a mutual belief that an American embrace would hurt the protestors. The regime is trying (so far, without much success) to tie the demonstrators to the U.S., and the demonstrators are embracing the symbolism of the Iranian revolution (the color green, chants of “Alluah Akbar,” and so on) in order to demonstrate their patriotism and mainstream cultural status.

… What’s remarkable to me is that those on the other side refuses to rebut it. Today’s Washington Post op-ed page has two more columns lambasting Obama for failing to embrace the demonstrators. Today’s offerings are by Charles Krauthammer and Paul Wolfowitz. Neither one of them even mentions, let alone answers, Obama’s argument for why embracing the demonstrators would be counterproductive.

What’s remarkable to me is that Wolfowitz and Krauthammer have the chutzpah to be seen in public, never mind offer opinions on foreign policy, never mind actually get those opinions published in a major newspaper. Taking foreign policy advice from the likes of these two is like hiring Napoleon as a consultant for your Russian land invasion. Worse, actually, since I suspect Napoleon was smart enough to learn from mistakes and might have had some useful ideas.

Gary Kamiya wrote this week,

Like 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. Although 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. In 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. But 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.

I would argue that they haven’t been “figuratively stabbed, poisoned, shot, garroted and drowned,” or at least, not nearly enough. Major media (e.g., the Washington Post) still treats these zombies with respect, as if their opinions had credibility. Amazing.

I also want to point out, as others have, that the same neocons and their followers who are cheering for the demonstrators now (and may I say I am cheering for them, also; they are a genuine inspiration) have been urging us to bomb the smithereens out of Iran lo these many years. Do they not now see that they were wrong? That sometimes it’s wiser to stand back and let events take their course than to force an outcome with death and destruction?

Probably not. In 2005 the neocons couldn’t say enough about the glorious Cedar Revolution and the brave people of Lebanon. In 2006 the Cedar Revolution was quickly forgotten when Israel decided to initiate a military adventure into Lebanon, an action that by some miracle killed only Hezbollah Supporters, according to the Right Blogosphere at the time.

Of course, as Kamiya suggests, the real purpose of neocon bleatings now is not to offer any real advice on foreign policy. It is to undermine the Obama Administration. Period.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. moonbat  •  Jun 19, 2009 @2:59 pm

    And in this corner, on Faux News no less, Henry Kissinger says Obama has handled the situation well. But I agree with the main thrust of your article, that the WaPo has gone beyond ridiculous. I hope Froomkin finds an even better platform than the one he left.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 19, 2009 @3:04 pm

    Ah, to read again the fecal droppings coming from Paul Wolfowitz! It brings joy to my heart… NOT!!!
    Let’s see, in their efforts to emulate the WSJ Op-ed, The WaPo drops Froomkin, keeps The Brothers K (Kristol and Krauthammer), and then rubs our faces in it by publishing this turds bloviation.

    WTF happened to the WaPo? Oh, yeah, Fred Hiatt.
    Liberal media, my @$$!!!

  3. biggerbox  •  Jun 19, 2009 @3:30 pm

    Perhaps because their own experience seems to support it, guys like (war criminal) Wolfowitz and (unindicted co-conspirator) Krauthammer seem to believe in a world without consequences, or at least without possible negative ones.

    Bombing Iran wouldn’t start a war in the Mideast and lead to the deaths of millions, no, it would only set back Iranian nuke development and demonstrate our “resolve.” Embracing Iranian protesters wouldn’t mark them as tools of the West and cut them off at the knees, allowing the government to crack down with impunity, no! It would only … well, I’m not sure, really, because it makes no sense, but I’m sure it has something to do with that “resolve” thing again.

    These guys are so convinced of their own brilliance that they can’t conceive that their suggestions might not be little diamonds of excellent policy.

    Sadly, the Beltway et al keep reinforcing that opinion by not laughing at them and pointing in ridicule.

  4. Bonnie  •  Jun 19, 2009 @4:03 pm

    WaPo is nothing more than a print version of Fox news these days. I lived in the area for 24 years. For most of that time, my day was not complete without reading WaPo. Then, it started becoming a right wing rag. I began to only tolerate it; but still had a subscription. However, sometime in July 2004, I realized that the once great paper had died a long time ago. What is out now is not even a shadow of its former great self. Thus, I proudly canceled my subscription and only read columns that I am directed to from the blogs I read. Those links were normally either to Dan Froomkin or Eugene Robinson. Now, they are down to only one columnist who is worth reading. So sad to have watch this decline of great journalism, which cannot be found in many newspapers at all any more. No wonder newspapers are dying.

  5. felicity  •  Jun 19, 2009 @4:31 pm

    Let’s face it, we live in a culture in which celebrity status seems to be the sole qualification needed to catapult you not only to the status of expert – on anything, on everything – but to guarantee you a lucrative-paying job as a result. (Small wonder that, since they are celebrities, Charlie Manson and SirhanSirhan, up to now – but I’m counting – haven’t been put on some newspaper or television payroll – too bad we killed McVey ’cause an oped column written by him would have sold a lot of newspapers.)

  6. uncledad  •  Jun 19, 2009 @4:35 pm

    Sometimes I watch FAUX news special report, where Krauthammer spews his completely compromised bullshit almost every night. I don’t know what happened to him but he is in a wheel chair and really has a hard time breathing sometimes, hardly able to get out complete sentences before gasping for air. Sometimes after he says something more objectionable than usual I find myself hoping he will suffocate right on camera. Is that wrong?

  7. Swami  •  Jun 19, 2009 @4:46 pm

    Froomkin will do just fine. He’s got talent and credibility, and his getting the boot is only a blessing in disguise.

    Wolfowitz puzzles me..I would have thought when he was caught shuffling World Bank money to his bimbo that it would have driven him to ground. But then again, I don’t think a sense of shame is a characteristic that dwells in neoconservatives.

    And Kruthhammer? The sky is falling!…”Yearning to breathe free”? There’s nothing there except a conglomeration of meaningless words intended to incite idiots. When you’ve got to rely on the word ” imagine” when writing political analysis it’s a indication that you really don’t understand the situation at hand.

    Maha, I liked the line about Napoleon…very apt and funny. Another way to express the same concept might be… like hiring Rudy Guiliani as a marriage counselor.

  8. Swami  •  Jun 19, 2009 @5:23 pm

    I want to apologize for referring to Wolfowitz’s girlfriend as a bimbo. It’s a derogatory term to all women and I should have exercised better sense in expressing my distain for Wolfowitz. His girlfriend is probably a lovely women who would have climbed under the sheets with Wolfie had he thrown vast sums of somebody else’s money at her or not. I guess it’s understandable because I know from experience that a women is more receptive to male affections when she’s feeling secure, and that would include financial security.

    Small minds like mine can only think of a box of chocolates or a few measly roses to win a girl’s heart when guy’s like Wolfowitz really know how romance a babe..shower them in hundreds of thousand of World Bank dollars.. Gee, it’s not fun being a small potato.

  9. joanr16  •  Jun 19, 2009 @8:38 pm

    Wolfie and Monsieur le Compte de Turtle are both men of simple and straightforward philosophy: If it moves toward you, bash it with a rock.

    The best way to destroy all hope of success for Iran’s Green Revolution is for Western governments to go sticking their noses in. The Iranian Supreme Leader already tried to blame the West for the pro-reform protests, and the minute the Iranian people see some evidence for those accusations, the Green Revolution will start falling apart. Ahmedinejad’s position will be hardened, like an old Reagan-era missile silo, and then the world will never be rid of him.

    Of course, Wolf and Turtle would be absolutely thrilled if that happened on Obama’s watch. So, so true that they don’t care one bit about helping the Iranian reform movement; they only want to harm the American president.

  10. joanr16  •  Jun 19, 2009 @8:40 pm

    Swami… how about we just agree that Wolfowitz is the bimbo? Or “himbo,” I guess it’d be.

  11. Doug Hughes  •  Jun 19, 2009 @9:47 pm

    “Of course, as Kamiya suggests, the real purpose of neocon bleatings now is not to offer any real advice on foreign policy. It is to undermine the Obama Administration. Period.”

    Go back to the post about ‘The Movement’. The premise being that ‘The Movement’ of extreme conservatism is now running the GOP, driving any moderate elements from GOP leadership. The GOP now has about 25% of registered voters, the remainder split between Doemocrats & Independents.

    The GOP does not expect to persuade Democrats; the GOP does intend to return to power, without making a shift in their extreme conservative platform. The strategy is stated in Barbara’s last sentance, and the target is the Independent voters. They don’t intend to appeal to voters with policy that attracts votes; they simply want to DISCREDIT Obama, and be the alternative.

    The GOP has 25% of the vote in the bag; they hope the other 26% will come from moderates who will vote AGAINST Obama. Rabid pundits will beat the drum on every subject from the dangers of Health Care Reform to what the POTUS puts on his cheeseburger.

  12. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 19, 2009 @9:54 pm

    Swami,
    “Gee, it’s not fun being a small potato.”
    Yeah, you’re right. But only those who have a little gherkin have to prove they’re more than a small potato!

  13. Pat  •  Jun 20, 2009 @12:07 am

    Wow! Chait took the words right out of my mouth. The last time we embraced an Iranian faction it accomplished nothing but pushing the voters over to the side of the last ones we wanted to see in office.

    So everything the GOP now does is calculated to appeal only to Americans who prefer the type of braying jackass/bantam rooster that we had in little Georgie Bush. It has nothing to do with what is best for anything but a few frail egos in this country.

    That doesn’t stop Wolfowitz and Krauthammer from wanting a repeat of the same counterproductive stupidity we saw from Bush and President Cheney. With that little chestnut it might begin to dawn on some how these rubes think and more importantly how they regard themselves. The hostility they feel Obama must project to avoid appearing weak is a projection of their own overcompensation and feelings of inadequacy. Its all about them and has very little to do with diplomacy, reasonable chances of influencing the situation, or the sublteties that surround a delicate situation.

    God protect us from these idiots who see those of a different culture as easily cowed in the face of their fearsome posturing. We need adults in charge not them.

  14. felicity  •  Jun 20, 2009 @1:12 pm

    Doug – I’m rereading “Bush’s Brain” because I’m seeing Rove’s fingerprints all over the Republican move to discredit Obama. Throughout his entire career, any candidate for whom Rove has worked was elected because his, or her, opponent was discredited – read smeared – not because Rove’s candidate was necessarily qualified for the office he sought. Bush comes too easily to mind.



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