On the same day we learn that Dan Froomkin was fired from the WashingtonPost.com, WaPo runs separate op eds by Paul Wolfowitz — Paul 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.
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.