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January 21, 2005

Our Brilliant Leaders' Brilliance Continues Brilliantly

Seymour Hersh's recent New Yorker article about Iran shows that our leaders are just as brilliant as ever. It's demonstrated most clearly when a government consultant tells Hersh this:

...the hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been urging a limited attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to a toppling of the religious leadership. “Within the soul of Iran there is a struggle between secular nationalists and reformers, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the fundamentalist Islamic movement,” the consultant told me. “The minute the aura of invincibility which the mullahs enjoy is shattered, and with it the ability to hoodwink the West, the Iranian regime will collapse”—like the former Communist regimes in Romania, East Germany, and the Soviet Union. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz share that belief, he said.

Hersh then quotes a "Middle East scholar" saying this is "extremely illinformed."

But is it? I think the neoconservatives clearly have history on their side here.

For instance, everyone remembers how the collapse of the Soviet government in 1991 followed our massive, unprovoked attack on the USSR. This worked so well we then bombed Romania and East Germany, with the same outstanding results.

But we don't even have to look overseas to see how unprovoked attacks on a country always weaken the country's government. I mean, think of the 9/11 attacks on the US! As everyone knows, they shattered the aura of invincibility of the Bush regime. Bush immediately became massively unpopular, and his domestic opponents, lead by Jim Hightower, went on the offensive and overthrew the government. And US foreign policy became much less aggressive.

I mean, sure, we can discuss this. But first we must accept the hawks have a very strong argument indeed.

Posted at January 21, 2005 11:32 PM | TrackBack

It is well to remember that the Neo-Cons, Likudites, etc. are merely funtionaries, the public faces (did I spell that right?) and voices for others less visable. Focus on WHAT they want to do and not their WHY. To find out why, ask "Qui bono". Who will benefit from the ensuing nightmare and how.

Posted by: Jim Shanahan at January 22, 2005 12:36 AM

The problem with asking who benefits is that anaylsis rests on the assumption the goals have some basis in rationality. An ordinary criminal acts in self-interest. A normal politician acts for the benefit of himself first, in service to his sposnsors, and allies second. A barking mad vanguard may shift who they're trying benefit at a moment's notice.

The neocons seem to put profiteering second to their vision and have no grasp whatsoever of pragmatism. They're spoiled rotten moral cretins with a vision. They don't even loot competently. There's no possible benefit from what they're doing. They're going to destroy both the US and Israel. If their ultimate goal is to rule banana republics in conditions close to civil war, they're doing a fine job.

Posted by: Harry at January 22, 2005 02:24 AM

I'm with Harry here. As I like to say, politics at a high level is generally a battle between the sane evil people and the insane evil people. And you have to pray the sane evil people win.

The sane evil people are those like Scowcroft, Powell, Albright, etc. They do make some sort of rational, if evil, cost-benefit calculation.

I assume the insane evil people currently running the US are making some kind of cost-benefit calculation in their minds. But it's certainly not rational.

As Harry says, they're not (just) profiteering. They really have some sort of grand vision of a purified world. You can see this even with Social Security, where they may try to borrow trillions of dollars to accomplish their ideological goals... even when doing so would risk crashing the US economy, thereby costing their benefactors far more money than they'll get looting SS.

That's why they're so scary. You really can't predict how far they'll go, because they've already shown they'll risk destroying themselves. (And us, of course. But that's irrelevant, both to sane and insane evil leaders.)

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at January 22, 2005 03:16 AM

I agree with both you, Harry and Jonathan, in your assessments of these people. It's just that there is a deeper level, I feel, which, in many cases, these same people don't understand themselves. All the aforementioned characters, both sane and insane, have power courtesy of the political structure and they don't control the structure. The people who have vast wealth control the structure (incl. the University of Chicago!) and so you have to assume that the functionaries are largely doing the bidding of the controllers. They wouldn't be tolerated for long if they didn't.
This needs to be included in the thinking plus the fact that many of the controllers, for want of a better word, are generational and definitely have a long term view. This is not to say everything goes according to plan for them. But if something or somebody is being tolerated when it could be changed (like throwing Bush or Rummy out), then you have to conclude it suits their purposes, is all!
As an addendum, understanding banking is the key to understanding a whole bunch of things. Now there's a scam! Brew a jug of coffee, Google COMER (Committee On Monetory and Economic Reform) and experience Revelation. If it alludes you (as it's one of those blindingly simple things that are so hard to get your mind around - took me months!), come on back to me, as they say. Cheers.

Posted by: Jim Shanahan at January 22, 2005 02:48 PM

Oh, I know how banking works: we give them the right to create money.

On the original post: yeah, or take the immediate overthrow of Milosevic when we bombed Serbia. It's a good think we didn't wait, and help some uspstart internal opposition.

Posted by: Omar K. Ravenhurst at January 22, 2005 04:36 PM

I know what you're talking about, Jim. Any society that puts inadequate checks on the acquisition of power tends to foster crony networks that cooperate over time. Control of currency is a stronger means of control than guns. Wingnut multi-millionaires do indeed have a vision and want to keep things cozy for the right people. When one of them goes off the reservation a little, they shriek "traitor".

Servants of that class who become whistleblowers have an unhappy knack for meeting tragic ends, as do investigators. Usually, however, discrediting them in front of the TV audience is enough. There are many ways to wellstone people, and not all involve killing.

What worries me is the wingnut power peeps are batshit crazy -- Scaife, Koch et al -- and so are their waterboys. Aristocracies do tend to go off the deep end and this becomes reflected in society at large. See, trickle down does work!

I think they want to cull the herd at some point and are trying to work up the courage to do so while assuring their own survival; little gulches out of Ayn Rand for the good people with a Hobbesian jungle for the rest on the outside.

Posted by: Harry at January 22, 2005 06:13 PM


I know what you're saying. But I think the problem is indeed that the controllers of Rumsfeld et al have gone insane. Or as Harry puts it, bat-shit crazy. Power doesn't just corrupt morally, it corrupts mentally. And these people have been very very powerful for a very long time.

Plus, sane evil controllers can put people in positions of power and then lose control of them. Think of the German industrialists who funded Hitler. Things didn't work out quite like they'd planned.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at January 24, 2005 02:20 AM

Power does indeed corrupt mentally, Jonathon. I am heartened to hear (see!) you say this. It is not something generally perceived. I am intimately aquainted with the results of this process. I am also aquainted with alcoholism having grown up with it. One day I had an "Aha" moment when I put the two together. They both have the same mental pathology. Power is addictive and has the same result.
BTW, thanks for your excellent blog.

Posted by: Jim Shanahan at January 24, 2005 05:48 PM

I should learn to spell, already!!!

I can't let this go. I'm like a heeler with a bone as we say in Oz.
Destruction brings more destruction until it destroys the destroyers (if thats not too agonized). That is it's nature and History confirms it.
The more evil they are, the more they hate, truly hate the Truth. They desperately want their fabricated world of Lies to prevail over the real world of Truth. It can't, of course, because one world exists and the other doesn't.
This is not meant to diminish the suffering of many innocents but to encourage you and the commentators to keep on telling the Truth because it will win out. That is it's nature and History will confirm it.
Philosophy over: thanks for the soapbox!

Posted by: Jim Shanahan at January 24, 2005 06:36 PM