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November 05, 2006

Michael Ledeen: The Best There Ever Was

Much of the blurghosphere is gaping in slack-jawed amazement at Michael Ledeen this afternoon. And rightfully so. Others in the right-wing's core of frothing foreign policy lunatics are spectacular liars, landing the equivalent of double and triple axels with ease. But Ledeen has flown far beyond what anyone had dreamed possible for human beings. Behold, the nonuple axel of lying:

I do not feel "remorseful," since I had and have no involvement with our Iraq policy. I opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place and I advocated—as I still do—support for political revolution in Iran as the logical and necessary first step in the war against the terror masters.

WOW. Let's rewind the tape and watch that one again in slow motion.

Mona at Inactivist was the first to pick up on this. She points out that on August 6, 2002, Ledeen ridiculed Brent Scowcroft's concerns that an invasion of Iraq "could turn the whole region into a caldron and destroy the War on Terror." How ridiculous, wrote Ledeen:

One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please...

The most dangerous course of action is Scowcroft's: Finesse Iraq...

Then Meteor Blades at Daily Kos quoted Ledeen's responses in an August 12, 2002 Frontpage interview:

Question #2: Okay, well if we are all so certain about the dire need to invade Iraq, then when do we do so?

Ledeen: Yesterday.

Then Glenn Greenwald spoke up, with quotes from a Ledeen Wall Street Journal op-ed.

But there's more. Much, much more.

Sadly, some of this is via Nexis and not on the regular internets. But here it is, in chronological order:

Hardball, August 19, 2002:

MICHAEL LEDEEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: ...I think in the case of Iraq, the strongest argument for a preemptive strike is to say what I believe which is that we have in effect been at war with Iraq for quite a long time. They have attacked us repeatedly. They tried to assassinate one former American president. They've supported terrorists that have carried out terrorist activities within the United States...So this would not be a preemptive strike. This would be a response...

BARNICLE: So Michael, that begs the question that if we continue to go down this road, as articulated by President Bush at West Point, do we really need as a nation more enemies around the globe?

LEDEEN: I don't think winning this war will create enemies, quite the contrary. I think that enemies would take heart from our failure to wage this war and even more so from our failure to win the war. I don't believe for a minute that the European leaders from today are saying go slow, take it easy...

They know we're going to win this war and they cannot stay out of it. It's just too damaging to them. So I think you'll see a huge change once the war starts and I think that if President Bush is to be faulted for anything in this so far, it's that he's taken much too long to get on with it, much too long.

"Ledeen Keeps Track of Terrorism" by Paula R. Kaufman, Insight Magazine, October 29, 2002

Q: Why then do we need European approval to take down Saddam?

A: We don't. But we will bring down Saddam and when we do we will have Europe's approval. The British, well, there's no uncertainty about them. They're with us all the way. And Italy and Spain are on board.

In the end, however, we will have the approval of the rest...

Q: ...when Bill Clinton was in the White House, Sens. Tom Daschle [D-S.D.], Patrick Leahy [D-Vt.] and John Kerry [D-Mass.] couldn't line up fast enough to flex U.S. military muscle in Iraq. What's going on?

A: It's certainly true that a lot of Democrats were in favor of going after Saddam when Clinton was in power. But they knew Clinton wasn't going to attack Iraq, so it was perfectly safe for them to come out in favor of war. Nonetheless, the stance of some of them today is incredible. If the case for striking tyrants such as Saddam was strong before 9/11, then it certainly is a hell of a lot stronger after 9/11.

"The Blind Leading the Blind" by Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, November 21, 2002:

We are gearing up for a military campaign against Iraq, which, even if it is necessary is only a part of the strategy for the broad war in which we are engaged.

"A Meaningful Address" by Michael Ledeen, New York Sun, January 28, 2003:

The president is well aware of the "uncertainty discount" that afflicts our capital markets nowadays - people are nervous about investing because they are waiting for many shoes to drop, from our long-overdue liberation of Iraq to possible renewed terrorist strikes against us here at home. The longer we dawdle, the greater our anxiety...

The myriad legal minds noodling this issue disagree as to whether or not we were already entitled to strike Iraq, or whether it called for renewed Security Council endorsement. I think the nature of the ceasefire agreement adds a second solid basis for liberating Iraq, along with the self-defense principle.

"The Willful Blindness of those Who Will Not See" by Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, February 18, 2003:

There is no dispute over Iran's preeminent role, even among those experts who shrink from its consequences. Yet Western governments, even the Bush administration, have steadfastly refused to do the one thing that the facts demand: design and conduct a policy to help the Iranian people fulfill their desire for freedom, and bring down the murderous regime in Tehran. Unlike the war against Iraq, it doesn't require bombs or bullets, only the usual kind of financial and moral support we have given to so many freedom fighters in the past. ...

The liberation of Iran would be the greatest imaginable triumph in the war against terrorism, as well as the fulfillment of America's mission to support freedom fighters against their tyrants. As in the war against Iraq, we have already waited far too long to get on with it.

Faster, please!

Michael Ledeen: THE. BEST. THERE. EVER. WAS.

Posted at November 5, 2006 03:28 PM | TrackBack

I love Ledeen's "response" to Greenwald, Meteor Blades, you, et. al.

He quotes at length from a 2002 book of his, advocating destabilizing the Iraq regime as proof that he opposed the war.

It's as if I had helped plan a bank vault robbery in 2003, got caught, and had emails documenting my role in the planning produced in court and, in my defense, produced a 2002 email saying, "Hey guys, maybe we should take out the armored car on it's way to the bank."


I know that word might empower neocons who love to toss charges of anti-Semitism at them, but having grown up just outside of New York in a community that regularly incorporated Yiddish into daily conversation, it seems a much better word than, say, "gall," which lacks the connotation of insouciant brazenness that "chutzpah" gets across and Ledeen displays so brilliantly.

Posted by: Rojo at November 5, 2006 05:52 PM

Toss charges of anti-Semitism at their critics, I mean, obviously.

For the record, I'm pretty sure Ledeen ain't Jewish.

Although, combining Lenny Bruce's criteria for who is a Jew and who is Goyim with the Neo-cons' criteria for who is an anti-Semite, I guess I'm a self-hating Jew!

Posted by: Rojo at November 5, 2006 05:55 PM

This is fun.

The rats deserting the sinking ship under the leadership of Rat-in-Chief, Michael Latrine!

Rarely has squealing and whining been so enjoyable.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at November 5, 2006 06:05 PM

Ledeen is an amazing liar and propagandist. This is nothing new. Ledeen was basically brought on board the Reagan administration for his ability to lie and spin (everything from the Billy Gate "influence peddling scheme" to the idea that the Soviet Union was behind a worldwide terrorism network).

Posted by: Sid Buck at November 5, 2006 06:24 PM

HOW in the HELL do these guys not "get" that digitized 0s and 1s are forever????

Here's some of Ledeen's greatest hits in opposition to the invasion of Iraq:

"Because unless we remove Saddam, a frightening time bomb will tick away in Baghdad."

Michael Ledeen, "Gun-Shy," The American Spectator, February 1992.

"Two strokes...utterly worthy of a great power, [which] are not difficult, either to enunciate or conduct, [and] are politically popular [and] entirely in keeping with this administration's basic instincts, and...would send chills down the spines of tyrants the world over, which is fundamental to our national mission. All W. has to do is:

- move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem;

- openly support the full range of action against Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi National Congress.

If W. openly supports the INC, calls on the Iraqi people to rid themselves of the monster in Baghdad, and promises to stay the course, the power equation in the Middle East will change overnight, Saddam will suddenly have to worry about his own survival, and the other nasty tyrants, from Tehran to Damascus, will reconsider their options. There are no guarantees, but it's a worthwhile risk. The Iraqi National Congress is everything we believe in and admire: a democratic, multi-ethnic and religiously diverse coalition, led by a brilliant man (with a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, no less) whose family has been preeminent in the region for centuries."

Michael Ledeen, "So You Wanna Be a Superpower?" National Review Online, August 30, 2001

"There are lots of questions that need answers, and a few things that W. needs to do right away. The obvious question is Who Did It? And it would be nice to think that our misnamed intelligence services are capable of figuring it out. I have my doubts. They should ask Laurie Mylroie (author of The Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America, who for years has been collecting the evidence showing Saddam's involvement in the first bombing of the World Trade Center, all overlooked by the spooks."

Michael Ledeen, "Code Alpha," National Review Online, September 11, 2001.

"If you want to find the foreign-policy blunders that helped us reach the current crisis, look to our failure to destroy the evil regime of Saddam Hussein when we had him at our mercy...It is altogether appropriate that George W. Bush be faced with this awesome decision, since his father failed his historic test a decade ago. Now the son can make amends."

Michael Ledeen, "The Real Threat," National Review Online, September 18, 2001

"I've always had a soft spot for nonnegotiable demands, so any speech that contains one is automatically a hit with me, and I'm really looking forward to his nonnegotiable demands to Syria, Iran, and Iraq."

Michael Ledeen quoted in Kathryn Jean Lopez, "A Call to Arms," National Review Online, September 21, 2001.


"As in Afghanistan, we need to create a zone of freedom, to which Saddam's enemies can run to find safety and normalcy. We have long proclaimed a "no fly" zone in the north of Iraq; now is the time to declare it a "no trespassing" zone for the regime, a haven for Saddam's enemies, and a staging ground for democratic revolution. If Saddam dares challenge our control, we should deliver a crushing blow."

Michael Ledeen, "At the Crossroads," National Review Online, November 26, 2001

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies at November 5, 2006 07:49 PM

Gawd! how I wish I could afford Nexis.

Why don't any of these idiots realize everything they've said in public (and often in private) will be catalogued for all of us to see?

What a bunch of maroons.

Posted by: SPIIDERWEB™ at November 5, 2006 07:49 PM

Ledeen is playing the neocon card of "tell a lie often enough and people will believe it" which he and his Trotskyite pals borrowed from Goebbels. Unfortunately the same idiots that worship Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh and other America hating traitor-cowards will believe him.

Posted by: al lorentz at November 5, 2006 08:27 PM

Regardless of what happens this week, the struggle for democracy against oligopoly is much older than we let ourselves think, and it has been won and lost many times.

“Take the mid-seat, and be the vessel’s guide;
Many in Athens are upon your side.”

This was the blessing given by Apollo’s oracle to Solon, the Archon and Lawgiver, founder of Athenian democracy, 594 B.C. (Source, Plutarch’s “Lives.”)

Posted by: MarcLord at November 5, 2006 08:53 PM

BTW, the skating move is an Axel, not an axle.

Posted by: illegitimi at November 6, 2006 12:02 AM

Yeah... and Bush was never about "stay the course"...

Posted by: InsultComicDog at November 6, 2006 12:09 AM

The Beatles song "Yesterday" is the musical answer given by Michael Ledeen as the "best time to invade" Iraq. Logic certainly tells us that the musical answer to "when will someone in this administration finally accept responsibility?" is the Johnnie Mathis ditty "12th of Never"!

A PS to Jon Stewart and his gang: I have been using that line since 1969, so you guys stole MY material, not verse visa.

Posted by: JLaR at November 6, 2006 06:33 AM

so michael ledeen is bret 'the hitman' hart?

Posted by: almostinfamous at November 6, 2006 06:45 AM

Perhaps for their next jobs Ledeen, Perle, Frum, et al will be advising Putin on how to avoid getting stuck in a quagmire in the Middle East:

(This would make Rod Serling's head spin.)

Posted by: Lloyd at November 6, 2006 07:52 AM

Ledeen is testing a new approach for the right-wing propaganda machine to use after the election. It will soon become common for neocons to claim that they always opposed the war, and that Bill Clinton actually started it just before he left office.

If they lose the House due to the war, you don't think they'd be tempted to try something this ridiculous? See: John Kerry hates the troops and was never really a respected combat vet; Bill Clinton let Osama bin laden get away and had his staff vandalize the White House; Al Gore claims he invented the internet; John Murtha is a coward; 9/11 widows are in it for the fame and money; Jack Abramoff actually gave more to Democrats; Terri Schiavo is quite alert; scientists are divided on global warming; we did find WMD in Iraq but the liberal media won't tell you because they all hate the President... you get the idea.

After a couple weeks of this, polls will soon show that approximately 34% of the American people believe that Clinton really did authorize the invasion of Iraq in December 2000.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at November 6, 2006 03:32 PM

Its enough to break the brain

Mayhaps that is their strategery

Posted by: Not Dick but Richard at November 6, 2006 07:18 PM

what i don't understand is by what mechanism do these people exercise their power? when every rational person on the planet argued that iraq would be a quagmire, and were proven right, the neocons -- utterly bereft of credibility -- are still around, whispering in W.'s ear, appearing on various media. have they got video of W all coked up and humping an 11-year-old boy or what? why have they not been arrested and put on trial for their war crimes?

Posted by: neoconned at November 8, 2006 03:26 PM