In the Arena

Neocons Gone Wild

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My post below, re the surge, has set off squeals of outrage over at Contentions, the Commentary magazine blog. This is to be expected, but still sad when one of the squealers is Max Boot, whose work I admire. But Boot, a McCain advisor, goes so far as to reinforce his candidate’s call for 100 years of neocolonial military presence in Iraq:

In order to build on the success that General Petraeus and his soldiers have had, we need to maintain a long-term commitment in Iraq-for 100 years if need be, as John McCain has said. That doesn’t mean 100 years of fighting; clearly, that would be unsustainable. It does mean a long-term troop presence designed to reassure Iraqis of our commitment to their security against an array of enemies. Having come this far against such heavy odds, it would be the height of folly to throw away our recent success by a precipitous withdrawal. I hope Barack Obama realizes that even if so many of his supporters don’t.

So anything less than 100 years is precipitous? As I’ve written here before–to the dismay of many commenters–my guess is, whomever is elected President, we will see a gradual drawdown that brings us to 30,000 troops in 2012, and much lower thereafter, and without long-term bases,which is what Ryan Crocker and many others familiar with Iraq’s domestic politics consider realistic. I suspect that just as Obama has…adjusted his position on NAFTA, he considers his foolish 16-month withdrawal scheme as his former advisor Samantha Power did, as a “best case” scenario.

Then, what can one say about Jennifer Rubin, who accuses me of antisemitism? I must say that’s rather thrilling coming from the Commentary crowd. You want evidence of divided loyalties? How about the “benign domino theory” that so many Jewish neoconservatives talked to me about–off the record, of course–in the runup to the Iraq war, the idea that Israel’s security could be won by taking out Saddam, which would set off a cascade of disaster for Israel’s enemies in the region? As my grandmother would say, feh! Do you actually deny that the casus belli that dare not speak its name wasn’t, as I wrote in February 2003, a desire to make the world safe for Israel? Why the rush now to bomb Iran, a country that poses some threat to Israel but none–for the moment–to the United States…unless we go ahead, attack it, and the mullahs unleash Hezbollah terrorists against us? Do you really believe the mullahs would stage a nuclear attack on Israel, destroying the third most holy site in Islam and killing untold numbers of Muslims? I am not ruling out the use of force against Iran–it may come to that–but you folks seem to embrace it gleefully.

Furthermore, as a Jew, I find it offensive that the American Jewish Committee would support such an ideologically unbalanced publication as Commentary, one that spouts a Likudnik bellicosity that is out of sync with the beliefs of the vast majority of American Jews. A question to all concerned: When was the last time you opposed a policy, any policy, of the Israeli government–other than one that attempted to move toward peace?

And finally, if the Iraqi government is so wonderful, why was I advised not to carry a passport without Israeli stamps in it when I applied for my Iraqi visa?

Update and Correction: The American Jewish Committee is no longer associated with Commentary, thank God.