Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Democrats running away from their own policies
Posted by: Jon Henke on Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Think Progress has a very odd criticism of Michael Ledeen...
National Review Falsely Claims NeoCon ‘Has Opposed Military Action Against Iran’
But it is accurate to say that Ledeen has been vocally opposed to war with Iran. I noted that previously in this post when Kevin Drum and his commenters were criticizing "the Michael Ledeen crowd" for (allegedly) agitating for war with Iran. Yet, contra the Reality Based Community, Ledeen's actual position has been "that "military action against Iran [would be] a mistake", and that his optimal Iran policy would be "the same as our policy toward any tyranny whose people are fighting for their freedom: support the freedom fighters"—that "the United States should support the Iranian democratic opposition"."

This is identical to the Clinton/Gore position vis a vis Iraq, yet the Reality Based Community calls it "the mega-hawk crowd".

Think Progress objects to this characterization, because Ledeen once wrote that
"I would insist that my soldiers have the right of “hot pursuit” into Iran and Syria, and I would order my armed forces to attack the terrorist training camps in those countries.
That's an, er, interesting view of that statement. Understand, I'm not actually opposed to Think Progress calling that "attack[ing] Iran", but they really ought to be consistent about this. If advocating 'hot pursuit' and attacking targets within a country constitutes advocating attacking Iran, then...

  • The Democratic Party advocates an "existential threat of a military response" against Iran if Iran insists on "making its enrichment and reprocessing facilities operational".


  • Howard Dean says the Democrats will "kill or capture Osama bin Laden"; the Democratic Party claims they will "eliminate" Osama bin Laden — which would necessarily involve attacking Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be residing.

So, while the "mega-hawk" Michael Ledeen once suggested 'hot pursuit' across the Iranian border and strikes against terrorist training camps in Iran, the Democratic Party has advocated military action against the Iranian regime itself...and attacks on Pakistan. Perhaps all of those policies should be left on the table, but it's a bit odd to criticize the 'neo-cons' for taking positions almost identical to that of their own Party.

Maybe one of the reasons so many voters have trouble taking the Democrats seriously on national defense is that the Democrats keep running away from the very policies they claim as their own.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I’ve never understood the antipathy for Ledeen’s views in the Left Blogosphere. I sincerely wish that someone would explain it to me. Is it solely an our side/their side thing?
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Schuler - Ledeen is the author of the famous neocon exhortation said in 2003 after the "cakewalk victory". Paraphrasing:

"First Iraq, then Iran, then Syria, then KSA! Faster America, faster please!"

Ledeen can word parse all he wants that he opposes military war, but I believe he has endorsed the "surgical bombing strike" supposedly Israel or America can do in another "cakewalk" and has endorsed "special ops soldiers" working with Iran’s "pro-democracy forces".

Ledeen wants more wars. And aggressive action towards Iran. I leave it to others to judge for themselves if bombing or use of special ops soldiers to work with regime opponents in and outside Iran counts as war.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Was he? I thought that was Paul Wolfowitz. Do you have a source? I’ve frequently read Ledeen’s articles, posts, and comments on blogs. I’ve never once seen him advocate attacking Iran militarily.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Jon.....


Ok. Let’s start off on the high points. You, me, and Markos Mousalitas are all da*n tired of the Democrats running away from their own policies and mugging Republican militarism. I will say that this is what happens when one party in a two-party system has had a long period of being more energized, more idealized, and winning. The weaker side feels an irresistible tendency to ape the other side. Sadly.

Luckily, and finally, after 20 years, this is finally changing. Ned Lamont will not ape Republican militarism. Jon Tester will not ape Republican militarism. The country no longer feels that vibe. Democrats are taking their country back from Clintonism, triangulation, and trying to out-pander the Republicans on their core ideas - and headed back towards drawing clear distinctions.

That doesn’t mean its fixed - and it never will be, because like it or not, we’re still the world’s superpower and military overreach will almost always be on the table. Michael Ledeen and Bill O Reilly will make sure that *any* political party in power won’t be able to avoid theatrical displays of strength entirely.

Which brings us to the problem: which is with you defending Michael Ledeen.

I must admit that your links quote him describing policies that are not much like how he’s typically described. The reason is: he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. Flip-flopping. He’s a weasel. I can’t be bothered to find the links, but C. Ford’s quote is a good start.

Lastly, you are, no offense, out to lunch if you suggest that bombing Iran and Syria about no is something other than an aggressive escalation contrary to our current strategy and running a large array of risks to no permanent gain. In other words, it’s heinously dumb, out of the mainstream, and discredited.

You’re also being either careless or disingenuous to suggest that our willingness to use force in Pakistan to capture Bin Laden makes Howard Dean the equivalent of Michael Ledeen. You’re insulting the intelligence of your readers, frankly. Osama Bin Laden wants Pervez Musharraf dead. The government of Pakistan, as far as anyone can tell, is on our side and has given us permission.
Lastly, and obviously, The Iranian government did not fly an airplane into the world trade center and kill 3000 people.

The Democratic Party has never been against violating the sovreignity of other countries if neccesary to take out Al-Quieda, and this is not in the same league as Ledeen’s flights of delusion.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Jon, I’m not exactly sure what your point is here. To the extent it is to defend Michael Ledeen, it seems like an futile endeavor. Just yesterday, Ledeen wrote the following:
The greatest failure of our leaders, with rare exceptions, is their refusal to see the war plain, which means Iran and Syria (might as well call them “Syran,” since they operate in tandem, with Tehran pushing most of the buttons). It was never possible to “win in Iraq” so long as we insisted on fighting in Iraq alone. You can not win a regional war by playing defense in one country. It was, and remains, a sucker’s game. Syran pays no price at all for killing our kids and our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now in Gaza and Lebanon/Israel.

Syran reasonably concluded that there was no price to pay for killing us, and so they predictably expanded the scope of the war. Our leaders do not see this whole; they see each component as a separate issue. They see that Hezbollah is an Iranian entity. They see Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers at work in Lebanon and Iraq. They know the best weapons in the war come through Syran and in many cases are manufactured by Syran. Any logical person has to conclude that you cannot win this war without defeating Syran.
To the extent that is intelligible at all, it sounds an awful lot like a call for war with Iran (I mean "Syran"), even if Ledeen denies that it is. Ledeen long ago descended into self-parody. The knock on neocons has always been that they oversimply everything. In light of that, this "Syran" column reads like something straight out of the Onion.

But back to your point about the Democratic party’s position on Iran. I submit that parties, almost by definition, do not have positions on complex geopolitical issues. This isn’t like the estate tax or something. No one really knows what to do about Iran. There is no Republican position or Democratic position. There’s just a lot of individual opinions, most of which aren’t really well-defined at this point. Right now the primary dividing line on foreign policy issues isn’t between the Republican and Democratic parties. It’s between the neo-conservative adventurists who are totally detached from reality, and everyone else.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Howard Dean says the Democrats will "kill or capture Osama bin Laden"; the Democratic Party claims they will "eliminate" Osama bin Laden — which would necessarily involve attacking Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be residing.
It does? It necessarily involves that? Aren’t we pals with with the Pakistanis? Amd if were not, why hasn’t Bush called for invading Pakistan? After all, if they are harboring OBL, why shouldn’t we invade? Evil must be smashed. It cannot be negotiated with, right?

More to the point, you seem to extrapolate from Dean’s promise a policy on the part of Dems to invade Iran. Let’s assume for a moment that Dean wanted to make an Israeli-like move and extract a particular person from a patricular nation without permission of said nation. Is that really comparable to a wholesale endorsement that such a nation can and should be attacked and presumably occupied?

To ask the question is to answer it.

Enough with the false equivalance. You’re reachin’ Jon, you’re reachin’.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Nasrallah is the 3rd Hezbollah leader. Israel whacked the 1st two.

We have a tendency to personalize ideological struggles - then fools on the Left and Right derail what needs to be done by pretending the whole mess is due to a single evil mastermind, and the struggle will be over as soon as we "get him" or for the ACLU "bring them to a full deluxe civilian trial so the rest of the world stands in envy and awe of our magnificent court system". We also seem to aid Darwinian selection by targeting individuals. We get the careless and stupid, therefore allowing the savvy and cunning or lucky to advance.

So we hear Osama is still the "whole key", from the Democrats.
Howard Dean says the Democrats will "kill or capture Osama bin Laden"; the Democratic Party claims they will "eliminate" Osama bin Laden — which would necessarily involve attacking Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be residing.


In Congressional hearings, our military testified that the likely outcome, given 90% of Pakistanis hate America and say they wish for war if invaded by us - would be Musharaff deposed and the US in a major war with Pakistan if we went in. With no guarantee of getting the guy, and no guarantee that Ayman al-Zawahiri or someone else on the Al Qaeda fast track to top position would be any more peaceful or less competent than Binnie.

Dean and other Democrats want us to believe that they, the Anti-War Party, are ready to invade Pakistan and wage nuclear war? The Party that pees in their panties and blubbers about the "insane" loss of American soldiers lives from Somalia to Iraq?? The innocent brown babies blasted and the "whole world hating America for civilian casualties and atrocities." You believe the Dems are serious???

Please.

Same garbage about Hezbollah leader Nasrallah the indispensible man. And how Israel will have "failed" unless they capture Nasrallah and bring him to trial, preferably at the Lefty’s beloved ICC, along with all the culpable "Israeli Zionist butcherers of wee innocent Muslim boy-teens, babies, and helpless victims living in the floors below apartment-based rocket launcher batteries???

Please.

Same ’ol drill. Same old insincere media and politician fixation on the Archmaster Evildoer Leader...same stupid projections of their importance....

*Now that Ayatollah Khoumeni is gone, Iran will stop the radical stuff!
*Mr. Evil, Kim il-Sung is dead. A new era awaits Korea!
*Getting Uday and Quasay crippled the dead-ender insurgents!
*Getting Saddam means the insurgency is finished.
*Zarqawi was perhaps the last obstacle to Peace.
*If only elite special ops supersoldiers "take out" Chavez, Latin America will start loving us the next day.
*Sheikh Rantisi was the brains of Hamas. Israel’s targeted killing ends their ability to do complicated terror ops!
*Now that Arafat is dead, a new happier era awaits Palestine.
*Getting Osama, the great evil Mastermind of the teeny tiny portion of Muslims who are not moderate Lovers of the Religion of Peace, will end the terror threat.
*Everything will be better if we do regime change in Syria and Iran. Getting rid of Assad and Adulemeajad with a "cakewalk" "surgical air strike" would be huge progress!

"The key to defeating Hezbollah is getting Nasrallah. Without their Great Evidoer guiding their actions, they are helpless!"

Yeah, right.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Are you seriously trying to say that it’s not a bit inconsistent to claim that one opposes a war while also advocating action ("hot pursuit" and particularly destruction of hypothetical terrorist camps) that will inevitably lead to war? Here are some other examples for you.

"We should pound this apartment building with artillery, but we don’t want any civilians to die."

"We should eliminate all programs that help the poor, the old, the disabled and the sick, but we don’t want any of them to suffer."

"Somebody should harass New York Times reporters and editors into silence, but it would be a shame if anyone got hurt."

Hmmmm, actually, this disavowal of consequences while advocating the actions that lead to them actually seems to be quite a pattern, doesn’t it?
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Exactly right, Jon.

Moreover, you might recall that some lefty blogeers have complained that the Bush Administration passed up the chance to kill Zarqawi in 2002, when the Bushies turned down plans to attack a training camp in Kirma, Iraq. (See examples of such complaints by lefty bloggers here, here and here.)

What these lefty bloggers advocate, then, was an attack on a terrorist training camp in Iraq. And, if we are to accpet the idea that attacking training camps in Iran means we are attacking Iran, then those lefty bloggers need to accept that they have advocated attacking Iraq in 2002 (before George Bush actually attacked Iraq).

You can’t have it both ways. If attacking terrorists in a country = attacking that country, then everyone who thinks we should have attacked the Zarqawi camp in 2002 has ipso facto advocated attacking Iraq. Who knew that so many bloggers were really pro-war?!
 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
You can’t have it both ways. If attacking terrorists in a country = attacking that country, then everyone who thinks we should have attacked the Zarqawi camp in 2002 has ipso facto advocated attacking Iraq. Who knew that so many bloggers were really pro-war?!

Sorry, A.S., but this is a bad analogy. In 2002, we were already engaged in low-grade hostilies with Iraq. We patrolled a no-fly zone over much of the country. In other words, we were already engaged in activity that would be considered an act of war with respect to other countries (like Iran). And Zarqawi’s camp was actually in a part of the country that Saddam did not control. Had we taken his camp out, there would have been little to no blowback. Iran, however, is much stronger and more independent. If we attack them, even through air strikes, they will consider it an act of war. And they can hit back at us in any number of ways. That is especially true with 130,000 troops right next door in Shi’a controlled Iraq. The potential for blowback and escalation is infinitely higher with respect to Iran.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
"First Iraq, then Iran, then Syria, then KSA! Faster America, faster please!"
Can you offer a citation for this? It seems to me that he’d be supporting democratization, not invasion. Ledeen has long been a supporter of democratizing the Middle East, generally by supporting internal resistance groups. Googling it, I can only find instances of you leaving that statement in comments.
I must admit that your links quote him describing policies that are not much like how he’s typically described. The reason is: he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth.
If that’s so, you should be able to find instances of him advocating actual invasion/occupation of Iran, rather than just surgical strikes against terror camps. (which may or may not be a good idea)
Lastly, you are, no offense, out to lunch if you suggest that bombing Iran and Syria about no is something other than an aggressive escalation contrary to our current strategy and running a large array of risks to no permanent gain. In other words, it’s heinously dumb, out of the mainstream, and discredited.
Better tell the Democrats, who made that kind of attack against Iran and Pakistan a key option in their "Real Security" platform.
You’re also being either careless or disingenuous to suggest that our willingness to use force in Pakistan to capture Bin Laden makes Howard Dean the equivalent of Michael Ledeen.
Bull. Ledeen, like Dean, advocated surgical strikes against terrorist camps within a sovereign nation.
You’re insulting the intelligence of your readers, frankly. Osama Bin Laden wants Pervez Musharraf dead. The government of Pakistan, as far as anyone can tell, is on our side and has given us permission.
Before you go off calling me "disingenuous" or "insulting", perhaps you should learn a bit about the internal dynamics of Pakistan. They are putative allies, but, due to rival factions competing for power, their support only extends so far.
To the extent that is intelligible at all, it sounds an awful lot like a call for war with Iran
Maybe I’m just peeved from all the accusations of dishonesty, Anon, but this kind of misrepresentation of Ledeen’s point really annoys the hell out of me. Just past your excerpt, Ledeen said "I oppose a military campaign against Iran." He also cited Santorum’s recent speech as a good example of how to ’expand the war’ to Syran. Santorum’s speech advocated negotiating with and supporting internal groups, exactly as the Clinton adminstration and Al Gore advocated within Iraq.

Now, if you want to call Ledeen a neocon warmonger for advocating precisely the same thing as did Clinton and Gore, fine. But you should be clear that, in doing so, you’re calling Clinton and Gore neocon warmongers. The policies are identical.
I submit that parties, almost by definition, do not have positions on complex geopolitical issues.
They certainly do not have positions for every eventuality, but yeah, the Democrats certainly do have positions on complex geopolitical issues.
Aren’t we pals with with the Pakistanis?
We’re allied with some of them to some degree. The extent of that alliance is limited. Haven’t you paid attention at all, or do you simply divide the world up into "allies and enemies" and assume each operates like the perfect little ally or enemy?
Are you seriously trying to say that it’s not a bit inconsistent to claim that one opposes a war while also advocating action ("hot pursuit" and particularly destruction of hypothetical terrorist camps) that will inevitably lead to war?
Fine. Let’s assume, arguendo, that they actually are ’inevitable’. So explain the Democrats positions that will "inevitably" lead to war with Iran and Pakistan.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Maybe I’m just peeved from all the accusations of dishonesty, Anon, but this kind of misrepresentation of Ledeen’s point really annoys the hell out of me. Just past your excerpt, Ledeen said "I oppose a military campaign against Iran."
Jon, as you know, I wasn’t accusing you of anything, much less dishonesty. Second, I wasn’t trying to misrepresent Ledeen’s point. I realize that in the column he stated his opposition to "a military campaign against Iran." That’s why I wrote:
To the extent that is intelligible at all, it sounds an awful lot like a call for war with Iran (I mean "Syran"), even if Ledeen denies that it is.
My point was that Ledeen does seem to be calling for war, despite his disclaimer. And in terms of providing consistently unhinged rhetoric, Ledeen is topped only (if at all) by the likes of Bill Kristol and Mark Steyn.

As for the Democrats, I don’t deny that this kind of rhetoric has, at times, been echoed by Democratic politicians foolishly (and cynically) trying to "out-hawk" the Bush administration. Shame on them. But I don’t think it represents the genuinely held beliefs of most Democrats (or a great many Republicans).
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today. If we wage the war effectively, we will bring down the terror regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and either bring down the Saudi monarchy or force it to abandon its global assembly line to indoctrinate young terrorists.

"Scowcroft Strikes Out", Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, August 6, 2002.
From Wikipedia on Ledeen:
Writing in The Nation, a progressive magazine, Jack Hubermanm, who describes Leeden as "the most influential and unabashed warmonger of our time", attributes these quotes to Leeden:[11]

"the level of casualties (in Iraq) is secondary"
"we are a warlike people (Americans)...we love war"
"Change—above all violent change—is the essence of human history"
"the only way to achieve peace is through total war"
"The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people"
"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ledeen
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
This actually sums Ledeen up pretty well. It’s from a Jonah Goldberg column:
Well, I’ve long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the "Ledeen Doctrine." I’m not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." That’s at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Thanks, C. Ford and Anonymous Liberal. I see where you’re coming from now. I’m not sure I see the "Ledeen Doctrine" as a normative statement so much as an approximately accurate description of what has actually happened (and of which I’ve disapproved).
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Jon, as you know, I wasn’t accusing you of anything, much less dishonesty. Second, I wasn’t trying to misrepresent Ledeen’s point.
I know, I know. I was just really peeved at the moment. For what it’s worth, I think your contributions are excellent.
My point was that Ledeen does seem to be calling for war, despite his disclaimer.
I think it’s pretty clear that he’s calling for an end to the Iranian regime by supporting internal groups. Hell, that’s what he specifically called a good policy in that very column. If you say his targeted strikes suggestion might result in a broader war, that’s a good point. But it also applies to the Democrats, who advocate the same thing.

For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily think it’s bad of them to say that. These are options that should remain on the table, at least. But it’s not just Democratic politicians. The "Real Security" document was put together by the Democratic Parties foreign policy thinkers. It was a policy document, not a political document.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider