Remember 2002? It was a pretty wild year. The year previous of course, 2001, America was attacked by Osama Bin Laden’s band of terrorists known as Al-Qaeda. America responded by invading Afghanistan. That invasion was in full swing in 2002 and lasted until President Obama bravely stood up to the war machine nearly a decade later and pulled our troops out after reaching our original goal of killing the mastermind behind the original 9/11 attacks, Mr. Bin Laden himself. Mission Accomplished.
But during that same (2002) year, the drumbeat for war in another country began to grow. Not from the people at the very top like President Bush or Vice President Cheney. No, they were pushing the sanctions theme. Tougher sanctions, more intrusive inspections and complete accountability. The administration officially played their cards as if what they wanted was a deal. Only the “deal” they were pushing for was unconscionable by any sovereign nation, especially one who wasn’t attacking anyone and had already taken its lumps for the last time they did.
This is what Bush said in 2002 in a speech to the American People:
Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections, sanctions or enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different. America wants the U.N. to be an effective organization that helps keep the peace. And that is why we are urging the Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate requirements. Among those requirements: the Iraqi regime must reveal and destroy, under U.N. supervision, all existing weapons of mass destruction. To ensure that we learn the truth, the regime must allow witnesses to its illegal activities to be interviewed outside the country — and these witnesses must be free to bring their families with them so they all beyond the reach of Saddam Hussein’s terror and murder. And inspectors must have access to any site, at any time, without pre-clearance, without delay, without exceptions.
The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end.
At the same time Bush pushed for a separate authorization to “use force” if necessary in Iraq. At the time, his rationale was for the Congress to give the authorization so he could use it as leverage to get the “good deal.” Of course, Congress granted that authorization but not without some resistance from some who saw a more accurate picture than what the administration, republicans and, yes, even some democrats were selling. Some saw through the guise of feigned diplomacy and why they were really trying to get a license to kill and steal.
And they were right.
Meanwhile underneath the administration is where the real action was happening. Their advocates like Paul Wolfowitz, John “I never met a war I didn’t like” McCain and the various journalists Dick Cheney was having Scooter Libby work over at the Times and other places were busy in the media and in Congressional hearings selling a more hard-lined “preemptive war” approach. Hit them before they hit us, cause you know they are gonna hit us, right? Negotiations are useless, because you can’t trust them anyway and besides, they are right around the corner from having a fleet of nuclear bombs! And if they can’t fly one over here (they couldn’t – simply no capability to) you know they’re just going to give it to one of their Al Qaeda buddies (even though they hate each other) and he will just walk it into Times Square and KABOOM!!! Mushroom Clouds! Mushroom Clouds! Be afraid!!!
But not everyone bought it. In Congress, 23 Senators and 133 Congress people voted no in authorizing force. A total of 156 Congressional members didn’t buy what the administration, their media surrogates and lobbyists or their hawkish colleagues in the hall were selling.
Some of them didn’t buy the stories from already discredited folks about Iraq’s actual capabilities. Some of them didn’t succumb to the propaganda of “mushroom clouds” and other scary pictures of a future without war. A war that, by their estimates would be a cake walk. The country would fold, we would be greeted as liberators, the oil would pay for everything and utopia would finally be here. Some of them just knew this was all a scam, and that a few were just hell bent on attacking Iraq. And some of them just knew the actual people who had been frothing at the mouth to find any excuse to go in there since Iraq nationalized their oil fields under Sadam Hussein and took away just about every western oil conglomerate’s biggest cash cow. They wanted it back, and this was the moment – the excuse they needed, if you will.
But despite the resistance put up by a brave minority, we did indeed march to war just months after giving Bush the authorization he wanted. But if you look back, after George got his requested authorization, all the negotiations just went south, allegedly. All of a sudden, Iraq and the U.S. couldn’t agree on what color the sky was, and more importantly, if Hussein didn’t agree the sky was orange, that just proves how unreasonable he is. I guess the only thing we can do is attack them. Besides, didn’t those testifiers in Congress tell us how cheap and easy war with Iraq would be? And oh yeah, God is on our side too. So we kinda have to, right?
And of course, the rest is history.
Flash forward to today.
Some of the players have changed, and some of the old players have changed chairs, but the playbook is still roughly the same. But you might not see that unless you step back from trying to discern every minutia and factoid and who is really right in a world where you can find some “evidence” to support just about anything you wish to believe.
At the top today, the neocons couldn’t produce a leader with any gravitas in this country, so instead of George Bush leading the “diplomatic better deal” charge it’s Israeli PM and neocon dream date Benjamin Netenyahu. Last week Bibi stood up in front of OUR Congress at invitation of John Boehner and the GOP (forget that pesky Logan Act or 200+ years of precedent) to speak and have him dictate to President Obama what our foreign policy should be. He was selling the idea that Obama’s deal was a bad deal. He wanted a “good deal.” Sound familiar?
What is also strikingly similar is if you look at the terms of what a “good deal” would look like, it is like Bush’s 2002 offerings, simply unconscionable for any sovereign nation to respond positively to. Especially one who hasn’t attacked anyone, and is surrounded by enemies ALL with nuclear capabilities, except Iraq. Again, sound familiar?
Underneath the very top, we have the now infamous (and possibly treasonous) “47 Senator Letter.” They play the role of Cheney here, 2nd in command to Israeli Prime Minister apparently. They talk tougher, but still about “negotiations” as if they are serious about them. They play the mistrust cards and it’s gotta go though us cards. Not entirely parallel, but familiar, eh?
And then there’s the uber-hawkish. The supposed grass roots groundswell and commentary buy guys who seem to know what they are talking about, but don’t. And in the Washington Post, Joshua Muravchik offers us the level headed and calm rationale of why we should just start preparing for the inevitable war.
Here is what some of Muravchik’s thoughts as he wrote in the Post on March 13, 2015:
What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.
Sound familiar? If it doesn’t ring a bell right away, just substitute “Iraq” for “Iran.” If that doesn’t help substitute “Vietnam” for “Iran” and “communism” for “Islamic revolution.”
Get it, yet?
I bet you do.
Plus, for bonus points, Muravchik plays a little Nazi card in there, cause nobody likes a Nazi. If you ever have no argument to speak of but want to scare people, the Nazi or Hitler card has always been the panacea for anyone’s lack of fear. Play the card, and you can feel the boots quaking almost instantly.
But why the Washington Post? Why this guy with the funny sounding and hard to pronounce name?
It’s the Washington Post because this enables neoconservatives and radical right wing war hawks to scream things like “SEE!!! Even the liberal Washington Post knows that the Iranians can’t be trusted and we have to hit them 1st…even THEM!!!
If it were on Fox News or in the Washington Times, those in the middle, more swayable positions are less apt to take that seriously and to brush it off as more scare from the right. But this is akin to the New York Times as being a hated representative of “liberal media” to the minions who have been trained well but more importantly like the Times, The Post carries credibility across the rest of the spectrum in general.
At the top of the article, to introduce Muravchick to the world, his bio reads as follows:
Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
Wow, pretty smart guy, huh? John Hopkins, that’s a great institution, right? Seems legit.
Here’s a little more complete bio, from where the 1st bio was chopped from:
Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) (since 2009) and an adjunct professor at the DC-based Institute of World Politics (since 1992). He was formerly a fellow at the George W. Bush Institute (2012–2013), a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (1987–2008), and a scholar in residence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1985).
Muravchik is the author of 11 books of which the most noted have been Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel(2014), Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism (2002), and Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America’s Destiny (1991). Making David Into Goliath was featured on CSPAN in July and August 2014. He has also authored hundreds of articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers touching on international politics, U.S. foreign policy, socialism, democracy, political ideology, the UN, and the Arab/Israel conflict.
Muravchik was one of the group of writers who moved away from the political left in the 1960s and 1970s and came to be called “neoconservatives.”
Not quite as unbiased and intellectually objective of a character as The Post bio would project. This is obviously a war hawk, a true believer in neoconservatism and the policies of preemption. Anyone with any knowledge of politics and government is going to instantly recognize this guy as out of the same school of thought as Wolfowitz, Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
In his article, Muravchik talks about how war will not only be inevitable, but relatively easy – compared to the other path of diplomacy. And besides, those guys can’t be trusted and negotiations are a waste of time. We must have WAR!
Expect in the coming months to see more of the 2002 style drama play out. More seemingly neutral concerned citizens and testifiers in Congress coming to the same “logical” conclusion that we must, as McCain and Muravchik sang and said in the mid 2000’s “Bomb Iran.” Yeah, this isn’t a new position for Muravchik either.
Expect a push from the right to get that “Authorization of Force” through Congress.
Then the 2016 campaign will be in full swing. Expect the candidates (except maybe Rand Paul) to then be talking about how they are the ones to get the “good deal.” Elect them if you want to avoid war. But of course, everything is on the table for the negotiations. That’s why we got that authorization bill, just to have it on the table. They aren’t gonna use it. Honest injun.
And while Hillary Clinton supporters are “measuring the drapes” already and mocking GOP candidates out of hand, remember that the GOP hasn’t conceded anything for 2016. And also remember that a year and a half out no one thought Dubya had a chance, or Ronnie. Also keep in mind Clinton isn’t exactly a dove in the world of politics.
So, what should we all take away from this?
Maybe this time around, when we hear some resistance doubting the cock-sure claims from these neoconservative war hawks, maybe listen to the resistance a little harder. Otherwise, Muravchik is right, we are doomed to go to war and repeat history instead of learning from it. And don’t be fooled into thinking this actually has anything to do with President Obama. The war authorization isn’t for him, it’s for the next guy or gal. The neoconservatives know their politics and political process. Most of them have been in the game for a very long time. They know we aren’t going to war in 2015 or even 2016 barring a catastrophic event or a direct attack on our soil from Iran. The neoconservatives are patient and play a long game when it comes to their war plans. But this time, you have the benefit of seeing the pattern as it begins instead of after it’s too late.
H/T: Featured Image NoState.com