Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Empire's Whore: The Long March of Joshua Muravchik

Most neo-conservatives, like their Marxist forebears, have similar ways of expressing themselves, especially when they are calling for the new "liberation" by force of arms of their target of the hour. Usually, this includes invocations against the regime's "extremists," always compared to Hitler (for those who are old enough to remember, we even made the same comparison with Manuel Noriega), the state's "evil acts," requiring a bombing or invasion. Not infrequently, they will claim that failure to act will lead to greater harm to our security, our allies' security and, if all else fails, shows the lack of resolve on the part of anyone who disagrees (typically following by comparisons of the offending disbeliever to being an apologist for terrorism). Such is what passes for scholarship from Joshua Muravchik. Josh is a longtime propagandist from the American Enterprise Institute, and a leading advocate of the Trotskyite tactic of permanent revolution by means of cluster bombs. You see, when you advocate an invasion that turns into a disaster, the best way to confront its lessons is to expand the failure.

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Opposing view: Iranian bomb 'intolerable'

Tue Nov 20, 12:21 AM ET

By Joshua Muravchik

Our choice is stark. Accept Iran with an atom bomb or cripple its nuclear program by force. Nothing else will stop Tehran.

States rarely get talked out of instruments of power, especially notfanatic ones. China and Russia will veto sanctions that might reallybite, but those would not work anyway. Neither India nor Pakistanabandoned their bombs in response to sanctions. The ouster of Iran'shard-liners might change things, but under President MahmoudAhmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei, extremists seem morefirmly entrenched than a decade ago.

The dangers an Iranian bomb would present are intolerable. Iran is the pre-eminent sponsor of terrorism. Iranian weapons are responsible for a large share of U.S. casualties in Iraq. Our forces in Afghanistan have intercepted Iranian arms shipments to the Taliban. Argentina has indicted Iranian officials for blowing up a Buenos Aires Jewish center. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Tehran was behind Hamas' armed takeover of Gaza. Iran provides haven to fugitive leaders of al-Qaeda. The list goes on.

A nuclear attack by terrorists would be almost impossible to deter. Against whom would we threaten retaliation?

Iran also might launch a nuclear missile at Israel, which Ahmadinejad wants "wiped off the map." Israel could strike back, but so what? Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani boasted "the use of an atomic bomb against Israel would totally destroy Israel, while (the same) against the Islamic world would only cause damage." And he's the "moderate" alternative to Ahmadinejad.

Even without initiating an attack on us or an ally, Tehran would use its nuke as an umbrella over its drive to dominate the Middle East and beyond. Like Lenin and Hitler, Admadinejad has a grand vision. "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution ... will soon reach the entire world," he crows. Bolstered by nukes, Iran's aggressive ambitions would not be stopped without a big war.

Only strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities can forestall these terrible scenarios. This would not require a "declaration of war," an antiquated concept that has not been employed since World War II and rarely before. We would send no troops, conquer no land. Rather, we would act in pre-emptive self-defense.

At stake are supreme issues of national safety. The president alone, as Alexander Hamilton said, is positioned to operate with "decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch." Of course, Congress can block presidential action, but in this case, most members will be satisfied to stand clear and let the president do what must be done.

Joshua Muravchik is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20071120/cm_usatoday/opposingviewiranianbombintolerable;_ylt=Aqbqjqj1S.X3y6Xj7PhXKGqs0NUE
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Putting aside that fifteen out of the nineteen people who attacked the US on 9/11 came from our beloved ally Saudi Arabia, as well as bin Laden and virtually the entire leadership of al-Qaeda, not Iraq or Iran, I will assume Muravchik's argument on the legitimacy of the claim that Iran is really pursuing nuclear weapons (which under the circumstances, seeing how this country is filled with people like Muravchik, would actually be an argument for the Iranian government to attempt to obtain a nuclear bomb as a deterrence). In the entire opinion piece that Muravchik penned, notice, there is absolutely no analysis or scenario anticipation as the consequences of the attack he proposes. For that matter, there is no attempt to explain how such an attack would actually succeed, seeing how Iran's nuclear sites are all underground and dispersed in multiple locations (learning the lesson of the Iraqis, whose reactor was bombed by the Israelis in 1981).


What makes Muavchik's oversights all the more inexcusable is that he has a Ph.D in international studies from Georgetown (a program I am acquainted with). I know for a fact, since my degrees are in the same discipline, that you never go forward with any proposition without first testing the outcome and impact of the implementation of such a policy. These scenarios usually have between 5-7 outcomes, controlling for certain external, intervening variables. The most important of those considerations of an attack on Iran are twofold. One, the response in neighboring Iraq, where the US is heavily dependent on the cooperation of the Shia-led government under the spiritual leadership of al-Sistani, as well as the more militant Mahdi factions controlled by al-Sadr (whose militias stood down during the US counterinsurgency this past summer). How could it not occur to anyone that an attack, no matter how successful, will expose our position and our troops throughout Iraq? Two, the ideological and political consolidation such an attack would bring for the clerics and Admadinejad, who are in a precarious position in Iran (where the clerics and mullahs remain unpopular in a youth-oriented and more secular Persian culture).

I suppose if you did not care what the rest of the world thought, the latter objection would be of no consequence. After all, they are not Israelis or Americans. Nevertheless, there is no rationale for ignoring the first, the strategic and tactical exposure of our military forces in Iraq. This is not a fanciful perspective that I am purporting. It is common sense that anyone who pays attention could and should see. Save tell, how would Muravchik answer this quandary? A nuclear attack on Iran or even Iraq (after our troops were removed)? What are the alternatives under these circumstances? These questions are of importance because we have so tied ourselves conventionally to Iraq that we do not retain the resources to repel the Taliban in Afghanstian, not alone reasonably project our power, or the threat thereof, on Iran (who, after expanding their response to Muravchik's proposed attack by sponsoring and likely participating in attacks on our military positions inside of Iraq, would demand some type of retaliatory action). Would we have a military draft? Sadly, these are questions that go unanswered, because for Muravchick they are not worth writing about. The most vital aspects of the proposal are not even worth considering.

These omissions might make one wonder why it is so, but it should not. Like so many of his brethren at the American Enterprise Institute, Muravchik spent his youth in the 1960s as a part of the socialist and Marxist movements in this country. Needless to say, when the time came for Mr. Muravchik to answer the call, he was nowhere to be found. Indeed, he was an opponent of the Vietnam War, the one war he could have fought in to show his belief in American national security. It was only after he could afford to be a good capitalist (and was too old to fight) that he threw off his socialist chains and threw in his struggle against primitive accumulation to the side of the accumulators. Too old and educated to actually show he had something other than a college degree, Muravchik dedicated himself to the cause of bombing Third World countries with a glee (all under the guise of democracy, naturally). Accounting for Muravchik's upbringing, past, and his adulthood years spent advocating policies he never had the gumption to pursue (actually, steadfastly opposed) during his youth, which should illuminate on why the Kennedyesque advancement for making any sacrifices to "preemptively prevent" (oh, how that went so well with Iraq) another Middle Eastern country from obtaining nuclear weapons is a catastrophe waiting to happen. The details on what that price may entail when the policy blows up in our faces remains conspicuously absent from Muravchik's writings.

A perfect example of Muravchik's vague avoidance of the minutia of probable policy outcomes is the 2005 open letter he signed calling for a "radical increase" in our forces of at least 25,000 a year for the next seven years (meaning, we need to augment our military forces with 175,000 new troops). How are we to do this? Well, apparently, by magic, because nowhere in the letter does it entail how this is to be done. How can anyone that works as a scholar on these very issues not address the practical application of one's theoretical propositions? No, all that is needed, according to the church of democratization, is to drop a few bunker busters on the underground sites in Iran, assume they will completely debilitate Iran's nuclear capabilities, and worry about the outcome later, in which we are to fuzzily dedicate ourselves to another endless open commitment from the same crowd who claimed that Iraq was going to be a cakewalk. It is a long march for the ex-'60s leftists, indeed, from the streets, coffee shops, to the halls of power. Unfortunately, their reductivism and ideological observance over empirical reality remains the same.

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