Sunday, December 02, 2007

Glen Greenwald and Josh Marshall: Podhoretz, Bush and Hitler

Josh Marshall and Glenn Greenwald take up the Podhoretz-Zakaria debate which was broadcast on 10.29.07 on PBS's Leherer News Hour regarding Bush's threatened war against Iran. Both liberal bloggers decried Podhoretz's wolf cry of Hitler Hitler Hitler at every opportunity despite Iran's evident military defenselessness in the face of US and Israeli military power.

But neither Marshall nor Greenwald -- among the most popular bloggers -- can bring himself to mention that it is Bush who has waged two of the most destructive wars in history, both very similar to Hitler's unprovoked aggression of 65+ years ago. The scariest similarity to Hitler, is the Bush-Cheney desire for destruction and endless war.

Marshall begins well by naming correctly Bush's desire to attack Iran as the most important issue we are facing by far. However he seems to stop there, not going on to make the critical point that Bush's evident agenda is to destroy civilization everywhere just as he has done to Iraq. The threatened bombing of Iran is so obviously catastrophic and can serve no possible advantage to Empire or even simple financial gain -- indeed quite the opposite, not to mention the disruption and destruction of oil supplies -- that the Bush-Cheney agenda of self destruction should be clear.


Josh Marshall

Podhoretz v. Zakaria

By Josh Marshall

As I've argued in other contexts today, Iran is the issue facing the country today. Some readers have warned me off this formulation, claiming I'm buying into the right-wing 'frame' by doing so. Nonsense. As long as George Bush is commander-in-chief of the US military and he and his advisers are intent on getting the US into a shooting war with Iran, Iran is the issue.

Tonight on The Newshour, Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy advisor and godfather of neoconservatism, Norman Podhoretz debated Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria on the question of whether or not to go to war with Iran. It's perhaps an apt commentary on the rightward, lunatic turn of this country's foreign policy that Fareed is taking what I guess must be called the left (?) in this debate. In any case, I really urge you to give this a look. And note a few things: one is the denigrating tone Podhoretz takes toward Zakaria. It's curdled and bitter. It jumped out at me and I wonder if it does for you as well. Second are the constant references to Hitler and the Munich agreement. Hitler has become such a throwaway reference or comparison for whatever penny-ante dictator we're up in arms about at the moment that the reference has been drained of much of its meaning and horror. But with the Munich agreement and how 'time is not on our side' and so forth, this is beyond nonsense.

It's almost an insult to what the world faced in the late 1930s. Germany, industrial powerhouse, with arguably the most powerful army in the world, at the forefront of technology, overawing and invading neighboring countries. Iran, minor economic power, second or third-rate military power, which may get a couple of small nuclear-weapons compared to the couple hundred high-end nuclear warheads in Israel's arsenal (plus, a robust second strike capacity, as Fareed notes) and the many thousands we have -- and our blue water navy, satellites, air force. Please. Time's running out for us? We're going to look back on this fifty years from now and see the non-podhoretz-loons as the Chamberlains of the day? I don't know what to say. Just watch ...

Glenn Greenwald
Tuesday October 30, 2007
Hitlers, Hitlers and more Hitlers

Norman Podhoretz -- Senior Foreign Policy Aide to Rudy Giuliani and leading advocate of a war with Iran -- was on PBS' Online News Hour last night with Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria (the author of an excellent article this week on the complete irrationality of warmongers like Podhoretz). Podhoretz's argument: "So that leaves us with only one terrible choice, which is either to bomb those facilities and retard [Iran's] program or even cut it off altogether or allow them to go nuclear. And I agree with what Senator McCain has said in the past: The only thing worse than bombing Iran is to allow Iran to get the bomb."

In order to justify bombing Iran, Podhoretz, in response to Zakaria, talked about Hitler and how Zakaria didn't want to fight Hitler:
NORMAN PODHORETZ: Well, I'll tell you why. First, I want to say that I think the attitude expressed by Fareed Zakaria represents an irresponsible complacency that I think is comparable to the denial in the early '30s of the intentions of Hitler that led to what Churchill called an unnecessary war involving millions and millions of deaths that might have been averted if the West had acted early enough.
The next time he spoke, Podhoretz talked about Hitler and how Zakaria didn't want to fight Hitler:
Yes, let me respond to that. You know, similar arguments were made about Hitler in the early '30s, and it appalls me that this kind of attitude can still prevail after what we should have learned from the words of despots.
The next time Podhoretz spoke, he talked about Hitler and how Bush promised to fight Hitler:
JUDY WOODRUFF: I do want to ask you both, because I think it's important. Mr. Podhoretz, do you think that, as you wrote a few months ago, this administration, this president intends before he leaves office to strike Iran?

NORMAN PODHORETZ: Yes, I do believe he will, because he has said many times -- or at least two times that I know of in public -- that, if we allow Iran to get the bomb, people 50 years from now will look back at us the way we look back at the men who made the Munich pact with Hitler in 1938 and say, "How could they have let this happen?"
Then the show ended on this note:
FAREED ZAKARIA: I believe in just the way that we have deterred the Soviet Union, Mao's China, Kim Jong Il, history will prove that we can use deterrence and containment to contain the problem of Iran and that we do not need to launch a third unilateral invasion just to do that.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Fareed Zakaria and Norman Podhoretz...

NORMAN PODHORETZ: God help us if we follow that counsel.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Norman Podhoretz, we thank you. Fareed Zakaria, gentlemen, we thank you both very much.
That about covers the full set of arguments and knowledge of our nation's leading neoconservative war cheerleaders.

Whoever is next on the War List is always The New Hitler and the country they lead is always The New Nazi Germany. Anyone who wants the new war is the brave and glorious Churchill. Everyone who opposes the new war is the cowardly appeaser Chamberlain, willing to allow Hitler to Take Over the World and impose Caliphate and burquas and humiliation on everyone. That's the level of advice which both George Bush, the current President, and Rudy Giuliani, the leading GOP presidential candidate, have chosen to receive and -- by all appearances -- follow.
* * * * *
Josh Marshall has more on this, including video of the debate


Anonymous said...

In one of your missives, someday, maybe, if its not too much trouble, please explain what you mean when you say "destroy civilization".

Ronald said...

Thanks for reading and responding. By destroy civilization I mean nothing more or less than what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and Somalia and everywhere they can reach.
And what about this country? Do you think that bankrupting this country and destroying our economy is some sort of mistake? How about their concerted plan to destroying the civil service, the environment, Katrina, destroying the military?
Nor does one have to scratch the surface to realize that their horrors are not mistakes.
For example, why did they disband the Iraqi army, and fire all the bureaucrats, the ones capable of running the country? And why did they ensure that the US personnel they sent over would be the most inexperienced and ineffective?
Why did they see to it that the irreplaceable Badgdad Museum would be destroyed?
Their agenda is permanent war. Permanent war means suicide. They are dedicated to destruction and they use the Israeli Lobby and the military lobby, and the evangelical lobby and all others of a similiar ilk in order to pursue their endless war agenda.
Why are they threatening Iran? Is it because such an attack would somehow help the US? the world? the Iranians?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I understand that they and their policies are destructive of civil societies. I get the impression, and I am sure others read the same way, that your repeated use of the phrase "destroy civilization", meant the destruction of all civilization. As in a science fiction novel where all that is left of our collective conciousness is one page of Hamlet and at the end of the novel, Dick Cheney is laughing as he stuffs even that into his mouth and we might wonder just why he thought that it was funny.

Ronald said...

Thanks for following up. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the interest.

When you say that you understand that their policies are destructive of civil societies, it seems to me that says it all once it is understood that the destruction is intentional. Thus it becomes destruction for the sake of destruction, war and chaos and anarchy and tension for the sake of war.
One reason that this may be hard to accept is the prevailing assumption that the political process in advanced democratic societies tends to filter out sociopathic personalities who have destruction as their agenda. But sometimes people like that come to power: Hitler and Pol Pot are two relatively nearby examples. And then we recall that they stole two elections, and some of us believe that they planned and executed 9/11, and so on.
One question that Walter Karp brilliantly answers in Indispensable Enemies is: how do we know that their intention is destruction. Answer: By their deeds ye shall know them.
Here’s how Karp puts it.

When it can be established that a number of political acts work in concert to produce a certain result, the presumption is strong that the actors were aiming at the result in question. When it can be shown, in addition, that the actors have an interest in producing those results, the presumption becomes a fair certainty.

The question here is: How do we know that the actors –Bush and Cheney -- have an interest in producing destruction?

I would say the evidence is clear. In my article on their intention to destroy Iraq I lay out some of the evidence: the destruction of the Baghdad Museum, the Universities, the libraries, disbanding the Iraqi army and firing the bureaucracy, the Israeli style targeted assassination of scores if not hundreds of leading professionals causing thousands of others to flee; arming and directing both sides of the Sunni and Shiite divide, the bombing of the UN HQ in Baghdad and so on.
(See Ronald Bleier: The Bush-Cheney Regime and U.S. Middle East Policy: Radical Nihilists Driving Permanent War,
PS. I think there is much more than a little truth to your caricature of Cheney. All that is necessary is to contemplate their ruthless disregard of the suffering they are causing all over the world wherever they can reach. Just think of the Iraqis and how much they have suffered and will continue to suffer. I’m reminded of such things when I listen to stories on NPR about the families of U.S. veterans who have been killed and injured and I wonder how much consideration Bush and Cheney are giving to them and all the others that are to follow.

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