t seems like only yesterday we were looking at nominee #3 for this year’s C-SM “Most Ridiculous” award (actually, it was Tuesday), and here we are again so soon with #4 – a second nominated article from the nearly always ridiculous Gary Kamiya of Salon.
Kamiya easily checks off all the requirements for consideration for this august (if ridiculous) honor: He is a serious writer, writing about a serious subject in all seriousness, yet he goes far beyond the sublime, settling heavily into the imbecilic.
His piece, Night of the Living Neocons, The shameless fools whose Iraq folly empowered Iran’s hard-liners are back, smearing Obama as an appeaser, is typical Kamiya: Blind to all the Left’s faults, while accusing the right of exactly those faults … oh, and being utterly unable to forgive or forget George W. Bush, who he sees as the primordial presidential ooze from which all things evil evolved.
Let’s start with a rundown of the derrogatory words he uses for neocons: Rasputin-like, unhinged, disgraced, braying, raving, unreconstructed, lunatic, Visigothic, idiotic, ludicrous, paper-pushing pundits ensconced in comfy right-wing think tanks, supposedly “idealistic,” and cavalier. A little later on he belittles neocons for belittling Obama. The pot is allowed to call the kettle black, but the kettle gets no such rights in Kamiyaland.
As the piece’s title hints, Kamiya believes it’s Bush who created Iran’s hard-line regime, and that Obama is right to appease use carefully considered words, because just three words – axis of evil – are behind all that’s wrong in Iran.
That these neoconservative pundits have the gall to talk about Iran at all, let alone pose as defenders of the Iranian people, would be stunning if it were not so familiar. For it was their own policies that were largely responsible for the rise of the hard-liners in Iran. … And of those U.S. actions, none was more consequential than the very “axis of evil” statement that the neocons are now tumbling over each other to glorify.
Kamiya quotes Islamic affairs scholar Malise Ruthvin:
“The build-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq provided them with strong public support. In the local council elections of February 2003 — one month before the invasion — conservatives regained nearly all the seats they had lost in 1999 at the peak of the reformist movement. This was not a rigged poll: for unlike the parliamentary and presidential races, candidates for municipal elections are not vetted for ‘Islamic suitability.’ The right-wing victory was sealed two years later with Ahmadinejad’s election as president.”
It’s simplistic to blame the results of elections in Iran on the actions of America. Economic issues at home and tribal alliances and conflicts also matter greatly, and whatever America does or does not do is grossly distorted by the state-controlled Iranian media – which didn’t cover Obama’s Cairo speech and reported his recent milquetoast comments as if they were incendiary. Be that as it may, haven’t events borne out the fact that Iran is indeed evil? It has ruthlessly repressed its people, called for the destruction of free, Democratic Israel, tried to strip Lebanon of democracy, killed our soldiers, and thumbed its nose at the world.
Oh, and we need not mention Jimmy Carter’s contribution to the mess in Iran, or Bill Clinton’s. We need not mention that Democratic presidents have had their visions for progress in the Middle East destroyed by Islamists just as much as Republican ones have. Kamiya just won’t talk about that – he just is interest in the failure of Republicans.
Kamiya than attacks the Iraq war, familiar ground for him indeed:
And, of course, the entire Iraq war greatly empowered Iran by removing its greatest enemy, Saddam Hussein, and shifting power to Iran’s coreligionist Shiites.
He ignores the fact that the war also created a functioning (for better or worse) Muslim democracy next door, something the Tehraniacs have fought tooth and nail since the neocons first started working towards bringing it about. We didn’t remove Hussein and leave a vacuum; we did it and left a form of government that threatens Tehran to its core. How many of the demonstrates on the Iranian streets are there because they saw fair elections happen next door, and they want them now, too? Most of them!
At this point, Kamiya must have stopped writing and fired up a big, fat doobie because what follows appears to be some kind of drug-induced hallucination:
One of the things the neocons would like the rest of us to forget is that they were the most ardent proponents of invading the very country whose people they now piously claim to support. Back in the heady “Mission Accomplished” days, the neocon slogan was “Wimps go to Baghdad — real men go to Tehran.” Leaving aside the fact that the neocons were a bunch of paper-pushing pundits ensconced in comfy right-wing think tanks who never “went” anywhere that didn’t have room service, the point is that they have been burning to attack Iran for years — an attack that would inevitably result in the slaughter of tens or hundreds of thousands of Iranians. Yes, some of them claimed that invading Iran would be a cakewalk, that the long-suffering Iranian people would welcome Americans as liberators, and so on. (Some of them even managed to keep a straight face while saying this.) And if you believe them, there’s a bridge in Fallujah I’d like to sell you.
Have any of you ever heard any of us call for any sort of ground attack on Iran that would slaughter hundreds of thousands of Iranians? I sure haven’t, although I’ve heard plenty of calls for limited attacks on Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Have any of you heard that “Real men go to Tehran” slogan? I sure haven’t. Have any of you heard anyone idiotic to say attacking Iran would be a cakewalk? To the contrary, I’ve heard neocons explain that Iraq was selected as a target because a war with Iran would be exponentially more difficult. Look at all the straw dogs barking at the neocons!
As if you haven’t guessed by now, the next target of Kamiya’s angst is Israel:
Beneath their talk of spreading freedom and democracy, the neocons have always hated and feared Iran. There are several reasons for this, including the state of enmity between Iran and America spurred by the Khomeini revolution and the 1979 hostage crisis, but the main one is that Iran is Israel’s most dangerous enemy. Removing Iran as a threat to Israel is the main strategic goal of the neoconservatives, and that goal is far more important to them than “liberating” the Iranian people.
That’s it. Really. There’s no mention of holocaust denial or pledges to wipe Israel off the map. There’s no mention that Israel is a democracy. And there is certainly no mention of the regional destabilization a nuclear Iran would present, or the threat to America posed by Iran providing terrorists with nuclear weapons or materials for dirty bombs. It’s just that we have this curious strategic goal to protect Israel.
The most tragic and pathetic statement by Kamiya follows.
For the truth is that the neocons’ supposed “idealism” was and is in fact a fig leaf covering utter, cavalier indifference to the massive death and destruction their reckless — but so “principled” — policies caused.
He apparently has avoided any contact with information about what happened in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos after his side won and we ended all that neocon silliness about domino theories in Southeast Asia. Millions died, were tortured or forced into state-sanctioned slavery, and that’s all just hunky dory with Kamiya – just don’t ask him to consider how hundreds of thousands were executed by Hussein, but that doesn’t happen any more … well, it happens in Iran, but not Iraq.
And what of Obama’s position in all this? Why, it’s just brilliant, of course!
The situation in Iran is a tricky moving target, but so far, Obama has played it exactly right on. He has expressed deep concern about the election and the regime’s violent response to peaceful demonstrators, but added that “it is not productive, given the history of US-Iranian relations to be seen as meddling — the U.S. president, meddling in Iranian elections.”
Since when is calling for fair elections “meddling?” Since when is sympathizing with freedom-loving people “meddling.” I know meddling when I see it: Owning 60 percent of GM or canning its CEO; that’s meddling. But Kamiya is convinced in a meddle-free foreign policy:
It should be amply clear by now that America’s ability to influence events in the Middle East is severely limited. Indeed, as the Bush years showed, U.S. actions in the region tend to result in the exact opposite of their intended consequences.
He then turns around and says:
The success of the March 14 Alliance in Lebanon, a major victory for the U.S., is widely attributed to the “Obama effect.”
Which is it? Is he saying the Cairo speech led to the riots in Iran as the exact opposite of its intended consequences? Or is he saying that Obama should speak very strongly in favor of democracy in Iran because there’s an “Obama effect” that can really make things happen? I am so confused. But that’s something that happens frequently when I consider the ridiculous things said by Liberals.