Thursday, January 25, 2007

As I said before, Mark ...

You can rest assured that the regime in Iran is preserved from harm for at least the next two years. An administration that is hard-pressed to mount an offensive in Baghdad isn't going to be moving on to Tehran any time soon. Like I said, that is a shame because Iran and its surrogates and allies are currently hard at work killing our troops (to say nothing of thousands of Iraqis), a point acknowledged even by James Baker. You aren't being "stampeded into war" if you are responding to someone who has been carrying out unprovoked attacks on your troops. I haven't seen Mark discuss that angle, I expect because it's an awful lot easier for him to cite pooh-pooh claims of a potential Iranian nuclear threat that he can rhetorically link to the threat posed by the Iraqi WMDs. My money says that if he does bring up the issue of the Iranian role in killing US troops, it'll only be as another rhetorical bomb to hurl against the Iraq war without (as usual) thinking through the full implications of his position.

And while Mark and his new paleocon buddy Daniel Larison are pondering this:
... the curious fact that if you say "We should pre-emptively launch a war against Iran because it's in Israel's best interests" you are a political visionary and another Churchill. If you say "We should not pre-emptively launch a war against Iran because it's in Israel's best interests" you are an anti-semitic conspiracy theorist.

He might want to address the answer provided by K of C in his own combox:
As a preliminary matter, let me repeat what I said to Mark: I don't know what to do about Iran. I don't know if any military action is just at this point. I don't trust the CIA and this administration to give me the straight dope on what's going on over there. I'm not advocating anything. So if you're trying to argue that attacking Iran is wrong, save your breath. That's what I said "it could be Canada for all I care." What I'm addressing is Larison's statements about a double standard in discussions of anti-Semitism and US Israel policy. Further, let me state that it is a wide open question whether any given action that is good for Israel is also good for America. It is a perfectly reasonable position to argue that supporting Israel in any given situtaion is not in America's interests. So now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business.

I'm going to reprint what I pasted above. Please read these statements by Larison very carefully:

[T]o observe in a negative or critical way that an attack on Iran is being done for the sake of Israel (or, in reality, maximalist hawkish definitions of Israeli security interests)- rather than, say, because of any legitimate American interest in doing so - is to invite derision and claims of conspiracy-mongering. (Emphasis added).

In other words, "Bush isn't acting in America's interests. He's doing Israel's bidding, and he knows it." There is no room to say Bush mistakenly though that attacking was in America's interests. You're accusing Bush of attacking "for the sake of Israel," which implies a conscious, informed choice. You're saying that Bush knows he's not acting in America's interest. He's not attacking for America's sake. He's attacking for "the sake of Israel." He's not confused or misinformed. He's doing it for Israel, not for America.

That's a very serious charge to make, and it relies on anti-Semitism for it to work fully. Who could convince Bush to betray his country and send men to die for Israel? Who could be that dastardly? Why, the sneaky Jews, of course, with their control of the media and their Jew Gold. Anti-semitism lurks just under the surface of this type of accusation. Larison can't see that, but I think it's pretty obvious.

Next, Larison offers this statement, and wonders why it's - pardon the term - kosher:

On the other hand, to call for action against Iran partly or fully for the sake of Israel (especially when in Israel), as Gov. Romney recently did, will normally earn you praise and plaudits for your "moral" leadership on a vital issue.

Assuming that Israel's interests and America's interests are aligned, there is nothing wrong with calling for action "partly" for the sake of Israel. It's not wholly for the sake of Israel; it's "partly" for America's sake, too. Nothing in that statement dredges up ugly stereotypes of sneaky Jews. Noting in that statement implies betraying America "for the sake of Israel." That's the difference.

As I said above, reasonable people can disagree about the extent to which US and Israeli interests are aligned. But if someone believes that they are in fact aligned, and acts to help Israel, he's acting in America's interest. That's world's apart from saying "the only reason Bush attacked Iran was to serve his Jew masters," the clear subtext of the first statement.

That seems about right to me. I would also note that most sensible arguments about why the US should attack Iran in order to protect into Israel discuss the apocalyptic mentality of the Hojjatieh cult led by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi that currently occupies the corridors of power in much of the Iranian leadership these days. The argument, essentially, is that we should prevent Iran from carrying out genocide. Many of the serious people who advocate this (those evil neocons that Mark hates so much) make this argument because, whatever their views on Israel, they regard genocide as being a bad thing. This why they have also urged similar action regarding Sudan in Darfur. Of course, Mark supports intervention in Darfur (or supported at any rate, he may well repudiate any action that involves doing anything substantive there given his current creeping paleocon/isolationist views and desire to instinctively oppose anything favored by neoconservatives) but opposes it in the case of Iran, probably because he has now completely rejected anything resembling a preemptive strike as inconsistent with Just War Doctrine. That's fine, but the idea the failure to distinguish between a desire to avoid genocide with placing the interests of a foreign power shows a profound lack of basic comprehension to me, whatever he thinks all the New York money people are up to.


Anonymous said...

Josiah says:

I don't think saying Bush wants to attack Iran "for the sake of Israel" implies that "the only reason Bush attacked Iran was to serve his Jew masters." There were a fair number of people (myself included) who supported the invasion of Iraq for the sake the of the Iraqi people, i.e. for humanitarian reasons. That doesn't mean that I supported the war only to serve by Iraqi masters, however.

The same goes for Iran and Israel. I don't happen to support an attack on Iran at this time, largely because I don't think Iran would nuke Israel if it got the bomb. That's an issue for another day. But if I did think Iran was planning to nuke Israel, I would support such an attack. And while you could certainly argue that it is in America's interest to prevent a nuclear war in the middle east, my motivation for supporting an attack would have less to do with American strategic interests than with not wanting to see another holocaust.

Steve Golay said...

"harmonize 2,000 years of Catholic tradition and the foundation of that tradition going back through the Old Testament."

It is the refusal (or the active uprooting) of Christianity from the Old (Jewish) Testament which lies behind the confusion. This creeping Marcionism has become more pronounced even among evagelicals. It is a yielding to the Islamic notions that the Jews never got it right, deliberating refused to hear the true word of God - therefore, leading Christianity astay.

By not taking the Old Testament seriously one can do all sorts of things with many centuries of Church history and teaching.

The correct pattern was set by the Early Church Fathers. What are the patristic writings if not constant commentary on the Old Testament as seen through the person and ministry of Christ?

What is Mark Shea's standing with the Old Testament?