I know I’m going out on a limb with this one, but it must be said: Martin Peretz is a putz. That’s right. The editor-in-chief of The New Republic is a putz. In a recent column in the WSJ titled simply Lieberman, Peretz seeks to convince us that Ned Lamont is a simple-minded peacenik boogeyman who will certainly ruin our country’s security in order to get elected.
Lieberman, you see, is a multi-faceted goodguy who takes tough positions to do what’s right. In fact, the few times that Lieberman’s positions disagree with the standard Democratic position, it’s always for the right reasons; because they also happen to be Peretz’s position. When he has “qualms about affirmative action” and is “appalled by the abysmal standards of our popular culture” he’s expressing everyone’s opinion. This, despite the fact that it isn’t the standard Democratic position. But that makes sense once you realize that the entire world is insane except for Martin Peretz and those who agree with him. Then, everything makes sense. Just as long as you only listen to Peretz.
Lamont, on the other hand, is apparently only running on the Iraq issue, and has a few soundbites that can be derided for being simplistic. I guess Lieberman never says anything in a few sentences that doesn’t sum-up the nuance of his entire position.
Take this “simplistic” Lamont soundbite on the Iran nuclear situation:
"We should work diplomatically and aggressively to give them reasons why they don't need to build a bomb, to give them incentives. We have to engage in very aggressive diplomacy. I'd like to bring in allies when we can. I'd like to use carrots as well as sticks to see if we can change the nature of the debate."
Holy shit, what a simpleminded peacenik. But wait. Is that so simpleminded? Or is that standard process for dealing with other nations? Perhaps Mr. Peretz has spent too much time studying Bush’s “cowboy” diplomacy, but this diplomatic and aggressive approach used to be the standard for how things are done. Perhaps it would be good if Lamont could expand on these ideas, but to deride a soundbite for not including a more complex argument is absurd and unfair.
And more importantly, is Peretz really against this idea? He doesn’t think diplomacy can work? Is this also Lieberman’s position? I’d like to know. Because I can’t imagine how Peretz’s criticism isn’t tantamount to a call for war. Is that what he’s saying? He spent time criticizing Lamont’s statement for being simpleminded, but somehow forgot to tell us about his alternative. Now, I’m fairly sure that Peretz is a supporter for war in Iran, but doesn’t he owe it to the readers of the WSJ to make that clear in his column? And that a vote for Lieberman is a vote for war? He never says that, for obvious reasons, but that must be implicit in his message.
Reading between the lines, it’s obvious that Peretz believes that Iran has a suicidal desire to destroy the western world; and that nothing will stop them outside of invasion by America. And again, if that’s what he’s asking voters to support, I think he should have the balls to say it.
And it used to be that diplomacy was seen as the complex idea, with war as the simpleminded approach. And I think it’s still like that. He derides Lamont’s simpleminded calls for diplomacy, but it sure looks like Peretz’s “millennial delusion” theory is the simpleminded one. Peretz sees only one option for America’s protection, yet pretends to be Mr. Complex. What a putz!
On the Table
He goes on, writing:
Mr. Lamont continues that "Lieberman is the one who keeps talking about keeping the military option on the table." And what is so plainly wrong with that? Would Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be more agreeable if he thought that we had disposed of the military option in favor of more country club behavior?
Yeah, that really worked wonders in Iraq. And North Korea and Cuba are still shaking in their booties. Because everyone always responds to threats by immediately tossing out all their weapons and surrendering. Well, except for brave Americans like Peretz, who realize that you shouldn’t surrender to people who want to kill you or take away your liberty. Peretz and his pals know that, but the rest of the world always bows to superior pressure and are famous for surrendering to military threats. Because Peretz is smart and good and his enemies are dumb and evil. What a complex worldview.
And then there’s the whole problem of Iraq, where we already exposed our gameplan and things didn’t turn out good for the dictator. Specifically, where Saddam did submit to military pressure, and Bush invaded anyway. Perhaps Peretz thinks his ilk still have some sort of credibility on this issue, but I can’t imagine how. When Bush had the “military option” on the table last time, it turned out to be the only option. All of America’s enemies know that, and I fail to see why they’d forget now. Especially when it’s fairly obvious that this is Peretz’s plan this time, too.
It’s like the way that little kids think that if they’re hiding their eyes, then you can’t see them. As if invisibility is simply a matter of closing your eyes. Similarly, if neo-cons do something that they don’t want people to remember, then nobody else remembers either. But we remember, Marty. We remember.
And let’s face: The military option is always on the table. Everyone knows that. If Iran attacked us, we most surely would attack them, no matter how often we claimed the military option wasn’t on the table. And so there is a special meaning when we declare that it’s “on the table”. It’s not merely that we’re saying that we could possibly do it; because that’s always an option. It’s that we’re saying we will use it, if we’re not satisfied with what we’re getting. It’s not an issue of whether or not we retain the right to attack. It’s whether or not we want to openly state this fact at the beginning of negotiations.
And that’s a bad position to start with. Imagine starting a job interview by stating that you retain the option of killing your interviewer. Sure, that really is always an option. If you felt it was necessary, you can always try to kill anyone. But it’s a fairly bad idea to start-off by stating that fact. Sure, it’s true; but it really kind of puts a damper on things. And if anyone ever starts a conversation with you by stating that they retain the right to kill you, you probably should try to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Too often, America’s enemies have the same idea.
And unfortunately, that’s one of the main reasons why the neo-cons insist on keeping it on the table. Because they hate the table and want excuses to attack. To them, diplomacy is a special dance you do when your enemy refuses to attack first.
The Peace Con
And Peretz makes this fairly clear when he writes:
Finally, the contest in Connecticut tomorrow is about two views of the world. Mr. Lamont's view is that there are very few antagonists whom we cannot mollify or conciliate. Let's call this process by its correct name: appeasement.
So should we assume that Peretz believes the opposite of this? That there are many antagonists who can’t be dealt with without using the military? Of course. So why doesn’t he say that? Because he knows it’s unpopular. Even in the WSJ, it’s not a good idea to state your intentions to unilaterally invade multiple nations. In fact, that’s the biggest flaw with Peretz’s entire argument. He vehemently denounces peaceniks who use “peace” to gain office. As if it’s just a cheap ploy that only inferior politicians rely on when they can’t win with the proper platform.
But the reason why “peace candidates” gain office is because peace is popular. Americans don’t want unnecessary war. Sure, you can whip them up into it, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of lies. For example, had Bush been entirely truthful about our reasons for war, the poor state of our intel, and the possible outcomes for war in Iraq; we would not have invaded. And Bush & Co have certainly suffered greatly because of that necessity.
So Americans don’t like war. And Peretz has a problem with that. As if people are just too stupid to know how to protect themselves. But forgive me for being naïve, but I’ve always been kind of big into this whole democracy thing. Whereby the People are the power, and that we hire politicians to serve as our representatives. To do what we want. And part of being a liberal and a Democrat should be the idea that even the rabble have power. Even dumb scumbums get to vote.
Peretz likes to call himself a Democrat, but it’s obvious that he’s lacking in many of the basic concepts of what we stand for. I don’t necessarily mind politicians who disagree with me; but I still prefer ones who respect me. Peretz and Lieberman obviously don’t respect any of us. And in their efforts to convince the world to ignore us has only served to hurt their own cause. There’s a party for those who don’t respect their constituents and who think people need to be bullied and lied to, and that is certainly not the Democratic Party.
And if people don’t want war in Iran and would prefer aggressive diplomacy, isn’t that what they should get? Peretz has a problem with that, just as he has a problem with voters determining who will represent them. So he insists upon labeling the popular peace position as a cheap ploy, while staying relatively silent on his demand for killing Iranian children. And he can’t say that because of his obvious disgust for democracy and allowing people to know what they’re voting for.
Oh, and in case Peretz hasn’t convinced you yet, remember this: “Ned Lamont is Rove’s dream come true.” Sure, any sensible argument would say that Rove looooooves Lieberman, which is why he’s in so much trouble. But Peretz doesn’t need to be sensible. He’s got the truth. And so he can just spend the rest of his time hiding that truth from us.