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Summer reading? How old hat. It’s time for summer warfare. Back from a paternity-linked blogging hiatus, Greg Djerejian offers us a sort of tour d’horizon of the violence the summer has in store for us. Forget Iraq. No, Greg has his eye on the whole land mass between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Bay of Bengal. And the amazing this is that our Neocon friends (ask yourself, honestly, was there ever a war they didn’t like – or indeed, even seek to foment?) seem to have a finger in almost every pie. There’s Pakistan, where President-in-Uniform Pervez Musharraf seems to be looking for a new way to go down – in the first judicial revolution in world history that may actually involve guns and bombs. Then India, where a new American partnership seems still unable to get off the ground. And Turkey, where pressure builds for some decisive intervention in Iraq – though of course, not the kind that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld had in mind, but rather intervention aimed at saddling the Kurds in northern Iraq.
But closest to the Neocon heartstrings there is Israel, Lebanon and Syria, still the gift that just keeps giving… to the war-mongers. Two men sit right at the heart of things, doing their damnedest to destroy the reputation of the United States and use their power and influence to foment war: David Wurmser and Elliott Abrams. Both of them are, like most creatures who slither in the rocks, shy of publicity (though Abrams, of course, is still an inspiration to many – giving hope to the convicted felons of the world that they, too, someday can serve in an extremely sensitive national security position. The Bush Administration is so forgiving and tolerant of those with a criminal record; its White House-focused rehabilitation program is a marvel.)
I’ve been collecting Wurmser and Abrams anecdotes for some time, especially since American newspaper editors seem to suffer from coronary arrest at the mere mention of their names. But overseas things are different – there consequential news concerning the Middle East actually does make it into print, and editors actually like to keep track of what the Neocons are up to. Take this passage that Greg pulls out of a weekend edition of the Israeli Yediot newspaper:
I know this will annoy many of your readers… But the anger is over the fact that Israel did not fight against the Syrians [during last summer's war in Lebanon]. Instead of Israel fighting against Hizbullah, many parts of the American administration believe that Israel should have fought against the real enemy, which is Syria and not Hizbullah. They hoped Israel would do it [attack Syria]. You cannot come to another country and order it to launch a war, but there was hope, and more than hope, that Israel would do the right thing. It would have served both the American and Israeli interests. The neocons are responsible for the fact that Israel got a lot of time and space… They believed that Israel should be allowed to win. A great part of it was the thought that Israel should fight against the real enemy, the one backing Hizbullah. It was obvious that it is impossible to fight directly against Iran, but the thought was that its strategic and important ally should be hit.”
The speaker is Meyrav Wurmser, David’s wife. And she’s describing his viewpoint. Remember this is the man who, according to Kevin Drum, “keeps Dick Cheney bucked up in crisis time.” And for the Neocon coven, every time is crisis time, or should be.
Meanwhile back at the New York Times, the paper of record tells us “that Mr. Cheney believes the diplomatic track with Iran is pointless, and is looking for ways to persuade Mr. Bush to confront Iran militarily.” I am sure that Mr. Cheney and his Mini-Me, David Wurmser, know that the “diplomatic track” is useful every now and again, but I’m having trouble thinking of when. In fact, I think we could convert this sentence by Helen Cooper into a motto for the team: “Mr. Cheney believes that the diplomatic track with x is pointless, and is looking for ways to persuade Mr. Bush to confront x militarily.” Now solve for x: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, North Korea, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba… China? Which leaves me being thankful. By this point we should all be dead in some thermonuclear conflagration. But we’re still alive. However, I have my doubts as to our surviving the next eighteen months.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.
Amount an auditor estimated last year that Oregon could save each year by feeding prisoners less food:
Kentucky is the saddest state.
An Italian economist was questioned on suspicion of terrorism after a fellow passenger on an American Airlines flight witnessed him writing differential equations on a pad of paper.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”