Mark A. Kleiman finally finds something as awful as a liberal cursing at or otherwise using ad hominem attacks against conservatives:
There is a technical term for [John Podhoretz's] approach to war-fighting. It’s called “genocide,” and it’s punishable by death[...]
Aside from his moral mistake, Podhoretz makes a fundamental strategic mistake: he likens the current fight against the movements of violently politicized Islam â€” Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda â€” and the states that support them â€” notably Iran and Syria â€” as if it were the same sort of civilization-threating conflict as World War II or the Cold War. In this regard, John Derbyshire’s unapologetically racist contempt for the people he refers to in public as living in “worthless countries” (and no doubt refers to in private as “wogs”) gives him clearer vision, though no greater moral elevation.
Sorry; Derbyshire does occupy a higher moral plane. While it’s true that no racist can occupy a place of moral decency, an even-tempered racist is still a damn sight better morally relative to the most non-racist genocide-enthusiast. And regardless, it’s not like JPod isn’t a bigot: Muslims in general are barely human in his eyes, and Palistinians specifically are for him so subhuman that they might as well be cockroaches. But otherwise Kleiman has observed here most finely. He adds:
Our civilization is not at risk. To think so reflects cowardice. To persuade others that we are at risk is to spread cowardice. Podhoretz’s tough-guy persona hides either a man too terrified to think like a civilized human being or a man who hopes to terrify his fellow-citizens into supporting policies he favors for other reasons. He’d make a good teller of scary stories around a Boy Scout campfire. As a strategic thinker, he’d have to improve a lot to be contemptible.
To completely scandalize Kleiman: no fucking shit! But then this fear-mongering, half cynical so as to be demogoguery and half sincere so as to be — as Kleiman says — cowardice, has been the neoconservative schtick for years. Before 9/11. Kleiman and Greg Djerejian, whom Kleiman links to in the piece, are only seeing now what neoconservatives have made plain for years. Djerejian even goes so far, in his shocked, shocked tone, to say:
It’s quite sad that the son of an accomplished, prestigious American intellectual[*] would muse so innocuously about the merits of mass butchery–basically the wholesale slaughter of a broad demographic of an ethnic group writ large–a policy prescription that is quasi-genocidal in nature. John should think of previous genocides in this century, in such contexts, as he ponderously queries the pros and cons of the extermination of entire population groups. Where is the decency?
Idiots. JPod is very much his father’s son. The Elder Pod Person and his comrades were so wingnutty, so extreme, so unimpressed by standard Republican butchery that they attacked Kissinger, Ford and Nixon from the right — American-aided or American-caused genocides in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Timor weren’t aggressive enough for neoconservatives! There were times when even Reagan was accused of being an appeaser by Pod People. And Bush I, too. Clinton could only do right when he bombed Serbia and even then it was never enough. These people love war for its own sake; and their fearmongering is both a cause and effect of this love. The neoconservative formula, constantly blurted from the safety of some pathetic seminar or cubicle, has always basically been, “give me unbridled aggression or give me nachos”; and to disagree has always meant inviting accusations of “appeasement”. Yet Kleiman and Djerejian were stupid enough to listen to them for any amount of time, to make common-cause with them, to believe for so long that they had any sort of decency, that they (yes, Greg, Duncan Black is right — you are a useful idiot) signed-onto the Neoconservatives’ War on Iraq. Better late than never, I suppose; but still, better early than late is best, especially when such things were obvious all along. People like Kleiman and Djerejian are only useful to quote for purposes of ammo-against-the-enemy. When they offer advice, they should never be listened-to again, so obviously reprehensible is their judgement.