A Party of Bed-Wetters

Republicans are running entire campaigns based on their fears of monsters in the closet.

Consider, for a moment, the implications of the fact that Rudy Giuliani is taking foreign policy advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to start bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible.”

Mr. Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a founding neoconservative, tells us that Iran is the “main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11.” The Islamofascists, he tells us, are well on their way toward creating a world “shaped by their will and tailored to their wishes.” Indeed, “Already, some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia.”

And yes, these claims are actually being taken seriously.

Mr. Podhoretz, in short, is engaging in what my relatives call crazy talk. Yet he is being treated with respect by the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination. And Mr. Podhoretz’s rants are, if anything, saner than some of what we’ve been hearing from some of Mr. Giuliani’s rivals.

Thus, in a recent campaign ad Mitt Romney asserted that America is in a struggle with people who aim “to unite the world under a single jihadist Caliphate. To do that they must collapse freedom-loving nations. Like us.” He doesn’t say exactly who these jihadists are, but presumably he’s referring to Al Qaeda — an organization that has certainly demonstrated its willingness and ability to kill innocent people, but has no chance of collapsing the United States, let alone taking over the world.

And Mike Huckabee, whom reporters like to portray as a nice, reasonable guy, says that if Hillary Clinton is elected, “I’m not sure we’ll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the greatest threat this country’s ever faced in Islamofascism.” Yep, a bunch of lightly armed terrorists and a fourth-rate military power — which aren’t even allies — pose a greater danger than Hitler’s panzers or the Soviet nuclear arsenal ever did.

All of this would be funny if it weren’t so serious.

And it is quite serious. Jeffrey Feldman lays it out, detailing Podhoretz’s view that 9/11 was the beginning of World War IV:*

What will World War IV look like? Invasion of Iran, and then Syria, and then Lebanon. Expanding the American occupation of Iraq to become the American occupation of everywhere in the Middle East except Egypt and Israel. The endless destruction of America’s enlisted men and women in no-win colonial police work against a multiplying and bottomless mix of anti-occupation nationalists and terrorists.

But, wait! There’s more!

Beyond the insane military actions in the Middle East, World War IV will bring police action at home as the entire nation becomes wrapped up in fear of a Arabic speakers in our midst. Giuliani’s adviser Daniel Pipes, in all likelihood, launches a campaign to weed out all the assumed terrorists around here. Camps, deportations, arrests in the night–oh, we’ll have all of that, you can bet on it. It’s all part of the World War IV package–and we’ll get it all with Rudy Giuliani.

But…wait (yawn)…there’s…more…

World War IV will finally bankrupt our federal government, setting our children and our children’s children into crippling debt for generations. To pay for World War IV, we will need to increase spending by billions without end–turning the federal government into an ATM for the U.S. military.

And what happens when we have a bankrupt U.S. federal government. Fun stuff. No federal revenue to solve the healthcare crisis in this country (insurance companies will take care of that, they’ve been so helpful up to this point). No federal revenue for Social Security (brokerage firms will take care of that, they’ve been so helpful up to this point). No federal revenue for education, no federal revenue for environmental reforms, no federal revenue for medical research, no federal revenue for anything but an endless, winless, bloody war in the Middle East.

So vote Rudy! Because World War IV is just too good pass up.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll repeat: Rudy Giuliani is a scary, scary man. Even scarier, in my opinion, then the right-wing social conservative candidates. He has enlisted some truly terrifying people to staff his campaign, and he has demonstrated that he has no respect for the Constitution, for civil liberties, or for the very people he is elected to govern. If he’s elected — and I don’t think he will be, but stranger things have happened — we are all in for some very bad times.

*Wondering where WWIII went? That was U.S. v. U.S.S.R.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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21 Responses to A Party of Bed-Wetters

  1. Bitter Scribe says:

    There are two notable, and unsettling, ways in which Giuliani is a lot like George W. Bush. The first is listening to fools like Podhoretz.

    The second is the way he seems to prize loyalty to himself above competence or even decency, as shown by his choice of a mobbed-up cop as police commissioner, or his sticking up for this guy.

  2. alsojill says:

    to unite the world under a single jihadist Caliphate

    Wait. What?

    What?

    Compared to the power of the “free nations” of the world, al Qaeda et all are like…I don’t know, a kid with a slingshot.

    Oh. Ohhhh.

    You know what it is? They’ve mixed up their Bible stories. Guiliani, Romney, et al. think that Goliath is the downtrodden *hero* of the story, beaten by the Big, Bad David and his one rock. Awesome.

  3. Meghan says:

    And yet they scorn global warming?

    I wonder where Terrorism will move next, if we invade Iran. Slippery little bugger, isn’t it? It keeps moving all over the place but it’s never actually found in, oh, I don’t know, Pakistan. Or Saudi Arabia. Or other places who do us favors. It’s weird how Terrorism only hangs out in places where the Brown Folk don’t like us and we must therefore bomb them into oblivion.

    Wait, how many 9/11 hijackers were from Iran? And how many from Saudi Arabia? I forget.

  4. Bruce says:

    The idea that ethnic Persians will enthusiastically promote a “Eurabia” is hilarious. Many Persians are proud NOT to be Arabs and dislike the comparison intently. It’s kind of like confusing Texas with France on the grounds that English – spoken, sort of, in Texas – had a lot of French influence after William the Conqueror and the 1066 Norman Conquest of England.

    Persian is an Indo-European language; in its roots, it has more in common with English than with Arabic, but is written in a modified Arabic script. Just like Vietnamese is written in Roman script.

    Podhoretz needs to get his Evil Empires properly classified.

  5. kate says:

    I hate to admit it, but I truly think we’ll turn blatantly fascist before many of the people in this country understand that America has no magic teflon protection against tyranny or coup d’etat. Guiliani thrives on the fact that the common American cannot envision anyone outside their borders as living, breathing human beings.

    Also, since I don’t have gads of cash or great connections, looks like I’m stuck here to live through this, or my kids will. No one wants poor Americans to emigrate to their country.

    I can’t help but ignore also the subtle sexism in Huckabee’s and others’ comments about Clinton — that she, as a woman, could certainly never do the heavy lifting man-work of waging war, which of course we must have now.

    Employer: “We need to hire someone to carry those twenty pound bricks.”
    Woman applicant: “I can do that, let me show you.” (lifts bricks easily).
    Employer: “Well, uh, actually its eighty-pound bricks, sorry…yes you, young man, step right up.”
    Woman: “I can lift that, let me show you.”
    Employer: “Oh I forgot to tell you, things have changed, we need four bricks lifted at time.”
    Employer: (to young man after woman leaves) : “Of course, we’ll have a truck to carry them for you, can’t hurt your back.”

  6. Reading this, all I could think of was the term “wargasm,” which I first read on Crooks and Liars and now realize is what happens to Bill Kristol and Michael Ledeen and Dick Cheney and Norman Podhoretz and the rest every time they start talking about Iran.

    They do literally get off on the thought of another armed conflict.

  7. War is such a sexual thing for these maniacs. It’s all about masculinity, virility, penetration… Why are the right wing bloggers always talking about which politician does or doesn’t have the “cojones” to attack Iran?

    Oh, the MA theses that could be written on this subject…

  8. Shankar Gupta says:

    Republicans are running entire campaigns based on their fears of monsters in the closet.

    Don’t be afraid! Be MORE afraid:

    Rudy Giuliani is a scary, scary man.

    Even scarier … then the right-wing social conservative candidates.

    He has enlisted some truly terrifying people to staff his campaign…

    If he’s elected … we are all in for some very bad times.

  9. TinaH says:

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, you can’t let a little thing like fact or historical accuracy get in the way of good propaganda. Sheesh. Crazy liberals like you ruin the fun for the rest of us.

    /snark

    ;-)

  10. 30% of the US population believes in ghosts.

  11. micheyd says:

    The persian=arab thing is pretty widespread – I just met a guy recently who said his nephew in the army is learning “Iranian Arabic”. I know he meant well, but eeesh. There’s also definitely a set of people who don’t care that there are language/culture differences over there, anything to homogenize those scary brown people so they can be put into the enemy bucket together.

  12. ekf says:

    World War IV will finally bankrupt our federal government, setting our children and our children’s children into crippling debt for generations. To pay for World War IV, we will need to increase spending by billions without end–turning the federal government into an ATM for the U.S. military.

    Thing is, from whom are we going to borrow this money to go into more mountains of debt? What effect does borrowing trillions of dollars have on our national security? There is a small number of countries with enough lending power, and we’re already in hock to them in a serious way. As of the end of August, we owed Japan $586 billion, China (incl. Hong Kong) $456 billion, the UK $244 billion, and “Oil Exporters” (defined by the Fed to include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria) $123 billion. So sayeth the Dept. of the Treasury, at any rate, here: http://www.treas.gov/tic/mfh.txt

    Of the top countries, which hold over 60% of the debt held by foreign countries, there’s really only one country that is growing at a rate sufficient to fund a major, debt-funded expansion of the U.S. debt — that country is China. Do these shitheads not understand that it’s unwise to borrow from countries that have fundamentally different values (like China, which holds over 20% of the debt held by foreign countries) to fund a war based on differences in values? We’re going to fight “Islamofascism” by giving over our economic sovereignty to the plain ol’ fascism of the Chinese government? It’s preposterous. It’s also one of the few reasons why Hillary Clinton’s point of view seems both positive and unique — she at least recognizes the foolishness of having such a strong indebtedness to China, a country with which we do not always have easy relations.

    Podhoretz is a crack smoker and should be taken as seriously. That anyone listens to him is evidence of at least the first half of Lewis Black’s characterization of the Republicans being the party of bad ideas, and the Democrats being the party of no ideas.

  13. Mnemosyne says:

    Glenn Greenwald had a great post a few weeks ago (can’t think of search terms to find it) where he pointed out that most of these weirdos on the right genuinely believe what they’re saying, which is why they get so hysterical when you point out that it’s pretty much impossible for Iran, a country of 50 million, to successfully invade the United States, a country of 300 million.

    I don’t know why it is that they believe it so fervently — repressed guilt? holdover from the Cold War — but you cannot have a rational conversation about it, because even pointing out little things like, “What navy are they going to use to invade us?” causes them to freak out and accuse you of not taking the danger seriously. It’s very weird, and more than a little creepy.

  14. Eurosabra says:

    Iran’s proxy Hezbollah has the very sinister habit of killing people it doesn’t like merely because they are vulnerable and can be reached, like the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires proved. (Anyone who says “alleged Hezbollah bombing” is trying to fight a war in a court of law, and is already doomed.) One of the great counterterror tasks of the future will be deterring WMD-possessing state supporters of non-state actors, and willful obscurantism like Podhoretz’s is as unhelpful as denying the threat. A greater worry is that Iran’s nuclear umbrella will make its terrorist proxies untouchable, which will have greatly unpleasant consequences for a wide variety of groups, like Iranian Arabs and Azeris, exiled Iranian Kurds in Europe, and also end the relative autonomy, peace, prosperity and freedom of Iraqi Kurdistan.
    It isn’t all about the US, Israel, or even diaspora Jews–plenty of Muslim Middle Easterners have reason to fear a nuclear Iran.

  15. Lisa Harney says:

    I hate to admit it, but I truly think we’ll turn blatantly fascist before many of the people in this country understand that America has no magic teflon protection against tyranny or coup d’etat. Guiliani thrives on the fact that the common American cannot envision anyone outside their borders as living, breathing human beings.

    Considering we’re one declaration of martial law away from being a truly fascist state…or one more stolen election…or one state of emergency…yeah. We’re already doing all the other things fascist states do.

  16. Mnemosyne says:

    and also end the relative autonomy, peace, prosperity and freedom of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    Er, you might want to talk to Turkey before putting the Kurds in the peace-loving column. I have a feeling that if the PKK got hold of a nuke, they wouldn’t have too many qualms about lobbing it towards Istanbul.

    But, yes, the threat from terrorists is more terrorist attacks. It isn’t that they’re going to march in, overthrow the US government, and turn us into an Islamic state under sharia law. And yet half of the right wing is absolutely convinced that’s what’s going to happen unless we intern everyone who has any connection with the Middle East or Islam.

  17. Eurosabra says:

    Mnemosyne,

    That’s why I said Iraqi Kurdistan, which is being eminently reasonable about its own position and the PKK. Actually, the Iranian govt. must also be very worried about the prospect of the US supplying the MEK with a nuke as well. Everyone has friendly groups or terrorist proxies, depending a bit on whose ox is gored. The acid test might be if you’re willing to put your allies on a terror list when they become, well, terrorists. And I tend to think that the PKK as a nationalist, separatist group has non-apocalyptic objectives–one would think they want to negotiate with Ankara for an independent Kurdistan, not nuke Istanbul.

  18. Mnemosyne says:

    And I tend to think that the PKK as a nationalist, separatist group has non-apocalyptic objectives–one would think they want to negotiate with Ankara for an independent Kurdistan, not nuke Istanbul.

    Your wish may be that they’d negotiate, but the fact that they’re doing border crossings to kill Turkish soldiers isn’t exactly a negotiating position. The PKK is trying to start a war with Turkey, and they’re doing a pretty good job so far.

    Sorry, but there are no white hats in Iraq right now. Holding the PKK up as freedom fighters for the Kurds is just as dangerous as holding the IRA up as freedom fighters for Ireland.

  19. George Arndt says:

    In 1938, the Nazis had the most advanced and powerful military on Earth while the military in the US was still had Calvary on horseback. After Pearl harbor, however, we quickly upgraded or military to an even footing with them.

    The enemies we face now are generally low tech with no standing army. They’re dangerous, certainly, but lack the military might of the Nazis, the Imperial Japanese or the Soviet Union. In fact, the overall casualties inflicted by Islamic Terrorists is a small fraction of the other enemies America has faced in the past.

    The US has many times the destructive capacity the terrorists could ever dream of. At worst, the Terrorists could vaporize a few cities or unleash a virus which might kill tens of millions more. The US, with its thousands of Nuclear weapons, could wipe the Middle East off the face of Earth. (If Bin Louden and his ilk had that kind of power, there wouldn’t still be an United States)

    Unlike WWII or the Cold War, there is no equal parity between the two sides in terms of military capacity.

  20. Eurosabra says:

    The PKK is an odd duck, because extremely violent Marxist-leaning/Left inspired terror groups in the Middle East, like the SSNP, LCP, etc. generally represent a hegemon rather than a stateless minority nationality. Also, people keep telling me that cross-border raids to kill and kidnap soldiers and random rocket bombardment of towns and cities by Hizballah are merely a result of the continuing Israeli occupation of Lebanon, an occupation which the UN certified as being OVER, when Hizballah’s rhetoric is of the “total liberation of Palestine.” Ditto Hamas/Islamic Jihad rocketry from Gaza. Whether you keep getting hit tends to depend on whether people want to see you suffer, and their capacity to make you, not the reasonableness or otherwise of your adversary’s goals. So (for whatever reason) people have bought the PKK’s press as a limited nationalist-separatist movement opposed to Turkey, a regional hegemon not especially well-liked, except by Israel. (Full disclosure: I’m an Israeli living in the States. What dog do you have in this fight?) Given the mess that is “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq”, I think Iraqi Kurds both dread Turkish involvement AND expect the US to forestall it. It seems that the PKK senses a no-lose situation and is being tremendously unsporting about it and terribly detrimental to the autonomous govt. of Iraqi Kurdistan, who ARE the “white hats”–such as they are–in Iraq. (And also aligned against the PKK.)

  21. Mnemosyne says:

    (Full disclosure: I’m an Israeli living in the States. What dog do you have in this fight?)

    My idiot president decided to invade a sovereign country and overthrow its leader without having a plan to put a stable government in place. So it’s more of an 800-pound gorilla than a dog.

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