Five Minutes with David Frum

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Steve Clemons David Frum Bloggingheads New York Times.jpg
For a five minute clip selected by the New York Times for posting of a bloggingheads exchange I did with David Frum on Iran stuff, click here.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

47 comments on “Five Minutes with David Frum

  1. nadine says:

    “”And how about that 2007 NIE estimate that Iran had stopped working on nuclear weapons? Oops.” This oops is on Nadine. In 2010 the intelligence community reconfirmed the findings of the 2007 NIE.”
    JohnH, you have severe reading comprehension difficulties. The 2007 NIE said Iran had stopped working on nuclear weapons in 2003. In Sept 2009 an entire secret facility near Qom was disclosed…for working on nuclear weapons. Here, maybe Newsweek can explain it to you:
    Coming Around On Iran
    Mark Hosenball
    January 15, 2010
    U.S. intelligence agencies are quietly revising their widely disputed assertion that Iran has no active program to design or build a nuclear bomb. Three U.S. and two foreign counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK that, as soon as next month, the intel agencies are expected to complete an “update” to their controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Tehran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003 and “had not restarted” it as of mid-2007. The officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive information, say the revised report will bring U.S. intel agencies more in line with other countries’ spy agencies (such as Britain’s MI6, Germany’s BND, and Israel’s Mossad), which have maintained that Iran has been pursuing a nuclear weapon.
    Yet two of the U.S. sources caution the new assessment will likely be “Talmudic” in its parsing. They say U.S. analysts now believe that Iran may well have resumed “research” on nuclear weapons–theoretical work on how to design and construct a bomb–but that Tehran is not engaged in “development”–actually trying to build a weapon. “The intelligence communityis always reluctant to make a total retreat because it makes them look bad,” says the third American.
    This distinction between research and development is unlikely to satisfy hardline critics, who say the intel agencies, burned for overestimating Saddam Hussein’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program, have underplayed Iran’s bomb-building efforts. But the U.S. officials insist it’s an accumulation of fresh intelligence, not political or diplomatic pressure, that prompted the reconsideration. Revelations that Iran excavated a secret underground nuclear-enrichment facility near Qum may have heightened alarm about Tehran’s intentions. America and its allies, say the U.S. and foreign officials, have also been poring over documents that purport to show Iranian research on a “neutron initiator,” a device most often used for bombs–not electricity, which the Iranians insist is their nuclear program’s goal.
    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/archive/2010/01/15/coming-around-on-iran.aspx

    Reply

  2. Outraged American says:

    I don’t trust Fisk because he has obfuscated about Syria and
    Lebanon in the past. I was pissed off at Fisk when I was covering
    Israel’s millionth invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Fisk, in my opinion,
    is limited hang-out, like Chomsky and Zunes.
    And I’ve just agreed with Nadine…must have a lie-down or
    complete psychiatric exam ASAP…

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  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads. What a huge mountain of horseshit Wig-wag can build when she applies herself. Remarkable.

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  4. JohnH says:

    I can’t believe I’m answering Nadine’s stupid, unfounded assertions once again…
    “They weren’t just Americans who thought that [Saddam had WMDs], but British, French and German as well. And they turned out to be wrong.” I’m supposed to be impressed that Washington group-think contaminated our allies? I spotted Bush/Blair’s lying ways by October 2002. So I’m supposed to be impressed that others ignored the obvious lies? Get real!
    “And how about that 2007 NIE estimate that Iran had stopped working on nuclear weapons? Oops.” This oops is on Nadine. In 2010 the intelligence community reconfirmed the findings of the 2007 NIE.
    Not my fault Nadine constantly opens her mouth before she checks her facts…

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  5. nadine says:

    “Every Bush apologist spouts this garbage, and I wish any sane person who heard it would simply respond:
    “But none of these other ‘true believers’ felt strongly enough to attack first.”"(Maw)
    Of course not. The US was stuck “containing” Saddam, so the only the US had incentive to attack Saddam before containment broke down completely. The other choice was a US climb-down that left Saddam triumphant as The Great Survivor.
    None of the others have armies that could do the job, anyway. You don’t start a gunfight if you only have a knife.

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  6. Maw of America says:

    Argh! My head wants to explode every time I hear this:
    “They weren’t just Americans who thought so, but British, French and German as well.”
    Every Bush apologist spouts this garbage, and I wish any sane person who heard it would simply respond:
    “But none of these other ‘true believers’ felt strongly enough to attack first.”
    True, there were others that agreed with the neocons, but only the U.S. fired the first missile. I didn’t see the Brits, Germans or French loading up troops in Kuwait until we did it first.
    I am reminded of that scene when there’s a line of soldiers and the captain asks for a volunteer for the suicide mission and all but one take a step back. We were that one.

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  7. nadine says:

    “Yeah, sure, Nadine. What about those “educated elites” AKA neocons who assured us that Saddam had WMDs?”
    What about them, John? They weren’t just Americans who thought so, but British, French and German as well. And they turned out to be wrong. Just as the CIA was surprised by Saddam’s rather advanced nuclear program in 1991.
    And how about that 2007 NIE estimate that Iran had stopped working on nuclear weapons? Oops.
    A long history of error is hardly evidence for correctness now. If it’s evidence of anything, it’s evidence for saying that we don’t know what Ahmedinejad is really up to or whether he will make a rational decision at the end of the day — or not.

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  8. JohnH says:

    Yeah, sure, Nadine. What about those “educated elites” AKA neocons who assured us that Saddam had WMDs?
    Strange that those are exactly the folks you choose to believe now.
    Fool me once…

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  9. Mr.Murder says:

    The educated elites nadine refers to, that thought Hitler had political credibility, mainly wanted to paint Commies with a broad enough brush to quell labor movements in the USA. See also the GOP at that time….

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  10. nadine says:

    JohnH, the point was not that Iran is *exactly* like Hitler’s Germany. My point was that educated elites assured us in the 1930s that Hitler was a rational actor with limited goals. They were completely wrong.
    Educated elites are saying the same thing about Iran today; I think it’s likely they are just as wrong. By the time it’s obvious to everybody that they are wrong it will be very costly to do anything about it, just as WWII cost about 1000 times more in deaths and destruction than dealing with Hitler in the 1930s would have.
    “But Iran has never lifted a finger on Israel, except using proxies – Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. That may be sufficient provocation for Israel, but it doesn’t meet the test for most western countries.” (Maw)
    Oh, so if you build a foreign legion, you get a free pass on aggression? Hezbullah is Iran’s foreign legion. Nasrallah pays homage to Tehran quite openly. This logic only works if somebody else is under attack. It’s called throwing somebody to the wolves. In this case, Lebanon got thrown already. Iran hopes to take Israel next. It’s hardly reassuring when the leadership of Iran keeps predicting and praying for Israel’s demise, hinting darkly at the power of “Muslim bombs” and is working to build nuclear warheads.
    “When will Iran invade Russia? Just curious..
    Or do you think they’ll slice through central Asia and conquer China first?” (MarkL)
    MarkL, Iran’s first conquest will be the Persian Gulf and the Arab world,and they won’t have to fire a shot. If America is out of the great power business (as Obama has signaled) and won’t protect them, there isn’t an Arab country that is strong enough to do anything but kowtow to a nuclear Iran. Lebanon and Syria are already wholly-owned subsidiaries.
    A few days ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said this, in front of Hillary Clinton:
    “Sanctions are a long-term solution,” he said. “But we see the issue in the shorter term, maybe because we are closer to the threat. So we need an immediate resolution rather than a gradual resolution.”
    As Barry Rubin commented,
    “What does Faisal’s statement signify? It means: You are going to slow, Iran is still going to get nuclear weapons, we’re right next door, what are you going to do about it real fast? Remember that the Saudis are very conservative and cautious. For Faisal to stand next to Clinton and voice such a sharp criticism—no matter how indirectly phrased—is like some ordinary foreign minister screaming for help.” http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/02/saudis-to-obama-administration-were.html

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  11. MarkL says:

    Nadine,
    When will Iran invade Russia? Just curious..
    Or do you think they’ll slice through central Asia and conquer China first?

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  12. MarkL says:

    Maw of America,
    Interesting note about Baker.
    Hillary Clinton the candidate had the same position—in fact, she was the only major candidate who took preemptive or preventive war with Iran off the table, not that you would know so from news coverage.
    Can’t say much for her measured approach as SoS, but she is doing what Obama wants.

    Reply

  13. Maw of America says:

    I would also recommend not personalizing the history of Germany. Forget about Hitler the man. Germany the country had just come out on the losing end of the first Great War twenty years earlier. Even if Ghandi himself was ruling Germany, the world would have had a close eye on Germany. But Iran has never lifted a finger on Israel, except using proxies – Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. That may be sufficient provocation for Israel, but it doesn’t meet the test for most western countries.
    Speaking of which, did anyone else watch James Baker on GPS with Fareed Zakaria? If I heard him right, he seems to advocate a policy of containment, should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon.

    Reply

  14. JohnH says:

    Nadine, show me evidence of Iran’s military buildup. And how serious a buildup do think Iran could ever undertake? Their entire economy is barely more than the US military budget. Their military budget is about 25% of what the US spends each year in Iraq alone. Just how do propose that Iran project power with such skimpy military spending?
    As I said, your comparisons of today’s Iran with Hitler’s Germany are pure hyperbole and nonsense.
    And Nadine, if what you say about Fisk is true, you should really appreciate his art because you are “a writer of [right]-wing fiction. Facts are incidental.”
    BTW how’s the astro-turfing paying these days?

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    Robert Fisk is a writer of left-wing fiction. Facts are incidental. Fisk never even apologized for “reporting” the non-existent “massacre of Jenin”.
    There’s a reason the verb “to fisk” means what it does.

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  16. nadine says:

    “Yes, Nadine, I do remember Hitler. He had weapons, lots of them. He invaded countries, lots of them.” (JohnH)
    You are using hindsight, John, which is always 20/20. That was not how it looked in the 1930s.
    In 1936 or even 1938 Hitler hadn’t invaded a single thing. Sure he marched into the Ruhr but lots of people sympathized with Germany’s grievances over the treaty of Versailles (just like today with Iran). Hitler did the Anschluss with Austria in 1938 but that was popular in Austria and lots of people sympathized with Germany’s need to recover its dignity (just like today with Iran). Sure he rebuilt the military but that was in secret (just like today with Iran).
    Plus, lots of people “engaged” Hitler. Hitler was very engageable. Hitler talked and negotiated with Britain and France; he did even better than the Iranians: he signed treaties that they thought would bring “peace in our time”.
    Chamberlain was sooo proud of his engagement policy with Hitler, except that he called it by a more accurate name, “appeasement.” Hitler assured the West that he had limited goals and just wanted to restore Germany dignity and sovereignty over German populations. All that master race rhetoric? Just red meat for the masses, pay no attention. So the elites of the 1930s told us. After all, Germany had been beaten in WWI and were safely demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles, “in a box” to coin a phrase. So we were assured.
    No, Hitler didn’t look at all like a power-hungry invader in 1938. Not a bit of it. Unless you had vision enough to understand what made him tick. Chamberlain didn’t. Churchill did.

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  17. Outraged American says:

    Israeli soldiers attack prayer mass for peace last Sunday.
    Videotape @ link. Israel, you’re digging your own grave,
    babycakes.
    MORAL IRRESPONSIBILITY OF ISRAELI TROOPS SEEN AS MASS IS
    ATTACKED ON SUNDAY
    Feb 22, 2010
    Some 100 people gathered at Ush Ghrab in Beit Sahour to pray
    for peace and protest the planned military presence there. As
    we were gathering in peaceful contemplation and prayer, Israeli
    army jeeps quickly rolled in between us and one officer barked
    orders in Hebrew. We explained to them in Arabic and English
    that we do not understand Hebrew (later we realized they also
    knew Arabic and English) but they immediately started throwing
    concussion grenades and tear gas at the elderly, women,
    children, the priest doing the prayer, other town people and
    internationals (Christians and Muslims). A translator who
    reviewed our video footage later in the day said that their orders
    meant we have one minute to disperse! The priest’s words,
    delivered as the army was attacking, was to plead to God to
    teach us to live in dignity based on morality and speak out for
    what is right (then we gave the Lord’s prayer together). But
    considering the unusual circumstances, we persisted and
    succeeded in holding our ground. On image captured on video
    that sticks out in my mind is Issa, which is Arabic for Jesus,
    holding his child in his arms while kicking the teargas canister.
    His other child had started crying with the noise of a concussion
    grenade. The tape done by IMEMC.org professional
    photographer Ghassan shows the rest of it:
    Videotape here:
    http://tinyurl.com/yknywtb

    Reply

  18. ... says:

    a better comparison would be hitler and israel – both fanatics…

    Reply

  19. JohnH says:

    Yes, Nadine, I do remember Hitler. He had weapons, lots of them. He invaded countries, lots of them.
    Not at all like today’s Iran, which hasn’t invaded anyone in hundreds of years.
    Not at all like today’s Iran, whose military budget is about 2.5% of its GDP vs. 4% for the US. The US spends about $600 Billion on its military vs. Iran’s paltry $22 Billion. Meanwhile Israel’s spends a whopping 7.5% of its GDP on the military.
    Comparisons of today’s Iran with Hitler’s Germany are pure hyperbole and nonsense.

    Reply

  20. MarkL says:

    Nadine,
    can’t you come up with a new line?
    Saddam was the Hitler threat.
    That reminds me, isn’t Kenneth Pollack due for another hack job on Iran? His last missive didn’t get the job done.

    Reply

  21. Don Bacon says:

    For example, Steve agrees with David that Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal.
    Evidence for this aid to warmongers?

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    I always depend on Robert Fisk for the real story of what’s up in the ME.
    Here is where he thinks the next war might erupt.
    Robert Fisk: The tree-lined bunkers that could change the face of the Middle East
    The border looks peaceful, but Hizbollah and Israel are preparing for war
    Thursday, 21 January 2010
    It looks like a hop, skip and a jump. There’s the first electrified fence, then the dirt strip to identify footprints, then the tarmac road, then one more electrified fence, and then acres and acres of trees. Orchards rather than tanks. Galilee spreads beyond, soft and moist and dark green in the winter afternoon – a peaceful Israel, you might think. And a peaceful Lebanon to the north, tobacco plantations amid the stony hills, just an occasional UN armoured vehicle to keep you on your toes. “Major Pardin says you cannot take pictures,” a Malaysian UN soldier tells me. Then a second one says the same. Then along comes a Lebanese army intelligence officer and stares at our papers. “OK, you have permission,” he declares, and I snap away with my old 36-frame real-film Nikon; the fields, the frontier fence, the high-tech surveillance tower on the horizon. This must be the most photographed border in the world.
    Of course, the gentle countryside is an illusion. Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues in the Israeli government have been announcing that the only “army” of Lebanon is the Hizbollah, the Iranian-armed and Syrian-assisted guerrilla force whose bunkers and missiles north of the Litani river might just tip the balance in the next Hizbollah-Israeli war. And Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the chairman of the Hizbollah, has been making some even more interesting threats: that his forces will “change the face of the Middle East region” if there is another war with Israel. No-one is in much doubt about what this means. The newly resurfaced Lebanese roads near the border – courtesy of Hizbollah money – suggest that someone might want to move men at high speed towards the frontier. Perhaps even to cross the border.
    That’s what the Israelis suspect, too – and it makes sense of Nasrallah’s warning last week. The Hizbollah claimed that the 2006 war with Israel was a “divine victory” – it didn’t feel that way to us in southern Lebanon at the time – yet even Israel admits it was a near-defeat for its own ill-trained soldiers. But how would Israel react if the Hizbollah managed to enter Israel itself? Israeli army commanders are talking about this in the Israeli press. A fast, dramatic spring across the frontier to the west – in the direction of Naharia, perhaps, or a grab at the settlement of Kiryat Shmona – and Hizbollah would announce it had “liberated” part of historic “Palestine”. Israel would have to bomb its own territory to get them out.”
    -The New York Times once described Robert Fisk as “probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain.”[
    -In 1991, Fisk won a Jacob's Award for his RTÉ Radio coverage of the first Gulf War.[24] He received Amnesty International UK Press Awards in 1998 for his reports from Algeria and again in 2000 for his articles on the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999. In 1999 Fisk won the Orwell Prize for journalism.[25] He received the British Press Awards’ International Journalist of the Year seven times, and twice won its “Reporter of the Year” award.[26] In 2001, he was awarded the David Watt Prize for “outstanding contributions towards the clarification of political issues and the promotion of their greater understanding” for his investigation into the Armenian Genocide by the Turks in 1915.[27] In 2002 he was the fourth recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. More recently, Fisk was awarded the 2006 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize

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  23. ... says:

    “Posted by Dan Kervick, Feb 21 2010, 11:18PM – Link
    My only request is that those who are urging the slippery slope path of confrontation, brinkmanship, sanctions and war with Iran hold up their hands now, so that we know whom to hang when the melee is over.”
    why dan it is the same folks who were for war in iraq… they learned nothing from any of it and would just like more of the same…. you know things are bad when wigwag holds frum up mentioning how much obama is goosestepping in sync with his and other neo cons ideology – war 24/7 in a nutshell…. politics in the usa has gotten so bad with the 2 party system moving to the middle which in the usa is war 24/7, or preparation for war 24/7…. we are watching the downfall of the usa in real time and it ain’t pretty… add to that having to watch cheerleaders like wigwag on the sidelines wanting to bring it on with their love of war and death so long as it doesn’t involve them or their relatives directly…

    Reply

  24. thetruth says:

    David Frum: Exposing the myth of the conservative “meritocracy”. So long as you are a neocon, you never need be right.
    Steve, stop propping up failed neocons who lack the intellectual integrity to admit to their disasterous and bloody (for others) mistakes.

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    Please do remember Hitler and Goebbels, JohnH. While you’re at it, remember how all during the 1930s, well educated elites dismissed Hitler as a clown who was just spouting rhetoric for the masses. They were sure he didn’t mean it and would make a prudent decision at the end of the day.

    Reply

  26. JohnH says:

    People should remember Goebbels and Hitler when they hear politicians contradicting the best judgments of the IAEA and the US intelligence community (the folks whose job it is to fully understand the Iranian nuclear program):
    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” –Joseph Goebbels
    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” –Adolf Hitler
    “It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” –Joseph Goebbels

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    My only request is that those who are urging the slippery slope path of confrontation, brinkmanship, sanctions and war with Iran hold up their hands now, so that we know whom to hang when the melee is over.
    As usual, I imagine we will see the the old adage in effect, “Victory has a thousand fathers; but a clusterfuck is an orphan”. So I’d like to get some people on record right now.
    Oh, and could we please inject frankness in this debate, and stop pretending this is all about some alleged night terrors over Iran’s 20% uranium enrichment?

    Reply

  28. JohnH says:

    Wigwag loves to promote lies: “unless Iran relents in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
    The folks paid to know these things, the IAEA and the US intelligence community, have no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But Wigwag knows better. And apparently so do Clemons and Frum.
    This whole effort to demonize Iran is so reminiscent of the Iraq war marketing effort–make a claim, make the American people believe it, disregard the evidence, and presto–you’ve got a war!
    Neocons claim to be promoting freedom, democracy and human rights, but their only real agenda seems to be more war.

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    Kosher baloney, I presume. Hebrew National preferably. With a side pickle and a Manachewicz spritzer; or maybe just some ginger ale.
    I, too, live on Social Security and smallish pension. So if I can broker a deal, a small honorarium, I would not refuse.
    However, I am not convinced that the so called realists have their act together. And ,for myself, at this late date in my life, I could not sell out simply for the gelt. Following the heart and mind is all that makes sense.
    But, for whatever reasons you might find moonlighting for the realists attractive, I would much prefer to see you on that side. They might not be on the side of the angels, but at least you would not be throwing in your lot with the neocon devils.

    Reply

  30. WigWag says:

    “Wigwag, the neocons and other assorted right wing suspects really ought to be paying you to reframe their disastrous track record. Your mastery of the cognitive sleight of hand is pitch perfect.” (DonS)
    If David Frum or his intellectual companions would like to send me a check for writing the missives that I publish here, DonS, I will gladly accept.
    But I’m afraid that won’t be happening. You see, they are winning the debate without me. Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party are moving steadily in the direction advocated by the neocons and truth be told, they have to be delighted with most of Obama’s military and foreign policy decisions.
    And while David Frum may be a dissenting voice in the neocon community about the wisdom of attacking Iran, here too things are moving steadily in the direction that most neocons would support. Sanctions are about to be imposed either by the UN or unilaterally by the United States and its European allies. Those sanctions will almost certainly serve as a precursor to an American attack on Iran unless Iran relents in its pursuit of nuclear weapons (Clemons and Frum both agree that Iran is trying to an atomic bomb).
    So as much as I regret to say it, DonS, I’m afraid the neocons don’t really need me to “reframe” their track record.
    I’m afraid I will just have to continue to live on my social security check and my pension check. That is unless Steve Clemons and the realists would like to pay me to help clean up their messaging. They’re the ones who are losing the public debate and it’s their positions that are increasingly unpopular.
    With my “pitch perfect” rhetoric that you were kind enough to mention I feel confident that I could do the realists alot of good.
    Steve, why don’t you give me a call and we can discuss it.
    I don’t charge much. In fact, I accept payment in baloney sandwiches.

    Reply

  31. ... says:

    wigwag would like a bigger tragedy in iran, but it will probably turn out to be an even bigger tragedy for the usa…i guess that is what wigwag really wants.. i have never been able to understand someone with such obvious dual loyalties though, so consider this just another example of reading a wigwag comment and coming up empty unless the dual loyalty comment is just a facade for a citizen who lives in a country when they have loyalty only for another one, in this case – israel….

    Reply

  32. Outraged American says:

    Israeli paper admits that Jewish neocons were behind Iraq #2
    and interviews them:
    White man’s burden
    (are true Semites considered “white” or should this article more
    aptly be titled “Ashkenazim’s Burden”? Wig? Nadine? Questions?
    Sweetness? Care to answer?)
    By Ari Shavit
    Ha’aretz
    The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative
    intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President
    Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists
    William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it’s possible. But
    another journalist, Thomas Friedman (not part of the group), is
    skeptical
    WASHINGTON – At the conclusion of its second week, the war to
    liberate Iraq wasn’t looking good. Not even in Washington. The
    assumption of a swift collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime
    had itself collapsed. The presupposition that the Iraqi
    dictatorship would crumble as soon as mighty America entered
    the country proved unfounded. The Shi’ites didn’t rise up, the
    Sunnis fought fiercely. Iraqi guerrilla warfare found the
    American generals unprepared and endangered their
    overextended supply lines. Nevertheless, 70 percent of the
    American people continued to support the war; 60 percent
    thought victory was certain; 74 percent expressed confidence in
    President George W. Bush.
    Washington is a small city. It’s a place of human dimensions. A
    kind of small town that happens to run an empire. A small town
    of government officials and members of Congress and personnel
    of research institutes and journalists who pretty well all know
    one another. Everyone is busy intriguing against everyone else;
    and everyone gossips about everyone else.
    In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the
    town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was
    disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives,
    almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a
    partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William
    Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer
    Entire article
    http://tinyurl.com/8uf6
    or
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?
    itemNo=280279&contrassID=2&subContrassID=14&sbSubContr
    assID=0&listSrc=Y
    And If I had five minutes with David Frum he’d need another
    nose job.

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  33. JohnH says:

    As usual Wigwag loves to apply double standards. “Iraq was only one data point,” so the neocons’ agenda should not be dismissed.
    Of course, Rabin’s opening to the Palestinians was “only one data point” in the midst of 60 years of conflict. But, according to Wigwag, that single data point would probably prove Rabin’s entire world view wrong.
    And the latest round of “negotiations” with Iran was only a single data point, used by neocons to prove that the whole concept of talking to Iran was mistaken.
    So why don’t we apply a single standard to all these cases. If the neocons are entitled to eternal slack for their mammoth mistake in Iraq, maybe those who want a sincere opening to Palestinians and to Iran should be cut a little slack, too.

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  34. Outraged American says:

    Thomas Friedman in a New York Times piece admitted that Iraq #2
    was conceived by primarily Jewish neocons.
    Don’t make me look it up, but I will.

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  35. DonS says:

    I’m not going to refight Vietnam. I will note however that we, who were on the ‘Hell No” side, turned out to be right, as we were on Iraq. And Vietnam of course turned out not to be about containment after all, but what it was from the beginning, mostly a civil war of huge proportions.
    Containment in Eastern Europe bore little relationship to Southeast Asia. And I don’t think that the fear of the ‘red menace’ was about to collapse of its own weight. That said, the ‘communist menace’ seems like a slam dunk of a foe when compared to the fabricated neocon driven Iraq war.
    So exactly what was the neocon ‘strategy’ involved in Iraq — get a foothold in the ME in order to dominate it and its resources on into the future? Or was it really about all those other extraneous factors; the Friedman “suck on this” factor; the Israeli “do our dirty work factor”; the MI coplex endless war? What exactly is the strategy that we are supposed to honor as a mere ‘data point’ gone wrong? But of course they are all honorable men.

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  36. WigWag says:

    “One data point. I mean, that’s classic. Just a slight miscalculation; what, 500,000, 600,000 thousand dead Iraqis. How may US service personnel 5,000+. Even you must see how over the top your hyperbole is.” (DonS)
    The War in Iraq was a tragedy.
    The War in Vietnam was as big a tragedy or an even bigger one.
    In Vietnam, 58,159 American soldiers died; over 300 thousand were wounded. 1.4 million North and South Vietnamese soldiers died as did 1.6 million South Vietnamese civilians, 2.1 million North Vietnamese civilians, 700 thousand Cambodians and 50 thousand Laotians.
    We now know that the Golf of Tonkin resolution (like much of the data leading up to the Iraq War) was based on fabrications.
    The War in Vietnam was justified by several successive presidents based on their belief that Soviet Communism needed to be contained.
    The War was unnecessary and destructive; it was a mistake in every sense of the word. But that doesn’t mean that the policy of containment in whose name the war was fought was a mistake.
    In fact, the policy of containment was an enormous success. It defeated the Soviet Union and averted what could have been a nuclear exchange between the NATO allies and the Warsaw Pact nations.
    The War in Iraq doesn’t prove that the neoconservative strategy is wrong anymore than the War in Vietnam proved that the strategy of containment, endorsed by political leaders of both parties for 40 years was wrong.
    The War in Vietnam was just one data point just like the War in Iraq is just one data point. Had American leaders decided in reaction to the debacle in Vietnam to give up on the strategy of containment, who knows how disastrous the results might have been?
    The same thing may or may not be true of the foreign policy approaches suggested by the neoconservatives.
    I am not endorsing the neocon strategy; I’m just saying than in and of itself, the War in Iraq does not prove that the neocon approach is wrong.

    Reply

  37. DonS says:

    “The neoconservative approach to foreign policy may or may not be the best strategy to reach the goals that the American people have endorsed through their elected representatives.
    “But the failures in Iraq provide only one data point. In and of itself, that one data point proves nothing.” (wigwag)
    Wigwag, the neocons and other assorted right wing suspects really ought to be paying you to reframe their disasterous track record. Your mastery of the cognitive sleight of hand is pitch perfect.
    “One data point”. I mean,that’s classic. Just a slight miscalcuation; what, 500,000, 600,00 thousand dead Iraqis. How may US service personnel 5,000+. Even you must see how over the top your hyperbole is.

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  38. DonS says:

    Thanks wigwag, I knew I could count on you to fill in chapter and verse as to those souls who, to greater or lesser, more prominently or less prominently, fully or incompletely, have apologized. I totally disagree that it is ‘idiocy’ to expect all sorts of information, and apologies, to come forth, due to the now known way the war was totally hyped, from the dodgy dossier et al; apologies are due from many who wish to redeem some decency and dignity.
    As to your assertion that it’s not about apologies “It’s about well meaning people making difficult calculations on important issues without complete data” Ill have to offend your ears: BULLSHIT. We know more or less exactly the calculated way in which the war was conceived, manipulated, spun and sold. Not a ‘well meaning’ effort by any stretch.
    If you argue that it was only in the inner core of scoundrels that did the conniving then it behooves every other honorable person outside that circle to fill in the blanks as they know them on how our country was take to war on whim and pretense.

    Reply

  39. WigWag says:

    “I’m still waiting for any one person (I’ll just use that classification) who prognosticated about and/or beat the drums for the Iraq invasion to apologize. Been saying that for years now. Still hasn’t happened” (DonS)
    Actually it has happened. Several prominent pundits, who “beat the drums” for the War in Iraq have recanted, apologized and admitted that they were wrong.
    Three that come to mind immediately are Andrew Sullivan (who whether he admits it or not now seems to be “banging the drum” for some type of intervention in Iran), Peter Beinart, formerly of the New Republic (who admits that advocating for the war was a mistake but wishes that critics of the war would now admit that the surge worked) and Thomas Friedman (who still thinks success in Iraq is more important than success in Afghanistan). All three acknowledged that they were incorrect; all three apologized.
    Others who have expressed regret about their role include Colin Powell and Richard Armitage. Even William Kristol has acknowledged that serious mistakes were made and expressed regret for having too much confidence in George W. Bush.
    If you listened to the “blogging heads” interview, you would know that David Frum implicitly acknowledges that the war did not work out as he expected. By pointing out that we don’t know whether the situation in that part of the world might be even worse but for the American invasion, he is clearly suggesting that the Iraq War did not work out as he might have hoped.
    As for “asking for apologies” that’s pure idiocy. This isn’t a fourth grade school yard fight. It’s about well meaning people making difficult calculations on important issues without complete data. Everyone does the best that they can. Castigating the motives of people who have a different opinion than yours, while believing that your motivations are somehow superior to theirs, is the sign of a weak intellect and is morally bankrupt. More importantly, it only serves to stifle much needed debate.
    Watch the way Clemons and Frum conducted themselves in their fascinating little exchange. If the debate in this country consisted of more interchanges like theirs and less like the type of debates we see so often on cable TV, our country would be far better for it.
    The fact that the War in Iraq worked out poorly doesn’t mean the neoconservative outlook is wrong. The War in Viet Nam worked out poorly but that didn’t mean that the strategy of containment (whether you preferred Kennan’s version or Nitze’s version) wasn’t the right strategy to defeat the Soviet Union; it was precisely the right strategy.
    The neoconservative approach to foreign policy may or may not be the best strategy to reach the goals that the American people have endorsed through their elected representatives.
    But the failures in Iraq provide only one data point. In and of itself, that one data point proves nothing.

    Reply

  40. Jackie says:

    To Don S @ 6:03 pm – thank you for that stroll down memory lane concerning the run-up to the war on Iraq. I live in the midwest, we were just flipped off. What a blood thirsty bunch.

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  41. DonS says:

    But Warren, don’t you notice that earnest look on Frum’s face. He’s obviously serious, a very serious person.
    BTW, I’m still waiting for any one person (I’ll just use that classification) who prognosticated about and/or beat the drums for the Iraq invasion to apologize. Been saying that for years now. Still hasn’t happened. Juxtaposed to which, don’t we remember, in the aftermath of ‘shock and awe’, the calumny that was heaped upon the head of those (of us) who were dead against the invasion We were all the worst of fools and traitors, not even fit scum for the warriors and exceptionalists to spit on. I remember driving around town with an anti-war bumper sticker and being accosted by passing cars. Now I do live in the South; but still.
    Freedom fries, indeed.
    No one could have predicted.

    Reply

  42. Warren Metzler says:

    David Frum is a man who has no problem being adamant about
    issues that history reveals him to be totally in error. He was the
    “right” guy on Left Right and Center, political show on KCRW,
    during the Bush years, and insisted that it was undeniable that
    Iraq had WMD. Not once did he apologize for that misleading
    information. He should have the decency to leave the public
    domain and get work more in line with whatever are his talents.
    I fail to understand why Steven wants to have a recorded
    conversation with a man who is so misinformed about all things
    political.

    Reply

  43. Outraged American says:

    STUDY: Iran shows fastest scientific growth of any country. No
    wonder Israel wants to nuke Iran, she can’t stand the
    competition.
    This reminds me of the time that I scored the highest on the
    economics exam in high school and a bunch of boys, all of
    whom happened to be of a certain religion, destroyed my locker.
    Just stating a fact folks, you can draw your own conclusions.
    Did they get expelled? No, far from it. Four went on to the Ivy
    League and one to Stanford. I saw one of them, the nicest, years
    later while visiting a friend’s MBA ceremony, graduate from
    Berkeley with a double JD and MBA. He apologized.
    Look in the mirror Israel.
    From The New Scientist
    Feb. 18, 2010
    Iran showing fastest scientific growth of any country
    It might be the Chinese year of the tiger, but scientifically, 2010
    is looking like Iran’s year.
    Scientific output has grown 11 times faster in Iran than the
    world average, faster than any other country. A survey of the
    number of scientific publications listed in the Web of Science
    database shows that growth in the Middle East – mostly in
    Turkey and Iran – is nearly four times faster than the world
    average.
    entire article
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18546

    Reply

  44. ... says:

    wigwag calls frum a smart man… if being deceptive or outright lying is viewed as smart, i’ll take something else….

    Reply

  45. JohnH says:

    David Frum’s case can be summarized simply as hope. This hope (wishful thinking?) is based almost entirely on their experience with the Soviet Union. Eternal intransigence pays off, according to neocons, because your enemy must eventually collapse (assuming of course you don’t collapse first!.) Frum specifically cites the example of Poland.
    With the ascendancy of the neocons, the collapse of the Soviet Union translated into the collapse of American foreign policy based on anything but intransigence.
    Steve rightly says that he “hopes Frum is right” but clearly does not place his whole foreign policy on hope alone.
    Regarding Iran’s eventual abandonment of its nuclear power supply development program, all I can say is that any regime that becomes dependent on others for its energy needs will become dependent on them for its security. I fail to understand why people in Washington think that Iran would ever wish to become dependent on the US for critical parts of its future electric power supply.
    The Western gambit concerning the Iran’s TRR is a perfect example of how a country can be held hostage to outside powers when it does not have the capability of enriching its own uranium.
    Likewise, Ukraine is an example of a nation that is is hostage because it does not produce its own natural gas. Of course, the usual hypocrisy prevails, with the US condemning Russia for withholding from Ukraine, but seeing nothing wrong with the US withholding from Iran to force compliance with its agenda.

    Reply

  46. DonS says:

    “For example, Steve agrees with David that Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal. David agreed with Steve than an attack on Iran might be fraught with unintended consequences and might make the regime stronger, not weaker.” (Wigwag)
    Yes, this against the idiocy of John Bolton whose magical neocon thinking actually leads him to assert that an attack on Iran, essentially, could be stage managed by appropriate public pronouncements:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/20/bolton-iran-go-wrong/
    Let’s just suppose that some foreign nation, say North Korea, were to lob an ICBM on the Heritage Foundation since,you know, they create out a lot of the animus and demonization of N. Korea. Then the North Koreans bombarded our airwaves with the joyous message that they were simply ridding the US of a agent that is a threat to world peace. a) the US populace would collectively nod their head in agreement? b) the US populace would endorse retaliation of almost any sort?
    Of course Bolton proceeds from the supposition that Iran is an ‘existential threat’ to somebody, no matter how ginned up that diatribe is, so there really is not choice. He needs to move; and take Kristol along with him.

    Reply

  47. WigWag says:

    It is well worth watching the entire debate (posted in one of the threads below) between these two smart and eloquent men.
    They both make some very provocative arguments and I was surprised that there are more points of agreement between them than I might have thought.
    For example, Steve agrees with David that Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal. David agreed with Steve than an attack on Iran might be fraught with unintended consequences and might make the regime stronger, not weaker.
    Most of all these two prove that debate can be amiable; that they can disagree about policy without being disagreeable.
    I don’t know if 50 years from now anyone will be writing a book like “The Hawk and the Dove” about the friendship and policy differences of Steve Clemons and David Frum. But it is obvious that both men have tremendous contributions to make to the public discussion in this country.
    And I hope that they both live as long and as vibrantly as George Kennan and Paul Nitze.

    Reply

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