Thursday, August 10, 2006

Iran. Joe I (It's All About Me) Lieberman

August 10, 2006

Re: Iran.
Joe I (It’s All About Me) Lieberman.

From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com


Dear Colleagues:

Two comments on news or occurrences of yesterday, August 9th.

I.

On the first hour of his NPR show, On Point, Tom Ashbrook interviewed a series of prominent Israelis regarding the war. They included, among others, a former Ambassador to the UN, a former Deputy Speaker, and a former Ambassador to the U.S. and Minister of Defense. They represented a range of opinions from what I think to be the far left in Israel to ditto the far right. They were often thoughtful and, a couple having formerly been Americans, were articulate to a degree that is almost unheard of among our crummy, thought-free, verbal stumblebum politicians. Only Adlai Stevenson in my memory can rank with the kind of fluency one got, or gets, from the likes of Abba Eban, Benjamin Netanyahu or one of the interviewees, Dore Gold. And if people on the American left don’t like this comment because I mentioned the likes of Netanyahu or Gold, or on the right don’t like it because I mentioned Stevenson and Eban, that is just too bad. Brilliance and articulateness are exactly that regardless of one’s political point of view. Lots of people didn’t like Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill’s policies, you know.

There is one thing that the discussions on Ashbrook’s show made perfectly clear -- if only by necessary implication -- regardless of where on the spectrum an interviewee’s opinions lay. That is that there must be a serous public discussion in this country (as in Israel too) -- not the sound bite crapola favored by the Bush/Cheney crowd, but a serious discussion -- about what if anything to do regarding Iran. This is especially true because Iran might be nuclear armed in short order. That sanctions will stop this seems very dubious.

As Ashbrook’s program showed, there are numerous possible positions on the question of Iran, some of which were aired, some not. For example, it may be that the mentality of Iran’s wacked-out leaders represents a threat not just to Israel and, via terrorism, to the United States, but also to lots of middle eastern Arab countries, which consequently may begin to band together -- even with Israel -- to put the brakes on Iran after the current war is over. This possibility would argue for using diplomacy and negotiations, not military action, to curb Iran. Or it may be that once seeing, through presumed atomic tests, just what nuclear weapons can do, even Iran’s leaders will moderate their actions, conscious that whatever they can do to Israel or the United States will be returned twenty fold or one hundred fold on them and their country -- which would get pretty much wiped off the map, I imagine. (Even the Soviet communists, who were our sworn enemies and had hundreds and then thousands of nuclear weapons, did not cross the abyss.) Or it may be that people like Ahmadinejad are so nuts, are so in thrall to the idea of Islamic martyrdom (I think Bernard Lewis probably believes this) that they would use their atomic weapons on Israel, Europe, the U.S. or whatever country can be reached by their presumably ever greater numbers of ever longer-range long range rockets, so that it behooves the western world to take out the current Iranian government now by military means even if this causes a major conventional war, lest we seriously risk a far worse nuclear war five or ten or twenty years down the road. Or it may be that time changes and heals all things, so that the best policy, once again, is to continuously use diplomacy and negotiation.

This author does not know the best course to take. But it seems that one can be confident that we better have a serious discussion about this, and this is true even if such a discussion were to eventuate in a considered decision to do little but let time take its course.

II.

Joe I (Its All About Me) Lieberman says he is going to run for Senate even though he lost the primary -- and by a reasonably healthy margin too. (Like politics itself, four percent ain’t beanbag.) Well, what else does one expect? All politicians (or nearly all) are crumbum egotists who, like Joe I (Its All About Me) Lieberman, think it important for the world to have the benefit of their putative talents in high places. Joe I (It’s All About Me) Lieberman, who has explicitly let us know that it would be a crushing loss to the nation not to have him in the Senate, is merely a perhaps somewhat polar example of the breed. This is a guy, after all, who, unlike some other pols (e.g., Edwards, Goldwater, William Miller (remember him -- he gave up his House seat to be Goldwater’s running mate) or Dole (who gave up his senate seat to run for President) -- but, tellingly, like the egomaniacal Saint Lyndon Johnson(and the egomaniacal Lloyd Bentsen) -- ran for the Senate simultaneously with running on his party’s national ticket so that he wo+uld keep his Senate seat even if he did not become Vice President. As well, Joe I (It’s All About Me) Lieberman obviously thinks it crucial that the Senate have a leading Democrat, like him, who will help Bush and Cheney continue to fight their misbegotten war in Iraq, and who -- remember this? -- will help them install deeply conservative Justices and judges whom people of more moderate views think a menace to decency and freedom in this country. Such help to Bush and Cheney is, after all, nonpartisanship, as Joe says, and as Cheney agrees.

What’s more, Joe I (It’s All About Me) Lieberman is in the throes of the panic which affects a pol who is faced with being thrown out of office and has only briefly held a real job -- who has only briefly worked in the private sector instead of government and so rarely has had to scramble for a living like us ordinary folks. What to do, what to do when you have no experience that fits you for anything other than suckling at the government you-know-what or maybe working as a hack K Street lobbyist, which is what lots of our pols, even high rankers like Mitchell and Dole (the Viagra man) turn into, but which Joe would probably not want to stoop to since he no doubt sees himself as an exemplar of religious morality because he is Orthodox. Oh, what to do, what to do? Obvious answer: run for the Senate and hope to win, so that you can continue suckling at the government you know what, can continue to help your pals Bush and Cheney, and can continue to give America the benefit of your talents, which you know America cannot do without.*
* This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at velvel@mslaw.edu. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.

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