The Homosexual Roots of Antiwar Sentiment: Podhoretz Schools the Ignorant

Nice piece in the American Prospect from Justin Logan on the silliness of pro-warriors' endless Hitler analogies and all, worth a read, but I really wanted to just single out this one somewhat extraordinary bit, news to me though perhaps not to longterm careful Norman Podhoretz watchers:

Podhoretz penned a meandering essay in Harper's in 1977 titled "The Culture of Appeasement" which likened antiwar sentiment in post-Vietnam America to the wariness of war in Britain after World War I, and then linked the latter to a homosexual yearning for relations with all the young men who perished in the Great War. In Podhoretz's view, "the best people looked to other men for sex and romance," and as a result, didn't much like them being killed by the score on the Continent. "Anyone familiar with homosexual apologetics today will recognize these attitudes."

Tying things back into the 1970s, Podhoretz pointed to the "parallels with England in 1937" and warned that "this revival of the culture of appeasement ought to be troubling our sleep." (A correspondent in a subsequent issue of Harper's would admit that he "had not previously realized that Winston Churchill fought the Battle of Britain almost singlehandedly while England's ubiquitous faggotry sneered and jeered from below.")

I haven't felt more like backing out of a room saying, "Uh, yeah, interesting, gotta go" while reading anything in a long time.

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  • Syloson of Samos||

    One of the most celebrated martial cultures in Western history - that of Sparta - was riddled with homosexuality and pederasty.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    A true, heterosexual manly man would have appreciated the Great War for eliminating most of his competition.

  • ||

    Pohoretz made an ass of himself on the Jim Lehrer News Hour, trying to debate Fareed Zakaria about the wisdom of military strikes on Iran.

    To every point Zakaria made, Podhoretz responded with, "That reminds me of what people were saying at Munich in 1938."

    Apparently, people in Munich in 1938 were talking about how Hitler didn't actually have control over the German military, and pointing to the Nazis' two-decade-long time in power without having launched a war.

  • Episiarch||

    That theory shows some hardcore obsession with teh geys. The kind of obsession one usually sees in a repressed homosexual.

  • ||

    Not having any experience with finding the deaths of soldiers regrettable, Podhoretz wracks his brains for why anyone else might have such feelings, and comes up with "because they're gay."

  • Syloson of Samos||

    But the ultimate danger of rolling out the Hitler analogy over and over again is that if another Hitler should ever emerge, we may be so sick of hearing about the next Hitler that he just might be ignored.

    Hannah Arendt made a very similar argument about terms like totalitarian, etc.

  • ||

    I guess that's why conservatives don't want the gay infecting the military. They might suddenly become anti-war protesters.

  • ||

    I knew it! Even when it was the bears, it was the gays!

  • ||

    joe,

    That was teh awesome!

  • Abdul||

    Pre WWI England did have teh gay going on much stronger than I would have thought. Not as strong as Norm Pod suggests. but I'll never forget reading CS Lewis' Surprised by Joy in which he describes going to an English boarding school just before the Great War. There was a whole culture of "bloods" and "tarts" who ruled the school's caste system through complex same-sex love affairs.

    I was surprised all right, but not by joy.

  • Episiarch||

    There was a whole culture of "bloods" and "tarts" who ruled the school's caste system through complex same-sex love affairs.

    When my parents wanted to send me to an all-boy's school, I said "you don't want me to turn out gay, right?"

  • Will||

    The problem being is that the people of England ( & others) saw WWI as a great waste of lives & treasure & that nothing good came out of it. Naturally they were skeptical of all war talk as should most civilized people.

    The answer wasn't going to war after Munich but stopping Germany from re-arming as per the treaty. Don't arm a country who's head of state wrote a book about conquering half of Europe.

  • shecky||

    ...butt...butt... Hitler!

    Oops.

  • ||

    Abdul,
    Victorian/Edwardian England had its fair share of oddities regarding sexual repression / unique expression, Teh Gay being just one of a myriad. It was proof that yes indeed, you can be wound too tight.

  • ||

    There seems to be another problem with the Munich analogy: Hitler was demanding things at Munich. He wanted the English and French to violate their defense treaties. He wanted them to recognize his acquisitions as legitimate.

    None of these New Hitlers have made any demands on the United States beyond "Don't start a war with us."

  • ||

    Gore Vidal has a hilarious essay (i don't recall the title) which skewers Podhoretz on this. Incidentally, according to Vidal's essay, Mrs Podhoretz is even more hysterical on the subject of "teh gay".

  • ||

    I'm can't remember if this came up in the Zakaria debate or not, but didn't he point out that in the '80's N-Pod slagged Regan for (gasp) talking with the Gorbachev and the Soviets?

    From Reason, 7-10-07

    "Rudy Giuliani Announces Foreign Policy Team Members"
    "Charles Hill to serve as Chief Foreign Policy Advisor; Norman Podhoretz joins as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor..."

  • ||

    Epi- I did go to an all-boys school, and didn't turn out gay. I did, however, get tired of that stereotype.

  • Episiarch||

    Captain Chaos, my story is completely made up, and is just a joke in reaction to Abdul's comment. I don't think an all-boys school would have ocurred to my parents. In my interactions with people who went to such schools, none were gay and most liked it a lot, saying the lack of pressure to impress girls was quite relaxing.

  • ||

    Comparing Saddam in 1991 or Milosevic in 1996 to Hitler was at least plausible, if vastly disproportionate. They actually were engaged in acts of aggression against their neighbors, and intended to keep going unless they were stopped.

    So, maybe they qualified as little, tiny Hitlers, and letting their aggressions stand might have qualified as little, tiny Munichs.

    But the last time I checked, the "appeasement" stance adopted by Neville Chamerlain didn't inlcude using military force to compel Hitler to abide by the disarmament treaties imposed by the allies after an earlier war. As a matter of fact, that was the Chruchillian position offered up in contrast to Chamberlain.

  • ||

    joe,
    maybe they could be called "Hitlettes?"

  • ||

    That's why I go to all the anti-war rallies and protests. With only peacenik fags for competition, it's sooo easy to get laid.

  • ||

    Randolph Carter,
    Only if they wear tu-tus and tights.

  • LarryA||

    Homophobia has a poster child.

    A true, heterosexual manly man would have appreciated the Great War for eliminating most of his competition.

    OTOH, the competition not eliminated came home in uniform, and thus much more attractive to premium members of the target audience. Unintended consequences.

    The answer wasn't going to war after Munich but stopping Germany from re-arming as per the treaty.

    I think the economic hardships caused by the Allied war reparations and the loss of face due to disarmament and other sanctions had a lot more to do with enabling Hitler's rise to power than the availability of weapons. Also, in another unintended consequence, because Germany was disarmed it rearmed with new and better equipment, and thus entered WWII a long step ahead of the Allies.

    Had not Britain lost most of its arms at Dunkirk, and the U.S. been generally unprepared but able to tool up, the difference might have been decisive.

    None of these New Hitlers have made any demands on the United States beyond "Don't start a war with us."

    And little things like "Make your women wear burquas and your men pray to the one God."

  • Ska||

    I'm going to troll other forums with the extraordinary phrase "ubiquitous faggotry".

  • ||

    Everyone knows real manly men longed to go to the Great War and huddle oh so tightly together in foxholes.

  • Younger, Hipper, More Fun||

    Two little Hitlers will fight it out until ...

  • ||

    One of the funniest stories I've heard about interwar England was about how while the intellectual giants like John Maynard Keynes were getting it on in gay interludes with their male colleagues Bertrand Russell was going around fucking all their wives. Quite an old stud that Bertie was, apparently.

    Not that that has anything to do with...who were you guys talking about?...oh, yeah, Norman Podhoretz. He's supposed to be some great mind or something, right? Funny, I've always wondered what anyone saw in him.

  • Matt J||

    This thread is gay.

  • Shannon Love||

    Comparisons to Hitler, hold true for most military opponents of liberal-democracies because Hitler rather purely exhibited the same narcissistic militarist mindset that enemies of liberal-democracies almost always evince. Hitler is an exemplar of the type of personality and mindset that causes problems and one that most people with no specialized knowledge of history knows about.

    In the militarist mindset, brute strength and power rule all human interactions. Militarist usually murder their way to power and maintain it through similar means. The view all responses to their actions as reactions to their power. If an opponent makes concessions it is because they are weak, decadent and afraid of the militarist.

    If you look at first hand reports of Saddam Hussien's interpretations of the actions of the West in the 1991-2003 period he sounds exactly like Hitler. Change a few names and dates around and you could not tell the two apart. It is no cliche at all to say the two thought alike.

    Because militarist share the same psychology and internal political imperatives, the same actions and policies of liberal-democracies repeatedly evoke the same responses from all militarist. even those of different cultures and ideologies.

    Hitler might get overused but that is largely due to his widespread familiarity. The basic lessons learned in our failure to head him off apply many, if not most, conflicts with foreign leaders we will ever see.

  • ||

    Larry A,

    And little things like "Make your women wear burquas and your men pray to the one God."'

    Refresh my memory - was that Saddam, Milosevic, or Ahmedinejad who made that demand of us?

    Oh. Right. They didn't.

  • ||

    So, maybe they qualified as little, tiny Hitlers, and letting their aggressions stand might have qualified as little, tiny Munichs.

    fuck, joe, you made sense. Now what am I supposed to think of you, huh? Get back to being wrong, you assface. ;-)

  • ||

    Gore Vidal has a hilarious essay (i don't recall the title) which skewers Podhoretz on this.

    Vidal takes it up the ass. And he can dish it out, too.

  • Episiarch||

    Oh. Right. They didn't.

    Even when joe is correct he is obnoxious.

  • ||

    That's pretty insightful, Shannon, as a description of what such militarists have in common. I'd say the tendnency to assume that non-militarists are weak and decadent ("a nation of shopkeepers," "You love Pepsi-Cola, we love death") is another common frame of reference.

    But the problem with bringing up Hitler is the mountain of additional meaning the reference carries. First, it suggests an imperialist aggressive drive to conquer territory. Second, it calls to mind the Panzer divisions, and implies a main-force military threat.

    And bringing up Munich brings in a whole host of other implications - such as, that the tyrant is making demands of us, or that the relevant options are a main-force military intervention or acquiesence.

    If you look at some of the cases in which this has been invoked - Noreiga, Iraq in 2002, Iran today - you can see that at least some of these features are missing. By using a comparison that puts them improperly into our thoughts, evoking Hitler and Munich can be an impediment to clear thinking.

  • ||

    w..w..WHAT?!

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Shannon Love,

    ...the same narcissistic militarist mindset that enemies of liberal-democracies almost always evince.

    The what? Can you please explain that in English? Thanks.

    Hitler is an exemplar of the type of personality and mindset that causes problems and one that most people with no specialized knowledge of history knows about.

    And you have this 'specialized knowledge?' Amongst historians "psycho-history" as it is called is much debated as to its merits partly because it is quite difficult at best to take written record and put it on the couch.

    In the militarist mindset, brute strength and power rule all human interactions. Militarist usually murder their way to power and maintain it through similar means. The view all responses to their actions as reactions to their power. If an opponent makes concessions it is because they are weak, decadent and afraid of the militarist.

    Wow, that sounds like any number of U.S. allies.

    If you look at first hand reports of Saddam Hussien's interpretations of the actions of the West in the 1991-2003 period he sounds exactly like Hitler. Change a few names and dates around and you could not tell the two apart. It is no cliche at all to say the two thought alike.

    Details, details.

    Because militarist share the same psychology and internal political imperatives, the same actions and policies of liberal-democracies repeatedly evoke the same responses from all militarist. even those of different cultures and ideologies.

    This at best an overly broad claim.

    Hitler might get overused but that is largely due to his widespread familiarity.

    Actually it is largely due to rank historical ignorance.

    The basic lessons learned in our failure to head him off apply many, if not most, conflicts with foreign leaders we will ever see.

    Why don't the basic lessons learned with regard to deterrance, detente, etc. in relationship with say the USSR or the PRC provide the dominant model? Let's face it, the majority of the regimes that the U.S. has actually had problems with over the 20th century were not met with by military force and only a few of them (three in other words) represented any sort of existential threat.

  • ||

    That kicks ass. Podhoretz rockin' the "holy shit where'd that come from?" theme.

  • ||

    In the militarist mindset, brute strength and power rule all human interactions. Force is the only thing those people understand. We need to go all National Review on their ass to show them who's boss.

    The view all responses to their actions as reactions to their power. War opponents are just out to get George Bush.

    If an opponent makes concessions it is because they are weak, decadent and afraid of the militarist. Those dhimmicrats want to appease al Qaeda because they're cowards.

    You mean like that? Yeah, damn that militarist mindset.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Shannon's point is correct. That Hitler and many of these dictators share teh same personalities and mindsets. However that does not mean they pose the same threat to the western world and humanity in general.

    I'm sure you can find many meglomanical businessmen, artists, etc who have Hitler's personality and mindset, that doesnt mean they must be stopped.

  • ||

    I can say this much: I would be against any war that involved the US sending thousands upon thousands of ladies aged 18-24 into peril.

  • Episiarch||

    I can say this much: I would be against any war that involved the US sending thousands upon thousands of ladies aged 18-24 into peril.

    What about the really, really ugly ones? I don't include fat girls because some fat girls have the potential to lose weight and become surprisingly hot.

  • Eric Hanneken||

    Pre WWI England did have teh gay going on much stronger than I would have thought. . . . I'll never forget reading CS Lewis' Surprised by Joy in which he describes going to an English boarding school just before the Great War.



    See also Good-bye to All That by Robert Graves, although he didn't mention the homo-archy you say Lewis wrote about.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    stephen the goldberger,

    That Hitler and many of these dictators share teh same personalities and mindsets.

    And many of them don't. It is unlikely that there is a universal psychological profile of a dictator.

  • ||

    As a member of the faggotry, I can honestly say that I have often seen pictures of soldiers marching off to war & sighed that all those lovely young men, the flower of the world's youth, was marching into a slaughterhouse.

    But that doesn't change my support or lack thereof for any particular war, on moral or political or strategic grounds. Podhoretz is a homophobic, reductivist ass. But we knew that.

  • ||

    Shannon,
    It's funny, the same people that compare any sort of diplomatic solutions to Iran/Irag to Munich in 1938, get their panties in a bunch when people compare Bush to Hitler for suspension of habeas corpus, fear-mongering, universal ID checks, etc. I'm curious why the "Hitler might get overused but that is largely due to his widespread familiarity" argument doesn't work for violations of civil liberties, but does apply to justify militarism?

    That sounds like something a Nazi would justify.*

    * This is a joke.

  • dhex||

    for what it's worth, from my sample of one dude i know who went to a all-boys school and was indeed teh gay, there was plenty of msm nookie to go around.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    I'll never forget reading CS Lewis' Surprised by Joy in which he describes going to an English boarding school just before the Great War.

    This reminds me of reading A Separate Peace in high school and the teacher refusing to acknowledge the rampant homoeroticism.

  • ||

    Every situation is unique. There will never be another Hitler but that doesn't mean their might not be worse in the future. Hitler was unique in that he is one of the few politicians in history who ever kept his word. He said exactly what he was going to do in Mein Kampf, eliminate the undesirables in German society, rearm and settle the score with the French and then annex Eastern Europe and move out the undesirables so that the German people could have living space. That is pretty much exactly what he tried to do.

    If you look at the more recent studies of Nazi Germany you find that one of the reasons that drove Hitler to keep invading countries was to keep up the German stardard of living. He funded the state first by looting the assets of Jews and other undesirables he was shipping off to concentration camps. For example, it is a lot easier to solve the unemployment problem after you strip a few million Jews of citizenship and the right to work and give their jobs to Germans. The Nazi "economic miracle" such as it was was a miracle for the Aryan population of Germany created by cannibalizing the assets of the other races in the society. That money ran out pretty quick and he moved on to annexing Austria and doing the same thing there and later Czechoslovakia and then of course Poland, France and Eastern Europe. This is what explains his seemingly insane invasion of Russis. He really thought they were an easy mark and he needed the cash.

    Saddam was somewhat similar to Hitler in that he invaded two countries (Kuwait and Iran) for the primary purpose of looting them. That is the exception though. Your basic crackpot middle astern dictator is so drunk on oil money that it is unlikely to invade another country for the cash. But they do have the motivating force of Religion. Iran is not Nazi Germany. They are Iran. Are the Iranians crazy enough to nuke Israel? I don't know and neither does anyone here. Are they crazy enough to think that a few well placed terror attacks against the US or perhaps a stray nuclear weapon smuggled in will cause us to pick up and go home from the Middle East? I don't know the answer to that either and I don't see how looking at Hitler tells me the answer.

  • ||

    The first few chapters of Graves "Goodbye to All That" is about growing up and going to prewar bording schools and the homoeroticism of them. A lot of good gentleman English soldiers of the Great War were pretty gay. Hard to find a better infantry officer than Sigfried Sassoon and he was gay as hell.

  • ||

    Podhoretz penned a meandering essay in Harper's in 1977 titled "The Culture of Appeasement" which likened antiwar sentiment in post-Vietnam America to the wariness of war in Britain after World War I, and then linked the latter to a homosexual yearning for relations with all the young men who perished in the Great War.

    That is one terribly convoluted way of simply saying "Anybody who's against my favorite war is a fag!"

    Podhoretz is one lousy historian, to say the least.

  • Episiarch||

    This reminds me of reading A Separate Peace in high school and the teacher refusing to acknowledge the rampant homoeroticism.

    I also had to read this excruciatingly boring book in 9th grade. It was difficult enough for me to make it through another page, let alone pick up on homoerotic content, though later I realized it.

    And then my teacher would analyze every fucking page, often down to individual words--but no discussions of homoeroticism, go figure. Might have livened that class up.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    If you look at the more recent studies of Nazi Germany you find that one of the reasons that drove Hitler to keep invading countries was to keep up the German stardard of living.

    No, Hitler himself was driven largely by ideological rationales, which largely had to do with romantic visions of the German volk, the desire to "save" the West, etc.

    He funded the state first by looting the assets of Jews and other undesirables he was shipping off to concentration camps.

    That was merely a means towards the ideological goals of Hitler, etc.

    Saddam was somewhat similar to Hitler in that he invaded two countries (Kuwait and Iran) for the primary purpose of looting them. That is the exception though.

    I personally don't know what Saddam was like but I doubt that he was like Hitler, except perhaps in the sense that they wanted to create a grander nation than what they inherited. Invading Kuwait was a means to that end for Saddam.

    Are the Iranians crazy enough to nuke Israel?

    Clearly not. The Iranians are rational players on an international stage of largely rational actors. I mean really, I'm not the first person to point this out, but look at how rationally the Iranians actually behave on the international scene.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I makes sense that Openly Gay Individuals are against the War...and Closeted Homosexual Republican Senators and Priest that Play Beef-Jerkie in public men's rooms are for the war.

    Where's the controversy

  • ||

    "Are the Iranians crazy enough to nuke Israel? I don't know and neither does anyone here. Are they crazy enough to think that a few well placed terror attacks against the US or perhaps a stray nuclear weapon smuggled in will cause us to pick up and go home from the Middle East?"

    They would have to be crazy to nuke Israel, because Israel could retaliate with nukes. They would be crazy to use nukes against the US also, because we could retaliate against them with nukes.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    And then my teacher would analyze every fucking page, often down to individual words--but no discussions of homoeroticism, go figure. Might have livened that class up.

    Yeah, that's the grand irony of it all -- talking about how gay that book is might be the only way to keep teenagers interested. Assuming reading an actual good book isn't an option.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Tying things back into the 1970s, Podhoretz pointed to the "parallels with England in 1937"

    I don't get it. Sure, he's no doubt correct that all those English dandies were all gay about the war, but what's that got to do with red-blooded, heterosexual Americans.

  • ||

    I don't find the theory that Hitler was motivated by loot terribly compelling, either.

    As with his domestic politics, he seems to have viewed the economic gains of his conquests in a pragmatic manner. The
    attainment of wealth for his war- and genocide-machines was just a means to an end.

    As you say, John, he laid out a pretty comprehensive ideological case for his conquests.

  • ||

    "No, Hitler himself was driven largely by ideological rationales, which largely had to do with romantic visions of the German volk, the desire to "save" the West, etc."

    That was part of it, but a lot of it had to do with economic necessity. Look at the latest work on the Nazi German economy and you will find that they plundered Europe to keep the German people happy and supportive.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805079262/reasonmagazineA/

    "Clearly not. The Iranians are rational players on an international stage of largely rational actors. I mean really, I'm not the first person to point this out, but look at how rationally the Iranians actually behave on the international scene."

    You make the mistake of assuming that the Iranians are just like us. They are not. There is nothing to say that they really might make the rational calculation that losing a couple of cities to Israeli nukes is a price worth paying to eliminate Israel. Indeed, the Mullahs have said that for years. Are they kidding? I don't know but I don't think you can just write off what they say. That indeed is one similiarity to Hitler. Hitler said what he was going to do and people said exactly what you are saying "he is a rational actor. he is just a nationalist playing to the crowd. He doesn't really mean it etc..."

  • Syloson of Samos||

    I'm guessing that for a particular generation A Seperate Peace was an interesting book but it may lack the staying power that say The Heart Of Darkness has. I certainly never really "got into" the former.

  • ||

    Read the book I linked to on Amazon. I did earlier this year and it totally changed my view of things. It is some pretty original and compelling scholarship. In the end these clowns, be they Hitler or whoever, devolve into gangsterism. In the end it is about power and money and parnoia.

  • ||

    Adolf did it all for the nookie.

  • duster||

    Has this guy come out of the closet yet?

    Maybe he's one of those "Old School Gays"

  • ||

    Hitler began his international conquests within a couple of years of attaining power.

    Iran? We're coming up on 30 years of the mullah-ocracy, and no wars. They seem pretty happy to play in their own sandbox.

    And no, noting this fact and other evidence of their rational behavior on the international scene is not "making the mistake of assuming that they're just likek us," any more than noting the rational international behavior of Maoist China.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    That was part of it, but a lot of it had to do with economic necessity. Look at the latest work on the Nazi German economy and you will find that they plundered Europe to keep the German people happy and supportive.

    Dude, even the title of the book that you are recommending seems to illustrate my point. The sort of activities that the Nazi regime engaged in, while they did foster all manner of graft and corruption, were also primarily taken from the perspective of the regime's leaders to further the ideology of the Nazi regime.

    You make the mistake of assuming that the Iranians are just like us. They are not.

    Actually I didn't. I judge them by their past actions. They've acted quite rationally in the past and within a framework which is based on benefiting themselves without creating an inordinate risk. If you have a better way to judge the regime then tell me what it is.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    Well, lots of commentators have made the remark that despite China's quite rabid rhetoric in the 1960s they were quite willing to deal with the U.S. by 1973.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    In other words, for the Nazi leaders engaging in and furthering their ideological goals was paramount, which is why the regime undertook all manner of activities in wartime which ultimately counter-productive to the war effort. The need for labor - slave labor in fact - was paramount for the regime as members of the Wannsee Conference made clear, yet SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich would have none of it - killing off the Jews was more important than making sure the armaments industry had enough able hands to keep it running at high capacity.

  • ||

    "You make the mistake of assuming that the Iranians are just like us. They are not. There is nothing to say that they really might make the rational calculation that losing a couple of cities to Israeli nukes is a price worth paying to eliminate Israel. Indeed, the Mullahs have said that for years. Are they kidding? I don't know but I don't think you can just write off what they say."

    You have to understand the Iranian mindset. My wife, who's Iranian, said that Iranians talk big like that all the time. My cousin's husband, who is also Iranian, said the same thing. My wife's brother, when he gets mad at you, says he's going to take your life. Ofcourse, he doesn't mean it. That's just the way some Iranians talk.

  • Episiarch||

    I'm guessing that for a particular generation A Seperate Peace was an interesting book but it may lack the staying power that say The Heart Of Darkness has. I certainly never really "got into" the former.

    No, I think it's just a book that certain English majors (who often become high school teachers) have a total hard-on for (pun intended), and everyone else thinks it sucks rocks.

    There are plenty of "classic" or "intellectual" books and authors that are interesting, even to high school students. Why not pick one of them?

  • ||

    Looking at the Iraq War, wouldn't "assuming the Iranians are just like us" make one MORE likely to conclude that the Tehran regime would undertake self-destructive military action, adopt an imperialst foreign policy, allow wishful thinking to crowd out rational cost/benefit analysis, and wage aggressive war in the name of their ideology?

  • ||

    "Iran? We're coming up on 30 years of the mullah-ocracy, and no wars. They seem pretty happy to play in their own sandbox."

    Really? I don't think the Lebanese think that. Further, if they are so happy to stay at home why do they feel the need to build nuclear weapons? None of their enemies have them. In addition, how do you explain 30 years of propaganda about spreading the Shia Jihad? Also, Hitler took power in 1933 and didn't do squat to another country until what 37 or 38 when he took over Austria and even that was an internal takeover not an outright invasion. Further, the Iranians suffered a bit of a setback in the 8 year war with Iraq. Getting invaded and suffering through the longest and bloodiest war since World War II will tend to set your plans for world domination back a few years. Maybe they are just wonderful people Joe, but none of their statements seem to indicate that. If they are so harmless why are they such a big sponsor of terrorism and why do they feel the need to build nukes and missiles to put them on?

  • ||

    I've found it worthwhile to take another crack at some of the classics I hated in High School.

    Reading is much more enjoyable when you aren't doing it at gunpoint.

  • ||

    Joe,

    All I can do is look at what they say and what they say is pretty frightening. Maybe they are lying. I don't know that they are not but neither do you. I would just like more than your word as evidence that they are kidding around.

  • Mike Laursen||

    The sort of activities that the Nazi regime engaged in, while they did foster all manner of graft and corruption, were also primarily taken from the perspective of the regime's leaders to further the ideology of the Nazi regime.

    There's no reason they couldn't have been motivated by looting and ideology. Especially, when the two weren't in conflict.

    Reminds me of people arguing over whether the Bush Administration invaded Iraq because of their neo-con ideals or to get their hands on oil. It was both.

  • ||

    I have no doubt in my mind that if the neoconservatives were running our government during the Cuban Mistle Crisis, the Cold War would have turned into a hot war. Neoconservatives don't believe in negotiations and diplomacy. They beleve only in force.

  • ||

    Iran? We're coming up on 30 years of the mullah-ocracy, and no wars.

    For the record, they did defend themselves against Saddam Hussein, who was tacitly supported by the U.S.

  • ||

    "I have no doubt in my mind that if the neoconservatives were running our government during the Cuban Mistle Crisis, the Cold War would have turned into a hot war. Neoconservatives don't believe in negotiations and diplomacy. They beleve only in force."

    I can't imagine a US President being any more belligerent than Kennedy was. He blockaded the Island for Christ's sake. The head of the Air Force wanted to start a war and bomb China and nearly every other country in the world preemptively if war with the Soviets came. The world damn near ended and in retrospect the missiles in Cuba were no more a threat to the US than the ones in Russia.

  • ||

    Iran invaded Lebannon? Really? Funny, you'd think something like that would have made the papers.

    Further, if they are so happy to stay at home why do they feel the need to build nuclear weapons? Deterrence - you know, the same reason every other country that built nukes in the past half-century did so.

    None of their enemies have them. What are you, kidding me? The Great Satan has them, and Israel has both a first- and second-strike capability.

    In addition, how do you explain 30 years of propaganda about spreading the Shia Jihad? Pretty much the same way I'd explain our rhetoric of spreading democracy, and the Soviets' rheteoric of spreading communism. How does any of this demonstrate irrationality?

    Also, Hitler took power in 1933 and didn't do squat to another country until what 37 or 38 when he took over Austria... You forgot Alsace, which came even earlier. But thank you for proving my point - Hitler, unlike the Iranian regime, invaded his neighbors at the first opportunity.

    Maybe they are just wonderful people Joe, but none of their statements seem to indicate that.

    So, have you switched from arguing about their rationality as global actors to arguing about their wonderfulness because you've conceded the argument? Or do you just not understand that those are two different subjects?

  • ||

    All I can do is look at what they say...

    Not generally the smartest way to go about understanding the motivations of politicians, John. It's better to look at what they actually do, because politicians say all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with their actual intentions.

  • ||

    I can't imagine a US President being any more belligerent than Kennedy was. He blockaded the Island for Christ's sake.

    Funny, when we had a blockade on Iraq, you described the continuation of that policy, rather than invasion and conquest, as a cowardly exercise in pacifist appeasement.

    Now, you cannot imagine a more belligerent course of action for a president to take. Funny, I can, and it doesn't take much imagination at all.

  • ||

    "Pretty much the same way I'd explain our rhetoric of spreading democracy, and the Soviets' rheteoric of spreading communism. How does any of this demonstrate irrationality?"

    It doesn't demonstrate irrationality; it demonstrates that they mean what they say. They don't have to be insane. They only have to believe in what they are doing and be willing to sacrifice for it. It is not necessarily insane to nuke Israel. It just depends on how much you hate Jews and how badly you want to destroy the country. You assume "rational actor" is synonymous with non-threatening. If only that were true. There is nothing to say that the Iranians mean exactly what they say. Why is it so far fetched for them to build nukes and then use them to destroy Israel and be the heroes of the Muslim world? Or build nukes and use that deterrence to sponsor terrorism with impunity?

  • ||

    I realize this is not the point of the thread at all, but I thought A Separate Peace was a wonderful novel. I read it in high school, and then read it again as an adult, and it was still far more powerful than most of the crap that passes for "modern literature" today.
    Remember the guy who goes crazy, and describes what he saw when the main character jostles the tree branch so that his friend Phineas falls? He describes it as an engine, with sunlight bursting around it like machine gun fire.
    That image has stuck with me. Nothing from Faulkner or Hemingway ever did.

  • ||

    "Funny, when we had a blockade on Iraq, you described the continuation of that policy, rather than invasion and conquest, as a cowardly exercise in pacifist appeasement.

    Now, you cannot imagine a more belligerent course of action for a president to take. Funny, I can, and it doesn't take much imagination at all."


    God you are an insufferable moron Joe. Blockading Iraq did not risk getting us into a nuclear war with the Soviets. Blockading Cuba in 1961 did. Had Saddam Huisain had a few thousand nuclear missiles pointed at the US, I would say blockading him would have been pretty damn ballsy if not downright stupid.

  • ||

    "I can't imagine a US President being any more belligerent than Kennedy was. He blockaded the Island for Christ's sake."

    John, you're overlooking one little thing. JFK removed our nukes from Turkey in exchange for the Soviets removing their nukes from Cuba.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Further, if they are so happy to stay at home why do they feel the need to build nuclear weapons?

    Well, first of all, Iran is not building a nuclear weapon and has no capacity to do so at this time. Now it may be learning how to create fissile material, but that is merely one step in the process. Even its ability to do that is years off. As has been demonstrated by both the Libyan and Iraqi nuclear weapons programs it isn't easy to build a nuclear weapon.

    None of their enemies have them.

    In light of the rhetoric out of the Bush administration the U.S. clearly looks like an enemy to Iran.

    In addition, how do you explain 30 years of propaganda about spreading the Shia Jihad?

    It is exactly that, propaganda. The Iranian regime clearly realizes the limits of power internationally, whatever rhetoric may come out of its various organs.

    Also, Hitler took power in 1933 and didn't do squat to another country until what 37 or 38 when he took over Austria and even that was an internal takeover not an outright invasion.

    Actually, many Austrians opposed the effort and it wasn't remotely as popular as Nazi propaganda made it out to be. Furthermore, almost immediately after gaining power the Nazi regime was laying plans to avenge WWI, indvade Eastern Europe, etc.

    No one claimed that the Iranians were "harmless."

    I can't imagine a US President being any more belligerent than Kennedy was.

    Actually, I can. Some of Kennedy's advisors wanted Kennedy to simply launch a nuclear strike against Cuba and be done with it. Did you not know this?

  • ||

    You assume "rational actor" is synonymous with non-threatening.

    No, I don't.

    Now it's a lot clearer why you are making such bizarre arguments - you really don't understand the subject being discussed.

    Mao was even worse than the mullahs, and devoted himself to even more aggressive rhetoric, but he acted in a rational manner. Funding the Khmer Rouge and Shining Path were perfectly rational actions for him to take, just as funding Hezbollah is a perfectly rational action for Tehran to take.

    Why is it so far fetched for them to build nukes and then use them to destroy Israel and be the heroes of the Muslim world? Becasue they, and their entire country, would be wiped off the face of the earth in the counter-strike.

    That last point, btw, is the central issue in this discussion that you have such a weak understanding of. The questin is whether the Iranians are going to act like rational bad guys, pushing to expand their own power when it can be done at an acceptable cost, or like irrational bad guys, willing to suffer their own destruction for the cause.

    In their actions over the last 30 years, they've looked a lot more like Mao than like Mohammed Atta, in that way.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    Pretty clearly both sides gave each other leeway so as to avoid an open conflict. If I recall correctly though the missiles in Turkey were already basically obsolete anyway.

    BTW, for a couple days after the end of the crisis apparently a few Soviet subs with nuclear strike capability were in the Caribbean unaware of the end of said standoff (out of radio contact I would guess).

  • ||

    "Actually, I can. Some of Kennedy's advisors wanted Kennedy to simply launch a nuclear strike against Cuba and be done with it. Did you not know this?"

    Yes, Curtis LaMay wanted to nuke the entire world. Yes Kennedy did take nukes out of Turkey but confronting the Soviets the way he did was very ballsy to say the least. He damn near got us into a nuclear war over it. I don't think in retrospect, the missiles in Cuba justified that. What is even more scary is that the missile crews in Cuba were told to launch if they were attacked. Kennedy almost tried to bomb them. If he had, the missiles might have fired. Also, Castro tried to get the Soviets to give him the authority to launch the missiles and argued vehemently for war. Crazy bastard.

  • ||

    John,

    Name something the Iranian regime has done, knowing it would lose power and harm Iran as a result, in order to advance the "Shiite jihad."

  • ||

    "In their actions over the last 30 years, they've looked a lot more like Mao than like Mohammed Atta, in that way."

    The Soviets were terrified of Mao and thought that he was a parnoid lunatic. There was serious talk in the Kremlin in the late 1960s that he was going to start a nuclear war. So you think the Mullahs are like Mao? How many times does the world have to risk nuclear weapons in the hands of lunatics before its luck runs out? Really? You don't find someone like Mao holding nuclear weapons to be a problem?

  • ||

    "Why is it so far fetched for them to build nukes and then use them to destroy Israel and be the heroes of the Muslim world? Or build nukes and use that deterrence to sponsor terrorism with impunity?"

    Because, even if Israel was unable to retaliate, the US could. The Iranian government would never be so stupid to nuke Israel. Also, why would Iran spend billions of dollars on nukes and give them away to terrorists. They know the bombs could be traced back to them and that they would be retaliated against. Also, how could they trust that the terrorists wouldn't use the nukes against them?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    To be frank, a lot of the Iranian zeitgest (hey, Shannon used narcissitic) has clearly little to do with religion and more to do with memories of the past Persian empire, Persian nationalism, etc. Now a lot of that is channeled through rhetoric tinged with Islamic sayings, etc. but getting over a period in which Iran was dominated by foreign powers and getting back to Iran (persia's) "natural" position in the middle east does seem to describe the way a lot of Iranians feel at least in part.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    Yes, Curtis LaMay wanted to nuke the entire world.

    So you admit my point?

  • ||

    "Name something the Iranian regime has done, knowing it would lose power and harm Iran as a result, in order to advance the "Shiite jihad."

    Once the Iranians have nukes, they can never lose power short of a nuclear war or internal revolution. In that case, what incentive would they have to restrain their behavior? If they sponsor terorists all over the world, what are we going to do about it? Risk a nuclear war? Further, what is Europe who will be in range, going to do about it. Lastly, once they have nukes, how does the world excert any influence over them in regard to their own people? Nuclear weapons are like a get out of jail free card.

  • ||

    "The Soviets were terrified of Mao and thought that he was a parnoid lunatic. There was serious talk in the Kremlin in the late 1960s that he was going to start a nuclear war."

    The Soviets had an overblown fear of Mao just as we do of Iran.

  • ||

    "Because, even if Israel was unable to retaliate, the US could. The Iranian government would never be so stupid to nuke Israel."

    Who is to say we would respond? Especially if they had the ability to strike the US. Would the public support defending Israel if doing so risked losing a couple of cities? I don't think they would. If Iran has intercontinental nukes, they could use them on one country and threaten any country that intervened with nuclear weapons. If they launched on Israel and told the US that if we defended Israel they would launch on us to, what would the US do? Absent missile defense, nothing is I think the answer.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    Did Mao actually have authority over the use of nuclear weapons? Furthermore, did the testing at Lop Nor mean that the Chinese have the ability to deliver such a weapon?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    I think it was more of an effort to spike any ease of relations between the PRC and the U.S. following the break between the USSR and the PRC.

  • ||

    The Soviets were terrified of Mao and thought that he was a parnoid lunatic. There was serious talk in the Kremlin in the late 1960s that he was going to start a nuclear war. So you think the Mullahs are like Mao?

    Seeing as how the Kremlin turned out to be completely wrong about that, you've yet againg made a point in support of my position.

    Yup, people who themselves support military aggression and have a paranoid view of the world, and overestimate the threat posed by other powers, sometimes to their own detriment.

    Good point.

  • ||

    Like that old British joke, "I am not homosexual, but having gone to public school, I may have slept with men who are."

  • ||

    John, did you paste the wrong quote at 4:01?

    Your answer doesn't seem to have anything to do with the question.

    As for the point you mention, no on doubts that Iran in posession of nukes is a threat. The question at hand is, how much of a threat? As most of us have recently been reminded, overestimating threats can be quite harmful, too, so it's not just a case of "better safe than sorry" when estimating the degree of threat.

  • ||

    Of course, if you don't believe that the decision to go to war against a nasty regime can ever be wrong, then any degree of threat will do.

    In which case, there really isn't any point in discussing the degree of threat, except as propaganda.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    joe,

    Well, as I noted, also the commentary may have simply been a means to spread disinformation so as to undermine any future talks between the PRC and the U.S. That wouldn't surprise me given the nature of the relationship between the two countries at the time.

  • ||

    "Getting invaded and suffering through the longest and bloodiest war since World War II will tend to set your plans for world domination back a few years."

    You really believe they are bent on world domination, John?

  • ||

    "Who is to say we would respond? Especially if they had the ability to strike the US. Would the public support defending Israel if doing so risked losing a couple of cities? I don't think they would. If Iran has intercontinental nukes, they could use them on one country and threaten any country that intervened with nuclear weapons. If they launched on Israel and told the US that if we defended Israel they would launch on us to, what would the US do? Absent missile defense, nothing is I think the answer."

    This all sounds like farfetched fantasy to me. The most likely scenario is that Iran would not use nukes against Israel in the first place because they know that Israel and the US could retaliate against them.

  • ||

    "You really believe they are bent on world domination, John?"

    I honestly don't know. They certainly make statements like they are. I can't see anyone could argue that the world would be a hell of a lot better off if they don't get nukes. The question becomes how much are you willing to pay to stop that. If you told me tommorow that we could just do a Kosovo like war and have sustained bombing until they capitulated or until their nuke program was set back for a decade or two, that looks like a decent option. Not every war need involve invading the country and building a new one. That is not what we did in Kosovo and not what we necessarily have to do in Iran.

  • ||

    "This all sounds like farfetched fantasy to me. The most likely scenario is that Iran would not use nukes against Israel in the first place because they know that Israel and the US could retaliate against them."

    Hey what are a few million lives to gamble with. Further, even if that didn't happen, how do you plan to confron a nuclear armed Iran who are supporting terrorists? Yeah 9-11 was pretty bad but if retaliating involved risking nuclear war, would you want to do it or just take it and move on?

  • ||

    The Serbs didn't throw in the towel until we started building up towards a ground invasion. We could credibly threaten them with one.

    Iran? In 2007? We can't even maintain troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We've ratcheted up their motivation to pursue a deterrent, while ceding our ability to credibly threaten them with the level of force necessary to compel their compliance, even if we wanted to use it.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    John,

    The thing of course is that there is plenty of time to deal with Iran.

    If you told me tommorow that we could just do a Kosovo like war and have sustained bombing until they capitulated or until their nuke program was set back for a decade or two, that looks like a decent option.

    It is unlikely that the Iranians would capitulate and the tens of thousands of civilian casualities caused would of course increase the enmity of Iran toward the U.S. That and Iran obviously doesn't have all of its eggs in one basket. Then of course there is issue of what would happen in Iraq. Iran could easily cause a heck of a lot of havoc there.

  • ||

    Hey what are a few million lives to gamble with.

    Says the guy talking about starting a war.

    Launching wars against countries in the Middle East is not safe. It's a gamble, too.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    The irony of an attack on Iran would be the ratcheting up of violence in Iraq such that the 'surge' policy ended in a failure.

  • ||

    The best chance we had to reduce our Persian headaches was the democracy movement of the late 1990s, and we put an end to that by invading Iraq. Between the rally 'round the flag effect and the greater defence towards executive action during periods of national threat, there isn't a mass movement for democracy in Iran anymore.

    Launching wars is a dangerous business. It should not be treated as a "safe" course of action that we avoid only out of kindness or weakness or solidarity with the would-be-enemy.

    Sometimes, the stock market goes down. Sometimes, wars harm our interests more than help.

  • ||

    Oh, and remember, no matter how bad our intelligence was when we invaded the other country, once there we must remain FOREVER, or at least until they have a nice, stable, Western-style democracy with a McDonald's on ever corner. You break it, you buy it.

  • GILMORE||

    In case no one's ever heard this line before =

    The Pink Swastika:Homosexuality in the Nazi Party

    http://www.abidingtruth.com/pfrc/books/pinkswastika/html/the_pinkswastika_4th_edition_-_final.htm

    You can read the whole ridiculous thing online.

    I got through a few chapters once, LOL'd a few times, then finally got nauseous. It really does boil down to "Nazis=Fags, ergo, all gays are latent Nazis".

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Gilmore,

    Read Plant's "The Pink Triangle" for much of the history of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals.

  • ||

    "how do you plan to confron a nuclear armed Iran who are supporting terrorists?"

    They would not be supporting terrorists against us if it were'nt for our meddling foreign policy in the Middle East.

  • GILMORE||

    John sez = how do you plan to confron a nuclear armed Iran...

    Well, they'd be an Iran with zero capacity to do anything with them aside from threaten Israel, which if they did, Isreal would preemtively turn them into glass.

    Its not a credible threat to US security one way or the other. It's a treat to balance of power in the region to be sure, and not something we'd want to happen, but making Iran into some kind of boogeyman nemesis is silly. We stood down the soviet union for 40 years, and they had the power to truly blow up the world. Iran is by contrast a loudmouth kid in the neighborhood who gets a hold of a .22

    And before anyone suggests they'd "give teh weapon to terrrists~!", try explaining how 'terrorists' would transport and detonate a nuclear device the size of a minivan on US soil. If this were practical, it could have been done already many times. Iran is basically a head-fake by the US government to raise a new specter for the elections of 08 ("whos Toughest on Iran!?"), and to distract people away from the shithole mess called Iraq.

  • GILMORE||

    It's a treat

    Pardon = it's a threat

  • ||

    Actually, John hasn't made the claim that Iran would give weapons to terrorists. I don't think he ever has.

    He's been quite clear that the biggest threat he sees in an Irannian nuke program is the possibility that we might not be as eager to start a war with them.

  • ||

    If an officer in the military is pissing his pants this bad, I can't imagine how the average American makes it through the day.

  • ||

    Yes, Curtis LaMay wanted to nuke the entire world. Yes Kennedy did take nukes out of Turkey but confronting the Soviets the way he did was very ballsy to say the least. He damn near got us into a nuclear war over it. I don't think in retrospect, the missiles in Cuba justified that. What is even more scary is that the missile crews in Cuba were told to launch if they were attacked. Kennedy almost tried to bomb them. If he had, the missiles might have fired. Also, Castro tried to get the Soviets to give him the authority to launch the missiles and argued vehemently for war. Crazy bastard.

    Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle.

  • ||

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

  • ||

    so wait, hilarious and insane arguments about how all anti-war people are gay aside, was WW2 a libertarian war?

  • ||

    Why is it so far fetched for them to build nukes and then use them to destroy Israel and be the heroes of the Muslim world? Becasue they, and their entire country, would be wiped off the face of the earth in the counter-strike.

    Is it just me or did Joe just give a ringing endorsement to Reagon?

  • ||

    The Vidal essay referred to earlier is "pink triangle and yellow star."

  • Glaivester||

    Justin Raimondo commented on this years ago:

    During the Vietnam war, super-hawk Norman Podhoretz once declared that the antiwar movment was motivated by homosexual passion to save all those delectable young men from a certain death.

  • Joshua Holmes||

    Upthread, Gabriel Kolko's Century of War discusses a lot of the Nazi welfare state. Apparently, Hitler and his generals were really quite shrewd in putting it together.

    I know that World War I is barely ever mentioned, but few people realize just how close the entire European continent came to starving to death. This launched serious social revolutions, including the Communist takeover of Russia. Germany also was wracked by internal strife from labor and communist parties - albeit the Germans had enough to put them down.

    The Nazis remembered that Germany came close to a complete revolution, and so they vowed to channel the spoils of war to the German people. Bread and circuses, and all that.

    I strongly recommend Century, although Kolko's prose is a crime against the English language.

  • ||

    I can't imagine that Iran would give nukes to terrorists because then terrorists would have huge bargaining power against Iran. I think their history is too long to trust in rogue, non-state actors.

  • Guy Montag||

    That theory shows some hardcore obsession with teh geys.

    Actually, the post by Brian shows some obsession with those who mention homosexuals in a way he does not appreciate.

    The kind of obsession one usually sees in a repressed homosexual.

    I really do not know that to be the case and the famous Mr. Doherty shirtless vest picture certainly should not be entered into evidence to support your side of this discussion.

  • Guy Montag||

    I can't imagine that Iran would give nukes to terrorists because then terrorists would have huge bargaining power against Iran. I think their history is too long to trust in rogue, non-state actors.

    Yea, those Hezbollah guys are not such rogues, never following along with their bosses and all that. Trying to make peace with Lebanon and Israel withoug permission failing to destroy their hosts and foes as ordered, all that.

  • Guy Montag||

    so wait, hilarious and insane arguments about how all anti-war people are gay aside, was WW2 a libertarian war?

    No, it was a war between Socialists. International Socialists on the Soviet and irish side, National Socialists by the rest of the leadership: FDR, Churchill, Hitler, degalle.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Guy Montag,

    Actually, the post by Brian shows some obsession with those who mention homosexuals in a way he does not appreciate.

    On its face, does the argument make sense to you? Do you agree with the assertion or not?

    The guy's name was de Gaulle, BTW.

  • Fluffy||

    Wait, the Irish were in WWII?

    Did the I Ching tell you this?

  • ||

    I don't know who "Reagon" is, but the concept of nuclear deterrence goes back to the 1950s.

  • ||

    joe-He was in one of the Godzilla movies. It was the one right after Godzilla vs. Qu'ran, Toho's attempt to return to the early days of allegorical Godzilla adventures. Unfortunately, it was Godzilla vs. Reagon that convinced Matthew Broderick that Godzilla couldn't possibly get any worse, and we all know how that turned out.

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