Thursday, April 20, 2006

Paul Kane and the madman at the helm.

Recently there has been an avalanche of op-eds and straight news articles pushing the notion that a war with Iran is inevitable.Think tank policy wonks and so-called "experts" are being given free reign to once again manufacture a "crisis" that really only exists in the minds of the people that brought us the debacle in Iraq. Although, a small minority of voices in the foreign policy establishment actually think Iran is within striking distance of making a bomb in the near term, the fevered imaginings of these advocates of war-pestilence-and-death are being given equal weight in the editorial pages of the nation's papers in the interests of "balance."

As the disaster in Iraq goes from bad to worse and the political prospects of the Republicans in the midterm elections become ever bleaker, the calls for a new war are getting louder and shriller. A case in point is the column by Paul Kane in today's op-ed section of the New York Times. The former Marine and current fellow at the Kennedy School of Government writes that "President Bush and Congress should reinstitute selective service...for young males and females," in order to "send a strong message" to "outside powers like Russia and China" that we're serious about ensuring that Iran will never possess a nuclear weapon. Only by preparing for "Totale Krieg," can we "dissuade our foes and avoid actual war," Kane believes.

Full mobilization will prove to the Iranians that George W. Bush is as much of a "madman at the helm," as Ronald Reagan was during the Cold War. By engaging Iranian public opinion; by showing them the cost of their nuclear ambitions in "blood, treasure, time and standing," war will become more unlikely. Kane thinks that the perception by a majority of people in the world of Bush as the greatest danger to world peace is one that should be exploited. "Go with the flow," Kane writes, "why let them down on this count?" By striking fear into the hearts of the peoples of the world, America can stay out of war.

And since here at home the president has "little political capital to lose at this stage," he should impose the draft and let "America's elites and ordinary citizens alike know that they may be called upon for wartime service and sacrifice." How Kane proposes that the president would convince Congress to go along with a reinstituting the draft in an election year and with his approval ratings in the toilet, he doesn't say.

The entire premise of Kane's column is totally divorced from any kind of political or military reality and is completely ludicrous. Why the editors of the Times even considered publishing such lunacy is beyond me.


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