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Glenn Greenwald on the “Bomb Iran Crazies”

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Glenn Greenwald‘s critical piece on agitators’ Fred Hiatt and Michael Ledeen is a great source of information in profiling the disreputable and disgraceful backgrounds of some demagogues advocating war on Iran.

It is hard to overstate the bitterness and resentment which the Serious Pro-War Beltway Elite like Hiatt, who were wrong about everything, still harbor towards those, such as ElBaredei, who were right about Iraq, principally because those who were right serve as an ongoing, painful reminder of what poor judgment the likes of Hiatt possess, of how untrustworthy are the foreign policy pronouncements of the Serious People in Hiatt’s world. Thus, Hiatt’s attack on EdBaredei begins with the complaint that he “was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war” for being right. That’s because in Hiatt’s world, having been right on Iraq — and being “lionized” by war opponents — are actually hallmarks of unseriousness.

Most pertinent is Greenwald’s focus on neoconservative Michael Ledeen—closely affiliated with the AEI and AIPAC—who has a very long history of pushing for regime change in Iran.

Whenever right-wing warriors want to urge a new war with Iran, they invariably cite Ledeen, who serves as “Freedom Scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute, a contributor to National Review, and some sort of regular contributor to “Pajamas Media.” Simply put, there is no more ridiculous, deceitful, untrustworthy and just outright laughable political figure of influence than Michael Ledeen.

To begin with, Ledeen is plagued by the single most absurd yet fundamental contradiction one can imagine. His central argument, repeated over and over and now a staple in neoconservative mythology, is that Iran has been at war with the U.S. continuously ever since 1979. We just haven’t fought back yet.

Yet Ledeen played a central role in brokering the sale by Israel to Iran of highly advanced weapons as part of the Reagan administration’s Iran-contra shenanigans in the 1980s. A military confrontation with Iran would likely subject U.S. troops to attack from the very same nasty weapons which Ledeen and his friends provided to Iran during a time when, Ledeen and neoconservatives now insist, Iran was waging war on the U.S. As Scott Lemieux, among many others, has noted, providing arms to a country “waging war against the U.S.” — as Ledeen did with Iran in the 1980s if his central premise is to be believed — is called treason.

Ledeen’s credibility-destroying pronouncements are too numerous to chronicle here. In January, he declared in Pajamas Media that “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, is dead.” Days later, Khamenei appeared in public and gave a major speech, and continues to live.

As Greenwald notes, Ledeen—a vocal proponent of the Iraq war—stated:

One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today.

Also:

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.

Ledeen was also accused of fomenting ethnic tensions to encourage the fragmentation of Iran along ethnic lines. With the AEI, Ledeen organized and moderated a conference titled “The Unknown Iran: Another Case for Federalism?” which on its website falsely states:

Of particular importance is the fact that although Iran is made up of various ethnic and religious groups, few realize that Persians likely constitute a minority of the Iranian population. The majority is composed of Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmen, and the Arabs of Khuzistan / al-ahwaz. In the event the current regime falls, these groups will undoubtedly play an important role in their country’s future.

For more on this subject, read Barnett Rubin’s series of posts at the ICGA website.

Irancove @ September 6, 2007

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