For Cruz, Lee, Paul, and Palin the Password is 'Lindbergh'By J. Robert Smith
Ted Cruz, Bill Lee, and Rand Paul are isolationists, per Jennifer Rubin, the in-house neocon at the Washington Post. Throw in Sarah Palin, too. The senators and former governor want nothing more than two briny oceans to defend the nation from the world's predators and cutthroats. Heck, maybe they don't even want militias.
Palin and the three rising conservative stars are secret America Firsters. "Lindbergh" is their password. Shhh!
Hands up, guys and gal, Jennifer Rubin's outed you.
It's more like Rubin tarred y'all, pinning America First buttons on your lapels all by her lonesome, to the gloating approval of Barack's buddy, John McCain, and his sidekick, Lindsey Graham (Tonto to the neocons). You see, Cruz, Lee, Paul, and Palin believe that intervening in Syria serves no American national security interest. Rubin, neocon she, thinks that America's national security interest is just about anything the neocons say it is.
National security is just taffy to neocons, to be pulled and stretched to suit whatever intervention they think is useful to American "credibility" or that's humanitarian in character. Neocons have previously identified genuine needs for military action. Let's gladly concede the last, as surely as the senators and Palin would do. The first Gulf War would be an instance, though the war wasn't a humanitarian venture; it served concrete U.S. interests.
Let's dip into Rubin's analysis, shall we?
What Rubin refers to here is an "ultimatum." Leaders need to be circumspect about issuing ultimatums, lest they have to act on them. The glib Mr. Obama's earlier "red line" ultimatum to Assad was yet another throwaway line in a presidency full of such. But now the president is being pressed to deliver on his words.
Surely, Rubin would grant that ultimatums have consequences. If not carried out, an ultimatum makes a leader a paper tiger. If carried out -- well, military action has its fortunes, good, bad, and unpredictable. Acting first and gaming the consequences later isn't smart statecraft.
Then this line from Rubin:
Among the factions warring with Assad is Al Qaeda and other Muslim extremist groups. When Rubin refers to "rebels," doubtless she means those factions that are pro-Western and democratic. But wars are famously foggy. The arms and gas masks delivered to a friendly faction (so presumed) may find their ways to hostile factions.
If the U.S. sides with the rebels and helps overthrow Assad, then which faction or factions replace his regime? No struggle will occur among the rebel factions in the wake of Assad's defeat? What's the U.S.'s assurance that a pro-American faction triumphs? We'll just render more assistance to guarantee that the good guys prevail? What would that mean in terms of U.S. military involvement and an on-ground commitment longer term in Syria? What happens once the U.S. vacates Syria?
Another shot from Rubin:
"Robust retaliation" means exactly what in neocon-speak? What is the scale of military reprisal that Rubin suggests? What are her thoughts as to escalation and counters, not just by Assad, Iran, or Assad's allies in the Middle East, but the Russians and Chinese? How does "robust retaliation" play out?
Then these thoughts from Rubin:
Rubin needs to consult history. Despots have slaughtered minus poison gas for ages. Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and lesser fiends all managed genocides the old fashioned ways: with bullets, starvation, or working people to death. Yes, Hitler used gas to exterminate the Jews and other "undesirables." But even he killed millions without as much as one canister of poison gas being emptied.
Take all the poison gas in the world and ship it to the moon. Despots -- including Assad -- will still find methods of exterminating enemies and innocents.
Dying by poison gas is a particularly awful way to go, you say? Well, so is napalm (if not incinerated immediately). Shrapnel from an artillery shell can maim and kill slowly, agonizingly; gaping head, chest, and abdominal wounds aren't pretty sights. Aerial bombardments, rockets, missiles, and artillery have killed far more civilians (deliberately or not) for decades. Antipersonnel weapons (mines, for instance), can rack up thousands of casualities over time.
More from Rubin's treasure chest:
Iran's mullahs and government leaders have consistently expressed their hostility toward the U.S. More critically, Iran supports terrorist groups against the U.S. Iran with nuclear weapons is a no-go. But conservatives aren't the impediment to action against Iran. That award goes to President Obama.
Then this priceless neocon nugget:
Just draw up a list of trouble spots, Jennifer. If we can't get to all of them at once, we'll work through the list. But you're right. If we're going to spill American blood and spend treasure in Syria, why not do so in Georgia? We never did get around to a hot war with the Russians, after all.
But staying out of the way isn't the neocons' way.
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