Saturday, November 04, 2006

WYSIWYG delivers a summary by Marjorie Robertson of Professor Michael Neumann’s lecture at the University of Ottawa.  Neumann is one of the best writers on the conflict largely because he doesn’t mince morality.  There is no attempt at the kind of phony balance that allows Israel to run roughshod over the Palestinians.  Israel is 100% wrong; the Palestinians are 100%  right.  End of story.  If you want to debate the percentages, wait until the massive injustice of Israeli colonialism is resolved.

Unfortunately, Neumann makes the same fundamental mistake as Chomsky in failing to take the proper measure of the power of the Lobby and its agents in the American government (Neumann raises some of the most ridiculous straw-men imaginable, and is forced to resort to the same ancient history examples from thirty or forty years ago that Chomsky was forced to rely on).  Contrast Neumann’s view with a report of Seymour Hersh’s recent talk at McGill (my emphasis in red):

“Hersh came out hard against President Bush for his involvement in the Middle East.

‘In Washington, you can’t expect any rationality. I don’t know if he’s in Iraq because God told him to, because his father didn’t do it, or because it’s the next step in his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program,’ he said.

Hersh hinted that the responsibility for the invasion of Iraq lies with eight or nine members of the administration who have a ‘neo-conservative agenda’ and dictate the U.S.’s post-September 11 foreign policy.

You have a collapsed Congress, you have a collapsed press. The military is going to do what the President wants,’ Hersh said. ‘How fragile is democracy in America, if a president can come in with an agenda controlled by a few cultists?’”

Hersh gets the dynamics of current day Washington in a way that is apparently beyond Neumann/Chomsky.  The peculiarity is that Hersh is a WYSIWYG theorist:  what you see is what you get.  A tiny group of Israeli nationals, people who have written extensively for extreme right-wing Israeli politicians explicitly advocating the removal of Saddam through military means, take key policy positions under the weakest President and Congress ever, under the unwatchful eye of the useless, toadying media, with a President beholden to a group of Christian Zionists, and, lo and behold, the United States uses military means to attack Iraq.

On the other hand, Chomsky and Neumann are the craziest of crazy conspiracy theorists, and advocate, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that the real reason for insane American policy on the Middle East is the ‘establishment’, those shadowy guys in silk top hats that nobody can clearly identify who we are assured run absolutely everything in the world to their exacting specifications.  It’s this kind of fuzziness that gives conspiracy theory a bad name.  If these muddleheads want to take over conspiracy theory, I’m going to have to start calling myself a WYSIWYG theorist.

It is curious that the ‘establishment’ that allegedly has so much power it used the Jews as scapegoats in the attack on Iraq, is now so powerless that it apparently can do nothing to stop an upcoming attack on Iran that will destroy much of its wealth.  The funniest thing of all is that the actual neocons themselves don’t try to deny responsibility for the attack, but are falling all over themselves denying responsibility for the conduct of the occupation.  A quick summary:  ‘Knowing what I know now about the incompetence of Bush and his goofy gentile associates, I would never advocate an attack on Iraq again (but let’s hurry up and attack Iran).’