Thursday, June 18, 2009

Resurgent neocons

Salon columnist Gary Kamiya today takes on the neocons (e.g., Robert Kagan and Charles Krauthammer, whose recent pieces I've blogged about - here and here - as well over the last few days) and pretty well demolishes their arguments in re President Obama's decision not to inject himself into the current Iranian situation. He highlights several other of the usual suspects as well (Danielle Pletka and the WSJ), not to mention John McCain, whom he quotes:
"Look, these people are bad people and I know that it was unpopular to call them part of an axis of evil or whatever it was, but we just showed again that an oppressive regime will not allow democratic elections, free and democratic elections."

Sounds like our last president, doesn't he - with this talk of "bad people"? At least he didn't resort to the oh-so-overplayed "mad mullah" trope.

Meanwhile, a recent essay by another neocon, Frank Gaffney (who goes unmentioned in Kamiya's piece), is getting attention somewhere I wish it wasn't. I speak of Pakistan, where Tariq Fatemi, reviewing Obama's Cairo speech in the English-language paper Dawn , notes

Obama’s background has been regularly targeted by rightwing commentators in both the US and Israel. This is likely to become more vicious. Evidence of this has come from Frank Gaffney, who heads Washington’s Centre for Security Policy. Writing in the Washington Times, he claims that his study of Obama’s policies and pronouncements leads him to the conclusion that Obama could be ‘considered America’s first Muslim president’. He adds that ‘there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims but actually may still be one himself’. In support of this preposterous claim, Gaffney states that Obama’s reference to the Quran, as ‘holy’ and invoking peace on the Prophet (PBUH) was not right.
Gaffney once upon a time was very high up in National Security Council circles. One might think that he'd have the US's interests sufficiently at heart to remember that the US is now working very hard with the (very pro-Islam) Pakistani government and military against the Taliban, both to keep Pakistan bolstered and to improve the situation in Afghanistan, where (remember?) thousands of US troops are stationed, with more on the way. But Gaffney considers it not at all imprudent to label Obama as the US's first Muslim president - and to do so in way that implies that surely this must be a very bad thing. Nothing like winning hearts and minds, Frank.

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