June 25, 2008

Israel and Empire

We’ve not always been kind to Andrew Sullivan at Takimag; however, it was nice to see him post the following with regards to Max Boot

[Boot’s demands for a 100-year presence] obviously isn’t about Iraq, as we are fast discovering. It’s about an ever-greater American entanglement in the Middle East in part to secure oil supplies we need to wean ourselves off and in part a foolish attempt to protect Israel. And Joe Klein is in no way engaging in anti-Semitism – please – by pointing out the increasingly obvious fact that the Iraq war was in part launched to assist Israel (even though many Israelis were against it)

I guess it?s good that this kind of stuff is now appearing at the Atlantic. Though nothing here is news to us. 

I was more interested in Boot?s argumentation, to get a glimpse at least of what we?ll be hearing, in a talking-points reduction, from GOP talking heads over the next few months. First, he justifies McCain’s now-infamous 100-year plan on the basis of Petraeus?s success. 

In order to build on the success that General Petraeus and his soldiers have had, we need to maintain a long-term commitment in Iraq-for 100 years if need be, as John McCain has said.

We can?t leave now, just when getting good! 

He then makes this strange admission: 

I can?t speak for anyone else, but if the surge had failed, as Rich, Klein, and so many others expected, I very much doubt that I or anyone else would be calling for continuing a major troop presence in Iraq. The surge was always seen as a last-ditch attempt to salvage a decent outcome. If it failed, then it would have been appropriate to head for the exits. But, as Rich and Klein now acknowledge, it didn?t fail.

I find this difficult to believe. Setbacks are opportunities for demanding we redouble our efforts; successes are justifications for a long-term presence. All outcomes lead to the same policy.

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