The most recent proposal from the Project for a New American Century has certainly struck a nerve among Americans—although that shouldn’t make us think it won’t sail through successfully, like the invasion of Iraq. In a recent press release, PNAC called on the U.S. government to institute the military draft, and induct U.S. servicemen and women directly into the Israeli Defense Force.
“We decided it would be easier simply to cut out the middleman,” said William Kristol, chairman of PNAC and editor of The Weekly Standard. “We’re pretty sure that in the next few weeks Bush will finally greenlight our attack on Iran, and we’ve let him know through ‘channels’ that air strikes simply aren’t going to be enough. We want Army divisions in Teheran, Navy carriers all along the Straits of Hormuz, and National Guard units patrolling the length of the Iranian border with Syria. And the Israeli border with Syria. Nothing else will preserve the security of the UnitedstatesandIsrael,” Kristol said, using the new, contracted form of the two political entities which has become common in the news media, particularly in discussions of the Iranian threat.
“The political party that gets on board with our patriotic plan will receive our concerted support. The party which argues for a less proactive policy will pay an electoral price for its extremism,” said Kristol.
Predictably, centrist and progressive Jewish groups denounced the suggestion. Historian Tony Judt called it “outrageous,” while representatives of the Israeli Labor party called for caution, warning that the conscription of American troops under the Israeli flag might empower the most hawkish elements in that country, and provoke anti-Semitism in the U.S. In National Review, editor Rich Lowry condemned these “voices of hesitation and appeasement,” warning that he “smelled some, er, Jewish self-hatred” on the wind.
Writing in the New York Sun, Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz described the plan as “bold, candid, and Churchillian,” and urged President Bush to consider adopting it before “Islamo-fascist appeasers, isolationists, and anti-Semites” could rally their opposition. “These nativists will raise once again the tired old cry of ‘dual loyalty’, impugning our patriotism,” warned Podhoretz.
Christian Right leaders quickly got behind the proposal. Televangelist Pat Robertson described the plan as “the single best way to assure that the blessing of Almighty GOD will descend upon this country,” and offered the warning that “if we reject this opportunity to stand with God’s own people, He will smite us once again—as he smote the sodomites, drunken idolaters and welfare queens of New Orleans.”
All serving military officers approached for comment declined to speak to the press, but several retired brass raised doubts about the plan. Retired General Eric Shineski questioned whether the proposal was “workable.” In response, speaking on Face the Nation this past Sunday, former Bush administration speech writer David Frum described Shineski as “a tired, cashiered old military failure who has ranged himself this time with the likes of David Duke and the Aryan Nation.” Frum announced that he had contracted with Crown Publishing for a book celebrating the “bold new future of our merged military might, which will finally provide an insecure America with the know-how and manpower it needs for the War on Terror.” Frum’s book will be entitled: Chicken Hawk Soup for the Soul.
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