"There is this bizarre syndrome where Republicans claim that every event is good for them, pundits echo that, and Democrats internalize it to the point of being paralyzed with fear. If there is no terrorist attack, that helps Republicans because it shows Bush is protecting us. If there is a terrorist attack, that helps Republicans because it makes Americans focus on terrorism again. If Osama bin Laden is silent, that helps Republicans because it shows he has to hide. If he releases a video tape, that helps Republicans because it puts the focus back on terrorism. Bush supporters and pundits, in unison, will insist that virtually every issue is a win-win politically for the Republicans, even as Republicans suffer political collapse."
"Appeasement and Munich are favored neocon themes to promote and justify more war. In a dangerous trend, they are being picked up by more columnists. Strange that the more force that the U.S. applies in the Middle East, the more that the neocons wail appeasement and the more force they demand. Strange, because repeated applications of force, the opposite of appeasement and applied in the name of avoiding appeasement, have brought no tangible gains. They have brought losses, and losses should be cut. Once again, neocons can’t think straight. One should not throw good money after bad. The U.S. can’t win in the Middle East. It should take its chips off the table. It should never have sat down at the table.
Neocons now call for armed confrontation with Iran in order to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. They want the U.S. to stand up to Iran and fight if necessary, starting a war if need be. If rhetoric and public fears launched wars, we’d already be in another one. And Congressional resolutions and sanctions have in fact moved us closer to war. This is a war that the U.S. cannot win physically. It is a war that is morally lost the instant that the first bombs are dropped on Iran. This is a war that leads to hundreds of years of future warfare setting Islamic peoples against the West.
There is no end to how much force neocons wish to apply, and anything less than total war is regarded as appeasement by them. Some take this position because they believe that anything less than overturning Iran and preventing it from obtaining nuclear weapons means the destruction of Western civilization. The neocon position has matters backwards. Trying to overturn Iran by force will itself hasten the destruction of the West.
The U.S. hasn’t appeased any country in the Middle East. It has done just the opposite. America’s missteps in the Middle East have weakened its position. All is not lost. The U.S. can stop playing the foolish neocon war game, pull back, rebuild credibility, rebuild its financial and other strengths, take a breather, tone down the rhetoric, talk with its foes, rebuild its moral stature, and play for time. This is the smart course to take, as opposed to setting the world ablaze."