David Frum had some good news for Michael Ledeen in the March 4 edition of his National Review Online diary.
“Michael Ledeen has earned his $25 million after all. TIME reports that members of bin Laden’s family found refuge in Iran after 9/11, though it insists (despite Michael) that the Evil One himself continues to hide in unpoliced areas of Pakistan.”
That could be true. Who can say? That’s the problem with what Washington called “foreign entanglements”; they eventually become indistinguishable, and the inevitable result is that every country in the world is an adversary. Ledeen has a habit of finishing columns with reminders that America is under mortal threat by “murderous mullahs” in Iran, and therefore he is an important cog in the machine facilitating direct US control of Southwest Asia. Frum comes about as close as one can in polite society to actually saying that when he says the following:
“Remember how after 9/11 we were treated to a whole flood of expertise all aimed at convincing us that it was impossible that the various terror-states could cooperate? Sunni Muslims, we were told, don’t cooperate with Shiites, secularists don’t cooperate with religious extremists, and so on and on and on. But nobody seems to have informed the Shiite Revolutionary Guard that it cannot cooperate with al Qaeada. It seems to be cooperating with a will. So can we hear, please, fewer glib assertions that al Qaeda would never, ever cooperate with Iraq?”
“Cooperating with a will”, runs Frum’s phrase, as if there is any other way to cooperate. It never occurs to Frum that true international cooperation stems from the ability to believe that there are shared goals. Perhaps that’s because Frum, Ledeen, and others believe that there is no difference between convincing a party that the US shares its interests and the US paying that party off for the sake of superficial compliance.
Or, better still, for the sake of appearance. If the Bulgarian leadership gets paid enough, they appear to be allies. Same with the Qataris and the Kuwaitis, and Spain’s President Lopez, who looked more like a hostage than a head of state when he shared a stage with Bush last month to endorse the Iraqi operation.
A trickle-down approach to coalition building if I’ve ever seen one. Buy off the elites, let them enforce the would-be international consensus. Let the people of the less significant nations know that the US has every right to use their resources for causes they violently oppose. This isn’t your father’s conservatism. Is it?
Such lofty philosophical concerns really don’t matter to men like David Frum, however. Frum asserts that Ledeen has earned his $25 million, and one has to suppose he’s right. If Ledeen gets his way and the US military goes into Iran for regime change, the profits for US contractors undoubtedly will dwarf what Ledeen has made for spinning the myth of the murderous mullahs.
That $25 million? A finder’s fee, really. Ledeen found a country on which he could focus neocon ire and then found a pretext for it. If Ledeen’s words are heeded, and the US military turns Iran into a battlefield, then his paymasters likely will conclude that the aforementioned sum would be a bargain at twice the price.
ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular contributor to CounterPunch, and accepts emails at firstname.lastname@example.org