Friday, April 30, 2004

The National Review Is Still Insane

Awhile back, the eminent liberal blogger, the Poor Man , decided to try and determine whether The Nation was was crazier than the National Review. Based on an article from the National Review that suggested a nuclear first strike against North Korea, the Poor Man quite rightfully judged the National Review to be the craziest mainstream political publication in the U.S. The Poor Man's post on the matter of the National Review's insanity is several months old, so I thought it was worth revisiting. Posts like this from the National Review's weblog, the Corner, indicate that they little ha changed:

We toppled Saddam because there is no definition of "War Against Terror" that includes leaving a known terrorist in charge of an entire nation, its armies and its wealth. Forget democracy. All we ask of the new Iraq is that it be an ally against terror, that it move down the road toward modernity, and that it be a model of (relative) pluralism in the heart of the Mideast.

If this sounds disappointingly modest, consider it this way: If he is successful, and if world events stay on the current track, GWB could leave office in 2009 with new, moderate governments in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran (it's coming); a semi-autonomous, modern and democratic Kurdish region in Iraq; anti-terror cooperation from Libya and Saudi Arabia; Hamas and Hizbullah dying on the vite without major state sponsorship; ending, or seriously undermining, the legitimacy of terrorism itself; and no successful terrorist attacks on US soil, the biggest "if" of all

Alright, so the re-colonizing much of the Middle East business isn't nearly as crazy as nuking North Korea, but it still is up there. Usually the Mid East hawks talk about an invasion of Syria as the "next step", the fact that some at the Corner want to fry a much bigger fish, like Iran, is really reckless. In the first place, Iran is strong, much stronger than Saddam was in 1991 or 2003. Iran has not had to deal with a tight sanctions regime, its economy is nearly eight times larger than Iraq's, as are its military spending. Iran is also much more populous than Iraq and the number of men fit for military service is four times what Iraq has. Finally, the Iranian government, despite the presence of a refrom movement, is probably still able to command the loyalty of its people to a degree that Hussien regime never could. Combined with our current problems with an overburdened military, a war with Iran would almost certainly be a disaster, in the sense that it would burn through a lot of men and money with very little to show for it. Even if we were willing to bear these costs, the benefits would be fairly limited. True, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, but it is not a sponsor of Al Qeada. Furthermore, the Israeli's don't seem like they are having a very hard time crushing Hamas.


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