Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wanker du jour: Krauthammer

Do big newspaper OpEd pages have editors? Do they decide what occupies their sacred real estate, and is logical consistency one of the criteria?

The latest from Charles Krauthammer, which is a plea that our government not negotiate with Iran, stimulated rumination over these questions. It did so not merely because it is wrongheaded, which is a virtual given, but because it is at once so dishonest in its form and so chilling in what it reveals despite its dishonesty. I don't have to go through the whole thing, because Joshua Holland @ AlterNet has most of it covered.

But I do want to highlight the appalingly deceitful form of the overall argument he makes. Krauthamer talks primarily about one false dichotomy -- an either-or choice between two-party direct discussions with Iran vs. a multilateral approach. That argument is bad enough all by itself. But Krauthammer knows that he isn't going to scare us that way, and fear is a more comfortable arena for him than logic will ever be. So toward the end of the piece, he switches to a completely different dichotomy, and reveals the real reason he is against direct talks:
We should resolutely say no [to bilateral talks].

Except on one condition. If the allies… [pledge] support for U.S. and/or coalition military action against Iran in the event that the bilateral talks fail, then we might achieve something.

You want us to talk? Fine. We will go there, but only if you arm us with the largest stick of all: your public support for military action if the talks fail…

In other words, I won't do what you want unless you promise me that you will let me do what I want. And there you have the real reason Krauthammer and the rest of the insane neocon posse are against negotiations with Iran: that they don't want to do anything that would endanger their plans for a glorious new and improved war.


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