Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hysteria on the right

Via Digby
I see that Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria is throwing cold water on the right-wing’s latest thrill fantasy about needing to launch a war with Iran.

The American discussion about Iran has lost all connection to reality. Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative ideologist whom Bush has consulted on this topic, has written that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "like Hitler … a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism." For this staggering proposition Podhoretz provides not a scintilla of evidence.

Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland's and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?

Iran does pose some problems for us right now, but we really need to keep things in context and not allow neo-con whackjobs like Podhoretz to scare us into a frenzy. The fact that Podhoretz, who Glenn Greenwald rightly identifies as a psychopath, is now an advisor to the Giuliani campaign should tell us all we need to know about which direction he would take us.

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