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Feature Story April 1, 2004
 
Punish the Pundits!
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 4 of 5
 
I've saved the looniest for last: the work of Angelo Codevilla, bloodthirstiest nerd this side of Paul Wolfowitz. Angelo is a real pro, paid to tell lies rich Americans like. He feeds from a right-wing trough called the Claremont Institute, and started peddling the big lie that Iraq was behind 9/ll way back in 2001. His key contribution to our current nightmare was an article called "Victory: What It Will Take to Win." The key point of Angelo's article is that Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the 9/ll attacks, and that worrying about Osama bin Laden's network is a "diversion from reality." Reality, believe it or not, is defined as invading Iraq. Anything else -- any other step whatsoever to protect American lives -- excites Angelo to psychotic rage. He devotes a whole section of his article to arguing against any security measures for obvious targets like airports. Perhaps the most astonishing claim in this section is his assertion that "Security measures actually magnify the effects of terrorism." Worse yet, from Angelo's perspective, they distract people from invading Iraq.

Angelo titles his next section, "Al Qaeda is not the problem." That will be news to a few thousand dead people, from Madrid to Bali. Angelo simply doesn't want America wasting time finding out who hit us; instead, he says, just shut up and invade Iraq. He sums up this view in another astonishing claim: "Intelligence is impossible."

Angelo seems truly devoted to bin Laden, and actually ends up writing a lengthy apology for Osama, depicting him as a misunderstood victim of unnamed conspirators who are, of course, trying to divert our attention from the real culprit: Iraq. Some of Angelo's language in defense of bin Laden is so bizarre that it must be quoted to be believed, as in this classic sample of defense-attorney rhetoric: "Any number of uncorroborated reports from sources both unreliable and with an interest in deflecting U.S. anger away from Arab governments have painted bin Laden and his friends as devils responsible for all evils." Poor Osama!

Angelo is equally fierce in opposing the invasion of Afghanistan -- the one sensible, effective part of the American response to 9/ll. In order to divert our attention away from this "distraction," he resorts yet again to bleeding-heart rhetoric about the poor, misunderstood Taliban:

"The Taliban are mostly irrelevant to America. Typically Afghan and unlike the regimes of Syria, Iraq, and the PLO, the Taliban have little role in or concern with affairs beyond their land. They provide shelter to various Arabs who have brought them money and armed help against their internal rivals. But Afghans have not bloodied the world. Arabs have."

That last line is the key: "Arabs have." Angelo has a bit of a problem with Arabs. He hardly wastes time on Arabs in general, rushing to his cherished conclusion that the whole cause of "terrorism" rests with three Arab regimes: Saddam's Iraq, Assad's Syria, and Arafat's PLO. Never mind that 15 out of the 19 hijackers on 9/ll were Saudis, and that the regime most strongly associated with terrorism has been unquestionably the Saudi. Angelo has a simple obsession with regime change, and he has the Fascist's classic apoplectic rage toward anyone who fails to share it. It's obvious to him that once we overthrow these regimes -- Saddam's above all -- the world will be at peace. It's just a matter of killing a few thousand Iraqis.

Angelo likes that word, "kill." It makes him feel "Roman," and the Romans are his heroes. He likes to think of a nice clean Roman sword chopping through the messy world, starting with Iraq. Here's his diagnosis: "The ruling [Iraqi] Ba'ath party comes from the Mesopotamian Sunni Arabs, the smallest of the empire's three ethnic groups. The ruling faction of the party, Saddam's Tikriti, are a tiny fraction of the ruling party. [The regime] consists of some 2,000 people. These include officials of the ruling party, officers in the security forces down to the level of colonel, plus all the general officers of the armed forces...Killing these regimes would be relatively easy, would be a favor to thepeoples living under them, and is the only way to stop terrorism among us."


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