If you thought comedy was dead, think again. There’s always John Podhoretz, the ferociously bellicose neocon who makes Patton and Rommel sound like popinjays when he thunders away, urging Uncle Sam to attack and crush his enemies wherever they might be hiding. Beating the war drums is very old hat here in the good old U.S. of A. Noncombatants have been doing it since the inception of the Republic, and the call to arms reached its zenith ten years ago, when the intrepid George W. Bush, ably assisted by those other three great warriors Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, invaded, conquered, and captured the greatest warrior since Genghis Khan, Saddam Hussein, along with his myriad of WMD. No one cheered louder than John “Four Pizzas” Podhoretz, not even his close buddy among sofa samurai, William “I shall parachute into Baghdad and kill Saddam with my bare hands” Kristol. Now the twin armchair warriors are at it again, beginning two years ago when they celebrated the start of the Syrian civil war by pigging out on a week’s supply of gefilte fish sent to them with gratitude by the Israeli Lobby.
Never mind. Warriors are prone to itch for a fight. Their aggressive posture brings to mind Evelyn Waugh’s famous description “of children as of procreation—the pleasure momentary, the posture ridiculous, the expense damnable.” Getting Uncle Sam involved in Middle Eastern wars has bankrupted the old boy; his position, 7,000 miles away, is ridiculous; and the pleasure of victory—as we are seeing in Afghanistan—was extremely fleeting, something like three months after ten years of war.
Still, the repetitive, tuneless din of the war drums goes on, replete with stupid, gung-ho rhetoric for more bombs, more planes, more boots on the ground, more blood, more death. This simpleminded brutalism coming from, say, the bravest of the brave, Marshal Ney, would be wrong but understandable, but it seems more than slightly ridiculous emanating from two flat-footed pizza gobblers who flinch when a Volkswagen backfires a mile away. All one has to do is read the daily grim toll of Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic American names who have died and continue to die for neocon-inspired wars. Like the last three commanders in chief, neither Podhoretz nor Kristol have ever served—God forbid—yet one day they are Demosthenes, urging the Athenians to resist Alexander, the next day Uriah Heap, brown-nosing the powers that be to stand up and fight for Israel’s interests. It’s enough to drive an honest, sensitive, peace-loving soul like myself to devour four pizzas and a bucket of gefilte fish.
Enough about these two coarse, ugly, and smiling wallet-lifters. I never thought I’d see the day when Israel would act as dumb as she is while Syria and the whole Middle East is going up in jihad smoke. When the world’s most boring columnist, Bill Keller of the New York Times, devotes a whole page of snoozy prose urging no-fly zones in Syria (“Syria Is Not Iraq”), it’s time to contemplate moving to Bolivia. Of course Syria is not Iraq, dummkopf: It’s far worse. Chemical-warfare stocks are impossible to secure, as Keller, a man who writes as if he’s never been out of the Big Bagel, says we should, simply because that would require tens of thousands of troops on the ground. Is Keller really this dumb, or is he just faking it to sound good? He also wants Uncle Sam to choose between the good and bad rebels. Now I know he’s faking. No one, not even the Hilton or Kardashian clans, could be that stupid. There are no good rebels. In fact, they’re all jihadists, all in the pay of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and if anyone has used chemical weapons it is them bums, not the Syrian government.
Back in 1982-84 the U.S. government tried to shape and rebuild Lebanon after 15 years of civil war. The effort foundered on the fractured nature of Lebanese society, which is similar to that of Syria. It also cost the lives of 241 good young U.S. Marines, sailors, and soldiers, killed while asleep in their barracks. There is only one solution for the United States: Stay away from the Middle East in general, and Syria in particular. All the good uncle will do if he gets involved and helps the rebels—in actual truth, terrorists—is to empower the Islamists. Damascus’s fall will make Tripoli’s and Benghazi’s look like the proverbial tea party, pun intended. There is absolutely no reason to help the jihadists. In fact we should be in alliance with the Russians and helping Assad, instead of playing Israel’s game of nations, which is a very grave one to say the least. If Israel helps bring down Assad, then she will have five Assads to deal with, and they will have Qatari and Saudi money behind them.