Across the Bay

Sunday, June 12, 2005


So "Han Solo" (or Juan Colo, whichever you prefer) is again trying to dupe his readers on his position on the Iraq war. What's the spiel this time? His position was "complex." But of course. We wouldn't have it any other way. How complex? Stay with me on this one:

[He] thought it was a terrible idea, but declined to come out against it because [he] believed that if Saddam's genocidal regime could be removed by the international community in a legal way, that some good would have been accomplished."

John, you fox you (or should I say wookie?)! Love the multilateral cover, and the downplaying of the removal of Saddam ("some good"). You don't become MESA president for nothing you know.

But unfortunately, it ain't good enough. Let's revisit my "Cole-lected Sayings" from Nov., 2004, shall we?

For one, the "some good" that could come out of the war was, in April, 2003: "a great good thing that it [the regime] is gone." And, as he says in the one piece he decided to use as "evidence" in his post, he will be "ecstatic" to see Saddam go.

But how much of a "terrible idea" was it for John? Well, in March 2003, John told us: "I remain convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides."

Yes, a horrible, terrible idea, that had him convinced will be worth all the sacrifices (that he's been diligently collecting on his site) that were about to be made on all sides.

But the thing is, as I wrote in that post, there's absolutely nothing special about Cole's pre-war positions. He wanted to see Saddam go (i.e., he didn't object to the war), but was nervous about it, like all of us are when we're about to go to war! It's no more "complex" a position than that of any pro-war person in the United States (because he was clearly NOT anti-war, no matter how badly and acrobatically he wants to portray himself as such)!

If anything, much of what made him nervous was actually wrong (typical MESA). Take a look at some of the stuff he laid out in that post:

- "Serial wars with Iraq, Iran, Syria, N. Korea, and ultimately China"? Well, 1 out of 5 ain't bad. But hey, anything to take a swipe at Neocons.

- Juan's chorus line about what drives Al-Qaeda:

The Israeli dispossession of the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza; the almost daily shooting by the Israeli army of innocent noncombatants; the progressive colonization of Palestinian territory by--let us say--idiosyncratic settlers from Brooklyn (all of this is on t.v. every day over there); the harsh Indian police state erected over the Muslims of Kashmir; the economic stagnation and authoritarian policies of many Middle Eastern governments that are backed by the US; and the poverty and prejudice Muslim immigrants to places like France and Germany experience daily.

I would snicker right about now, but there's more. Cole was conflicted about invading Iraq, but he advocated invading the West Bank and Gaza to "liberate the Palestinians."

- This one's my favorite. It was Juan's daily mantra during the stand-off with his (romanticized) hero, "the young Shiite nationalist" (as he calls him to this day) Muqtada Sadr. It's the "Shiite international" theory:

What will happen if US bombs damage the Shiite shrines, the holiest places for 100 million Shiite Muslims in Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bahrain? What will happen if there is a riot in a shrine city like Karbala and US marines put it down by killing rioters? Do we want 100 million Shiites angry at us again?

Although it's not mentioned here, there's another version of this theory. That one held that every time Israel killed a Hamas leader, the US would see a hellish increase in violence and "stir up Islamist forces against the US in Iraq," etc.

- Then Cole really showed how little he understood Saddam's Iraq, when he maintained the myth of "secular Arab nationalism" with regard to the Sunnis. How Cole spun that was the kicker: the US invasion will cause the Sunni middle class to "lose faith" in secular Arab nationalims. Why? Because the Baath would be overthrown! I mean, seriously...

- Then some more typical shrill Cole scenarios that never materialized:

What will happen if we give the Turks too much authority to intervene in Kurdistan, and fighting breaks out between the Turks and the Iraqi Kurds, and if the Iraqi Kurds turn against the US?

I'll be kind and not linger on this, because this was before the war (although the barely veiled self-important reference to "prophecy" at the end just begs to be made fun of). Although, the contempt for the intelligence of the military and the planners is typical, and telling (as if the US didn't know that Kurds and Turks weren't best buddies!).

Nevertheless, he was going to be "ecstatic" to see Saddam go, and it was going to be "worth it." Well, you know, some good was bound to come out of it.

Well, hopefully the next time he'll decide to revise and spin his position on Iraq, he'll have better luck. May the force be with you, Juan Colo.

Update: Martin Kramer delivers the knock-out punch.