The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, September 04, 2002  

The World's Most Dangerous Man

If there were any doubt before today, there can be no longer: Michael Ledeen is the most dangerous man in the world, or at the very least, the man with the most dangerous ideas in the world.

Just in time for the Cliff Notes types in Andrew Sullivan's book club, The Wall Street Journal today carries an encapsulation of Ledeen's latest work, The War Against the Terror Masters, entitled "The War on Terror Won't End in Baghdad." [Subscription required.]

Ledeen says that the debate over invading or attacking Iraq, such as it is, is misplaced and misguided. The über-hawk advocates not just one war but four wars, or more accurately, one gigantic, almost simultaneous war against Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, in that order. (Not Libya?)

Not surprisingly, Ledeen's contribution to the national debate includes some of the most dubious propositions and questionable assertions currently in circulation, all presented with an arrogant certaintude that displays a complete disregard for history, politics, religion, and, indeed, humanity.

Take it away, Mike:

"We should instead be talking about using all our political, moral and military genius to support a vast democratic revolution to liberate all the peoples of the Middle East from tyranny. That is our real mission, the essence of the war in which we are engaged, and the proper subject of our national debate."

"Despite all the talk about growing anti-Americanism in the Middle East, we inspire their people."

"If we come to Baghdad, Damascus and Tehran as liberators, we can expect overwhelming popular support."

"Of the four terrorist tyrannies, Iran seems the easiest to liberate. . . . We know how to do it: broadcasting the truth and funding others who do the same, denouncing the oppression, defending the political prisoners by name, encouraging private American and international organizations to provide money, communications and guidance to the people on the ground."

"With a triumph in Iran, the democratic revolution would quickly gain allies in Syria and Iraq, and transform our war against Saddam Hussein from a primarily military operation to a war of national liberation against a hated regime."

"[A] successful democratic revolution in Iran would inspire the Iraqis to join us to remove Saddam, it is impossible to imagine that the Iranian people would tolerate tyranny in their own country once freedom had come to Iraq. Syria would follow in short order." [A similar argument follows with respect to Saudi Arabia.]

"This war cannot be limited to national theaters; we face a regional challenge and must respond accordingly. But it is both a just war and one for which we are marvelously well suited."

"God willing, our national debate will drive home the true dimensions of this mission, and strengthen our resolve to see it through to victory."

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