Francis says neocons don’t care about American deaths
to come upon this article by Samuel Francis
that was published last April at a website called The Last Ditch
. Writing as the U.S. forces were approaching Baghdad, Francis calls every neoconservative war supporter a “Likudnik,” meaning that the neoconservatives’ real concern is not America’s well-being but Israel’s. Taking on an incantatory quality, his attack on the “Likudniks” reaches a climax in the assertion that the “Likudniks,” since they are waging the war for Israel’s sake not America’s, don’t care about how many Americans are killed:
My guess (it’s not really a guess but an analysis) is [that] U.S. troops in Iraq, while far from facing defeat or disaster, are not enjoying the “cakewalk” to Baghdad that neo-conservative Likudnik Ken Adelman predicted more than a year ago. The Iraqis are not collapsing “at the first whiff of gunpowder,” as neo-conservative Likudnik Richard Perle boasted last summer. The Iraqi people apparently do not “view us as their hoped-for liberator,” as neo-conservative Likdunik Paul Wolfowitz claimed only a week before the war started.
The Times is not alone in warning of a far tougher war than the administration’s hawks predicted or than most Americans wanted. The Washington Post the same day reported on its front page that “some senior U.S. military officers” (soldiers, not armchair chicken hawks like the Likudniks) “are now convinced the war is likely to last for months and will require considerably more combat power than is now on hand there and in Kuwait.” The Likudniks don’t like this one little bit. Bill Kristol, editor of the chief Likudnik organ in the United States, the Weekly Standard, whines that the Post article “comes close to being disgraceful.” No doubt it’s also “anti-Semitic,” like every other criticism the neo-cons encounter.
But the fact is that controlling 40 percent of Iraqi territory and 95 percent of Iraqi airspace doesn’t help that much. The real battle will be for Baghdad, and though U.S. troops are within 50 miles of the city, it’s defended by Hussein’s Republican Guard. Under attack, the Guard can withdraw into the city and wage urban warfare against our troops. The casualties could multiply; the conflict could indeed take months.
Of course the Likudniks don’t care about American casualties very much. As neo-conservative Likudnik Michael Ledeen, who advocates a U.S. war against virtually every Arab country in the Middle East, told the Post this weekend, “I think the level of casualties is secondary.” Right; the point is to wipe out Israel’s enemies. Who cares how many dead Americans it takes?
War’s realities shatter lies and illusions
The Last Ditch
, April 1, 2003
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 13, 2003 12:57 PM | Send
This has been a standard theme of Dr. Francis’s articles going back months. He manages also to insert references to the search for ‘non-existent’ WMD’s into articles that have nothing to do with Iraq at all.
I don’t suppose there are too many other issues in which he would favorably quote the Washington Post.
I think that the anti-war right’s argument that the whole affair is to ‘make the world safer for Israel’ is an example of pure emotionalism - rage and anger directed at the neocons. Saddam’s Iraq was not the most serious threat faced by Israel - especially if one accepts the premise that there were no WMDs in the first place. If the Bush administration were simply puppets controlled by Sharon and a cabal of neocon “Likudniks”, why do we have the “roadmap to peace”, the constant criticism of very reasonable Israeli defensive actions like targeted asassinations, etc.? This argument simply doesn’t hold up under even a cursory consideration of the military/strategic situation. The argument might have more credibility if Bush had invaded Syria, a Baathist regime with a large army that is in reasonably decent shape.
There are plenty of areas where the neocons can be attacked with vaildity, like the issue of the hypocritical double standard regarding the national question (as Paul Gottfried’s recent VDARE article points out so well). Paleos like Francis, and PC Roberts are busy fighting on the wrong hill when their efforts would be better spent in assisting Gottfried. What a waste!
Yes, what a waste. Instead of offering a positive vision, or even rational criticism, all they offer is antagonism.
Consider the war. There were all kinds of rational criticisms that could have been made beforehand about the war, for example, the possibility that we might get bogged down in a guerrilla/terror type situation, as has actually been the case. But instead, the antiwar right directed 90 percent of its energy at attacking the motives of the neocons, so they contributed nothing useful to the debate.
Similarly, instead of using the neoconservative double standard on the national question as an opening to advance the national question, by saying “We want the same thing for America that you want for Israel,” they just attacked the neocons and Israel.
What a waste.
Excellent points by Carl in his post of 4:40 p.m., especially about WMDs. All along, the paleocons said, “Israel is terrified of Hussein’s WMDs, that’s why Israel is manipulating us into this war.” But now the paleos are saying that Bush was lying about the WMDs all along. So what was there for Israel to be especially scared of Hussein about? Also, he was not the principal funder and supporter of anti-Israel terror.
See my piece at FrontPage, “A Conspiracy So Inept,” which shows how when one of Buchanan’s principal arguments against the neocons collapsed (i.e., they couldn’t be running things if Bush was forcing this insane road map on them), Buchanan just ignored that and switched to mocking the neocons for their loss of power. That really showed that what is going on here is bigotry, pure and simple.
Sam Francis holds some valid views. He also is a well known anti-zionist crossing into anti-semitism. He does more harm to patriotic cultural conservatives than most lefties. I’m surprised a solid man like Peter Brimelow (sp?) keeps him at vdare.com.
Just because somebody holds some of your views it doesn’t follow that he is on your side.
Francis is not just waste, he is radioactive waste.
I’m also distressed by the direction Sam Francis has taken, but I’d like for us to avoid extreme language of personal disparagement at this site. Surely one can make strong criticisms of a person without describing him as “radioactive waste.” That is outside the bounds of civil discourse.
Of course, Francis himself uses uncivil vituperative language in his own columns. For example, he doesn’t say that his adversaries are “criticizing” something, but that they are “whining” over something; he doesn’t say that they want something, but that they are “drooling” over something, and so on. But the fact that Francis engages in that kind of personal vituperation (which I personally criticized him for in the past) doesn’t mean that others should do the same.
Sorry my post has offended you. My point was not to dump on Francis, he is beyound the pale in my opinion.
My point is pure tactical.
There are people, who in words of Michael Savage, are concerned with Borders, Language and Culture. They are rather small and easily marginalized by the elites. Any association with Francis types only makes it easier for farther marginalization.
The point was not that the post offended me in some personal sense. The point was that we should try to avoid language that is needlessly insulting. Thus, in your follow-up comment, you made the same point that you had made in your first comment, but without the disparaging language, and as a result the point was made more effectively.
“He also is a well known anti-Zionist crossing into anti-Semitism.”
Three times so far this evening I’ve started posts in defense of Sam Francis but abandoned them, not because he’s remotely an anti-Semite — which I don’t believe he is *even remotely* — but because my arguments hinged on reminding people by means of thought experiments how a commentator could be miffed without being a bigot if, let’s say, we supported the Greeks or Turks on Cyprus, the Catholics or Protestants in Northern Ireland, etc., so why not in regard to our taking sides in the Middle East — and each time of course I hit the obstacle that our country was attacked in a vicious act of war in the Middle-Eastern case and not in the others.
Nevertheless I’m sure Francis is just miffed at the idea of influence which he imagines is not inspired solely by anxiety over this country’s interests but another country’s in part.† Whether right or wrong, that would not seem grounds for suspecting him of ethnic bigotry. One can appreciate how holding such a view could greatly annoy a political commentator, motivating him to take sarcastic/ironic/bitter potshots, without his being anti-Semitic any more than he’d be anti-Greek, anti-Turk, or anti-Irish-Catholic in the other case.† This is how I see his use of “Likudnik” here — not as anti-Semitic.
Some on VFR may remember that I support the attack on Iraq but didn’t before.† (I was persuaded partly by Mr. Auster’s commentary as well as that of Richard Poe, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Roger Hedgecock, and others, and certain things I hadn’t seen dawned on me one-by-one. I was on the anti-war right but had no animus against Israel, Jews, or “neocons-as-Jews.” Perhaps as a result of my own former position, the last thing I tend to think of as motivating any anti-war paleo is bigoted animus against Israel (though in certain cases such animus probably is a factor).
Again, I’m not commenting on Sam Francis’ opinions, only on the likelihood that what he wrote reveals bigotry.
I’m sure everyone sees that it’s hard for an educated person to be an anti-Semite — very hard. Just think about what anti-Semitism entails. Clearly, it’s not what an educated mind is going to espouse. That’s not to say educated minds agree with Jews, Israel, this war, etc. Maybe they are intensely critical of all of the above. But being critical isn’t being anti-Semitic. ††
Erratum: I wrote,
“Thatís not to say educated minds agree with Jews, Israel, this war, etc.”
That should have been, of course,
“That’s not to say educated minds necessarily agree with Jews, Israel, this war, etc.”
Just to clarify, I’ve said in the past that I have never thought of Sam Francis as being anti-Semitic. Also, to my memory (though I haven’t read much of him in the last couple of years and could be wrong), he has not struck the despicable anti-Israel notes that, for example, Buchanan has struck. Nevertheless, he clearly has a bigotry here. The bigotry is, at the least, against Jewish neoconservatives. It is a bigotry that drives him to accuse them of the most awful treason. It is a form of the Blood Libel.
I may as well sound a disparate note here. I do not think that discussion of dual loyalties is beyond the pale. I cannot think of any American public figure whom I would accuse of deliberately putting Israel’s interests before America’s. (Beyond the obvious ones.) But there are certainly some who allow their attachment to Israel to delude them into thinking that Israel’s and America’s interests never differ, when it is certain that they do.
Is it the most awful treason to accuse certain neoconservatives of being ‘Likudniks’? No, not in my book. A deep attachment to any foreign nation at the center of such instability is not something that I like to see in people formulating foreign policy. People are influenced by their attachments. I would not consider someone human whose attachments do not influence him. That includes certain Jewish Neoconservatives.
There’s a fallacy in Thrasy’s reasoning. He sets up a couple of general propositions which it would be impossible to disprove—that there are “some” people who imagine that Israel’s and America’s interests are identical, or that there are “some” people whose attachment to Israel “influences” them—and uses those vague non-disprovable propositions implicitly to support the actual statement that is the central issue here: Sam Francis’s slanderous assertion that Michael Ledeen’s real purpose in supporting the war was to defend Israel, not the U.S., and therefore that Ledeen is indifferent to how many Americans are killed.
If Thrasy has any evidence to back up his implied inferences (beyond some generalized b.s. about “some” people who are too attached to Israel), then he should present it now. If he doesn’t, then his whole statement adds up to nothing but tawdry insinuation, and he should withdraw it.
Lawrence, I’m surprised you didn’t jump all over this article!
If someone actually worked for Likud, or for a Likud politician, could they be called, with reason, a Likudnik?
My understanding is that several ‘neocons’ have worked as policy advisers to Netanyahu. It is also obvious that they support Likud policies. That seems to me enough evidence to call someone a Likudnik. Now, whether Francis overdoes it is another question, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to apply such a label to people that have actually worked for or advised Likud politicians.
The flip side, of course, it that Clintonistas advised Barak. If I were an Israeli, I would be angry that both of these groups were messing with my political system.
Likudnik is a word aimed at (1) creating the impression that a person is in the employ of or owes his loyalty to a foreign government and (2) creating a negative impression of that person as alien and disloyal to the U.S. I don’t think anyone can honestly say that it’s merely a descriptive term. It’s a term aimed at generating dislike and suspicion. But when it comes to a dislike of Israel and Jews, people are famously in denial about that side of themselves.
There were plenty of Americans who supported and worked for Britain during World War II. They didn’t get called Britniks.
Well, some of the ‘neocons’ have been in the employ of, if not Israel, then Isreali politicians. Hence Likudnik instead of Israelnik.
On point 2, I don’t have time to search, but I bet if you looked back to the prewar WWII period, you could find plenty of isolationists calling the British all sorts of things. Moreover, they probably had a ‘conspiracy theory’ about the Brits trying to get us involved in the War. Were these people Anglophobic?
In fact, I’ll bet I could find some Buchanan writing criticizing the Brits in his colorful style. How come no one every calls PJB an anglophobe?
Now Mr. Young uses the same rhetorical device that Thrasymachus used. “Some” neocons, he writes, have been in the employ of Likud members. Does it follow from that that all the neocons attacked by Francis been in the employ of Likud members? Has Ledeen? You don’t know that he has been (I personally don’t think he has been), yet you use this premise to justify Francis’s calling Ledeen a Likudnik. Meanwhile, as we engage in this discussion of the use and meaning of “Likudnik,” as though it were an entirely innocent expression, you haven’t mentioned Francis’ incantatory repeated use of the expression, and you haven’t dissociated yourself from Francis’s statement that Ledeen supported the war for Israel’s sake and is indifferent to U.S. casualties. Which was my main point.
Michael Ledeen informs me that he has “never worked for ANY Israeli anything or ANY Israeli person.” So what do Thrasymachus and Mr. Young say about Francis’s calling Ledeen a “Likudnik”? Or is just being Jewish and being serious about opposing Moslem terrorism—both of which Ledeen is—enough to earn his being called a “Likudnik”?
And that of course is minor compared to the absolutely false slimy charge that Ledeen (who has written extensively about how to counter the terrorst threat) is only concerned about Israel and doesn’t care about U.S. deaths.
Our regular participant Matt once posed a challenge to the antiwar right. He said, if a faction or party is to prove that it’s not extremist, then the moderates in that group have to denounce the extremists. Will any adherent of the antiwar right denounce what Sam Francis said about Michael Ledeen?
SO Ariel Sharon, the Lion of Judah, Israel’s own George Patton, the toughest guy in the Middle East, the mention of whose name makes strong men tremble …
That’s a Ledeen quote — from a column in the JWR. Ledeen is worse than a Likudnik — he is like a teenage groupy of Sharon.
“I think the level of casualties is secondary. I mean, it may sound like an odd thing to say, but all the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war… . What we hate is not casualties, but losing.”
- Michael Ledeen, March, 2003, in a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute (for more see GNN’s EastCoast Bunker, April 1, 2003)
An ‘odd’ thing to say. Not a ‘callous’ thing to say, not a ‘hard’ thing to say. Only odd.
Michael Ledeen is a dangerous man. He does not care about US casualties, he promotes ‘creative destruction’ and he is very pro-Likud. Moreover, I believe his ethnicity/religion lead him to confuse the interests of the United States for what he perceives as the interests of Israel. I think the Likudnik label fits well.
There would be no controversy if someone suggested that Ted Kennedy’s background led him to pursue certain policies toward Ireland/Ulster. There is no controversy when it is suggested that Cubans in Miami are hurting the US — in particular US business — with their continued insistence on the embargo against Castro. No one screams racism (at this site at least )when it is pointed out that Hispanic activists pursue policies on immigration that hurt the US for the benefit of their own ethnic group. But somehow to suggest that ethnic attachment affects the judgment of right-wing Jewish policy makers is beyond the pale.
Whether Francis was right or over-the-top in using ‘Likudnik’ umpteen times in one essay is another matter.
Perhaps Mr. Francis’ big mistakes were in failing to credit his many anti-war allies that are Jewish people and in not supporting his claim that the Likudniks’ motive is primarily to help Israel. Mr. Francis does not say these people usually are anti-war.
As Mr. Young points out, it would not be surprising to learn that the motives of those Mr. Francis named are in part the result of an affection for their race. Their feelings would be perfectly normal. But Mr. Francis leaps too far from normal feelings to treasonous motives; the treason is the act of harming one’s country to aid a foreign country. He would have done better if he had simply named the probably few Jewish people who are always anti-war except when the fate of Israel is at stake. His case would have had some evidence.
Mr. Young has done a good job of talking around the issue, making further attacks on Ledeen that make Ledeen look bad and then falsely making it appear that those new attacks back up what Francis said. The disgusting charge which Francis made about Ledeen, and which is the issue here, was not that Ledeen loves war, or that he thinks Americans love war so much that casualties are of secondary importance to them in war, or that he is enthusiastic for Sharon as a military and political leader, or that he promotes a neo-Jacobinist ideology of “creative destruction.” The charge that Francis made, and which I condemned him for, was that Ledeen supports the Iraq war for ISRAEL’s sake, and that FOR THAT REASON he doesn’t care about how many American soldiers are killed and wounded. Francis’s charge is that Ledeen is dishonestly helping manipulate the U.S. to sacrifice the lives of its soldiers for the well-being of Israel, while pretending he’s promoting the war for our national interest.
I very clearly pointed to THAT charge in Francis’s article and made THAT the issue here. Mr. Young pretends to reply to it, while in fact he ignores it.
Even worse, Mr. Young turns the issue into yet another false complaint that critics of Jews are the victims of a double standard. He says that if someone pointed out that Ted Kennedy favored Ireland to the detriment of the U.S., or that Cuban-Americans favored Cuba to the detriment of the U.S., no one would attack him as I have attacked Francis. Get serious, Mr. Young. No one has said that Ted Kennedy has fooled America into a war for Ireland’s sake and is callously sacrificing the lives of American soldiers for Ireland’s sake. No one has said that the Cuban-Americans have tricked America into a war for Cuba’s sake and are callously sacrificing the lives of American soldiers for Cuba’s sake. But THAT’s what Francis said about Ledeen and Israel.
So, Mr. Young, answer the argument that I made. Stop talking around it.
Also, it should have been obvious that the passage Mr. Young quotes in which Ledeen seems to give over-the-top praise to Sharon, (“So Ariel Sharon, the Lion of Judah, Israelís own George Patton, the toughest guy in the Middle East, the mention of whose name makes strong men tremble … “), and on which Mr. Young commented, “Ledeen is worse than a Likudnik—he is like a teenage groupy of Sharon,” is too excessive in its praise to be taken straight. And in fact that turns out to be the case. Michael Ledeen has informed me that the passage was meant sarcastically, and that he was actually _criticizing_ Sharon. So I looked it up and indeed it’s evident when the quote is seen in its entire context that Ledeen is being sarcastic. It’s remarkable that Mr. Young, who discovered this quote for us and presented it as proof that Ledeen is a Sharon groupie, did not notice the irony and the criticism contained in Ledeen’s words. But that’s what happens when one is blinded by prejudice, i.e. by pre-judgment.
Here is the entire passage, which is the opening of an article that appeared at Jewish World Review and NRO:
“So Ariel Sharon, the Lion of Judah, Israel’s own George Patton, the toughest guy in the Middle East, the mention of whose name makes strong men tremble, has offered the top two jobs in his government-to-be to the guys who vie with Neville Chamberlain for Top Appeasers of Modern Times: Ehud Barak and Shimon Peres. After his lopsided victory, Sharon turns to the humiliated leaders of the discredited opposition and offers them glory and power.
“Wrong. Entirely wrong.
“First of all, it’s an arrogant insult to the electorate. When you win a landslide, you should respect the voice of the people and do what they clearly want you to … ”
So Mr. Young gets the Maureen Dowd Award for artful manipulation of the context of a quote. And I’m still waiting to hear him, or Thrasymachus, or anyone else on the antiwar right, denounce Sam Francis’s blood libel against Ledeen.
It is not anti-Semitic to condemn Israeli policies. (I do so all the time)
However, assuming that American Jews are loyal to Israel over the US is anti-Semitic.
To my knowledge none of the Jewish neocons mentioned are Israeli or hold dual citizenship. What sets them apart is their Jewishness and support for Israeli nationalism and survival.
“It is not anti-Semitic to condemn Israeli policies. (I do so all the time.)
However, [to assume] that American Jews are loyal to Israel over the US is anti-Semitic.”
I agree with Ron but I wonder if the second part of his comment doesn’t need to be qualified a bit.
Commentators like Sam Francis, Justin Raimondo, Charlie Reese, and others who opposed the attack on Iraq and explicitly or implicitly tweak Jewish neocons about dual loyalty aren’t *assuming* dual loyalty but sort of *deducing* it (deducing it by *their* lights — I’m not saying the premises of their deductions are sound, only that they aren’t committing the anti-Semitic act of merely going around *assuming* that Jews harbor dual loyalty).
Everyone agrees with Ron that to go around simply assuming an obvious lie about American Jews such as that they harbor dual loyalty would be anti-Semitic. But in these paleocons’ and libertarians’ minds they aren’t assuming it but *deducing* it in regard to certain individuals, which isn’t an anti-Semitic thing to do. I’m not saying it’s a right thing to do in the particular case in which they are doing it. Their deduction might be ridiculous, it might be sickening, it might be praiseworthy, it might be correct, it might be outrageous, it might be brilliant, it might be moronic, it might be totally off the wall, or on the planet Neptune, or spot on, or somewhere in between, or none of the above and something else entirely. But it wouldn’t be anti-Semitic.
Feeling at a loss as to why this administration went into Iraq, and totally denying that policy’s legitimacy, they are going to accuse anyone who supports it of impure motives since they can’t see valid ones. They’re hopping mad and have no intention of pulling their punches but are going to give vent to very bitter sarcasm and hyperbole, without holding back. That’s part of rough-and-tumble political journalism rather than anti-Semitism. It can lead to bitterness between individuals of opposing political views (it can and perhaps even should in some cases) but anti-Semitism is not properly part of that equation.
Mr. Auster wrote,
” … Iím still waiting to hear [Mr. Young], or Thrasymachus, or anyone else on the antiwar right, denounce Sam Francisís blood libel against Ledeen.”
Sam Francis wrote,
“Of course the Likudniks donít care about American casualties very much. As neo-conservative Likudnik Michael Ledeen … told the Post this weekend, ‘I think the level of casualties is secondary.’ Right; the point is to wipe out Israelís enemies. Who cares how many dead Americans it takes?”
I support the invasion of Iraq (didn’t use to) but I don’t think Mr. Auster meant to limit critics of the Francis comment to members of the anti-war right.
Writing as a fan of Sam Francis’ who has defended him in this thread, I agree that the above passage is quite harsh, the sort of thing a pundit might be called upon by his supporters and defenders (*especially* them) to either explain or retract.
How about it, Mr. Francis?
By the way, I don’t see anything wrong with dual loyalty except if a person espouses policies harmful to one of the countries he’s loyal to, to the detriment of the other country he’s loyal to. Where the two countries’ interests conflict he should recuse himself if he is in a position to influence things — either that or he must, morally speaking, come down on the side of the country he is a citizen of, not the other one no matter how much he loves it.
I just want to point out that all this criticism of “dual loyalty” doesn’t mean there’s anything the matter with fierce love of and loyalty toward, let’s say, Ireland by Irish-Americans, Poland by Polish-Americans, Greece by Greek-Americans, Japan by Japanese-Americans, Black Africa by Negro-Americans, Israel by Jewish-Americans, Germany by German-Americans, etc. Not only don’t I see anything wrong with dual loyalty, but I view it as one hundred percent normal and admirable. It means someone’s head and heart are in the right place.
Excuse me — the first sentence of my comment above should’ve read, “except if a person espouses policies harmful to one of the countries heís loyal to, to the *advantage* of the other country heís loyal to.”
I concede that Ledeen’s comments were ironic. In fact, I knew this immediately after I posted the message, when I re-read Ledeen’s piece. But I had confidence that Mr. Auster would discover the mistake — and why deny him a little fun?
The Dowd award — isn’t that from Andrew Sullivan?
Calling Francis’s piece a ‘blood-libel’ is over the top. Mr. Auster knows that blood libel has a very specific meaning, and is was an accusation directed at *all* Jews. Francis is merely — with evidence — pointing out that certain neoconservative Jews 1) support the right wing Israel parties 2) propagandize for US policies which coincide with the desires of right wing Israelis 3) seem to conflate the interests of right wing Israelis with those of the United States and 4) are awfully casual when it comes to US dead and wounded.
I think he is right on all points. There are plenty of Jews, even on the right, even those who support a hardline against the Palistinians, who are not Likudniks, but I believe the term is fairly applied to many of the neocons (Jewish or not) in positions of power in this administration.
Moreover, given Francis’s personal history and experience with neocons, I think he should be given a little lattitude.
Mr. Young’s reply is a major disappointment. It would have been better for him to have remained silent than to answer in the dishonest way that he has which forces me to spend the time replying. The only benefit (if it can be called a benefit) is that Mr. Young has so perfectly revealed for us his own mentality.
I’ll answer him point by point. He writes:
“I concede that Ledeen’s comments were ironic. In fact, I knew this immediately after I posted the message, when I re-read Ledeen’s piece. But I had confidence that Mr. Auster would discover the mistake—and why deny him a little fun?”
So Mr. Young knowingly allowed a false and harmful impression he had created about Michael Ledeen to remain posted here without correction, in the expectation that someone else, namely myself, would expose it, and his motive was that he didn’t want to deny me the “fun” of exposing it and him? This is bizarre. Either Mr. Young’s story is true, in which case he dishonestly let a falsehood stand, or it is not true, which also makes him dishonest.
In fact, Michael Ledeen had told me in an e-mail that the quote had been sarcastic, but he didn’t give me the original quote or a URL, so I didn’t pursue it. It was only by pure chance that, a few days after Mr. Young had posted this quote, I searched out the quote myself on the Web and discovered its full context. If I had not discovered the true quote, there is no reason to believe that Mr. Young would have stepped forward to make the correction himself. He would have let the falsehood stand.
“The Dowd award—isn’t that from Andrew Sullivan?”
Whether other people have also spoken of the “Dowd Award” and who those people are, is both irrelevant and ad hominem. It is the appositeness of the “Dowd Award” that matters, not the identity of the person who may have first coined the expression, or Mr. Young’s implication that because it was coined by the homosexual advocate Andrew Sullivan therefore my use of it here is discredited. The reality is that Mr. Young manipulated a quote to create a different and opposite impression from what the quote actually said (and then by his own confession he knowingly let that misleading quote stand after he realized it created a false impression). That’s what Dowd did when she left out words from a quote of President Bush to create the impression he had said the exact opposite of what he had in fact said.
“Calling Francis’s piece a ‘blood-libel’ is over the top. Mr. Auster knows that blood libel has a very specific meaning, and is was an accusation directed at *all* Jews.”
Another pathetic attempt by Mr. Young to avoid the unavoidable. While the belief underlying the blood libel—that Jews murdered gentile boys and used their blood in preparing matzo for the Passover meal—was a general belief about the Jews, the blood libel itself would be made in specific times and specific places against specific communities of Jews who would then pay the price. It’s the same here. Francis and Young have a general belief about “Likudniks” pushing America into a war for Israel’s sake, and then made the charge more specific in the case of Ledeen. And I did not say Francis was making an accusation against all Jews. I called it his “blood libel against Ledeen.”
I guess Mr. Young never heard of metaphor and analogy. The essential idea of the blood libel is that Jews secretly kill innocent Christian boys to advance Jewish purposes. That is exactly what Sam Francis’s charge against Ledeen adds up to: that he is an Israeli partisan, working for the Israeli government or for Israeli interests while pretending to be an American concerned about American interests, who has helped get America into a war where American soldiers are being killed whose lives he is indifferent to, whereas in fact that war is only for Israel’s interests. That he is callously causing the deaths and maimings of American Christians for the sake of the Jews. That IS the blood libel. You can’t get much more exact than that.
Mr. Young continues:
“Francis is merely—with evidence—pointing out that certain neoconservative Jews 1) support the right wing Israel parties 2) propagandize for US policies which coincide with the desires of right wing Israelis 3) seem to conflate the interests of right wing Israelis with those of the United States and 4) are awfully casual when it comes to US dead and wounded.”
Mr. Young’s slippery statement could be made about ANY Americans who support the war on Iraq and support Israel, including many American Christians: That they support policies that “coincide” with the desires of right-wing Israelis” and are insufficiently concerned about the resulting casualties. Of course, as I have pointed out before, if American policy were really designed for the purposes of Israeli interests, the war would have been against Iran and Syria, who are far more involved in supporting anti-Israel terrorist groups than Hussein. And if the policy were really about Israel, then the war on Iraq would NOT have been immediately followed by the disastrous “road map” insanity which neocons were horrified by and which led to more terrorist mass murders of Israeli citizens. But bigots like Mr. Young never pick up on those little facts. Everything must be twisted to fit the picture of the Jewish/neoconservative/Israeli conspiracy to get Americans killed for Israel’s sake.
“I think [Francis] is right on all points. There are plenty of Jews, even on the right, even those who support a hard-line against the Palestinians, who are not Likudniks, but I believe the term is fairly applied to many of the neocons, Jewish or not, in positions of power in this administration.”
Notice the slipperiness once again. The term “Likudnik,” Mr. Young says, is “fairly applied to many” unspecified neocons (and he even so cutely throws in the “non-Jewish” qualifier, which was not present in Sam Francis’s article). But what SPECIFICALLY ABOUT LEDEEN justifies calling him a Likudnik, i.e. a person whose primary loyalty and concern is to the Likud party of Israel and not to the United States? None.
“Moreover, given Francis’s personal history and experience with neocons, I think he should be given a little latitude.”
In other words, because Sam Francis was attacked by the neoconservative Catholic Indian immigrant Dinesh D’Souza in D’Souza’s book (I also was attacked and lied about in that same book) and later in a column in The Washington Post, and because Francis subsequently made statements about slavery that got him fired by The Washington Times’ editor Wes Pruden (a Southern gentile and not a neocon), THEREFORE, Mr. Young concludes, Sam Francis is now justified in making a blood libel against Michael Ledeen! Mr. Young’s thinking is not the thinking of a rational person who judges persons and acts by their merits. It is the thinking of an amoral tribalist who thinks, “THAT tribe has harmed someone in OUR tribe, therefore that member of OUR tribe is justified in harming someone (it doesn’t matter who) from THAT tribe.” This is the core of where Mr. Young is coming from. It is the mentality of Us against Them, and anything is justified against Them, even lying about any member of Them.
In Crown Heights, Brooklyn in 1992, a black boy had been run over and killed by a car driven by a Jew working for a Jewish rabbi. Black riots broke out, during which a gang of blacks, seeing a Jewish rabbinical student named Yankel Rosenbaum walking along the sidewalk, said, there’s a Jew, let’s get the Jew. And they killed him. Mr. Young’s justification for Sam Francis’s lies about Michael Ledeen uses the same logic. The “neocons” hurt Francis, so Francis can get a neocon. This is the mentality of self-justifying bigotry into which so many on the paleocon right have delivered themselves.
I’ve spent enough time dealing with Mr. Young, who has made his perspective all too clear. Rational and useful discussion is not possible with a person who justifies vicious personal smears on the basis of some tribalist tit for tat.