George Will

The administration, justly criticized for its Iraq premises and their execution, is suddenly receiving some criticism so untethered from reality as to defy caricature. The national, ethnic and religious dynamics of the Middle East are opaque to most people, but to The Weekly Standard -- voice of a spectacularly misnamed radicalism, ``neoconservativism'' -- everything is crystal clear: Iran is the key to everything.

``No Islamic Republic of Iran, no Hezbollah. No Islamic Republic of Iran, no one to prop up the Assad regime in Syria. No Iranian support for Syria ... '' You get the drift. So, The Weekly Standard says:

``We might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions -- and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.''

``Why wait?'' Perhaps because the U.S. military has enough on its plate, in the deteriorating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which both border Iran. And perhaps because containment, although of uncertain success, did work against Stalin and his successors, and might be preferable to a war against a nation much larger and more formidable than Iraq. And if Assad's regime does not fall after The Weekly Standard's hoped-for third war, with Iran, does the magazine hope for a fourth?

As for the ``healthy'' repercussions that The Weekly Standard is so eager to experience from yet another war: One envies that publication's powers of prophecy, but wishes it had exercised them on the nation's behalf before all of the surprises -- all of them unpleasant -- that Iraq has inflicted. And regarding the ``appeasement'' that The Weekly Standard decries: Does the magazine really wish the administration had heeded its earlier (Dec. 20, 2004) editorial advocating war with yet another nation -- the bombing of Syria?

Neoconservatives have much to learn, even from Buddy Bell, manager of the Kansas City Royals. After his team lost its 10th consecutive game in April, Bell said, ``I never say it can't get worse.'' In their next game, the Royals extended their losing streak to 11 and in May lost 13 in a row.


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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