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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Profile of the Neoconservative Warrior

Mark Steyn is one of the most extremist warmongers in our country and is gripped by the fear that the European race will die out as Muslims breed too rapidly and take over. He has also been as fundamentally wrong as one can be about virtually every issue he has touched. Guess who considers him a foreign policy guru? From a New Yorker profile of the Independent Senator from Connecticut, by Jeffery Goldberg:

Lieberman says that he does, at times, feel isolated. . . .

In another conversation, he told me that he was reading “America Alone,” a book by the conservative commentator Mark Steyn, which argues that Europe is succumbing, demographically and culturally, to an onslaught by Islam, leaving America friendless in its confrontation with Islamic extremism.

“The thing I quote most from it is the power of demographics, in Europe particularly,” Lieberman said. “That’s what struck me the most. But the other part is a kind of confirmation of what I know and what I’ve read elsewhere, which is that Islamist extremism has an ideology, and it’s expansionist, it’s an aggressive ideology. And the title I took to mean that we Americans will have ultimate responsibility for stopping this expansionism.”

Goldberg also includes this seemingly insignificant but quite revealing incident from Lieberman's past:

Lieberman likes expressions of American power. A few years ago, I was in a movie theatre in Washington when I noticed Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, a few seats down. The film was “Behind Enemy Lines,” in which Owen Wilson plays a U.S. pilot shot down in Bosnia. Whenever the American military scored an onscreen hit, Lieberman pumped his fist and said, “Yeah!” and “All right!”

That is about as vivid a profile of the neoconservative warrior mentality as one can get: paranoid and frightened guys who derive personal and emotional fulfillment by giddily cheering on military destruction from a safe and comfortable distance -- who see war as a fun video game to play, through which one can feel the pulsating sensations of power and triumph -- combined with an obsessive focus on, really a paranoia of, the threat of Islamic fantacism to the seeming exclusion of every other issue and danger.

Combine those two traits and one not only finds the principal sentiment that drove us into Iraq and will keep us there for the foreseeable future, but also the primary reason why a majority of Americans now believe that the U.S. will soon be at war with Iran. Lieberman also smears unnamed colleagues who are opposed to the "surge" by claiming: “A lot of Democrats are essentially pacifists and somewhat isolationist," even though there is not a single Democrat, at least not in the Senate, who could be accurately described that way. Lieberman now even wields the lowest smear tactics used by people like Mark Steyn.

Joe Lieberman believes, accurately, that he can openly praise Mark Steyn's foreign policy "theories" (embraced just as enthusiastically by the right-wing blogosphere and Marty Peretz) because -- while everyone to the left of The New Republic is deemed to be a fringe, untouchable radical -- there is no such thing as a right-wing pundit too extreme or pernicious to be declared out of the mainstream.

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