As of last week, I have concluded that the so-called “neo” conservatives have “jumped the shark,” if I may invoke a cliché from popular culture.
And it’s not just any shark. It’s a great white.
If you doubt that, consider a couple of pieces that ran recently on the op-ed pages of the New York Times.
One came from columnist Tom Friedman, who is generally located on the liberal internationalist side of the same coin as the neocons. In a recent column he said he would “toss out” for discussion the question “Should we be arming ISIS?”
Uhh, no. They have a habit of cutting journalists’ heads off – though I suspect that might be superfluous in the case of Friedman.
Then there was the piece by former UN ambassador John Bolton headlined “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” It contained the usual cliches about weapons of mass destruction and the need to stop terrorism along with this proposition: “Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.”
In the past Bolton has identified the “opposition” as called Mojahedin-e-Khalq. This is a shadowy cult that makes the Scientologists look transparent by comparison. In the past MEK members have killed Americans in terror attacks. More recently they are seen as the likely suspects in the car-bombing of nuclear scientists in Tehran.
Until 2012, MEK was listed by the State Department as a terrorist group. That designation was lifted because of the lobbying by, of all people, John Bolton.
And just to show the bipartisan nature of this sort of thing, MEK is also a pet cause of our Democratic senior U.S. Senator, Bob Menendez.
Menendez leaped a tiburon or two himself earlier this year when he accused a president of his own party of mouthing “talking points straight out of Tehran” on those nuclear negotiations with the Iranians.
Those talks have been going on for 12 years and will probably drag on for quite a bit longer. Yet of late the neocons have decided to spread panic about them and also about the dire threat from those nasty Houthis in Yemen.
Few Americans even know where Yemen is or who the Houthis are. In fact, they are a tough mountain tribe of the Shia faith who have a history of defeating their Sunni enemies in battle. Among those enemies are Al Qaeda. Yeah, that Al Qaeda – the guys who blew up the World Trade Center and started this whole thing.
(Go to http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/03/
more_on_menendezs_favorite_ex_terrorist_group_-_an.html to the many of my fellow traditional conservatives who get derided as “isolationists” for pointing out that we should take an America-first attitude and stop messing around in the Mideast.)
You may have noticed a pattern here. In the name of the War on Terror we are being asked to take the side of a wide range of terrorists.
That fits with the origin of that cliché. Wikipedia traces it to an episode of the series “Happy Days” in which the Fonzie character jumps over a shark-filled pool on water skis. It signals “a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest, which is taken as a sign of desperation and is seen by viewers to be the point at which the show had strayed irreparably from its original premise.
Paul Mulshine, NJ.com