Why English speaking readers should not read Michael Young (Sadly)
This will be my last post on a Michael Young piece I think for a while. I am repeatedly told by a wide range of people not to take his writing seriously – especially by academics here and in the US – but I have sometimes enjoyed his prose and have also enjoyed how he can be provocative – especially when his assertions help me to better understand what the Neo-LiberalCon spin on events are, where their contradictions lie and where their inward complacencies/hubris spring from….
But in a piece today that (uncharacteristically) deals with Israel in a (mildly) critical light and the democratic events in Egypt (he has expressed disdain that Lebanon’s failed Cedar Revolution is not being referred to), Young again reverts to historical mythmaking so Google-defying that it means the ideas are simply no longer useful to hear – better to spend your time Googling someone else’s polemics.
This part was where I stopped thinking:
“…Israel was never enthusiastic about the American invasion of Iraq. Some of its American supporters may have seen the Iraqi scheme as a backhanded way of bolstering Israel, and even there the evidence is scant – with most advocates of the theory pointing to a cursory briefing paper written by American neoconservatives for Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. Ariel Sharon’s cabinet never took the war in Iraq as more than a destabilising sideshow, since Saddam Hussein was already well contained by the international community. As for Israel’s attraction to Iraqi democracy, it was always nil….”
One could post the links to Google-ready reports that categorically refute his broad, categorical assertions… including all of the academic looks at the way in which key elements of the Israeli gov, body politic and lobbying groups deliberately played a behind the scenes advocacy role for the war as time went on in order to minimize PR fallout etc…. But I like this one the best out of the hundreds of cites there from the Telegraph IN 2002!
Sharon urges America to bring down Saddam
Israel urged the United States yesterday to press ahead with a military offensive against Iraq, arguing that any delay would give Saddam Hussein more time to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, has sent messages to Washington in recent days saying that postponing the long-debated operation to topple Saddam “will not create a more convenient environment for action in the future”.
According to his aides, Israeli intelligence agencies have picked up signs that Iraq is speeding up efforts to produce biological and chemical weapons.
“Any postponement of an attack on Iraq at this stage will serve no purpose,” a spokesman for Mr Sharon said. “It will only give him [Saddam] more of an opportunity to accelerate his programme of weapons of mass destruction.”
The comments, endorsed by Shimon Peres, the foreign minister, mark an important change of tack by Israel.
The Sharon government has been wary of renewed war in Iraq, fearing Baghdad could respond by attacking Israel with weapons of mass destruction.
Instead, Israel has long urged America to concentrate on what it says is the greater threat posed by Iran.
But, sensing that war with Iraq is approaching, Israel wants to make sure it remains in line with Washington. Nonetheless, its move may make it even more difficult for Washington to win over Arab allies.
In its latest diplomatic manoeuvrings, Iraq sent a letter to Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, yesterday in which it appeared to restate its offer to discuss the return to Baghdad of UN weapons inspectors. However, it insisted on conditions that Mr Annan has already rejected.
While Israel now wants America to press on with the offensive, sceptics in the Bush administration are reported to be trying to “slow the rush to war” by focusing the debate on the problems of building a stable and democratic government in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam…”