Marco Rubio, the presumptive Republican nominee for Senate in Florida, is, as you may know, an extremist, and therefore well within the new mainstream of the GOP.
At CPAC, to rapturous applause, he sought to prove his right-wing national security bona fides by spouting reductio ad Cheneyesque absurdum nonsense:
We will do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. We will punish their allies like Iran. We will stand with our allies like Israel. We will target and we will destroy terrorist cells and the leaders of those cells. The ones that survive, we will capture them. We will get useful information from them. And then we will bring them to justice in front of a military tribunal in Guantanamo -- not a civilian courtroom in Manhattan.
As I wrote back then, "what does it mean to do 'whatever it takes'? What does it mean to 'punish' Iran? There's so little substance behind such rhetoric, so common on the right. It's neoconservative bullying with a penchant for torture and brutality, but, however nonsensical, it is dangerous and destructive in the wrong hands, as we witnessed over the course of two detestable terms of George W. Bush."
Actually, he sounded quite a bit like Rudy Giuliani -- shameless exploiter of 9/11, would-be torturer-in-chief, and neo-fascist thug, not to mention presidential campaign failure -- another Republican celebrity without any genuine national security experience, let alone credibility, a warmongerer who so desperately wants to prove to the Cheneyacs that he's one of them.
And he -- Rubio, that is -- has been at it again, telling a Florida blogger the other day that an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iran would be a-okay with him:
Israel has to do whatever Israel needs to do for their own national security. You would hope the United States, by taking a stronger role, would prevent that from needing to happen. But ultimately, I don't think any of us are going to blame Israel if they take it upon themselves to ensure that the security and well being of their people is safeguarded.
Now, I have defended Israel's right to defend itself, and I consider myself a friend of Israel, or at least of the more liberal, non-Netanyahu Israel, but actually a lot of people would criticize Israel for acting pre-emptively against Iran and thereby unleashing a massive security crisis in the Middle East.
By "us," of course, Rubio may mean "us" Republicans, or "us" right-wing zealots, or whatever, not necessarily "us" Americans or "us" thoughtful people who care about securing a lasting peace in the Middle East and who don't think that bombing the shit out of the Iranians is the way to go, but the point is clear, and the point is that Rubio thinks Israel should have carte blanche to do whatever it thinks it needs to do to defend itself no matter the repercussions, no matter what anyone else might think, including Israel's neighbours, Europe, and the U.S.
That's carte blanche for reckless aggression and mass destruction, but also for chaos and violent blowback, with Iran and its allies, including its terrorist allies, responding with as much force as they can muster not just against Israel but against Israel's allies as well, including possibly the U.S., and all because Israel acted out in supposed self-defence.
But bloodthirsty bomb-bomb-bomb Iran enthusiasts like Rubio don't seem to worry about such possibilities, however likely they may be, nor do they ever seem to consider the possibility, and likelihood, that their plans could backfire badly. For them, it's all about letting Israel, or rather it's conservative leadership, do whatever the hell it wants to do, and -- let's not overlook this -- having Israel wage wars as America's surrogate, much as various right-wing dictatorships did during the Cold War.
And so in supposedly being responsible, with Israel's national security as their stated concern (if not exactly the whole truth), Rubio and his ilk are actually being deeply irresponsible. But of course this sort of rhetoric plays really well within the confines of the Insanitarium, and one should expect nothing else from the inmates and their demagogues.
(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)