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“It’s Almost Like They Form an Axis or Something”

One of the brainier conservatives to emerge from the Bush White House (and he's a Canadian Tory of all things) is David Frum, who famously gave us the much derided "axis of evil" coinage and in his spare time writes … Read More

By / April 29, 2008

One of the brainier conservatives to emerge from the Bush White House (and he's a Canadian Tory of all things) is David Frum, who famously gave us the much derided "axis of evil" coinage and in his spare time writes learned essays on George Eliot. Why much derided? Because an axis denotes a partnership or alliance, usually a nefarious one, and Daniel Koffler would sooner compliment Chelsea Clinton on her parentage at a dinner party at Leon Wieseltier's house than a Stalinist would collaborate with a mullah, or a Sunni help a Shia work the detonator on an IED. I read that on the Internet so it must be true.

Yes, well, I believe the relevant Latin is de te fabula narratur — the joke's on you:

For years we have heard that it was impossible, inconceivable, that states such as Syria, North Korea, Iran or Saddam Hussein's Iraq could ever co-operate with each other. We were told that Shiite Iran could never possibly ally with Sunni terrorist groups such as Hamas or al-Qaeda. Yet again and again, over the past half dozen years, we have witnessed just that. North Korea did help Syria. Iran and North Korea did exchange technology. Iran did subsidize Hamas. Al-Qaeda leaders did find refuge in Iran.

You know, it's almost like they form an axis or something.

Syria wasn't even in the original Iran-NoKo-Iraq troika, so I guess it's an alternate if one of the regulars can't live up to its mustache-twirling malevolence on the designated day. Unfortunately, Barack Obama's go-to man on nukes, Joseph Cirincione, last September sounded more like Seymour Hersh when he dismissed the possibility that North Korean scientists could be helping Syria build a plutonium processing facility:

"This [early news of the Syrian facility] appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted 'intelligence' to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war in Iraq, it should. This time it appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement. Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria."

The leftist response to this, judging from how Talking Points Memo, et al. have alighted on Damascus's similarly themed "nothing to see here, folks" denials of wrongdoing, is to say that even if the Assad regime were guilty, it's all the fault of the Bushies for creating an atmosphere of plausible deniability after their Iraq caper. No one now believes the official intelligence — except of course when it gives Iran a clean bill of health, or otherwise thwarts the "hard-liners" from arguing anything that could be used to make a case for military intervention.

What a shame, too. Had Israel not destroyed Syria's almost-completed reactor, we would have had another rogue state with WMD for the White House to confront in a cowboyish manner, demonstrating yet again its blatant disregard for negotiation and dialogue. Think of all the missed editorials and blog posts, then weep.

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