How deranged are many neocons? This deranged. Jennifer Rubin believes that Israel's attack on a flotilla carrying goods for impoverished Gazans by a bunch of activists, armed only with bric a brac from their ship, was self-defense. Yes, a country with 150 nuclear warheads, the most lethal military in its region, the ability to occupy neighboring countries at will, and the protection of the global super-power was actually threatened by ... a small crew of boats. Moreover, this attack took place in international waters, and the people on board were fully entitled to defend themselves. What you see on the neocon right is the notion that if an armed military were to burgle your home and you grabbed a pitchfork to defend yourself, the army has every right to shoot you dead. You have to invert every single principle of law and morality to give Israel the benefit of the doubt in this inversion of normal morality.
It's only when you glimpse into this mindset that you realize how deeply paranoid and disturbed it is. When trained commandos open fire on activists, it is because those commandos are allegedly in danger! When a tiny strip of dense urban development is strafed with missiles infinitely more powerful than anything Hamas can lob, it is apparently out of self-defense. When casualties are always lop-sided to an almost absurd degree - in Gaza and on the Mavi Marmara - Israel is always the victim, and the blood is always on the hands of the victims, even when some of those victims are children buried in rubble. When a ship in international waters, carrying the flag of a NATO member, is attacked, the real victims are the attackers, who faced a "lynch mob", according to Noah Pollak.
This analysis is a function of a mindset warped by paranoia, enabled by utter arrogance, fueled by a sense of impunity. And the primary collateral damage is done to the West as a whole, to the US's interests in the Middle East, and, of course, to Israel itself. Meanwhile, Iran is able to avoid what should be a moment of intense pressure - because Netanyahu's bumbling bunch of thugs chose to give their mortal enemy a distraction.
Bibi is not just a thug; he's incompetent. This attack was not just a crime; it was a mistake - but a helpful mistake if it can prod Jerusalem to realize that it needs to make a deal soon, and in this deal, Obama is Israel's best friend. Maybe that is Obama's calculation in rolling over to Jerusalem in this latest flap. But if he believes that enabling this kind of action will force Netanyahu into some sort of reasonable deal, he's more optimistic than I am.