Jeffrey LewisGeneral Jew

Wow, my appearance on C-SPAN was interesting.

I expected to dislike the Heritage Foundation’s John Tkacik, who proved pretty affable—though our politics are pretty far apart.

Tkacik and I were having a civil debate about the significance of recent remarks by a Chinese General named Zhu (pronouced /joo/).

Things took a decidedly bizarre turn at 2:33:25. The caller suggested that he wanted to talk about “General /joo/ … as in J-E-W.”

Yeah, it was pretty much open phones for anti-Semites for the rest of the hour.


  1. Patrick Bishop (History)

    I was up early this morning and happened to catch your appearance on C-SPAN with the Heritage Foundation fellow (whose name escapes me, and who wasn’t as much of a nut as I expected—though his cluelessness about the bombing of Iraq by the U.S.—what American bombing? it’s “foreign fighters”, it’s “insurgents”!—was rather astonishing).

    It’s too bad the first caller who started ranting about the “Jews” was incapable of keeping his anti-semitism to himself because he, in fact, was about to make a good point about why the Chinese have good reason to fear the U.S.—and to build up their nuclear deterrence and conventional arms as quickly as possible.

    He referred to “PNAC” (which you did not appear to have heard of—is this possible?) and the PNAC publication “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”. PNAC, of course, refers to the “Project for a New American Century,” the neocon think-tank now run by William Kristol and founded by a rogues’ gallery of neocons such as Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, and Rumsfeld. (PNAC’s website lists its sponsors here: )

    The “Mein Kampf” of PNAC is its publication “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (a .pdf file is available here:

    This document outlines an agenda for the United States military for the next century. This agenda includes huge increases in defense spending, maintenance of “nuclear strategic superiority,” repositioning permanent U.S. military forces to Southeast Asia and Southeast Europe, and—making sure that no other country in the world can challenge U.S. hegemony. This agenda (based on an original plan produced in 1992 by Dick Cheney) is a blueprint for world domination by the New American Empire, and it does not include accomodations for rising military powers such as China or India.

    If I were General Ju and I had read this delusional plan (and it seems unlikely that neither he nor the Chinese leadership is unaware of it) produced by people who are clearly insane, but who are also running the United States, I’d be doing everything in my power to build up China’s nuclear weapons capability, its missile force, its navy, its army, its space program, and anything else that I could think of that might deter the Dr. Strangeloves who are running the U.S.—and who, sadly, have every intention of carrying out the mad plan they’ve outlined in “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”

  2. SillyMillie (History)

    Your facial expression when that call came in was just priceless. I was disappointed to see you deflect a lot of the conspiracy theorists who called in though, because I think it’s difficult for the average American to get a clear picture of what’s going on-with all the media distortion and spin, a lot of people seem to be clutching at straws when trying to think about our defense issues rationally-and you had the chance to lay down a simple, concrete picture for these people.

    Take for example the little boy who called in from Pennsylvania just to ask if we were going to have nuclear war: that kid must have been between thirteen and sixteen judging from his voice, and genuinely scared and looking for an answer. You kind of dismissed it as a silly question just because it wasn’t articulate and well-supported, but you missed the point: you had an opportunity to really speak to people who DON’T understand arms control and to really impact the way they think about our defense position. Instead you seemed like you would prefer to engage only those who already have a deep knowledge of arms control and military history.

    I probably wouldn’t have responded to the man who called in complaining completely off topic about the white man’s wars, but the Israel issue? You could have touched it. After the second question, merely brushing past it and returning to Zhu seemed like a dodge.

    Still, I enjoyed the show and will be visiting your site in the future as well.

  3. dan (History)

    and I really thought your lack of preparation for the particle beam discussion was disappointing. For God’s sake, Roland Emmerich knew enough about them to make a movie about ‘em almost 10 years ago, and yet you still aren’t conversant in the technology?

  4. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    I was a little overwhelmed, living normally within the safe confines of my wonky little world.

  5. ronya (History)

    Dr. Jewis (oops, I mean Lewis): Long time listener, first time caller. I don’t agree at all with the notion that you ‘dodged’ the Israel question. What you did do was to refocus the conversation on the exact piece of alarmist, media distorted chew that everyone is huddling around these days. Indeed, both (or at least one) of you were searching to frame and convey a deeper understanding of context, intent, and systems. Now, in a VH1 interview, this would be wholly inappropriate (like, Sweargin’ doesn’t give a…) but it’s freakin’ C-SPAN, and it is totally within bounds to require that the viewing audience use their gastric juices and gall bladders to aid in the digestion. To do otherwise would be to “Crossfire” the event: a whole lotta ADD-riddled dialogue coupled with enough nuance and synthesis to make my cat’s ears perk up.

    The thirteen-year-old was calling in on a dare, not for fear of his own (or his hot babysitter’s) mortality. I mean, might there be nuclear war with China? Well, I might eat grits for breakfast tomorrow, but unless j.lo hops into the car, drives to the Acme, returns with instant grits, and actually prepares them for me to my liking, and I hate grits- (and provided there are enough funds in the bank to support such an action), chances are I won’t be eating grits in the morning. It’s not about the grits, is it?

    But seriously, brushing aside that photon thing was irresponsible.

  6. dan (History)


    In retrospect, which freaks you out most:
    a) the zionist conspiracy questions,
    b) the photon particle beam Independence Day question, or
    c) the fact that Tcacik was unwilling to say that nuclear war with the Chinese is unlikely?

    I’ve been chuckling to myself about the show for two days now, but I’m finally getting over the callers, and reconsidering what he actually said. I’m not sure anymore…

  7. David (History)

    Copy and paste this into RealPlayer to watch the archive.


    About when did the points of phasers and Jewish conspiracy theories enter the debate?

    [The secret plot to rule the world is revealed at 2:33:25, although maybe there were some things before. The question starts with PNAC and goes downhill from there. ACW]

  8. Josh Narins (History)

    Tkacic seems awful at first… Chinese budgets go up while US budgets go down. No mention of scale. And he tells you what you can talk about…

    I thought pointing out the typographical error was silly, but the rest of your opening remarks were very, very good.

    Sadly, the host asked different questions for the second question to each of you. Splitting the two blue-screen questions, it seems like the second question to Tkacik was a freebie for him. And Tkacik took time to answer your budget question, too. He also idiotically says, as of the currency semi-float, you get more bang for your buck if you spend it yuan. That’s backwards.

    LORAL: Interesting stuff you bring up. I always point to Reagan selling computer controlled lathes to China, sold by his former employer GE, although I don’t know where any proof of that is. I guess I heard it on C-SPAN one time.

    I think you weren’t mocking enough of the callers. I’m listening to the guy tell you about SDI and our “photon” weapons and atomic satellites and I think you ought to have put your hands over your face and shaken your head.

    Tkacik’s efforts to guess the motives and methods of the propaganda ministry (MiniTrue?) of the PRC is laughably fuckheaded.

    Oh, you did go after Tkacik for his guess about propaganda methods. In fact, your response to the PNAC caller was great. Back on topic, back to the report, back to one of the more interesting (to me, anyway) discussions.

    Does this guy get money from someone to do the scare-mongering (I recall his earlier comment about “oh my god”) and his repeated reliance on the “young lady from Montgomery.”

    “A very real danger” he says. He says it in a basso voice. “The real problem is that none of these licenses has been denied.” Which would be a problem if he could discuss one that shouldn’t have been. Fear = $$$ for Defense Contractors.

    I love the final little dig on Iraq. Americans aren’t bombing Iraq, “I say no, it’s foreign fighters, it is Iraq terrorists who are bombing Iraq, not us we are saving Iraq, so I’d ask people to look at things with a little clear perspective.”

    Iraq has basically prevented me from watching Washington Journal anymore.

    In fact, I think it should be cancelled.

  9. Ryan (History)

    The PNAC/Ju question mentioned above starts around 28:25 on the webcast. It was quite messed up!