We're having a debate about Iran in this country, a debate between reason and utter insanity
. It's clear that the Cheney Administration has found the next Hitler
in the guy who controls the traffic signals in Tehran; and they will be relentless in fostering a climate of fear
in the American pschye, designed to turn them into a quivering mass
who will submit to their father-protectors. Whether or not this is the work of the mentally ill
is besides the point. The point is this:
Every day we talk about Iran is one less day we're talking about Iraq.
This has been a classic distraction strategy from the very beginning. I mean, yes, we all know that the Administration is crazy enough to unilaterally strike Iran and bomb what they perceive to be an imminent nuclear threat. So sure, you have to counsel patience
, you have to ask for direct talks
, as Chuck Hagel did today, or you cede the debate to the neocons in the White House and their enablers in the Senate
, and end up with a situation where the public is on board with an attack on Iran, beyond all reason. But all of that energy expended on rebutting the Iran claims doesn't go to ending this tragic occupation in Iraq, which, contrary to wingnut belief
, has not magically turned the corner. Indeed, there has been no movement whatsoever
on the political front, with the country due to lapse into a warlord state
where local gangs fight for power at the local level. But none of these cases are being made, crowded out by the drumbeat to Iran.
Did you even know that the Democrats are considering dropping another $50 billion
on Iraq before they go home for the recess? There's no way to organize around that when it barely registers a peep. I don't know if Bush wants to attack Iran or not. What I do know is that it is a great way for him to tie everyone up in knots around the question, so that he can say that Congress wasted its time
trying to stop the occupation without repercussions. I think the strategy to fearmonger around Iran is less about scaring the Iranians and more about scaring the Democrats and the American people. Scaring them into silence.
Because the truth is that what we're witnessing is the collapse of Bush's foreign policy
, although you wouldn't know it. Throughout the world, from an increasingly violent Pakistan
, where every public official is a target, to a Turkey on the verge of an invasion of Kurdistan, to Somalia, which has become so restive that the prime minister has quit
, to Afghanistan, where our airstrikes are angering the population
and our poppy eradication tests
are driving citizens into the arms of the Taliban, to Egypt, which has decided on the exact same program as Iran
on nuclear energy, which could escalate proliferation in the Middle East by exacerbating Sunni-Shiite tensions (why is it OK for Egypt to get civilian nuclear energy and not Iran, you can hear people say).
None of this is being discussed in any serious fashion because everyone has gone code red on Iran. This is by design, because it's precisely the moment where the Bush foreign policy is at its lowest ebb.
The Bush administration once imagined that its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq would be anchored by friendly neighbors, Turkey to the west and Pakistan to the east. Last week, as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, the anchors themselves also came loose [...]
After Sept. 11, when the Bush administration launched its global “war on terror,” the United States enjoyed some clear assets in fighting the al-Qaida terrorist network. In the Middle East, the United States had the support of secular Turkey, a NATO member. The long relationship of the powerful Pakistani military with that of the United States enabled Bush to turn the military dictator Musharraf against the Taliban, which Pakistan had earlier sponsored. Shiite Iran announced that it would provide help to the United States in its war on the hyper-Sunni Taliban regime. Baathist Syria and Iraq, secular Arab nationalist regimes, were potential bulwarks against Sunni radicalism in the Levant.
Like a drunken millionaire gambling away a fortune at a Las Vegas casino, the Bush administration squandered all the assets it began with by invading Iraq and unleashing chaos in the Gulf. The secular Baath Party in Iraq was replaced by Shiite fundamentalists, Sunni Salafi fundamentalists and Kurdish separatists. The pressure the Bush administration put on the Pakistani military government to combat Muslim militants in that country weakened the legitimacy of Musharraf, whom the Pakistani public increasingly viewed as an oppressive American puppet. Iraqi Kurdistan’s willingness to give safe haven to the PKK alienated Turkey from both the new Iraqi government and its American patrons. Search-and-destroy missions in Afghanistan have predictably turned increasing numbers of Pushtun villagers against the United States, NATO and Karzai. The thunder of the bomb in Karachi and the Turkish shells in Iraqi Kurdistan may well be the sound of Bush losing his “war on terror.”
And we're all talking about this potential war in Iran. It's a brilliant, brilliant maneuver.
I don't know what really can be done about this; it would be folly not to take Bush seriously about anything megalomaniacal. But let's be clear that saber-rattling on Iran serves multiple goals, not the least of which is wriggling out of the failed foreign policy choices that will define this Presidency far into the future.
SORT OF RELATED: I love how the US giving Turkey intelligence
on the PKK guerrillas in Kurdistan is supposed to solve everything. News flash: we don't have good intel in Iraq. We rely on tips. If we had good intel we wouldn't see 100 bombing attacks a day. This isn't going to help anything.
Labels: Afghanistan, Egypt, foreign policy, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, neoconservatives, Pakistan, PKK, Somalia, Turkey