August 17, 2005

a good example of left-loon analysis...

Robert Scheer: Bush's Blind Spot on Iran

WE DON'T respect or understand any religious or nationalist fervor other than our own. That myopic distortion has been a persistent historical failure of U.S. foreign policy, but it has reached the point of total blindness in the Bush administration.
Here we go again. America is stupid and clumsy, always. I've been hearing this as long as I can remember. And what has happened to those clever countries we were so much stupider than when I was young? Gone. Either changed drastically, overthrown, declined into impotence... but the US goes from strength to strength. Funny how that works, us being so stupid and all...
The latest exhibition of this approach was President Bush's thinly veiled threat this weekend to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or even invade the country as a last resort, sparked by Tehran's troubled negotiations with the West over its nuclear program.
The negotiations are not "troubled." The negotiations are a farce, a sham, with Iran stringing us suckers along while they build nuclear weapons.

It is telling that Bush made the comments on Israeli television, which makes them exponentially more provocative. Israel is, of course, not only Iran's archenemy but is also believed to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the immediate region.
Israel is a peaceful democratic nation that only developed nukes for self-defense. Iran is the number-one terror supporting nation, and is responsible for the brutal murders of many Israelis and thousands of other innocent people. To place them in a position of moral equivalence (with Israel looking the worst) is an illustration of the depravity and sickness of our "liberal thinkers." I'm proud that our president is a strong supporter of Israel, and not inclined to lionize Palestinian murderers.
It is as if Bush is not content to rattle his saber at Tehran's hard-liners; he also wants to ensure that he infuriates and publicly embarrasses even moderate Iranians.
Maybe. And maybe he gives moderates credibility when they push for diplomatic cooperation to avoid worse things. That's called playing bad cop/good cop. A common diplomatic technique, but unknown to Mr Scheer.
If diplomacy fails, "all options are on the table," Bush said. "You know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country." But it was precisely Bush's use of preemptive force against Iraq that now makes it so difficult to pressure Iran to abandon its worrisome nuclear program.
Oh right. Sure. Iran was SO cooperative before. It's only those clumsy Americans who spoiled things.
Neither the security of the Iranians nor of the world is enhanced by any nuclear program that includes weapon capabilities. Nuclear weapons are inherently weapons of terrorism,...
Bullshit. In the hands of democratic nations they are guarantors of peace and stability. Have been for the last 60 years.
...and international monitoring of nuclear programs for all countries is in order...
Monitoring. Uh huh. If you "monitor" a problem, why then, it just goes away. Especially if it's international monitoring. Those "international" institutions are SO effective and trustworthy.
...Iran insists that it only wants peaceful nuclear power, but we cannot assume it is telling the truth...
If you weren't a brain-dead lefty, you would assume it's the obvious grotesque lie that it obviously is.
If Tehran refuses to be transparent and open to inspections, the U.N. Security Council can take up the issue of imposing sanctions.
The UN will "take up the issue." Well hey, there you go. Problem almost solved. The issue will be "taken up." Dr Johnson once spoke of the "triumph of hope over experience." Faith in the UN is the triumph of hope over a thousand experiences.

Yet as the head of the only nation to have used nuclear weapons on human beings and the one currently devising the next generation of "battlefield" nukes, it would seem that Bush should be a little more careful about trying to seize the moral high ground.
We are ON the moral high ground. WE are the good guys here. WE are working to defeat terrorism, remove brutal tyrants from power, and bring democracy and economic opportunity to oppressed regions of the world. (I guess I can't say "we," since our Democrats and leftists and "progressives" are on the moral LOW ground. Let's re-phrase: America, except anti-American/anti-semitic lefty appeasers, is ON the moral high ground.) And we were morally right to nuke Japan and bring a murderous war to an end.
This is especially the case because Washington has accommodated the nuclear programs of three allies (Pakistan, India and Israel).
Yes. They are allies. Allies of the good guys (us). They are part of the Axis of Good. (Pakistan's iffy, but I'm guessing they will stay mostly on the good side of the fence.) So their having nukes is not a big concern.
The timing of Bush's bombast is particularly unfortunate. Only last week the world marked the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Seems fortunate to me. The good guys used nukes to bring to surrender an evil suicidal regime, and probably saved the lives of millions of Japanese and millions of other people. A parable for our times. A warning to evil-doers. Something we should be proud of.
The mayor of the latter city, which was apparently destroyed at least partly because the U.S. military wanted to test a plutonium-based bomb, was bold enough in his anniversary remarks to point out the hypocrisy of our current stance.
There is NO hypocrisy in our stance. And killing someone with a nuclear weapon, by the way, is not the slightest bit more immoral than killing someone by hitting them with a rock. (Guys like Scheer never mention certain things which were more immoral than our bombing of Japan. For instance, shortly before Hiroshima, the Japanese army massacred more than one hundred-thousand civilians merely because they were angry.)
"To the citizens of the United States of America: We understand your anger and anxiety over the memories of the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks," he said. "Yet, is your security enhanced by your government's policies of maintaining 10,000 nuclear weapons?"
YES, it is enhanced. And so is Japan's, which is protected by our nuclear umbrella. Which protection allows this silly Mayor to remain in moral infancy, while the grown-ups do the dirty work of keeping the world peaceful.
Bush's Iran policy is rife with contradictions and idiocies...
It's Iran's policy that is rife with contradictions and idiocies. Such as provoking really dangerous countries like Israel and the US. No doubt they are depending on lefty allies like Scheer to weaken our resolve so we are powerless to fight back.

...What, for example, is the point of publicly threatening Iran when doing so immeasurably strengthens the hand of hard-line nationalists and religious fundamentalists in Tehran? These are the people who, for more than a century, have secured much of their appeal by posturing as the protectors of the Muslim populace against Western imperialism.
We have no idea whose hand is strengthened. But to liberals it is an article of faith that anything America does makes things worse. How about presenting some evidence, Mr Scheer?
And the reality is that we are in a much, much weaker position vis-a-vis Iran than we should be because of our invasion and disastrous occupation of neighboring Iraq.
We are in a stronger position. Our Navy and Air Force are at leasure. Our Army and Marine Corps are blooded and tested, and at a superb pitch of readiness. We could if necessary turn Iraq over to the Iraqis and just tell them to just take off the gloves with the terrorists. And with Syria while they are at it.

Iran now holds some high cards in this poker match. It is closely allied with the most powerful force in post-Hussein Iraq: Shiite religious leaders. Any invasion of Iran might break our already strained military machine.
Rubbish. By traditional measures Iraq was just a warm-up scuffle. Our losses are a grief to us, but compared to the size of our forces, or compared to past wars, they are trifling.
If Iran were to send its fanatical revolutionary guards into Iraq as saboteurs, they could make the current carnage seem like a walk in the park.
This is a perfect example of how left-loons view the world. The other guys are fanatic unstoppable killer robots. Our side is always passive, weak, confused, unable to fight back. And the conclusion is always: we mustn't do anything for fear of carnage. But that's utter nonsense (and wish-fullfillment fantasy). The Revolutionary Guards are green troops, and they would be attacking forces already battle-wise. And if they cause carnage, well, so what? It's a war. We would have a perfect excuse to cause Iran a hundred times the carnage. Does this fool really think Iran could attack us or Iraq without retaliation? I shall pray that they attack...

And how come our threatening Iran "immeasurably strengthens the hand of hard-liners," but an attack by Iran's forces is NOT going to strengthen the hand of our hardliners? How come it only works one way?

And finally, Iran is one of the world's biggest oil exporters. At a time when oil prices are soaring, much of the rest of the world would be hesitant to back the United States in any adventure that could cut off the flow.
Screw 'em. If they won't help, they are useless. And the oil would soon be flowing again, under our control.
As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder put it accurately on Sunday in response to Bush's comments: "Let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work."
It's always smart to start negotiations by announcing that you are weak. And the military option does work. We were worried about nukes being made by Iraq—now we are not. Problem solved. That's what really gripes guys like Scheer. Peace Through Superior Firepower works. Tranzi grovelling and cringing never accomplished anything
What can work is what has worked in the past: carefully maximizing international pressure on Tehran to comply with the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency so that Iran's program can be monitored and limited to nonmilitary purposes.
Yeah, and it worked with North Korea too.
Perhaps this isn't as exciting to the neocon chicken-hawks in the Bush administration who love treating the world like a big game of "Risk," but it is certainly the most prudent approach if the goal is a more peaceful world.
No, it's appeasement disguised with a lot of double-talk.

Posted by John Weidner at August 17, 2005 6:45 PM
Weblog by John Weidner