Thursday, January 25, 2007

We Have Learned ... Nothing

Yes, everybody who's not as far gone into war madness as John McCain seems to have reservations of some sort about the BushSurge. Everyone seems to think that a time for at least some of The Troops to depart Iraq is coming, although it might be a year or two away. So, we've all learned something, right?

Well, not so much, maybe. We're all bored with Iraq, because after we trashed the place, it turned out that lots of wogs went on drawing breath and being recalcitrant. Many of them seem to want to settle scores with, well, many others of them ... and a large majority say they'd be happy to see our departing backs. Quite a few of those seem to have developed pretty good skills with "improvised" explosives. "Improvised" means that they weren't produced by large corporations under lucrative government contracts, meaning that they're very, very bad. But I digress. the fact that so many of our supervisors have become bored with Iraq doesn't mean that they're bored with the region. Oh, no ... they're looking over the fence and seeing a fresh playground: Iran.

In this news story, we find out that three current presidential-candidate celebrities, representing both caucuses of the U.S. War Party, are vying for the Likud nomination also:
Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain all detoured through Israel on the way to New Hampshire this week, seemingly competing to see who could be strongest in defense of the Jewish state.

Speaking in person or by video link Monday and yesterday, the politicians spelled out tough measures they said were necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also addressed the conference.

Stressing the strong U.S.-Israeli relationship at the Herzliya security conference outside Tel Aviv, the Americans called for the United States to step up sanctions on Iran and leave the possibility of a military attack "on the table."

In less than a decade, the annual conference has become a mecca for Middle East specialists, partly because Ariel Sharon used it to outline his plan to pull out of the Gaza Strip when he was prime minister.

For American politicians, the gathering provides an opportunity to float policy positions and reach out to Jewish voters in the United States.

"This forum has become the Davos for Middle East wonks," said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who also was scheduled to speak. The Swiss town of Davos plays host to World Economic Forum meetings.

"During the Cold War, the Middle East was a backwater of American policy. But with the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has become the center of American policy. [The conference is] a legitimate forum for them to express their views on a region that's important."

Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts and potential contender for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, called for economic sanctions on Iran that are "at least as severe" as those imposed on South Africa during its apartheid era.

He compared the challenge posed by Iran and militant Islam to the great threats of the 20th century -- fascism and totalitarian communism. He also recommended that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be brought before an international court and be tried for threatening genocide.

"It is time for the world to plainly speak these three truths," said Mr. Romney, the only one of the four to attend in person. "One, Iran must be stopped. Two, Iran can be stopped. And three, Iran will be stopped."
In what significant way does this murderous claptrap differ from that which spewed from the Bush junta in 2002?

Mr. Edwards underlined the "bipartisan" nature of the madness. Many on the American left will no doubt continue to delude themselves that Mr. Edwards is antiwar, but there's little excuse for such self-deception:
Mr. Edwards, of North Carolina, the only Democratic presidential candidate to address the conference, similarly called to toughen sanctions on Iran and hold out the threat of military force, but he broke with the others by suggesting that Washington open a dialogue with Iran.

"I support being tough, but I think it's a mistake strategically and ideologically not to engage them on this issue," he said. "America should engage directly on this issue."
But lest you think Young John is being soft on Iran by suggesting talk, here's more:
While Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, this week he provided some tough talk about Iran.

Speaking by satellite to a conference in Israel, Edwards said stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons "is the greatest challenge of our generation."

"All options are on the table to ensure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon," Edwards told the seventh annual Herzliya Conference on Monday, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Edwards said the U.S. had not done enough to stop Iran. And he pledged continued strong ties with Israel if he is elected.

"It is a bond that can never be broken," Edwards said.
Never, indeed. AIPAC political muscle is like crack to our supervisors: they'll always be addicts.

But there's a silver lining. Newtie's reluctant to seek the presidency:
Mr. Gingrich, speaking by satellite video link, said Israel faced the most serious threat to its existence since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. But many in Israel and the United States do not fully appreciate the nature, size and scope of the Iranian threat, he said.

"I have two grandchildren," said Mr. Gingrich, who has declared that he would run for president next year only as a last resort, "and I think there is a greater danger of them dying in an action than I faced during the Cold War."
So, Newt will run only as a last resort. Hmmmmm. That sounds like me saying that I'll run only as a last resort. I'd say that his chances of infesting the White House are not greatly different from my chances of same. And on that relatively cheerful note, we'll close this post.


cranky tuna said...

Yeah, why don't we leave Iran to nuke Isreal in peace.

Bartleby said...

Well, Cranky, I'm an American, not an Israeli. So, as far as I'm concerned, the first and only nuking-related priority of "my" government should be to avoid getting America nuked. Fortunately, in these post-Cold-War days, that isn't very difficult. Unfortunately, "my" government typically takes its marching orders from the Knesset.

Since Israel has been a nuclear power since the 1970s (or maybe earlier), perhaps they can be relied on to keep themselves un-nuked. Maybe they can do that without a yearly $3.5B from your pocket and mine. In any case, Israeli security is properly the concern of Israelis, not Americans.

cranky tuna said...

So, I have to assume that you would have supported removing US troops from Western Europe in the 50's?

Bartleby said...

Wow, Cranky, it takes you a while, doesn't it? Good thing I get an email whenever someone comments -- otherwise, I'd never have noticed comments on a six-week-old post.

Not only would I have wanted the US military pulled out of Europe in the 1950s ... I also wouldn't have wanted them put there in the 1940s.