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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is wrong with these people? 

There is no other way to describe it -- the juvenile chest-beating and wild-eyed taunting that passes for American foreign policy these days is just childish beyond belief.
Here are some telling quotes from Juan Cole's most recent Salon article about Iran.
First, there is America's ridiculous demonization of Iranian president Ahmadinejad:
. . . Iran expressed sympathy with the United States in the aftermath of those attacks and Iranians held candlelight vigils for the victims. Iran felt that it and other Shiite populations had also suffered at the hands of al-Qaida, and that there might now be an opportunity for a new opening to the United States.
Instead, the U.S. State Department denounced Ahmadinejad as himself little more than a terrorist. . . . He has been depicted as a Hitler figure intent on killing Israeli Jews, even though he is not commander in chief of the Iranian armed forces, has never invaded any other country, denies he is an anti-Semite, has never called for any Israeli civilians to be killed, and allows Iran's 20,000 Jews to have representation in Parliament.
There is, in fact, remarkably little substance to the debates now raging in the United States about Ahmadinejad. His quirky personality, penchant for outrageous one-liners, and combative populism are hardly serious concerns for foreign policy.
Then there is the constant "dumb"-beat of war, war, war from Cheney and his pet neocons, none of whom have ever actually fought in a war themselves:
. . . the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state.
The neoconservatives are even claiming that the United States has been at war with Iran since 1979. As Glenn Greenwald points out, this assertion is absurd.
And some of the military leaders who have spent the last five years screwing up Afghanistan and Iraq are now trying to save their reputations by pretending that they would have "won" in Iraq if only Iran hadn't been in their way:
. . . some elements in the U.S. officer corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency are clearly spoiling for a fight with Iran because the Iranian-supported Shiite nationalists in Iraq are a major obstacle to U.S. dominance in Iraq. Although very few U.S. troops in Iraq are killed by Shiites, military spokesmen have been attempting to give the impression that Tehran is ordering hits on U.S. troops, a clear casus belli. Disinformation campaigns that accuse Iran of trying to destabilize the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government -- a government Iran actually supports -- could lay the groundwork for a war. Likewise, with the U.S. military now beginning patrols on the Iran-Iraq border, the possibility is enhanced of a hostile incident spinning out of control.
See what I mean -- they actually thought that 160,000 soldiers could "dominate" a population of 26 million - er, maybe just 25 million now -- so it must be Iran's fault that they have failed so miserably.
Its like watching a little kid get mad and hold his breath 'til he turns blue.
Unfortunately, this little kid has a lot of guns.
I thought Iran's military parade last week was pretty childish, too, but maybe it takes one to know one:
The threat to target U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the unveiling of the Qadr-1 were not aggressive in intent, but designed to make the point that Iran could also play by Richard M. Nixon's "madman" strategy, whereby you act so wildly as to convince your enemy you are capable of anything.
So now Ahmadinejad has become a folk hero to millions in the Middle East -- just one more addition to the record of incompetence.
Here is a summary from one of Juan Cole's blogging partners, Barnett R. Rubin:
The Bush-Cheney administration has surrendered much of Afghanistan to the Taliban and much of Pakistan to al-Qaida. They have turned most of Iraq over to Iran, creating the very danger over which they now threaten another disastrous war; they have strained the U.S. Armed Forces to the point of exhaustion, turned the Defense Department over to private contractors, the Justice Department over to the Republican National Committee, and the national debt over to foreign creditors, while leading a party whose single most basic belief is supposed to be that individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions. And they dare to lecture us on national security?
Yes. And the rest of the world, too -- except that we're not listening anymore.

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