Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Truth, Power And Iran

After reading this piece by Trudy Rubin in The Philadelphia Inquirer, wherein she states that Iran will play a necessary and integral roll in the outcome of the Iraq war, I came across Andrew Sullivan giving one of the clearest and most concise declarations I've heard yet as to how the next administration will have to face the realities in Iraq and finally decide just how to handle Iran:

Distinguishing between what we can affect and what we cannot is the key. Iran has leverage whatever happens, whether we leave or stay and regardless of how we stay. They know it; we know it; at some point, someone will have to talk - and talk big - with power brokers in Tehran. That will be partly what this election will be about; and what it should be about.

By spouting terms such as "enriched uranium" and "Axis of Evil" loudly enough and long enough while at the same time refusing to engage in diplomatic talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, George W. Bush has managed to escape having to actually do anything about Iran aside from instituting economic sanctions and issuing transparent, and largely impotent, threats of military action. He and his neocon confederates have made news and looked tough with talk of "bunker busters" and "pre-emptive strikes" but there is no way we can attack Iran and despite all of their inane posturing and rhetoric, they know it. Even worse, Iran knows it and worse still, Iran knows that we know it.

Many of their strategic installations are buried in secret locations under the desert of the 18th largest country on the planet holding a population triple that of Iraq, which means that with all the forces and equipment we currently have at our disposal we couldn't effectively bomb or occupy that country even if future events necessitated it. Oh, and they're able to buy and sell us many times over as their considerable oil and natural gas reserves are still measured using our thoroughly weakened dollar.

When Bush rashly decided to remove Saddam Hussein from power without planning for what would happen even five minutes after the fact it created a gaping power vacuum in the Middle East, which is now teetering on the verge of going completely to shit with Iran looking to come out the big winner when all is said and done. He broke it but we're the ones who have to buy it, and by "we" I mean the next several generations of Americans. The can just gets kicked further on down the road; it's impossible to say just yet who the buck will stop with next January but you can bet that it ain't gonna be stopping with W.

We now find ourselves as a nation in a no-win scenario; a sort of Persian Kobayashi Maru and the the sooner the rabid, pro-war cheerleaders finally accept this fact the better. Iraq is just going to continue to suck for America no matter what the next president decides to do; any option we consider is a bad one. Every day it becomes more and more obvious that we will have to leave at some point and it's inevitable that the country will then eventually tear itself apart, with Iran waiting on the periphery to take advantage of the situation at every opportunity.

What we have to do now is honestly admit to ourselves that we can't "win" by any acceptable definition of that word and start actually discussing where we go from here. When we've decided which of our options stinks the least we'll hold our noses and try to do what's best for ourselves and the Iraqi people. Our obligation towards their eventual safety and well-being will have to be carefully weighed against the cost of this war in both American lives and treasure. These are the difficult choices that we must force ourselves to make in the near future.

Even as General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week about the progress of the surge in Iraq, the administration's surrogates continue to make the hollow case for armed conflict with Iran; conflict that we as a nation can ill afford. Since this wars inception Bush has made the seminal mistake of avoiding taking any real action with regards to Iran in the guise of some type of "time-out" punishment, to his peril and ours as well. Here's hoping the next president will have the pragmatism and the courage required to be what George W. Bush never could: a true leader.


Anonymous said...

Just found out that our neighbor's girlfriend - who used to be a coworker of mine - is the daughter of the former Shah of Iran's right-hand man. I always knew she had a very wealthy family (she has always lived with them, and will until my neighbor pops the Q), but I had no idea it was due to that.

JBW said...

That's pretty cool; less than six degrees of separation from the Shah. I wonder how far I am from Kevin Bacon?

Anonymous said...

Well it's 3 for me, so I guess you're at 4 unless you know another way.

1. College Buddy
2. Arlington Road
3. Mystic River

JBW said...

Kick ass, dude. For some reason I'm feeling particularly footloose right now.

Unknown said...

Maybe I can help, although I've never understood the six degree thing....

I met George Bush (Sr) once. Does that help or just show how old I am?

Maybe Iran has WMDs?????? Or would that just be a highway to the danger zone?

JBW said...

Yeah, it puts me one step closer and yes, it does. Jk. And all the intelligence we have now sets their WMD potential several years in the future at least.

Unknown said...

Since when did the actuality of WMDs actually matter? I. E. it worked before.....