Sunday :: Nov 19, 2006

Bush Gambling Again?

by Mary

Although things in Iraq are going to hell in a handbasket, Bush and his puppetmaster, Cheney, are convinced that the way to win in Iraq is to go after Iran. Seymour Hersh reports that a Pentagon consultant sees the gambler's penchant for going for the big one.

But many in the White House and the Pentagon insist that getting tough with Iran is the only way to salvage Iraq. "It’s a classic case of ‘failure forward,’" a Pentagon consultant said. "They believe that by tipping over Iran they would recover their losses in Iraq—like doubling your bet. It would be an attempt to revive the concept of spreading democracy in the Middle East by creating one new model state."

It was just a few weeks ago that we became aware of the fact that Henry Kissinger was advising Bush on the need to win in Iraq though Bob Woodward's new book. And it's clear that Bush has taken Kissinger's advice to heart as when he was in Vietnam, he noted that we will never leave Iraq until we've won.

In a column in The Washington Post on Aug. 12, 2005, titled “Lessons for an Exit Strategy,” Kissinger wrote, “Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.”

He delivered the same message directly to Bush, Cheney and Hadley at the White House.

Victory had to be the goal, he told all. Don’t let it happen again. Don’t give an inch, or else the media, the Congress and the American culture of avoiding hardship will walk you back.

But, Kissinger no longer believes that the Bush approach to "winning" in Iraq is working.

And he suggested that Bush may have been slow to change course in Iraq because advisors told him the United States was winning the war.

"As long as he was told he was winning, he had every reason to pursue the recommended strategy" that his advisors had proposed, Kissinger said.

He declined to elaborate, except to add that it was impossible to portray the current state of affairs in Iraq as "winning."

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that what we're seeing now would be an odd appearance for a victory," he said.

So what does Kissinger think needs to happen now? He's telling Bush that it's time to give up on trying to achieve a "democratic" Iraq and the best policy from the beginning would have been to find a Saddam replacement who would have kept the country from spiralling out of control. Now he thinks the best solution is to internationalize the problem and work with both Syria and Iran to deal with the increasingly bad situation over there.

So with Kissinger now advising Bush to work with Iran, what happens to the Bush dream of "fixing" Iran? Since one of the strongest voices within the administration for bombing Iran comes from the VP, what will his reaction be when he absorbs Kissinger's critique? That is, if he is capable of absorbing the message.

And what about Bush? He's convinced himself that he's going to be the one to solve the problem of Iran and all the things that didn't work in Iraq will magically work in Iran, because after all if you bomb a country, it will cause the people to rise up against their leaders side with the bombers. Sure, they will. Bush believes in magic and also the big gamble, because he just might bring it home this time.

Many people who watch the administration believe that Bush already has decided that he will take out Iran before he leaves office because he wants to and no one can stop him. William Polk, a long time Middle Eastern expert, writes that he thinks there is a 90% chance that Bush will attack Iran before the end of his term. Here's his analysis: parts one, two and three. Seymour Hersh writes that Cheney is ardently for attacking Iran and is convinced that they will be successful at keeping the Congress at bay by employing tactics they perfected in the Iran-Contra Affair. I know that the Democratic leadership has put impeachment off the table, but really can we afford to have Bush and Cheney running amok for the next two years? Can anyone save us from these madmen?

Mary :: 10:49 AM :: Comments (31) :: Digg It!