Tuesday :: Jan 2, 2007

Bush Ready To Repeat The Mistake


by Steve

Reuters photo

It’s pretty clear that Bush is emotionally and intellectually incapable of constructing a reason to withdraw strategically from Iraq. Rather than look for a way to withdraw gradually to maintain our regional strategic interests, preserve our military, and rebuild long-term economic and diplomatic relationships, he resorts to the immature stance of someone whose manhood and legacy are threatened, and instead ups the ante. And its not like this team couldn’t spin an alternate course somehow. With this compliant media and a White House team that can spin almost anything, Bush could sell a change in course and gain 8-10 points in the polls by doing so, as well as put the Democratic congress back on its heels. Instead, he seems poised to blow past the ISG report, General Casey’s military advice, GOP concerns, and the public to throw the gauntlet down on the table in front of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

One of the ways Bush will do so was previewed late last week by Cheney’s fellow traveler Joe Lieberman in a Post Op-Ed, where Joe and the rest of the Wise Men Wrong About Iraq now want an escalation aimed at Iran, and against a Mahdi Army led by a nationalist cleric opposed to Iran. (Note how popular Joe’s position was.)

I asked retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner for his thoughts on the Lieberman piece, and what it signals about White House policy:

I suspect we see in his article a theme the Administration is going to be unfolding over the coming months. Being successful in Iraq is all about Iran. Notice this shifts the argument from the war on terrorists. The next part of more complete argument that I think will emerge is that if it is about Iran, we are now in Iraq to protect Israel's existence. That argument is already surfacing with a number of groups from the religious right.

Yup, to Joe, we need to stay in Iraq and attack Iran to protect Israel.

Beyond the messaging, one has to discount Lieberman's understanding of the situation. As Napoleon used to say about his donkeys, just being there does not mean you understand the battle.
He says two things that convince me he does not understand. He says chaos in Iraq would be in Iran's interests. There is absolutely no Middle East specialist I have ever heard who would agree with that statement. Above all, Iran does not want chaos in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Iran has just agreed to a $1 billion loan to Iraq. That is not the act of someone who wants chaos.
The other item in the article that raises my concern about his understanding is using the term "win" to describe our objective there. I would give a sophomore a C on a paper that suggested describing our objectives in Iraq in those terms.

Yet that is what Joe and the other Wise Men Wrong About Iraq want now, a war in Iran when time and patience may be our best weapon against an Iranian president who is already seeing his power base weaken, but who would welcome an attack or any aggressive moves by us that would do wonders to rebuild his support. But I don’t hear any of these Wise Men Wrong About Iraq tell us how an attack on Iran will affect energy prices, at a time when another price spike is the one thing that would topple our economy into a recession, and when there already is a move to dump the dollar around the globe.

The Biden and Levin hearings cannot start soon enough.

Steve :: 11:52 AM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!