To further this objection, Iran is being presented as an irrational rogue state, crazed with idealism and poised to strike Israel before the paint is even dry the moment their new nukes roll off the assembly line. Whoa, now just hold on a moment says, Joint Chief of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey who recently came under fire from Congressman Tom Price (R- Georgia) when the general said “Iran is a rational actor… the alternative is that we attribute to them [that] their actions are so irrational they have no basis of planning. The key is to understand how they act and not trivialize their actions by attributing to them some irrationality, that’s a very dangerous thing for us to do.” In other words, the General was warning the Conservatives that Iran is not acting in a manner which indicates that they are completely oblivious to the consequences of their ambitions, policies and actions. The Conservatives, of course, are not happy the general is not doing a War Dance and want him fired. Video Here.
I recently listened again to a decade old broadcast of NPR’s This American Life, “Why We Fight”, specifically Act III of the broadcast titled "Realism 101" which was an analysis of the reasons behind our ramp-up to go to war against Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein. My friends, listening to this broadcast was “deja vous all over again” – originally broadcast back in December 2002, I was overwhelmed how closely history may be poised to repeat itself.
The main impetus for whipping up public frenzy for going to war against Iraq was we needed to stop Saddam Hussein BEFORE he got his hands on nuclear weapons. Sound familiar? The incessant drumbeat was that Hussein was an irrational unpredictable megalomaniac who would do anything without regard for the consequences. Actually Hussein cooperated with UN inspectors allowing them into his country and made any number of concessions apparently fully fearing he would be invaded by the US. Actually I think is cooperation pissed the Bush Administration off even more... the result, as we say, is history.
Interviewed in the This American Life segment, Kenneth Pollack, author of the book “The Threatening Storm: the Case for Invading Iraq” spells out in greater depth the (real) reasons for the Bush Administration's eagerness in invading Iraq, among them:
- Taking Iraq was doable, his army was no match for the might of the U.S. military.
- The belief that Arab cultures respect the show of force and doing so would change the political climate in the Middle East.
- Taking Iraq would allow the U.S. to establish bases in Iraq and thereby allowing us to close the Prince Sultan Air Base inside Saudi Arabia. (which did close in 2003).
- Establishing a friendly government in the region (Iraq) would then appear to promote other U.S. interests in the area including:
a.) Reduce the dependence on obtaining oil from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
b.) Imply tacit support to pro-Democracy movements in Iran, Egypt and cause the government of Syria to fall.
c.) Place additional pressure on Saudi Arabia and Egypt to crack down on Islamic extremism.
Fast-forward again to today where John McCain just recently grilled Defense Secretary Leon Panetta regarding the Administration’s reluctance to take an aggressive military position regarding the “threat” posed by Iran and involve ourselves in the conflict in Syria. McCain, in criticizing Panetta’s admonition that we proceed cautiously before committing American lives, said “... let me tell you what’s wrong with your statement... you don’t mention American leadership”.
Of ALL people, Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war McCain should know better. Idealistic posturing regarding idealism and our nation’s honor can, as it has in the past, been paid for with the lives, the limbs and the blood of real people.
As for the GOP candidate's disgusting posturing regarding this extremely serious topic, they can well afford their nonchalant rhetoric… none of those Bozos are the Commander In Chief – yet!
I highly recommend you listen to the short 19-minute segment of link posted here. I think you might agree that we are poised on the brink of having history repeat itself.Update:
This American Life, Why We Fight, Act III: Realism 101.
Runtime: 19 min
After composing this entry, Meir Dagan, former chief of Israel's Mossad, was interviewed on last night on CBS 60 Minutes. For the last 30 years Dagan has been specifically charged with counteracting Iran's nuclear weapon development. Dagan stated that Iran is capable of acting rationally and fully understands the consequences of any potential actions they may consider. Dagan emphasized in the strongest terms that military action against Iran is ill advised at this time. View the CBS interview here.