Wednesday, July 19

What passes for foreign policy expertise these days.

Dear Israel, if you have any missiles left over after you're done destroying Hezbollah, could you please fire one at Bill Kristol? Pretty please?

KRISTOL: . . . We have to stop [Iran] from getting nuclear weapons. We can try diplomacy. I am not hopeful about that. We have to be ready to use force.

FOX NEWS: You know, the down side, though, you know very well, to all of that being that we?re involved in Iraq and Afganistan. Also that Iran is much different than Iraq. It?s huge and more formidable.

KRISTOL: It is, but also the Iranian people dislike their regime. I think they would be -- the right use of targeted military force -- but especially if political pressure before we use military force -- could cause them to reconsider whether they really want to have this regime in power. There are even moderates -- they are not wonderful people -- but people in the government itself who are probably nervous about Ahmadinejad's recklessness. (my emphasis)

Here's a guy who was one of the driving forces behind our invasion of Iraq, and who said before the war that we'd be greeted as liberators. Now it's three years later, by his own admission George W. Bush has "driven us into a ditch" in Iraq -- and he's saying the exact same fucking things about Iraq.

If this were just some know-nothing blowhard spouting off nonsense at the Waffle House on Highway 31, that'd be one thing. But Kristol is a guy who wields considerable influence in the Republican Party. He runs a think tank that was obviously influential enough to help coax us into a war on the other side of the world; he was chief of staff to Bill Bennett when Bennett was secretary of education under Reagan, and then chief of staff to Vice President Quayle; he established The Weekly Standard, which, despite being wrong approximately as often as the sun rises in the East, has somehow still managed to maintain a large measure of credibility in right-wing circles. And now he's telling the Bush administration, and the country, that the Iranian people are going to slap their heads and go, "Oh! Yes! What were we thinking, electing this fool Ahmadinejad? Thank you, United States, for helping us see the light!" when the M1A1s start rolling into Azadi Square in Tehran.

Sometimes I wonder if Kristol is really this stupid, or if statements like this are just part of a calculated strategy designed to make it look reasonable by comparison when some Bush administration lackey stands up and says, "Well, I don't think we're going to invade Iran at this point in time, but I don't see anything wrong with invading . . . oh, say, Lebanon." I'm praying I won't have to find out which one.


Anonymous said...

OK. And your solution is ??????

Quit being a knee jerk Democrat and suggest a reasonable alternative instead of just shitting on Republican ideas. I'm not saying they're right, but the alternative has to be something other than "No it's not" "Yes it is" "no it's not" .....

Ideas! What have you got?

Anonymous said...

Steve: Any alternative would have to count as reasonable as opposed to a second war in the region, including doing nothing. Which is about what we can afford to do anyway.

As for other alternatives... well, we could build bases in Turkmenistan and see how provocative that is. We could send them 20,000 jet skis to use in the Caspian Sea so they'll be having too much fun to build missiles... Ummm, since the Iranians are largely pulling the strings of the Shi'ite groups in Iraq, we could pull the old "you broke it, you bought it" switcheroo and leave the Sunnis and Kurds with enough guns to last several lifetimes. We could cripple their society by beaming in free satellite porn.

None are any sillier than invading though.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

You know, I'm getting real sick and tired of Republicans sanctimoniously sniffing about how the Democrats don't have any "ideas," simply because they oppose the increasingly idiotic ones the Republicans come up with. It's like a Republican says, "I think we should spend billions on developing giant jet engines that are powered by marshmallow fluff so that we can build giant floating cities in the clouds," and a Democrat says, "Um, that's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard," and the Republican immediately shrieks, "Criticism, that's all you've got! Where are your IDEAS?!?!?!"

You want an idea? OK, here's mine: DON'T FUCKING INVADE IRAN. We don't have the troop strength to do it at the moment, the Iranians wouldn't welcome us as liberators, and we'd likely piss off the rest of the Muslim world to the point of starting World War III (or IV, or V, or whichever one Newt Gingrich says we're on now). Do I really need to make it any more simple than that?

I mean, Christ, Steve. I assume you've heard the definition of "insanity" as "doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result" -- don't you guys ever get tired of doing that?

Anonymous said...

Talk about "deja vu all over again"!! Have we forgotten already the rose petals that were going to be strewn in the path of the liberators of Iraq? There are segments of the Iranian body politic that oppose the current regime, but recent surveys indicate genreal support for them. And the one thing that will unify them for sure is an attack by the Great Satan. thwpyart

Anonymous said...

Doug, so your plan is not to invade Iran? That's it? That will cure all? That will prevent them from developing and using nukes? Damn, how brilliant!

If you weren't a Dawg fan I'd have to say that you're brain is completely gone. Maybe one day you will grow up and see the error of your ways.

Anonymous said...

Doug, so your plan is not to invade Iran? That's it? That will cure all? That will prevent them from developing and using nukes?

All right then, so we invade, we find the labs where they are going to try and refine material for weapons, we destroy the labs, and then what? Leave and wait until they start again, then repeat? Or stay and try and take the place over?

Anonymous said...

BTW- What are we going to invade them with? The few National Guard folks that haven't been called up yet to guard the Southern Frontier? Or send the 4th Marines in for the fourth time? We're having trouble taking care of Afghanistan and Iraq simultaneously (hence the Taliban resurgence)- those two will look like pieces of cake compared with an invasion of Iran. I've never been a "peace at all costs" type and even supported the Viet Nam war for a while, but this is getting into the realm of the absurd. If you choose to use force, there has to be a reasonable lilkihood of both short term and long term successes. Iraq is neither. We could probably defeat Iran militarily eventually, but there is no reasonable hope for a militarily imposed Pax Americana in the Middle East.

Face it- the neocons had it woefully wrong in Iraq and they are equally qrong in their approach to Iran.

Anonymous said...

dc trogan., what's your plan? Bury our heads in the sand. What about bombing their nuclear facilities? Do we have any bombs left?

Anonymous said...

As much as the Neocon Nation scorns diplomacy, that's the most likely course for now. We are nearing what may be a settlement in the nuclear arms issue. The support for Hezbollah will be there regardless of what government is in power in Tehran. Even were we to take over Iran militarily, there are plenty of other Arab states that would take up the slack. It's like the game "Whack-A-Mole"- you can whack it in one place but it will always pop up again somewhere else. And every time there is violence in the region that involves the US, directly or by proxy, the moles breed a new generation. Sometimes force is the only way to deal with a situation, and few people (even the French and the Russkies)deny Israel's right to go after Hezbollah afer the capture of the soldiers. Invasion of Iraq can't solve the problem, and we simply don't have the capacity to take over the entire Middle East. Even without Iran and Syria, we would still face a growing fundamentalist movement in Egypt, what's left of Sudan would tip to the hardliners, Pakistan would be increasingly problematical as Musharef is hanging on by his fingernails as it is, and Iraq will continue to be the cesspool that it has become.

The military option is attractive to some because it seems final and definitive, but we didn't learn the lessons of Vietnam and some aren't learning the lessons that Iraq is trying to teach us. As doug said earlier, the definition of insanity is . . .

Anonymous said...

It's like Lewis Black says:

"The Democratic Party is the party of no ideas, and the Republican Party is the party of BAD ideas."

Seriously though, at some point we have to stop playing global cop. I understand that countries like Iran and North Korea pose a threat to our allies (and North Korea to us,m possibly), but we have to sit back on some of these and just say "we can't do this right now, we're already stretched to the limit."

Hopefully, the problem will be confronted by them. But we have to try this tact to know for sure, and I think our government is firmlyt of the mindset that "if we don't do it, no one will."

I haven't signed up yet, so you can address all comments to "Alex".

Anonymous said...

Hey, anonymous. Do you hate Reagan for not invading the USSR? That pussy, with his appeasement and containment. Yeesh.

I remember when "conservative" was a synonym for "reasonable."

Anonymous said...

Another thing about Kristol's argument ... I oppose the Bush administration as much as anybody, but if another country came in to depose him for me -- I'm sorry, but I'm taking up arms against them.

Anonymous said...

Look, we Dems got this country through two world wars and most of Korea. Truman set the course that won the Cold War. Vietnam's a bit of an abberation, but what are you going to do?

Clinton settled down Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. He destroyed Saddam's nuclear program. And he was trying to kill Osama back in 1997-1998, years before Bush ever heard of him.

I think we've proven that we know when to pull the trigger and when to give peace a chance.

It's not about who loves this country more. It's about judgment.

Anonymous said...

Kill them with UN resolutions.

Anonymous said...

Democrats and Republicans are both full of shit.

That is all.

Anonymous said...

I was asked what my plan was: negotiate and be prepared to strike in the unlikely event that Iran has weaponized materials in less than 10 years. Since irony precludes using a nuclear bunker buster to destroy underground processing plants, it has be to be conventional, fast, and limited: in other words not an invasion. And it doesn't have to be now. Patience, anonymous grasshopper.

Anonymous said...

So I'm back with the original question. I think Bill Kristol is an asshole too, but at least he has the balls to express an idea beyond "Bill Kristol is an asshole". What do we do with Iran? The fuckers are obviously arming terrorists in the region on top of the nuclear stuff.

At some point in time, people have to take responsibility for the government they allow to govern them. I'm watching CNN tonight and it's 24 hours the poor people of Lebanon. A large segment of the country and the people are under the control of terrorist and like it. I hate to see kids killed as much as the next guy, but their parents are likely either terrorists or are supporting terrorist.

The Iranians are worse. They just export killing kids and sit back claiming innocense.

Anonymous said...

Reagan wasn't an appeaser and he all but invaded the USSR. Google on "Reagan" and "Pershing Missles."

Anonymous said...

You should google the difference between "invaded" and "all but invaded."

You should also google Reagan's bug-out from Lebanon in the early 1980s.

Anonymous said...

A good read:

Anonymous said...

Frontline report about Reagan and Beirut:

In his September 2001 FRONTLINE interview, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger said the U.S. still lacks "actual knowledge of who did the bombing" of the Marine barracks. But it suspected Hezbollah, believed to be supported in part by Iran and Syria. Hezbollah denied its involvement.

"The president assembled his national security team to devise a plan of military action. The planned target was the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, which housed Iranian Revolutionary Guards believed to be training Hezbollah fighters. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger aborted the mission, reportedly because of his concerns that it would harm U.S. relations with other Arab nations. Instead, President Reagan ordered the battleship USS New Jersey, stationed off the coast of Lebanon, to the hills near Beirut. The move was seen as largely ineffective."

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to call Reagan a pussy or an appeaser, not really. My point is real men sometimes opt for containment.

Michael Pigott said...
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