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Iran, World War III, and the Madness of President George November 3, 2007

Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Put a straight-jacket on them. That seems to be Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks’s position on President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

As she explains, “We’re in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration’s interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe.” Yet Bush and Cheney appear to want another war, this one against Iran.

It does seem mad. Iran has more territory, a larger population, bigger GDP, and more effective military than did Iraq. Tehran possesses missiles capable of hitting Israel and is aligned with America’s client government in Iraq. If any regime is capable of destabilizing Arab regimes allied with the U.S., it is Iran. A cakewalk such a war would not be.

In contrast, being concerned about a nuclear-armed Iran is not mad. Tehran unsettles the world for obvious reasons. It is hard to find anyone anywhere who believes that a nuclear-empowered mullocracy would be a good thing. Although the Islamic republic has behaved as a rational actor for three decades and seems subject to deterrence like other, more normal, states, a residue of doubt remains.

But concern about an unlikely future threat is not the same as a clear and present danger. The former certainly does not justify the kind of rhetoric tossed around by President Bush and Vice President Cheney. They might not be mad in a clinical sense, but they are pretty nutty if they really believe their rhetoric.

First, the vice president said the administration would not stand by in the face of “the Iranian regime’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East and to gain hegemonic power.” This is, to coin a phrase, a hoot. It has been more than two centuries since Iran, or a nation resembling Iran, attacked anyone. The last war in which Tehran was involved was started by Iraq – which was supported in its aggression by America and several American allies.

Second, the administration, through its invasion of Iraq, has destabilized the Mideast. If Iran is poised for regional hegemony, it has that opportunity only because Washington was kind enough to take out both of its principal enemies: the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Washington also urged Israel on in its botched war against Lebanon, which weakened Israel and strengthened Iran’s ties to Hezbollah. [read more]

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