War and Politics: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Ron Paul for President
War with Iran illustrated, one guess what this would do to the price of gas…
Just a few notes about the wars we are in and the war with Iran we are still considering. The first thing that caught my eye was today’s statement by President Karzai of Afghanistan. He basically gave an angry speech denouncing the Allies for not coordinating military operations and particularly air strikes with his government, thus leading to avoidable civilian casualties, which of course build support for the Taliban insurgents.
This is absolutely correct, and neatly illustrates the horrible catch-22 the west is caught up in. Since Karzai’s government and military is riddled with Taliban sympathizers and informants, coordinating with them is the same as giving the Taliban advance notice of NATO attacks. This has some obvious downsides, it would allow the Taliban forces to escape, or worse, allow them to ambush NATO forces. Yet if we keep them out of the loop, civilian casualties are unavoidable. The main lesson that should be learnt here is simple, if you can’t trust the ally you are fighting for, it’s a no win situation. The exact same logic applies to Iraq as well unfortunately.
I came across another article, Imperial Poker, that made me smile. It’s of interest in its own right, and details some of the west’s mistakes and manipulations in Kosovo, but that is not what made me smile. The author makes the case that despite claiming to be Texan, Bush apparently has never played a game of poker in his life. I have been making this claim since before the invasion of Iraq, so I’m tickled I’m not the only one who has noticed. He bet the farm on the invasion of Iraq without having seen the other side’s cards, which is crazy. By that I mean he expended all of his political capital and post 911 international goodwill on the invasion of Iraq, guaranteeing he would be paralysed if Iraq wasn’t a smashing success.
And since then he has committed another cardinal poker errors, putting good money after bad for example. It’s obvious he has a losing hand in Iraq, yet he just keeps on betting while our enemies sit back incredulous and do what they can to encourage him to pour ever more money into the kitty. And of course his bluff has been called so many times that half a dozen nations around the world are simply in open defiance to the USA, and numerous of our friends and allies aren’t treating us much better.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I pray Bush doesn’t make the last and worse error in gambling…increasing the size of the bet to recoup previous losses. In this case that would be attacking Iran, which sadly there still seems to be preparations afoot for. And in that vein I came upon a statement made by one of the few politicians who has both feet on the ground. This would be Rep. Ron Paul from Texas, and his statement on H Con Res 21. This resolution calls upon the UN to indict President Ahlmadinejad for the crime of genocide because of his calls for the destruction of Israel…
“This resolution is an exercise in propaganda that serves one purpose: to move us closer to initiating a war against Iran. Citing various controversial statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this legislation demands that the United Nations Security Council charge Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Having already initiated a disastrous war against Iraq citing UN resolutions as justification, this resolution is like déja-vu. Have we forgotten 2003 already? Do we really want to go to war again for UN resolutions? That is where this resolution, and the many others we have passed over the last several years on Iran, is leading us. I hope my colleagues understand that a vote for this bill is a vote to move us closer to war with Iran.
Clearly, language threatening to wipe a nation or a group of people off the map is to be condemned by all civilized people. And I do condemn any such language. But why does threatening Iran with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, as many here have done, not also deserve the same kind of condemnation? Does anyone believe that dropping nuclear weapons on Iran will not wipe a people off the map? When it is said that nothing, including a nuclear strike, is off the table on Iran, are those who say it not also threatening genocide? And we wonder why the rest of the world accuses us of behaving hypocritically, of telling the rest of the world “do as we say, not as we do.”
I strongly urge my colleagues to consider a different approach to Iran, and to foreign policy in general. General William Odom, President Reagan’s director of the National Security Agency, outlined a much more sensible approach in a recent article titled “Exit From Iraq Should Be Through Iran.” General Odom wrote: “Increasingly bogged down in the sands of Iraq, the U.S. thrashes about looking for an honorable exit. Restoring cooperation between Washington and Tehran is the single most important step that could be taken to rescue the U.S. from its predicament in Iraq.” General Odom makes good sense. We need to engage the rest of the world, including Iran and Syria, through diplomacy, trade, and travel rather than pass threatening legislation like this that paves the way to war. We have seen the limitations of force as a tool of U.S. foreign policy. It is time to try a more traditional and conservative approach. I urge a “no” vote on this resolution.”
I hear Rep. Ron Paul is running for president. Right now he has my vote.
(The above image of a burning oil tanker in the during the Iran-Iraq war is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is central to illustrating the post, and it is an historically important image. If anyone knows the source I’ll attribute it properly.)