Bush’s Latest Alarming Speech
Well, I was wrong about the Iranian speedboat incident. If Bush’s rhetoric is any indication, even if this isn’t the Gulf of Tonkin incident, we are certainly being set up to respond the same way the next incident. Dubious border incidents are not a legitimate casus belli, but even a token review of history shows how regularly they are used as exactly such. Will the USA be going to war with Iran soon? Beats me, but Bush’s sabre rattling has succeeded in rattling me. It’s so out of proportion to the alleged incidents, and so many other dubious premises are being tied to it, that I can’t but help if Bush really intends to attack Iran.
Rather than focus again on the dubious merits of attacking a nation that is in a de facto alliance with Russia and China, among other flies in the ointment, I’m going to answer Bush’s latest and clearly most alarming speech point by point. It’s still a free country, and that should mean that matters of national importance are open to national debate. It’s not unpatriotic to respectfully disagree with our leaders, in fact it can be argued that it’s the duty of every citizen to speak up if they have concerns. And dammit, it concerns me that the president is engaging in the worst sorts of sabre rattling based on at best wild distortions of the truth.
I am working from “Bush: Iran Threatens World Security.” Maybe I’m wrong, and some helpful reader can point out the error of my logic, but I’m pretty unhappy with just about everything the president said. First of, the idea that Iran threatens the “security of the world” is silly. Iran is a modest regional power with limited ability to project force outside of their borders. Iran hasn’t invaded anyone since the nineteenth century, and is in no position to do so today. The only way Iran threatens world security is if the USA and Iran go to war, and it’s the USA that keeps threatening war, not Iran. Yes, a big regional war would not be a good thing, it even could lead to a world war, but again, it’s the USA that has been invading and attacking nations in the region, not Iran.
He goes on:
“Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines peace in Lebanon, sends arms to the Taliban, seeks to intimidate its neighbors with alarming rhetoric, defies the United Nations and destabilizes the entire region by refusing to be open about its nuclear program.
“Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” Bush said…”
Well then. Yes, Iran likely does fund some “terrorist extremists,” so does Israel and the USA and just about every other player in the region, this is news? Again, Israel and the west have done as much or more than Iran to undermine peace in Lebanon, in fact Iran’s influence in Lebanon is rather minor. The whole “terrorist” thing is annoying anyhow. There s no such thing as a terrorist ideology, terrorism is the tactic of attacking civilians for political purposes. And as such, it is practised far more by governments than anyone else. If babies die as a direct and foreseeable result of sanctions or bombing a nation’s civilian infrastructure, is that not terrorism?
As for arming the Taliban or anyone else, arming your friends is what nation’s do. If Iran invaded and occupied Mexico and Canada to impart the benefits of Islam to their people, you can be damn sure that the USA would be arming and funding the insurgents in those countries. As for the world’s leading sponsor of terror, give me a break. Again, it doesn’t even make sense, terror is not an ideology. There are over five thousand ethnic groups on the planet, they each have one or more military and political organizations fighting for their people. These organizations vary widely in their adherence to international law and standards, their ideologies, and everything else. It’s incredibly complicated and cannot be reduced to “good guys vs bad guys” no matter how much one wants to think of the world as a comic book and Bush as a superhero.
Bush then goes on to chide our allies for suppressing civil liberties. Snort. We arm these allies to the teeth so that they can remain in power and do everything else we can to ensure the legitimacy of such paragons of freedom as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but we want them to be democratic? We can be pretty sure that they are laughing all the way to the bank. And these autocratic governments have about as much real loyalty to the USA as they do to the cause of democracy, as a recent commenter said about Pakistan “Gee, ten billion dollars didn’t buy us much friendship.”
I could go on, suffice it to say that Bush’s rhetoric about Iran is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Whether through hypocrisy or a genuine belief that his wars and foreign adventures are making the world a better place (they’re not) it is frightening that a man with the most destructive military the world has ever seen can engage in such blatant propaganda and sabre rattling. The blowhard president of Iran certainly engages in sabre rattling of his own, but unlike Bush he doesn’t have the authority to launch a war, nor even a tiny fraction of the military resources at his command if he did. It is the USA that has stationed a frightening amount of military power including nuclear weapons off Iran’s coast, not vice versa.
Do Bush and his supporters not understand the world needs statesmanship and diplomacy, not threats and name calling? I don’t know if Bush is really planning on attacking Iran, or he’s just blowing smoke to distract attention from his manifest foreign policy disasters and the collapsing American economy/dollar. Does it matter? We’re hosed either way.
(The above image if an American Carrier group is a US Navy photograph and is public domain under US copyright law. Enough firepower to level every city in Iran and kill millions of people, and they’re spooked by a few speedboats? Maybe later I will write about the culture of quivering fear that Bush seems to have instilled in Americans, but in the next week Doug’s Darkworld is going to be pure escapism unless the situation in the Middle East heats up further. Ghosts, UFOs, science, old photos and the like. We all need a break from the news.)