Thursday, July 17, 2014

Want to Screw Iran? Give it Iraq

Since the post World War I division of the Middle East by the European powers, the region's artificial nations have been more or less in constant chaos on one level of another.  The few periods of "stability" have largely stemmed from brutal dictators who for a time could keep the lid on ethnic and religious hatreds and rivalries.  Indeed, one of the few nations in the region with a true historic identity is Iran which still dreams back to the days of glory of the Persian Empire.  Despite the ranting delusions of war criminal Dick Cheney and his fellow neocons, no amount of American blood and money will fix the problems in Iraq.  Thus, one perverse proposal: give Iraq to Iran and destabilize Iran.  Think I am kidding?  Here are excerpts from a piece in The Daily Beast that looks at the perverse logic:
Back in the George W. Bush administration’s darkest days occupying Iraq, I ran into a guy who was about as close to Bush as you could get without being Bush himself. We were at one of those Davos cocktail parties where you can barely hear what you are saying yourself, much less what’s being said to you. But I wanted to press this guy on all that had gone wrong in Iraq, especially the fact that the mullahs of Iran were gaining so much power and influence on the American dime.
“All that blood and treasure and we might as well have handed Baghdad to Tehran on a platter,” I shouted.

The Bush clone looked at me—and I don’t know if this was just an off-the-cuff kiss-off, or a half-considered bon mot, or some perverse quasi-serious notion of his (not speaking for the president, of course)—but what he said was, “If you really want to fuck Iran, let ‘em have Iraq.”

[T]he idea stayed with me as one of those notions that is so logical, yet so outside the box, that nobody ever will take it seriously.  Well, now, maybe we should.

It's time the Iraqi Pottery Barn rule—“you break it, you pay a trillion dollars for it"—applied to someone else. And Iran's a very good candidate.

The people of the United States have done all that they should do, giving their lives, their taxes and their sacred honor to try to set straight the mess created on the basis of bad intelligence, bad judgment and bald lies.

One of the supreme ironies in the tragedy playing out before us now is that the Iranians were supposed to be so much smarter than we were in dealing with the region. Ask 'em, they'll tell you. Neighboring nations often hold each other in contempt, but the Persian view of Arabs—"lizard eaters," as the saying goes—is beyond the Aryan Iranian pale.

Again and again we were told by sundry Middle East experts that the wise mullahs had every interest in maintaining a stable Iraq. And maybe the wise ones did. But they were not the ones who went into action.

The consequences of this devastation in the Fertile Crescent are almost incalculable for the people, for the land, and for the ancient history that is rooted there. But, much as we might mourn the losses, why should the United States be in the business of trying to hold it all together now?

Let's see: There is a humanitarian argument, yes. There is probably an oil argument, as always in the Middle East. But the only argument that holds any real weight with the American people is that terrorists will make the newly self-declared caliphate in the ISIS-conquered lands a base of operations against the United States. You remember the old Bush-era slogan that helped get us into Iraq in the first place? "We've got to fight them over there (Iraq) so we don't have to fight them here (meaning, say, Kansas)."

Think again. There's a risk to the U.S., yes. But very little of the ISIS ethos has to do with hitting the Freedom Tower or the Capitol Dome. It's all about slaughtering Shiites, like, you know, the Iranians.

Did I mention the nuclear negotiations with Iran? No. What's striking about them now is their irrelevance.  All along, the atomic minuet with Tehran has been built on assumptions—ours and theirs—that are, as it turns out, erroneous.

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