Sunday, December 18, 2011

Iran, Iraq And Bachmann

Watching the last GOP debate (transcript here), held in Sioux City, Iowa, the sober viewer was reminded how popular "beer muscles" are among the Repub aspirants. While Ron Paul wants to avoid war at almost all costs, the other candidates generally vie to prove how tough they are, especially compared to President Obama. The most explicit, Rick Santorum, declared "we should be planning a strike against their facilities and say, if you do not open up those facilities and not close them down, we will close them down for you." Mitt Romney charged Obama with "thinking somehow if we appease or accommodate the tyrants of the world, that the world will be safer." Michele Obama was certain Iran will develop a nuclear weapon and "will use it to wipe our ally, Israel, off the face of the map, and they've stated they will use it against the United States of America. Look no further than the Iranian constitution, which states unequivocally that their admission -- their mission is to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up a worldwide caliphate. We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan."

But that was the more logical portion of the Minnesota congresswoman's critique of the Paul approach to the Persian Gulf. Lost in the translation was Bachmann's statement

Well, I think clearly the biggest mistake that President Obama has made -- and there are many when it comes to foreign policy -- has been the decision that he made regarding Iraq. He was essentially given on a silver platter victory in Iraq, and he's choosing intentionally to lose the peace.
And we all know what's going to happen. We know that Iran is going to be the hegemon and try to come into Iraq and have the dominant influence. And then Iraq will essentially have dominance from the Persian Gulf all the way to the Mediterranean through its ally, Syria.

I'm not referring to the idiotic allegation that the President is "choosing intentionally to lose the peace," which would be tantamount to treason, were the United States legally involved in a 'war' against Iraq, rather than merely carrying on yet another police action. Rather, it is the cognitive dissonance embodied in stating "he was essentially given a silver platter victory in Iraq" and "we know that Iran is going to be the hegemon and try to come into Iraq and have the dominant influence" which, presumably, displeases Bachmann.

Sadaam Hussein's Iraq had no "weapon of mass destruction." Nor did it have chemical or biological weapons (which, truth be told, are not weapons of mass destruction). Nor was it aiding Al Qaeda and our involvement in the war probably strengthened the hand of terrorists in the region.

Any "silver platter victory in Iraq," for those paying attention, would be regime change. A genocidal dictator was replaced by a government elected somewhat democratically and whose head, Nouri al-Maliki, is not the authoritarian Hussein was.

But al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, traditionally has been pro-Teheran. If Bachmann is as exorcised (should she be exorcised? Oh, never mind.) that Iran will "come into Iraq and have the dominant influence" there, it is curious that she would perceive some "silver platter victory in Iraq."

A realist ought to be skeptical of such certitude about the danger presented by the current government in Iran. But the threat is significantly greater than that acknowledged by Ron Paul. The degree of threat posed by Teheran (which remains unclear) should give Michele Bachmann, and the other conservatives who continue to defend Gulf War II, considerable pause.


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