Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Agreeing with The Nation

I find myself in the uncomfortable position of finding more and more articles on the left quite reasonable, at least in some of the major points they raise with respect to Iraq. In a column entitled Iraq's Iranian Lovefest, Robert Scheer points out the obvious that many seem to have missed:
Are the media dumb or just out to lunch? Sorry to be intemperate, but how else can one explain the meager attention paid to the truly historic visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Iraq? Not only is he the first Mideast head of state to visit the country since its alleged liberation, but the very warm official welcome offered by the Iraqi government to the most vociferous critic of the United States speaks volumes to the abject failure of the Bush doctrine.
He is of course quite right. He asks "...what leverage does the United States have over Iran when, as the image of Ahmadinejad holding hands with the top leaders of Iraq demonstrated to the world, we have put the disciples of the Iranian ayatollahs in power in Baghdad?" A reasonable question. This goes back to the Bush administration's pushing for democratic elections which given the nature of the Iraqi people brought to power precisely the kinds of people we ought to be opposing.

Scheer's next point is particularly instructive:
How interesting that Ahmadinejad, unlike a US President who has to be airlifted unannounced into ultra-secure bases, was able to convoy in from the airport in broad daylight on a road that US dignitaries fear to travel. His love fest with Iraq President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who fought on Iran's side against Iraq and who speaks Farsi, even took place outside of the safety of the Green Zone, adding emphasis to Ahmadinejad's claim that while he is welcome in Iraq, the Americans are not.
Ahmadinejad's confidence in his safety could mean one of two things: Either he assumes his enemies are too afraid of the consequences of an attempt on his life, or he doesn't really have any enemies among the various insurgent groups since, as has been documented, Iran has helped them with supplies and training. I suspect these are non-exclusive alternatives, i.e., both are true. Much like the Soviets during the Cold War, very few incidents of terrorism occurred which involved Russian or Soviet personnel as victims both because most terrorists were Soviet sponsored and in the few exceptional cases in which Russians were the victims of terrorists, the Soviet response was immediate and harsh so that there was no mistake as who would terrorize whom.

Scheer continues:
Saddam Hussein went to war with Iran, but George W. Bush has given his Iranian foes a Shiite-run ally. Iran is now a major trading partner of Iraq that has offered a $1 billion loan, the border is increasingly porous as religious pilgrimages have become the norm, and many investment projects supervised by Iranians are in the works. Instead of isolating the "rogue regime" of Iran, the Bush Administration has catapulted the theocrats of Tehran into the center of Mideast political power.
Well put. Of course, I do disagree with Scheer about one thing. He argues that as a result of the Bush administration incompetence, "peace" requires the "cooperation of the ayatollahs of Iran," I would say we should first and foremost be interested in victory, and only subsequently a real peace.

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