Monday, September 28, 2009

What Have We Learned?

With all of the recent discussion on Iran and their nuclear program, including President Obama's statements at the UN, it is only natural to begin to ask what lessons we learned from Iraq and how they are being applied to the current situation with Iran.

Glenn Greenwald has some good thoughts on this topic:

The reason such accusations deserve so much scrutiny is obvious: there is a substantial faction in our political culture which craves a military attack on Iran -- the same faction, more or less, that caused us to attack Iraq -- and will seize on anything to justify that. Anyone who doubts that should look at this creepily excited and chest-beating statement yesterday from Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, GOP Sen. John Kyl, and Sen. Joe Lieberman: Iraq War supporters all. Contradicting the 2007 NIE, they declare as an "inescapable conclusion" that "Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons." Their joint statement threatens "catastrophic consequences" against Iran and vows that "we are prepared to do whatever it takes to stop Iran's nuclear breakout." Just in case anyone is still confused by what they are threatening, they favorably cite a "bipartisan" report from former Senators Chuck Robb (D) and Dan Coats (R) which urges the President to begin preparing for military action against Iran, and lays out a detailed plan for what it would entail, beginning with a naval blockade and extending to "devastating strikes" against "assets" inside Iran that "would probably last up to several weeks and would require vigilance for years to come." That's what three key U.S. Senators are explicitly threatening.

In the absence of what they call "immediate" compliance, the Senators call for "crippling new sanctions against Iran." In The Washington Post today, AIPAC's most trusted House member -- Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D) -- similarly recommends sanctions that would "cause the Iranian banking system to collapse" and impose other severe economic hardships. So much for all of that oh-so-moving, profound, green-wearing concern for the welfare of The Iranian People. Time to bomb them or, at best, starve them until their government complies with our dictates. The Post Editorial Page repeats the same claim made for two decades about Iran ("officials say that when it is operational, it could deliver the material for a bomb in a year") and warns: "If it had not been discovered, the Qom plant could have given Iran the means for a bomb by 2011 without the world knowing about it. And if there is one clandestine facility, most likely there are others."

So we can all see where this is headed. Obama, to his credit, is one of the least inflammatory and fear-mongering establishment voices in all of this. And whatever else one might think of the whole Iran question, Obama officials -- just on a strategic level, in terms of negotiating tactics -- are infinitely smarter and more calculating than the ones who preceded them. They seem intent on formulating a negotiation strategy that will be most likely to resolve the matter through mutual agreement.

1 comment:

Grumpy said...

Any sane person would hope that diplomacy will work. But I have my doubts; the Iranians don't seem to care about international concerns or pressure. I am of the opinion that we cannot allow them to develop nuclear capability. They are crazy enough to use it against Israel and will supply terrorist organizations.

If they don't comply and sanctions are necessary, then any harm to the Iranian people was brought on by their own government.