By Ted Belman
I was in favour of America’s invasion of Iraq and was quite surprised when the oppressed Shiites were not appreciative. Increasing I began to feel it was a loser’s exercise. I thought the surge would offer only temporary respite. I gravitated to the position that the US must punish Iran for their meddling. But America under Bush and now Obama wasn’t prepared to take on Iran.
Spengler in his latest article, referring to the surge, Why not call it a ‘ Petraeus Village ‘? cuts to the chase.
The surge was a facade to hide massive failure,
- [..] Washington had a de facto agreement with Iran : do not make trouble in Iraq , and we will let you build up your nuclear capacity as well as your terrorist capabilities elsewhere.
The chairman of President Barack Obama’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, admitted as much in a March 16, 2009 , interview with Charlie Rose: “What I worry about in terms of an attack on Iran is, in addition to the immediate effect, the effect of the attack, it’s the unintended consequences. It’s the further destabilization in the region. It’s how they would respond. We have lots of Americans who live in that region who are under the threat envelope right now [because of the] capability that Iran has across the Gulf. So, I worry about their responses and I worry about it escalating in ways that we couldn’t predict.”
In return for a temporary truce in Iraq – a truce that is now crumbling as Iran inserts its military proxies into the Baghdad government and the Sunni fighters defect – America allowed Iran time to possibly produce weapons-grade uranium, stock Hezbollah in Lebanon with advanced missiles, and deploy terrorist networks wherever it wanted.
All of this is blowing up in America ‘s face, along with the twin farce in Afghanistan . The same talking heads who cheer-led the Bush administration claim that the problem is that Obama has encouraged the enemy by signaling his desire to withdraw. They know perfectly well that American voters cannot make sense of why so much blood and treasure has been poured into countries about which they care little.
Spengler continues his attack on the Republicans (neocons).
- Collectively and individually, the Republicans cannot easily admit that the whole business of nation-building was a gigantic blunder, not after a trillion dollars and four thousand dead.
And the this silent agreement lead to a changed policy by Bush in Lebanon.
- Bush personally offered the idiotic thought that once Hezbollah officials had to fix potholes they would abandon their declared ambition to turn the Middle East into an Iranian-led Islamic Republic. On March 16, 2006, Bush told the press:
“Our policy is this: We want there to be a thriving democracy in Lebanon. We believe that there will be a thriving democracy, but only if – but only if – Syria withdraws … her troops completely out of Lebanon … I like the idea of people running for office. There’s a positive effect when you run for office. Maybe some will run for office and say, vote for me, I look forward to blowing up America. I don’t know, I don’t know if that will be their platform or not. But it’s – I don’t think so. I think people who generally run for office say, vote for me, I’m looking forward to fixing your potholes, or making sure you got bread on the table.”
The Bush administration failed to scotch the Persian serpent when the costs of doing so would have been limited. These costs, though, would have been borne first of all by American troops in Iraq in constant contact with a hostile population. If attacked, Iran – just as Mullen explained – would have used such proxies as Muqtada’s Mahdi Army to kill Americans. The Bush administration would have paid for it at the polls, which it did, despite the Potemkin, er, Petraeus Village success of the “surge”. To dig Iran out of Lebanon today would require drastic action. It will be ugly, and to some extent it will be the fault of the Bush administration.
I watched with alarm as the US policy on Lebanon went from staunch opposition to the plans of Syria and Iran to passive acceptance.
I was also dismayed when the Bush administration insisted that Hamas be allowed to contest elections then accepted the Hamas coup in Gaza even though Hamas would inherit half a billion dollars worth of military hardware that was stored there. Its response was to place Gaza under an embargoe. Even that Obama has abandonned.
This is the passivity that Spengler is complaining about, as too high a price to pay for a facade.
But it goes further. America was not prepared to fight Iran for fear of retaliation and did not let Israel fight its tormentors to the end also for fear of retailiation of one kind or another. Appeasement was in. Victory was out.
After Nov 2 all eyes will be on the Republican majority.
- At some point, the Republicans, if they wish to govern, will have to explain to the American public that America needs to fight fire with fire, asymmetric warfare against asymmetric warfare. There are many ways to do this, ranging from cyber-war to promotion of competing Islamic heresies, as I suggested in a September 14, 2010 essay (Terry Jones, asymmetrical warrior).
None of them are pleasant, and none of them should be discussed in detail. But in some fashion, the Republicans must explain to the voters that rather than wasting American blood and treasure in a quest to stabilize fractious and fragile countries in the Middle East, America will do what it far easier and more effective; that is, destabilize its enemies.
I particularly like the idea, ’til now, snuffed out by political correctness, promoting “competing Islamic herisies”.
Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman, senior editor at First Things magazine.