Thursday, January 11, 2007

What Bush is Up To

Bush last night announced that he is sending 20,000 more troops to Iraq. 61% of Americans oppose this plan. Even Republican Senators are skeptical.

This surge idea comes after the people voted overwhelmingly against the Republicans, largely based on the President's handling of Iraq. A majority of Americans thinks we shouldn't even be there. The Baker-Hamilton report advised leaving by 2008, with no mention of a surge. Most military leaders oppose the surge.

The few people who do support a surge support a much larger one. It's not clear that anybody besides George W. Bush thinks a surge of 20,000 people is a good idea.

So what the hell is he thinking?

The easy answer is, he's not. That's what I figured at first -- that he's simply too stubborn to admit defeat.

Then I read Glenn Greenwald's latest post:

The President's intentions towards Iran need much more attention

As Think Progress notes, the White House took multiple steps yesterday to elevate dramatically the threat rhetoric against Iran. Bush included what The New York Times described as “some of his sharpest words of warning to Iran” yet. But those words could really be described more accurately not as “threats” but as a declaration of war.

He accused the Iranian government of “providing material support for attacks on American troops” and vowed to “seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies.” But those networks are located in Iran, which means that search and destroy missions on such networks would necessarily include some incursion into Iranian territory, whether by air or ground.

...

I think there is a tendency to dismiss the possibility of some type of war with Iran because it is so transparently destructive and detached from reality that it seems unfathomable. But if there is one lesson that everyone should have learned over the last six years, it is that there is no action too extreme or detached from reality to be placed off limits to this administration. The President is a True Believer and the moral imperative of his crusade trumps the constraints of reality.


Let's think about this "surge" again. Before Bush brought up the idea, we were debating when we should withdraw from Iraq. The Baker-Hamilton group, as I mentioned above, recommended we withdraw by 2008, and they were the ones appointed by Bush. Many Democrats wanted to withdraw sooner.

By shifting the debate to the "surge," Bush put off the debate on withdrawal.

Leaving him with 160,000 troops next-door to Iran. And warships and strike aircraft in the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve toward Iran.

Bush knows he'll never get permission to start a new war with Iran. He's just going to turn the current debacle into a new one. U.S. troops stormed an Iranian consulate in Iraq this morning and siezed six people.

The war with Iran is on, folks. Bush is turning a large failure into an overwhelming catastrophe.

21 comments:

Half Sigma said...

War with Iran sounds like a great idea. Let's destroy their infrastructure BEFORE they develope nuclear weapons.

The last thing we need is a country with nuclear weapons run by people with a philosophy that suicide attacks against enemies results in entry to Paradise.

Jewish Atheist said...

HS:

I think we have some time before we have to do that. And I don't exactly trust Bush to use war as a last, rather than first, resort.

If feasible, I would support a U.S. or Israeli (non-nuclear) strike of Iranian nuclear targets.

Stephen said...

I don't think a war with Iran is imminent. The thing that most impressed me (not that "impressed" is quite the right word) last night was Bush's body language. He looked scared, chastened, humiliated.

Where is the usual swagger, the smirk, the military bluster? It wasn't the countenance of a man gearing up for war, but of a man who is spiralling into ignominy — and who knows it.

CyberKitten said...

Do people *really* think that military action against Iran is a good idea? Don't you think that there will be *dire* consequences for the whole region if Israel in particular attack Iran with conventional or (God forbid) nuclear weapons? Does anyone think that Iran will back down & roll over after its been attacked...

An attack on Iran will make the Iraq fiasco look like a sensible decision - unless the *real* objective is to make the Middle East unstable for generations to come.

asher said...

I hope you remember that the Baker Iraq Report suggested, among other things, that Israel give back the Golan Hieghts to Syria as a means of ending the Iraq situation. With this kind of advise it's no wonder the "Report" is being ignored.

If you think Iran is not a problem, good for you. I imagine having a head of state announce that he would like to wipe Israel off the map, sponsors a Holocaust deniers symposium, and supports terrorist around the world, might cause someone to have some reservations about Iran. But, why should we get involved. After all, being isolationist almost worked until 1941.

CyberKitten said...

Asher - What do you think an attack on Iran will accomplish?

Will an attack on its nuclear facilities 'solve the problem of Iran'..?

Will such an attack make the situation in the Middle East better or worse?

What message will an attack send to the rest of the world? Will more countries attempt to build or buy nuclear weapons? Probably. It does seem like a good way to be safe from American bombing...

Jewish Atheist said...

stephen:

I sure hope you are right. I fear his reaction might be the opposite of what you imply, though. I think he'll keep going double-or-nothing until he's lost the car, the house, and his wife, to use a gambling analogy. Only the car, house, and wife are our young people, our international prestige, and any hope of a stable middle east.

CK:

Do people *really* think that military action against Iran is a good idea?

The only relevant question is what Bush thinks. And Bush is not known for his rational reasoning ability.

Personally, I believe that taking out the Iranian nuclear reactor, if possible in single conventional airstrike (although it probably isn't) could easily be worth the consequences. I think most people are glad Israel took out Iraq's reactor back in the 80s.


Asher:

Of course Iran is a problem. But not every problem has the same solution.

Jack's Shack said...

The war with Iran is on, folks. Bush is turning a large failure into an overwhelming catastrophe.

Remains to be seen.

CyberKitten said...

JA said: Personally, I believe that taking out the Iranian nuclear reactor, if possible in single conventional airstrike (although it probably isn't) could easily be worth the consequences. I think most people are glad Israel took out Iraq's reactor back in the 80s.

So... you don't think an effective convential strike is possible.. and you think the consequences are worth it.

What consequences do you forsee after a failed conventional strike or a possible succesful nuclear one?

beepbeepitsme said...

Always been hesitant about pre-emptive violence. It doesn't sit well with me.

When we assume the worst of a nation or group and act accordingly, inevitably they will live up to our expectations.

Jewish Atheist said...

CK:

So... you don't think an effective convential strike is possible.. and you think the consequences are worth it.

To be clear, if our best military estimate is that it won't work, I don't think we should do it. (Unfortunately, we have a president who ignores military advice, so what he would do remains to be seen.

What consequences do you forsee after a failed conventional strike or a possible succesful nuclear one?

After a failed conventional strike? Not too many. Iran would bluster, the world would criticize us, and everything would continue the same. After a successful nuclear one, which I strongly oppose? The world would criticize us and mean it, and nuclear weapons would become more acceptable to use in non-mutually-assured-destruction scenarios.


beepbeepitsme:

When we assume the worst of a nation or group and act accordingly, inevitably they will live up to our expectations.

Diplomacy should always be the method of choice. I wish we hadn't attacked Iraq in 2003. I hope to hell we don't start a war with Iran. I'm just saying that if we have the option to kick the gun out of the crazy, violent person's hand before he's able to get it loaded, it might not be such a bad thing. Once he gets it loaded, the confrontation would be more of a shootout or very tense standoff.

david said...

I agree, and said something very similar in my post today (posted at almost the same time).

CyberKitten said...

JA said: After a failed conventional strike? Not too many. Iran would bluster, the world would criticize us, and everything would continue the same. After a successful nuclear one, which I strongly oppose? The world would criticize us and mean it, and nuclear weapons would become more acceptable to use in non-mutually-assured-destruction scenarios.

So. You don't think that Iran wouldn't retaliate or that it could not retaliate - whether the attack failed or not? Wouldn't any other country in the world with any capability at least *attempt* to retaliate after it had been attacked in a pre-emptive manner?

Wouldn't a pre-emptive attack just make the US and (probably Israel if they got involved) more enemies and fewer friends? Can the US really cope with the loss of even more credibility in the world?

I don't think that such an attack should be seen as a credible option - and not just by Bush. As far as I can see nothing good will come of it.

Anywho said...

"Personally, I believe that taking out the Iranian nuclear reactor, if possible in single conventional airstrike (although it probably isn't) could easily be worth the consequences. I think most people are glad Israel took out Iraq's reactor back in the 80s."

It's not the samre situation. The material is underground, spread out, and generally much more diificult to strike.

Jack's Shack said...

Can the US really cope with the loss of even more credibility in the world?

Easily. It is not even a real issue.

CyberKitten said...

jacks shack said: Easily. It is not even a real issue.

Indeed. If the US is determined to 'go it alone' particularily in regards to its Foreign Policy. Credibility might come in handy if the US wants anyone elses co-operation though....

Jack's Shack said...

Cyberkitten,

For better or for worse we are the 800 pound gorilla. Other countries cannot ignore us.

That is not ego, it is fact. Neither is it a value judgment. Some people love the US, some hate it and others cannot decide what to make of it.

In the end because of our size the world cannot and will not ignore us.

CyberKitten said...

Jack said: In the end because of our size the world cannot and will not ignore us.

Very true - the USA cannot be ignored as its a major world player & the only Super-power ATM. It can be opposed though - and quite sucessfully. Even the US needs friends and allies to get its way on things.

The war in Iraq would be going a lot smoother if the US had more countries in the collalition forces for example.

Half Sigma said...

The purpose of war with Iran is to destroy the country's military and R&D infrastructure, which would indeed prevent them from developing nuclear weapons and producing delivery vehicles for them.

The U.S. military can do this, it's great at blowing stuff up. We conquered Iraq in two weeks with minimal casualties.

What the U.S. military is not good at doing is occupying a country for the long term.

So I say we stick to what we are good at, and not occupy Iran after we conquer them.

Jewish Atheist said...

HS:

How many civilian deaths do you estimate would result from that scenario? I agree with your basic thought that we should stick to blowing things up, but I think we have to limit it to specific sites rather than an entire military or government. And then only in the most dire of circumstances.

CyberKitten said...

half sigma said: So I say we stick to what we are good at, and not occupy Iran after we conquer them.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'conquer' them...

What most people seem to be overlooking is the consequences of an attack on Iran. What about the inevitable retaliation - presumably both against US interests & against Israel...? Blocking oil exports from the Gulf region would be comparatively easy for example. What would a $100+ barrel of oil do to the worlds economy?

Invading Iran will be a completely different experience than invading Iraq. I suggest that it will *not* be the walk in the park that some are suggesting.

Also is the possibility that they might be able to develop an atomic bomb sometime in the future enough to warrent an attack on them?