1/12/2007

Responding to the pathetic response to Bush's speech in the media and on the Hill


George W. Bush has clearly evolved in his approach to winning the war in Iraq, and it seems that an escalation in the war against Middle Eastern radicalism is at hand. Listening to the media and Congress react to the speech delivered by the president from the White House last night has confirmed my long suspicions that the Administration is ready to take the Iranian issue to the next level. As I see it on MSNBC siting here now, with Joe Scarborough, Joe Klein, Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews already turning the scare machine up to full volume. At least Buchanan is level-headed, admitting that such a radical policy change is bound to prove effective either quickly, or not at all. For Klein to call the address the biggest blunder he has ever seen in his 35-years of covering politics is absolutely ridiculous, and clearly he is not a very deep thinker on matters of military strategy. I know you are probably going to call me a chicken hawk, or you think I am unqualified to comment, but Joe Klein's ignorance has without question given every armchair general across the country a position worth 5 minutes on Scarborough Country. For the host's part, he did a great job of reminding the viewers that the US military invaded Iran by default when it raided their countries consulate in Northern Iraq, without once recognizing the Administration and military's shared opinion that the enemies of the coalition are being financed and logistically supported by the Iranian government. Bush has never pretended that he views the Iranian government as anything other than pure evil, a terrorist state, and I have never heard a credible refutation of that assertion. I think it is unlikely that, as the pundits seem to be implying, the administration is only putting pressure on the Iranians to divert attention from the failure that is Iraq, but rather I believe that Bush has always held viewed the Iranians as the greatest challenge to America's interests in the Middle East. To this point, the president has employed the very same diplomatic and multi-lateral methods so vehemently asserted as a better alternative to war with Saddam, and the Iranian response has been to simply reject the will of the "world community" and our "European allies". It only seems appropriate that the president respond to the to defiance by taking measures to protect against the threats posed by a defiant terrorist state, which has been supporting terrorist attacks that have killed scores of US troops.

I must give Klein a bit of credit, he closed well, reiterating almost verbatim one aspect of the proposal I put forth earlier this week, that the US pull out of Baghdad and into the mountains and desert regions, so as to allow the Iraqi military (now some 220,000 strong and fully trained) cut the head off of any civil war that foments in the vacuum that is created following troop redeployment. But I have heard very little reasoned analysis tonight, instead hearing little more than pompous opportunism by pundits who are more concerned with what the polls say than what the military and Bush Administration have presented as the facts on the ground. I have been thinking quite a bit about the current state of political discourse, particularly in Washington in modern times, and I have been hoping to write a post dedicated to the topic, but from the first minute the thought occurred to me I new that it would be entitled The Age of Opportunism. There is no word more suited to characterizing the reckless, self-inflated and shock driven personalities that currently inhabit what is popularly known as the "mainstream media". Though it took nearly six years to hack away at Bush, whom they so obviously view with a disdain and sense of intellectual superiority, they have finally succeeded at melting the brains of enough American's to aid in the emergence of a more progressive political order that shares their snobbish perspective on the current president and his policies. It is almost impossible to even watch prime time cable news anymore, with a few exceptional exceptions, because it increasingly feels like either a evangelical infomercial or a goom-by-a peace rally.

It appears as if the American embassy has come under attack tonight in Athens, and I can't help but wonder- is this Hezbollah striking back at the US for today's raid on their consulate? My suspicion is yes, but I doubt it will be fully understood soon enough for it to even have any bearing on the debate, but I also suspect this is far from the end. If today's raid on what is technically Iranian territory and the air strikes against terrorist elements in Somalia don't signal a very serious, and focused escalation of the war against global extremism and terrorists, I am at a loss for what exactly would. It has been difficult to sit-by and watch the president squirm in the run-up to and the aftermath of the November election, but the fact that he only accepted Rumsfeld's resignation the day after election day and waited until the new Congress was seated before announcing his new policy, is indication that he is a man driven by principles that are largely unheard of in the deeply partisan legislature.

I realize that I may sound irrational in my ranting, but I am absolutely amazed by the utter rejection of everything Bush proposed as empty, misguided rhetoric. Last time I checked, the executive branch made and implemented foreign policy, so the disregard for deference, in my opinion, is nothing more than another indication that politicians are more driven by opportunism than by finding solutions to our problems. I distinctively heard the president challenge the Democrats to propose an alternative, detailed policy for winning in Iraq. Where in all of the pontificating today did we hear such a proposal? That is absolutely right, we didn't, but were rather fed crap talking points about "seeking a new course" or a "new way forward".

In my mind, several questions are now unavoidable and should have been seriously addressed in the committee hearings that were so effectively hijacked by presidential hopefuls this afternoon. Most obviously, are we headed into another invasion of a large, hostile Middle Eastern country? Are we prepared to do whatever it takes to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program? What type of involvement have the Iranians had in supporting and cultivating the chaos in Iraq? What do we do if the Iranians strike first? Where do I sign up for a machine gun and a plane ticket to Tehran?
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