Sometimes it’s just hard to make sense of things. Nothing seems logical. There must be another dynamic at work.
Did anyone notice this in the Washington Post? That Maliki guy in Iraq is up to something –
He said his government has begun a dialogue with Iran and Syria and has explained to them that their activities are unhelpful. As a result, he said, “our relationships with these countries has improved to the point that they are not interfering in our internal affairs.”
Asked about Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Forces, which the U.S. military charges is arming, training and directing Shiite militias in Iraq, Maliki said: “There used to be support through borders for these militias. But it has ceased to exist.”
Andrew Sullivan noticed –
A showdown between the Baghdad government and the Cheney wing of the administration is just a matter of time, isn’t it?
There is little need to unpack that. We have issues with Iran. We want a war with them. The government we put in place in Iraq has no such issues. The Iranians are just fine. Now what? Is it possible we will remove the government in Iraq because they’re on the side of the enemy?
Matthew Yglesias thinks about this –
One hesitates to call this yet another data point to suggest that it doesn’t really make sense for our young men and women to be risking their lives in order that the US government might be able to continue spending vast sums of money to build up the armed forces under Maliki’s control. After all, that conclusion might simply bolster the idea that it does make sense for our young men and women to be risking their lives in order that the US government might be able to continue spending vast sums of money to build up the armed forces under the control of rebels trying to overthrow Maliki’s government. Since Bush now has us on both sides of the conflict, after all, Maliki looking unimpressive just cuts both ways – just another awesome aspect of our endless war.
Nothing seems logical. There must be another dynamic at work.
Just what is going on here? During his visit to Australia on Wednesday, September 5, when asked by Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile to say how things are going in Iraq, the president of the United States put it his special way – “We’re kicking ass.”
With brave American soldiers dying in record numbers, I have two questions for the President – just whose posteriors are we kicking and how do you know? With Sunnis and Shiites killing themselves and each other, plus an incompetence Maliki government, we don’t know who we’re fighting, much less where we’re kicking them. And while we’re tied up in Iraq, Al Qaeda thrives in Pakistan and Afghanistan. So the President’s turn of phrase will go to the blooper hall of fame with other Bush Golden Oldies like “last throes,” “links to Al Qaeda” and “Mission Accomplished.” There was a time when America’s success meant defeating Nazis, tearing down communism’s Iron Curtain and walking on the moon. Supporting our troops meant honest safeguards, not trash talk. How low have our standards fallen when the President points to the debacle he created and says, this is what I’m proud of? Most Americans believe in a country that’s capable of much higher standards, and if America were really “kicking butt,’ the President wouldn’t need to say anything, everyone would know it. I yield back.
Well, he’s a Democrat. They have a few of those in Kentucky. But he doesn’t matter –
President Bush and Karl Rove sat listening to Norman Podhoretz for roughly 45 minutes at the White House as the patriarch of neo-conservatism argued that the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The meeting was not on the president’s public schedule.
Rove was silent throughout, though he took notes. The president listened diligently, Podhoretz said as he recounted the conversation months later, but he “didn’t tip his hand.”
There’s more ass to kick.
And Jonathan Schwartz notes just who the president listens to –
Now that we know George Bush and Karl Rove recently spent 45 minutes listening to Norman Podhoretz’s views on Iran (kill! kill! kill!), it’s worthwhile to remember this May 21, 2004 statement by Podhoretz’s wife, author Midge Decter: “We’re not in the Middle East to bring sweetness and light to the whole world. That’s nonsense. We’re in the Middle East because we and our European friends and our European non-friends depend on something that comes from the Middle East, namely oil.”
Bush gave Podhoretz the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2004. And he hired Elliot Abrams, Iran-contra criminal and Podhoretz and Decter’s son-in-law, for his National Security Council staff. (Delightfully, Abrams’ title is “Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy.” I understand the position was originally called Deputy National Security Adviser for Sweetness and Light.)
So Bush really digs this family.
You might recall that during the investigation of the Iran-Contra business, the special prosecutor handling the case prepared multiple felony counts against Abrams, but never indicted him. Why not? Abrams entered into a plea agreement that resulted in a conviction without imprisonment on two misdemeanors – two counts of withholding information from Congress. He was fined fifty dollars, placed on probation for two years, and assigned a hundred hours of community service – and was later pardoned by first president Bush for his involvement in any of this. And his father-in-law, Norman Podhoretz, the guy who is advising the president to got to war with Iran, is Rudolph Giuliani’s foreign policy adviser. Cute.
The Maliki guy can say what he wants, and so can the guy from Kentucky. It doesn’t matter. They’re not family.
Note this –
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he expects former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to secure the Republican presidential nomination.
The governor said his prediction does not constitute an endorsement, but Giuliani is “the most consistent, stable person who is out there who makes the most sense to the people. That’s why his poll numbers are high,” the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
It must be all the steroids talking – the one’s he took while still a bodybuilder. He was good at that. What’s that Edward Abbey said about things out this way? “There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.”
But everything points to bombing Iran, soon. On the other hand, sometimes you come across people outside “the family” who see all sorts of other issues –
Iran is a sexy story right now – and rightfully so. But when the dust of history settles on the Iraq War, I’m not sure that the unleashing of Iran will rate as its most significant adverse outcome. That honor might very well go to the deterioration of the American-Turkish strategic alliance. Because unlike Iraq or Iran, which we never really stood a chance of winning over, Turkey was already on our side. And we’re in the process of losing it, at the very moment when religious Muslims have begun to dominate the Turkish political scene.
It’s just details – minor stuff.
And Norman Podhoretz, confidant of the president and close advisor to Giuliani, is still saying things like this – “If we were to bomb the Iranians as I hope and pray we will, we’ll unleash a wave of anti-Americanism all over the world that will make the anti-Americanism we’ve experienced so far look like a love-fest.” He seems to love that idea. Bring it on.
You can watch that interview here – he contends there might be, perhaps, some sort of “secret relief around the world” if we wipe out Iran’s ability to go nuclear, along with any infrastructure there that might make it possible for them to start over (one assumes we destroy the entire economy) – that’s to say there might be some secret relief if it’s successful. But then he says he doubts anyone would really feel relieved – and we’ll certainly have that wave of anti-Americanism all over the world like nothing we’ve seen before. But he thinks the bombing is necessary regardless of the consequences.
Andrew Sullivan – “Regardless of the consequences: Bush’s mantra?”
Of course. Ask Elliot Abrams. That’s what the family, and the extended family, is all about. When you’re insulated from consequences for your entire life…. Ah, that’s been covered by so many others who have written about the president, as in this – “a story about a spoiled rich kid who never really had to suffer the consequences of his life choices.” But it’s not just the kid.
“There’s an awful lot of blood around that water is thicker than.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966