blogenlust
12.31.2004

"We don't have much leverage with the Iranians right now."


Apparently Susan Rice thinks we need an Iran Policy. Feeling a bit shrill lately, Susan? Don't you realize we already have one? They're evil. Very evil. What more do we need to know?
Has President Bush quietly concluded that the United States can live with a nuclear-armed Iran? If this seems preposterous, recall the president's words at his year-end news conference. Asked about U.S. policy toward Iran, he said: "We're relying upon others, because we've sanctioned ourselves out of influence with Iran . . . in other words, we don't have much leverage with the Iranians right now." [...] Consider what's at stake. Oil-rich Iran is arguably the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran was behind the 1996 bombing of the U.S. military barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. It is funding anti-Israeli terrorist groups, harboring al Qaeda operatives and meddling in Iraq. Iran clandestinely built a sophisticated uranium enrichment program that the United States and European nations agree is intended to produce nuclear weapons. Iran has missiles capable of delivering such weapons to Iraq, Israel and even parts of Europe. President Bush says the greatest threat to U.S. national security is a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists. A nuclear Iran, not Saddam Hussein's Iraq, is a truly dangerous manifestation of that threat. So how has the Bush administration acted to protect us? Overstretched with 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and paralyzed by internal policy disputes, the administration's response has been to posture, threatening to take Iran to the U.N. Security Council, while effectively having no Iran policy at all. In response to one of the most urgent threats to the United States, Bush has subcontracted American security to the Europeans. Last week the president confirmed this as his approach, arguing that the United States has no choice. "We've sanctioned ourselves out of influence," the president said, almost echoing Vice President Cheney, who as chief executive of Halliburton pressed for lifting U.S. sanctions against Iran.
"We don't have much leverage with the Iranians right now." Translation: I shit the bed with Iraq, and we don't even have enough troops to threaten a few thousand Iraqis much less the entire military of Iran. As much as it would have been more relevant to attack Iran instead of Iraq, could you imagine how badly we would have screwed that up? Iran is nearly twice the size of Iraq and even more populated (with mountains). There is a reason why we went to Iraq--we thought it would be easier. Of course we need an Iran policy, it should have been one of our top priorities from the get go, and especially after 9/11. Unfortunately, our current Iran policy is procrastination. The President is actually right to say that we don't have any leverage with Iran. As a result, our policy is to wait until we do. At the rate we're going this could take years, and who knows what type of condition our military will be in by then. In the meantime, Iran will continue to discreetly develop nuclear capabilities and will continue to strengthen its ties with terrorist organizations. Mark Kleiman asks a damn good question, "Is there really no Democrat left willing to make the criticisms that are dying to be made?" This could be a great point upon which to develop a Democratic policy towards the war on terrorism. Just saying.