Saturday, February 03, 2007

All options on the table with Iran

According to Digby, this kind of language, with Boy George at the helm, becomes ominously significant.
Politicians apparently feel they must say that they can't take any options off the table. But there is no reason they must go before a particular political constituency and forcefully imply that they would use the Bush Doctrine against Iran if it failed to meet certain conditions. The Bush Doctrine must be repudiated not reinforced. Until we restore the post WWII international legal consensus against wars of aggression, we are going to be attacking countries who quite rationally have decided that they are better off getting nukes while the getting's good.

The Bush Doctrine is not a non-proliferation policy. It's a recipe for disaster and until Bush is out of office it pays to remember that he's the guy who can pull the trigger. It's not a good idea to say things that anyone, including Bush, may very well see as an endorsement of doing that.

[...]

The Bush Doctrine of preventive war depends upon clairvoyant intelligence, much less the half assed intelligence we have just foolishly proved to the world that we actually have. After the humilating debacle in Iraq, the crediblity of US intelligence has been so badly damaged that it will take many years and demonstrations of good faith to repair it. Therefore, nations all over the world are justifiably a tad suspicious about any tough talk from the US about "what it knows." This is one of the huge strategic problems we face in the middle east. Nobody, including Americans, believe a word this government says.

You can't just pretend that problem doesn't exist and carry on with diplomatic tropes like "all options are on the table." That means something very specific now and it has to be addressed. I would even go so far as to say that a direct repudiation of The Bush Doctrine is the first and most important step the US must take to crawl out of this hole these nuts have dug for us. Democrats must lead the way, not blindly mouth political cliches about "options" in front of war hungry audiences. We can't do this a second time.
Digby too:
This is very, very discouraging. In a different world, perhaps it could just be chalked up to rhetorical excess and presidential politics and leave it at that. But in our world today, those are words that will be used to justify what the Bush administration is planning to do. It's deja vu all over again.

These Democrats are explicitly and openly endorsing the Bush Doctrine of preventive war. There can be no other way to read this and I cannot think of a greater mistake at this juncture for the Democratic party to expressly align itself with such lunacy. What are they thinking?

Rather than creating a serious multi-lateral non-proliferation regime during these dangerous years, the Bush administration pushed this radical and dangerous program of dealing with our "problems" around the world and it has dramatically backfired. Instead of reducing the threat of nuclear armed nations we have forced Iran and North Korea to push up its nuclear programs. They are not stupid. They noticed that we invaded a country that didn't have any WMD and they further noticed that we did it in spite of having no convincing intelligence that they had them. You don't have to be an evil genius to see the lesson in that.

[...]

But AIPAC's position is delusional and wrong and Democrats have got to extricate themselves from this thinking and repudiate the Bush doctrine if they are going to undo this horrible tangle in the middle east. It's going to be nearly impossible to do even if Bush doesn't attack Iran. If he does, it's probably impossible.

From a political standpoint, there is no margin in Democrats backing this in any way shape or form. It is not enough to leave a little out that says "we would have exhausted all possibilities." It's the failure to repudiate the Bush Doctrine that binds them to Bush's actions.

I think they are foolishly counting on Bush not following through which is a shameful miscalculation if not political malpractice --- you simply have to assume after observing him all these years that he will. He and Cheney are desperately unpopular and they have come to believe that their legacy will be redeemed by history, so parochial concerns about popular support or public will in their own time are irrelevant. Indeed, I think they probably believe they have to do this in order that history will clearly see how they bucked the tide of popular opinion and expert advice to remake the middle east. It's all they have.

Democrats cannot abet this, not even rhetorically, to satisfy a powerful lobbying group that may be as mad as the neocons and the Bush administration. This time, they will not be let off the hook. Bush is out in two years and if any of them are on record talking trash about Iran at this delicate moment, they will be held accountable for what follows.
Shades of what Scott Ritter said.

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