Thursday, February 15, 2007

What he said...

Good Old Digby has a way saying stuff that needs saying and saying it well. Those of us who entertain notions of writing something that might prove worthwhile on occasion have often experienced what TRex describes below as being "Digby'd". Not regrets on my part, just gratitude and delight.

TRex said:
We need a verb for that. "D'oh! I got Digby'd!" which means, "I felt I had something terribly important to impart, but then Digby said it so much more eloquently that I am forced hang my head in shame and go back to eating pudding cups on the couch."

Oh, sagacious Digby. You are the most emphatic Still Small Voice I've ever heard.

When compelled I am
To try an epigram,
I never take the credit.
I simply say that Digby said it.

Here's Digby saying something that's needs saying and saying it very well:

There is a back and forth going on about whether the US should take the military option "off the table" when discussing Iran's nuclear ambitions. Here's a nice rundown of various points of view from Ezra Klein at TAPPED.

In a vacuum, one can understand why people think that taking the military option "off the table" is a bad idea. You need leverage and the "big stick" is the ultimate leverage. But we are not in a vacuum, we are in a world in which a president of the United States has so damaged his nation's credibility that the single most important foreign policy imperative is to revive the certainty that the USA is not a rogue nation with imperialist desires, if not plans for world domination. Until that happens, any "leverage" of military action we have is taken as an absolute threat.

Right now, the term "all options on the table" very specifically means The Bush Doctrine of preventive war and until very recently this illegal concept was not even whispered in sane circles. That doctrine makes us a nation that lives by no known rules or laws. Furthermore, our credibility is so damaged by the series of lies that were told in 2002 and 2003 (and which most people around the world saw through at the time) it can no longer be assumed that we even have good intentions, even if our intelligence could be trusted, which we've recently proved cannot.

I don't understand why people fail to see how damaged we are by what has taken place these last few years. There may have been a time when America could say that we knew a nation was building nuclear weapons and that we would surgically "take them out" for the good of all the world. George W. Bush destroyed that "option" and the ramifications of blundering ahead anyway are unthinkable, as all the experts cited by Klein (who were right about Iraq, by the way) have argued.

But until we admit that the Bush Doctrine is an illegal and immoral doctrine and repudiate it, we are going to be stuck in this horrible situation where we are the biggest military power on the earth who are mistrusted, feared, hated and actively resisted. The Bush administration has been right about one thing --- it is human nature to resist domination. The problem is that while they market freedom like a product to other nations, they believe that United States leadership is nothing more than a simplistic, schoolyard philosophy of "might makes right." They've been successful in that regard. We are now a huge, powerful nation that is loathed and feared around the world. But unfortunately their leadership has also shown the world that we are profoundly inept. There cannot be a more dangerous combination. It's a recipe for miscalculation, not just on our part but on others. Think about this: we are dealing with two of the dumbest world leaders on earth, Bush and Ahmadinejad. Is it a good idea for these two to be playing a complicated game of chicken?

Democratic politicians have an obligation to ratchet down the rhetoric and restore confidence that the US can operate with calm, deliberate, competence. They should eschew any slogans or diplomatic speak that validates Bush's policies and they should make the argument over and over and over again that they are dedicated to following international law, working with allies and using our military as a very last resort and only as a matter of self defense and that of our allies. And they have to loudly and emphatically renounce the Bush Doctrine. Until that happens, we will continue to be seen as an unpredictable, threatening superpower and the nuclear proliferation we are so worried about will become inevitable.

Little Iranian pitchers have big ears. They hear what is being said and they are acting accordingly. And right now "leaving all options on the table" sounds like the US is hellbent on attacking them no matter what they do. They saw what happened with Saddam and this looks like an instant replay. Democrats need to clearly send a different message.

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