Saturday, November 25, 2006

Leadership Wanting on Iran/Iraq


Last spring, the United States called on all countries to stop all arms exports to Iran. Yet, the first of 29 Tor-M1 systems in a $700m deal have been delivered to Iran by Moscow. Hugh Hewitt points out the mixed messages being sent by Russia to Iran:
Iran must conclude that if Russia is willing to sell it the weapons necessary to defend nuclear facilities, it cannot really be intending to force the halt of construction on those facilities.
How long should Russia be allowed a "most favored nation" status in the UN? Former Senator John Edwards co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations task force examining U.S.-Russian relations with Jack Kemp last winter. When asked by Newsweek last March whether or not he felt that the Russians have been helpful on Iran, he replied:
If I were going to choose a single test for our relationship with Russia, Iran is the test. We're united with the Europeans on this, so it really matters what Russia does in the Security Council. If ultimately the Iranians reject what we're demanding—us and the Russians—then we also should be saying to the Russians: "You should stop this Bushehr project because you can't continue to help them develop a nuclear facility while they're obviously in the process of trying to build a nuclear weapon.
Photo: Bushehr - 400 km south of Tehran

Libertarian writer Bernie Quigley of Free Market News believes that ideas like NATO expansion with nuclear potential into "Holy Roman Empire territory when Russia was perceived to be weak" was 'a mistake of historic proportions' by the best foreign policy minds" and continues proving to be so. [see foreign policy minds who disapproved] Mr. Quigley says:
Its strongest proponent was Vice President Al Gore. But the greatest danger of One Size Fits All Federalism is what we are seeing today in the Middle East; the smallest and quirkiest of well-funded political tribes can conjure influence and commandeer the will of the entire 300,266,521 of us, as they have in Iraq.
Here we are - millions upon millions of citizens, an alleged democracy - beholden to the whims of any one tribe at any given moment. How could we have allowed this to have happened to ourselves - to our democracy?

William Hartung, Senior Research Fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School, said this in May, 1998:
Senators need to know that voting for NATO expansion could have serious political consequences down the road, once the public understands the full risks and costs involved.
With our foreign policy mistakes coming home to roost in the embers of a failed Iraq and in the light of Russia's bold hypocrisy and betrayal on Iran, will it now be time for the leaders who supported NATO expansion to be held accountable for the reality of the results of such a policy?



"He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue... In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

Sun Tzu
The Art of War

Consider this statement from Senator John Edwards from May, 2003:
One of the root causes of both the unease in the Middle East and terrorism is so many people in the Arab world live lives of hopelessness and despair. We have to make it clear that we care about addressing those root causes.... the political and economic stagnation in the Middle East and in the Arab world in general is astounding.

We can address the state sponsorship of terrorism in Iran, what Syria’s doing, Iraq, all of those issues, in a discreet way, one by one. But at the end of the day, unless over the long term we’re going to address the root causes of terrorism, we’re not going to get rid of the problem....the world needs to see America as a country that will reach out to them, that cares what they have to say, that cares about their problems, and that will work with them and the international community, including the United Nations, to solve the problems that exist in this world.

It is the only way that we’re going to be successful, number one. And it is the most effective way to keep the American people safe

If keeping America safe is our goal in foreign policy, and if the solution is tied to addressing the hopelessness, despair, political injustice and economic stagnation for so many in the Arab world, then we have failed - and miserably so. In Iraq, over a hundred thousand American troops have fought, risked their lives, and died on a lost-track mission with no clearly delineated goals at the whim of the head of one tribal faction or another (depending on what day it is) in a place where our presence has exacerbated hopelessness, despair, injustice, extremism, and hatred. In short, it is an insurance policy for the perpetuation of terrorism.

Well over three years ago retired Marine General Anthony Zinni said "There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the pieces together," we're in danger of failing."

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey told the Army Times this week that the U.S. would have to slash combat forces in Iraq to 10 brigades by Christmas to keep the Army from breaking. Hope is not a strategy, but it should be a goal. Despair is not a method, but it is a real result of a misguided foreign policy that, as of tomorrow, will be a war that is longer than World War II, but with disastrous results. Generals are tap dancing around the fact that we need to leave Iraq to the Iraqis to not only let them decide their own fate, but also to remove our Military from the brink of disaster.

Recruiters hoping to appeal to military service in our society will never succeed while this blunder of major proportions continues in Iraq. A draft, if indeed reactivated, will have our children and their parents in the streets demanding for this insanity in Iraq to end. We'd be ignorant and remiss not to expect that reaction - take one look at the public opinion of this war. They all know it, too - the ones who generate the debate about the draft. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu advised
"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys.
Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death!"
What kind of father would mislead his children - telling them to expect roses and cheers - and then set them on a dangerous path with no clear plan for victory?