In winning the debate over Iran, there is only one talking point you need to remember: Iran is not building any nukes. All of the scientific evidence points to this fact. Iran does not have the capacity to make centrifuges for its own reactor, let alone make weapons-grade uranium.
Donald Rumsfeld talked about the role of the Bush administration in history in his op-ed yesterday. But given the fact that Iraq had no WMD’s, given the fact that there is no crisis in Social Security, and given the fact that Iran is not building any nukes, the Bush administration will go down in history as the administration that cried wolf.
This debate has nothing to do with Iran whatsoever, and everything to do with the way that the Bush administration has manufactured one crisis after another. Not only has the Bush administration cried wolf on these three issues, they have repeatedly cried wolf by issuing one phony terror alert after another. None of them have turned out to be valid. None of them have resulted in the arrest of any real terrorist.
The other justification that Bush might use against Iran is that they are formenting unrest in Iraq. But all you have to do when your Republican friends bring that up is respond with one key word: Excuses. The Bush administration disbanded the Iraqi army after the fall of Saddam; therefore, they are responsible for border security. If Iran opportunistically ferments unrest by sneaking agents into Iraq, that is Bush’s fault for not having a plan in place to protect Iraq’s borders from foreigners. Bush is blaming Iran for his own failures in Iraq.
Iran is a treacherous enemy, but they also have the potential to become a valuable partner in helping to bring about a peaceful resolution to the Iraq War. We know that Ahmed Chalabi was in Iranian agent; therefore, I suggest that Iran lured Bush into his war with Iraq and that Bush has nobody to blame but himself. Furthermore, this blunder by Bush compounded another blunder when he called Iran part of the Axis of Evil when they had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and were actively hostile to Bin Laden and the Taliban.
From Iran’s point of view, an American invasion of that country from Afghanistan would be very likely, given the fact that all of our forces were deployed in Afghanistan and could have been put in a position to invade at any time. Therefore, I suggest that Iran, through the offices of Chalabi, lured the Bush administration into an invasion of Iraq to forestall any invasion of their country. Not only that, Iran could do through the Bush administration what they had failed to accomplish themselves in eight years of warfare with Iraq – depose their hated enemy Saddam Hussein. And Iraq would kill two birds with one stone, as they could bleed Bush dry like Bin Laden had done with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Iran was in an easy position to know exactly what would happen. They knew that Saddam had attempted to assassinate Bush I, and that Bush II might let his personal feelings affect his decision making. They knew, therefore, that Bush was gullible enough to believe anything about Iraq, including the flowers and kisses myth. There is widespread contact among the Shiites of Iran and Iraq; therefore, Iran was also in a position to know that the American government was just as hated in Iraq for their massive sanctions and bombings as Saddam was.
Bush was playing with fire when he launched the invasion of Iraq. But for all his lies and all of his acts of revenge against Joe Wilson for his daring to debunk the Niger forgeries, it never occurred to him that someone might be just as treacherous as he was. This is just like the time that he repeatedly stoked the fires of xenophobia from time to time and then got burned by right-wing allies, who deserted him on the UAE port deal. So, why should we trust the Republicans to protect our country, when we have a President who is like a kid who repeatedly plays with fire and expects not to get burned?
But for all this, Iran is still willing to sit with the US and negotiate over the future of their uranium plant and Iraq. Ahmedinejad, their president, was elected on a campaign promise that he would stand up to the Bush administration. Therefore, if he can win a peace deal with us, he would be that much more credible to the voters, because he can turn around and say that he stood up to the Americans and forced them to accept a peace deal.
There are groups dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian government, just like there are groups dedicated to the establishment of a Shiite Islamic Republic in Iraq. There is a reasonable deal that the US could negotiate with Iraq: The Bush administration could refuse publicly to support any kind of covert attempts to overthrow the Iranian government and rule out any kind of regime change with Iran. In return, Iran would use whatever influence they had to reign in the more militant Shiite clerics in Iraq and thus reduce the level of sectarian violence in Iraq.
All Iran wants is security against any kind of American invasion. The Bush administration’s best interest is in an Iraq with little or no sectarian violence so they can concentrate on finding Zarqawi instead of trying to referee a civil war. But all of this presupposes that Bush is rational or that he knows what he wants with Iran. The problem is that Bush has flip-flopped on Iran. Five years ago, he was certain that Iran was part of the Axis of Evil. But today, he is not so sure anymore.
On the one hand, we have hawks like Condolezza Rice saying there would be no negotiations with Iran whatsoever. But the very next day, his own ambassador to Iraq, Khalilzad, flat-out contradicted her and said there would be over the state of Iraq. And a few days later, Bush backed his own ambassador over Rice. There are no negotiations with people who you genuinely believe are evil or commit evil deeds. Bush himself blusters that we cannot negotiate with terrorists. Yet, that is exactly what he is doing, given that he conflated Iran with Bin Laden in the days after 9/11.
Therefore, when Bush said that countries that appeased terrorists were just as guilty as the terrorists themselves, he pronounced judgement on himself by his own logic. Bush is an appeaser by his own logic, because he is talking with Iran. Bush is also flip-flopping on Democracy. On the one hand, he wants to be remembered as the man who spread democracy to the Middle East. But on the other hand, he calls one of the few regimes which has a semblance of democracy part of the Axis of Evil, unless he has changed his mind on that score.
It is no small matter for a President to be engaged in flip-flopping. Battles throughout history and even whole wars have been lost because generals repeatedly dithered over little things. For instance, the Japanese Admiral Nagumo dithered over what kind of bombs to equip his planes during the Battle of Midway. While he was dithering, the American warplanes found his ships with all of the planes on the deck and sunk many of them. This battle turned out to be the turning point for the whole war.
Furthermore, the fact that Bush contradicted Secretary of State Rice over whether or not there could be negotiations with Iran suggests that Bush is losing confidence in her. We have considered the possibility before that Bush I may be undermining Bush II’s efforts; this may be his handiwork. Sitting down and talking with Iran over the future of Iraq is not the sort of thing Bush II would do at all; it is the exact sort of thing Bush I did when he successfully enlisted Syria as part of the coalition against Saddam during the leadup to the First Gulf War. If Bush II had been following his own advice, he would have followed his own recently-stated speech, which upholds the doctrine of preemptive warfare.