Monday, October 08, 2007

Beating The War Drums

Look on any left-wing website and you may not have much trouble reading articles, posts, and/or comments about neo-cons beating the war drums on Iran. One such article can be found here.

The debate even makes its way into Congress, on occasion. But, is it fair to characterize this as a neo-con attitude? Is it fair to pin this entirely on the "war-mongering" GOP?

If we read this article, we see that Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State under President Clinton, is doing her share of banging the skins, so to speak.

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright does not rule out a war against Iran in the nuclear dispute between Tehran and the international community.

'This last resort can never be given up completely,' the Czech-born Albright who also served as US ambassador to the United Nations, told Prague-based CT1 television.

It can even be said that Hillary is using drumsticks, as we can see
from her website:

As I have long said and will continue to say, U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat, as I've also said for a long time, no option can be taken off the table.

Dems seem to be positioning themselves for what may be the inevitable. If they win back the White House, they may be forced to face a stark reality here, which is why I think they are taking similar positions that many in the GOP have been and are taking. In all of this, I haven't heard anything different from the Administration.

Where the difference lies will be in identifying the cause. Note this tidbit, also from Sen. Clinton's site:

In dealing with the threats posed by the Iranian regime, which has gained its expanding influence in Iraq and the region as a result of the Administration's policies....

Blame who you want, call it what you want. It is what it is. And it's not going away.

But, if you think that we are all in the current state we are in, solely because of the Bush policies in Iraq, you might want to re-think that thought. Iran has been working on this kind of thing long before Iraq was ever invaded. Their goal, since the fall of the Shah, is to export Islamic revolution everywhere possible, using any means possible.

I do not support war at this time. But how can war be avoided, if sanctions aren't implemented and given an adequate amount of time to have an effect? Those that scream the loudest about the irrational nature of beating the war drums, need to recognize that waiting longer to implement them, only makes war more likely. The time to sanction Iran is before they get a bomb, not after.


A.C. McCloud said...

Welcome back.

Good observation. The left and others have done a very good job of pigeonholing the neocons as the enemy, the warmongers, etc.

It's interesting that Bush was supposedly advising the Clinton campaign to not beat the anti-war drum too loudly lest she have to do some war-making. I wonder what specifically he told them?

LASunsett said...

Whatever it was, it had to be convincing. I think it says much for the character of the President; he certainly wasn't required to. I suspect that his advice was taken because it had nothing to do with politics and had more to do with being President, than it did about being a politician.

Bush-haters can say what they want, but to me, it demonstrates he loves and values his country above politics.

LASunsett said...

PS - Thanks for the welcome back.

Greg said...

"Neo-con" - the new insult. It's like calling someone a nazi or a racist. Being a neo-con means you have no credibility.

For me, labeling someone a neo-con is an attempt to completely discredit your political opponent. Problem is, these people don't even understand what neo-conservatism is. If you asked them the right questions, we might find they agree with some of the basic priciples (like using American economic/political/military power to promote democratic reforms).

Nowadays, when I hear someone use "neo-con" as an insult, I think to myself, "There goes an idiot."

Anonymous said...

This nation should not rely on public opinion to formulate foreign policy. One of my major criticisms of the United States government is that its foreign policy is consistently flawed. Our relationship with other nations ought to be based on a strong, consistent foreign policy; we should use diplomacy in pursuing those policies, and we must only rely on our military ONLY when diplomacy has become a complete failure.

With respect to the Iranian government, our problem is self-imposed. Iran does not believe that the United States has the will to pursue a strong foreign policy. What I mean to say is that they do not think that we have the capacity to develop, implement, or enforce a consistent foreign policy. Sadly, they could be correct. Second, the Iranians are not novices with respect to foreign relations. They’ve been doing this stuff for five thousand years – so when they already know what we will do, or won’t do, American foreign policy becomes incredible. Like with the Carter Administration, there are too many “public pronouncements” by our politicians. I can recall that over a period of a couple of months following the Iranian hostage crisis, having told the “American people” what he (President Carter) would not do, the Iranians (who watch American news programs) could effectively deduce what he would do; and as it turned out, Mr. Carter was prepared to do “nothing.”

And now, it is time to ask this question about the imposition of “sanctions” against Iran. Did they work against Iraq? Uh, no. Sanctions only work for as long as everyone is participating. If five or six countries continue to trade with the target of sanctions, then there aren’t any sanctions. Again, the “imposition of sanctions” are proof-positive of failed foreign policies. Our only hope, in my view, is that our government should resurrect Mr. Roosevelt’s advice: walk quietly across the world stage, but carry a very big stick. That way, when ultimately we lower the boom on these idiots, they will be every bit as shocked as CNN’s anchor of the day – but the lesson they learned will last a thousand years.

Greg said...

Mustang: all you write is true, but are you saying our policy on Iran is currently flawed? In what way?

It looks to me like we're doing what's possible with Iran, keeping in mind that, as you say, sanctions will only work if everyone is on board. The sanctions negotiated so far are the limit of what everyone will accept. Plus, we've backed up the sanctions with a credible threat of force.

The problem with Iran isn't that the US doesn't have a coherent or consistent message - it's that our "allies" don't, or that their message is different.

With this issue, we see the limits of American power. We can't stop Iran directly, and we can't get our "allies" to help us. Iran will get the bomb as long as this continues, but it won't be America's fault.

Greg said...

Also, let's now take bets on the response - the day that Iran tests its first nuclear device - of those who say Iran and its president are being "demonized," that they aren't building a bomb, and that Bushhalliburtorture, Inc. is making this all up as a pretext for war.

My prediction: they'll say we made them do by invading Iraq.

Anonymous said...

Greg, in my view we’ve been “barking” far too long to give anyone pause for concern. Let me first state that I think quiet diplomacy works best, and I haven’t seen much of this since Iran seized US sovereign property. Nevertheless, Iran has been using their diplomatic skills to undermine “western resolve” since the end of the Iran/Iraq war. We, on the other hand, have been sitting on our thumbs. Thanks to a press that daily presents our detractors with up to date information on the state of our military (including troop movements), Iran knows what we are capable of, and what we are not. Now I can tell you directly that we do not want to engage Iran in a land war. It is a logistical nightmare and chock full of what we call “war stoppers.” I am not a proponent of a stand-alone conventional air war – not because I don’t like large explosions – but because I have not seen any evidence that a conventional air campaign can win any war.

I happen to believe that our best weapon against Iran was Saddam Hussein. Now that he’s dead, Iran considers itself the rightful heir to the Middle East (generally), and the new Caliphate in particular – and the only “force” that Iran has to reckon with is the USA. This suggests (to me) that an American military footprint will be in Iraq for a long time. What should American policy be toward Iran?

Let’s first determine why Iran thinks it requires nuclear energy. Is it because their oil reserves are dangerously low? Is it because Iran really is developing nuclear weapons? What is Iran’s long-term intention with respect to a nuclear weapons capability? Is it the eradication of Israel? Could it be a “first strike” capability against the “great Satan?” I honestly don’t know the answers to such questions, but someone in the diplomatic corps certainly should – that’s why we pay them the big bucks.

Forgive me, Greg. You asked me about the time, and I’ve told you how to build a watch. So to answer your question, I believe the flaw in our Iran policy is that they know exactly what we think, and exactly what we are likely to do about their development of nuclear weapons capability. Such familiarity with our short term and long-term foreign policy agenda allows them to take American diplomats for granted. That, in my view, is a major mistake. Added to that, I do not believe that our diplomatic corps has marshaled enough “friendly” voices among world leaders to deter Iran. Finally, I think that Iran’s ace in the hole is Russia, who will not sit by and allow the US to invade Iran. In short, it is a mess. Not your fault, not my fault, but a mess nevertheless.

Greg said...

Not your fault, not my fault, but a mess nevertheless.

Oh, c'mon - no one ever blames Bush around here! ;)

Thank you for your response. Again, all you say is true: the Gulf War 2 has seriously tied our hands with regard to Iran; the press is unhelpful; we have no real friends to back us up on sanctions.

I, however, do blame the Europeans for dragging their feet on sanctions. I refuse to blame the US administration for failing to convince the Euros to do the right thing. France has elected a president that gets it, but I'm not holding my breath for the same to happen elsewhere. I also blame Putin for defending the worst totalitarian regimes on earth. We should slap sanctions on them as well.

I think the problem is that a lot of people aren't worried by an Iran with a nuclear bomb. They don't see the need to make waves for nothing. I hope they are right, but I doubt it.

A.C. McCloud said...

I think Bush was counting on the Iraqi people's thirst for freedom and the neighboring new democracy in Afghan to put pressure on the Ayatollahs. Nothing else would make much sense, unless Bush was involved in some kind of Machiavellian plot to keep the Muslim sects fighting so they wouldn't join forces.

The left whines that we are ignoring Baker/Hamilton but in fact we've had nothing to bring to the table so far. Hopefully the raid on the Syrian military target might give us some new leverage.

LASunsett said...


//I think quiet diplomacy works best, and I haven’t seen much of this since Iran seized US sovereign property.//

I think you really nailed it here. We have way too much of our business out in the open. The media and the partisan politicians have made the Iraq war and the looming conflict with Iran, a public relations war. This only saturates the enemy of potential enemy with useful info.

The point you make about the diplomacy of one Teddy Roosevelt, is one that is well-taken and should become policy, especially in a time of war, as it was in WWII. As the student of military science you have been for a good deal of your life, you understand the value of keeping secrets, secrets. But the younger generation and those that have not studied mil-sci, fail to grasp the importance. I am afraid that by all of these debates and expostulations, we have shown our cards to all that want to see us weakened.

For this reason, it is no wonder that China, Russia, NK, and Iran have all rattled our chains and thumbed their noses at us. They see our weakness in our lack of political will to follow up that which we have started. All of this "wrong war-wrong time/we made a mistake" crap (while men and women are in combat) does take a toll, not only in morale of the troops, but in emboldening the enemy.

LASunsett said...


//I think Bush was counting on the Iraqi people's thirst for freedom and the neighboring new democracy in Afghan to put pressure on the Ayatollahs.//

Clearly a miscalculation on his part.

I distinctly remember hearing Bush say at one point before the Afghan campaign began that the objective in this war on terror was not nation-building. Yet, that's what we are doing.

//Nothing else would make much sense, unless Bush was involved in some kind of Machiavellian plot to keep the Muslim sects fighting so they wouldn't join forces.//

This thought has crossed my mind.

Rocket said...


"France has elected a president that gets it..."


Please! what does he get? Yes, he is better than her if you understand what I mean but...He maintains a hard line for the sound bites which the stupid American media is falling for while privileging economic ties that totally in the end dilute his "getting it"


Please excuse me, but talk is cheap in France and you can say pretty much what you want without backing it up with actions and no one here will hold you accountable. As far as foreign journalists well the French can "Cartesian" their way out of anything they say and the world is stupid enough to believe them.

Greg. Did you know that rumor is permitted in a court of law as evidence. See Outreau trial. I don't even have to make a link it is so prevalent on the net.

There is no Habeas Corpus in France

I believe you are married with a French girl? Elle devrait t'illuminer, non?