The following is my response to Bush supporter WStreeter, who criticized Obama's "doveish" policies on dealing with the perceived threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions and seems to feel that all-out military force against Tehran, posted on December 31,2009. WStreeter's statements are in bold.
I would like to start this response by saying that I am NO fan of Obama, not after he caved in to virtually every demand made by the Republicans despite his campaign pledges and despite a predominantly Democratic Congress. Many if not most of the Congressional Democrats are just as much to blame for failing to stand up to the Republicans, of course, especially if they were genuine liberals and not those centrist phonies. The way they caved to the demands of one particularly loud-mouthed conservative Senator (Joe *cough* Lieberman) in regards to rendering health care reform a pale shadow of what Obama originally said it would be is particularly repulsive and makes it clear that the modern Left in government have no teeth to speak of (unless it comes to fighting wars that the Republicans will shame them for not supporting, of course).
Now, onto the response to WStreeter:
It's showtime, folks! Today's the deadline President Obama imposed on Iran's leaders to give up their nuclear ambitions and be nice.
Not sure if the deadline expires at midnight in Tehran or on Washington time, but the mullahs and President Mahmoud 'Mighty Mouse' Ahmadinejad aren't scrambling to give Obama a New Year's Eve smooch.
Rather than cave in to our president's mighty rhetoric, the Tehran tyrants took a break from killing protesters in the streets to attempt to import more than 1,300 tons of make-a-nuke uranium ore from Kazakhstan.
They've also increased their nuke-cooker centrifuge count, tested new long-range missiles and lied like Persian rugs about hidden nuke sites. In response, our president threatened to huff and puff and blow their house down.
Iran's retort? "Love the cool breeze, Barack."
So would your alternative suggestion be to invade Iran with full-fledged military force and thus add yet another war to the (possibly) five we are already fighting (either overtly or covertly) in the Middle East? I am sure that will send the evil Muslims running scared in the end, just like our other five wars have been so successful in doing. Likewise with our semi-covert bombing raids in Yemen or the drone plane attacks going on in Pakistan. I'm sure the numerous civilian casualties that would occur in Iran (just like the ones occurring in the other Middle Eastern nations we are now at war in) would show the entire Muslim world who is boss and scare all citizens of those countries from becoming radicalized, anti-American terrorists in the future. And I'm sure the already stretched thin American military forces and the already astronomical U.S. war budget would greatly benefit from that, too.
Omg, Obama may even be forced to raise taxes to accomodate the increased war spending, but that's okay because that will give the conservatives more reasons to hate and attack him. And I'm sure the further suspension of civil liberties that would likely ensue at home (which occur often during war time no matter what party is in office) would make the neocons proud and the rest of the American populace feel safer and secure for their "sacrifice"...after all, only the traitorous lefties and socialists complain when the Constitution is eroded in the name of patriotism, right?
And I'm sure Obama's friends in AIPAC, not to mention the Israeli government itself, would certainly love us for invading Iran and none of them could ever accuse Obama of being anti-Semitic in the future (in case they ever chose to resort to that career-destroying tactic). Hey, here's an idea! Maybe we could get AIPAC to funnel some of the huge amount of money they routinely pour into the campaign coffers of candidates of both parties to insure their public loyalty to the interests of Israel's right-wing government into helping Congress pay for this war so we do not have to further increase the national deficit. And best of all, the conservatives can always attack Obama for further running up the deficit too, in the future. After all, it's not like AIPAC wouldn't be donating to a totally worthy cause in that case.
This is another debacle of Obama's own making. It's a fundamental rule of playgrounds and security policy that you shouldn't make threats you can't or won't back up. But Obama's in love with the sound of his own voice. The fanatics in Tehran are more interested in the sound of a nuclear blast.
Yup, never mind the fact that we have no compelling evidence that Iran is close to creating a bomb. But since there is the tiniest possiblity that they might have one, that isn't a problem that a little more preventative war can't fix, since we have proven ourselves so good at teaching Muslim nations whom we (and Israel) do not like and who do not cater to America's business interests a lesson in such a way, right? And the rest of the world certainly loves us for that, correct?
It's such a good alternative to those wimpy, feminine negotiations and diplomacy policies. Maybe we should get Britain to do the negotiations for us, since they were certainly successful at using diplomacy at getting those British hostages released from Iran in only a week...and all without firing a single bomb! Who would have thought??!! It may have been wimpy and un-warriorlike and feminine, etc., but at least it got the job done without spilling any blood. Maybe the entire Muslim world is simply sick of the U.S. attacking nations throughout the region, and Iran's president, as fanatical a fundie nut as he is, is now daring the U.S. to attack it, realizing the poor defense it will put up with its military stretched so thin due to combat operations in five different nations and against a country far larger and far more capable of defending itself than Iraq was when America invaded it. Don't get me wrong--I am not cheering on Iran, and I certainly wouldn't want a fundie Muslim nation to dominate the world and I certainly don't like the idea of them having a nuclear weapon, but then again, I don't like the idea of any nation having nuclear weapons, including the U.S. and Israel. If they and all other nations with nuclear weapon capabilities do not all agree to give up those weapons, then what real justification do we have in demanding that Iran not develop such weapons for itself, especially when they can utter all that "balance of power" BS to justify creating such a horrible weapon to the rest of the world? I think the U.S. is going to need the rest of the world to help them on this one, even if it means (heaven forbid!) displeasing the Israeli government and the pro-Israel lobby in America for not obliterating Iran with military force.
Desperate leftists in our country still compare Obama to Bush, insisting that, well, Obama's not doing so badly, not really, not if you really think about it.
I fully agree that too many left-leaning columnists (including some on Salon) make all sorts of swooning justifications to defend the centrist policies of Obama. They justify defending him and not taking him to task over the fact that he has refused to rollback most of the destructive policies enacted by the last right-wing administration on the grounds that he is "slightly better than Bush" or "the lesser of two evils," blah blah blah, or even worse, that while he may be a centrist sell-out who fears the Republicans too much to stand up to his lofty convictions at least he is more sophisticated and intelligent than Bush was (then again, how many people aren't??).
However, I also do not believe that Obama should ape the worst of Bush's policies and start yet another war as a "solution" to this problem. There must be a better way that is fully consonsant with American values, and I am hoping that the examples set by other nations in avoiding warfare and conflicts will guide him, as opposed to Republican cajoling.
Though I certainly want a president who is tough when he needs to be, that is a big difference from being a bully. The terrorist threat is not embodied by any single nation, but rather by a multi-national group comprised of radical Islamists who are located all over the Middle East, and even in other parts of the world. How many nations are we going to have to bomb into oblivion in order to "end" the threat until we realize that terrorists are not a military problem but a law enforcement problem that all nations should be combining efforts to stop. We also need to face facts that various Western nations, the U.S. foremost among them, along with Israel, needs to drastically change some of its foreign policies to prevent more innocent citizens from adopting radical Islamist ideals as a result of the carnage our economic and military policies wreak over there.
Bush, for all his faults, worried our enemies. Obama amuses them.
Bush worried our enemies?? I think he worried our allies in the world a hell of a lot more than he did our enemies. Not to mention worrying every citizen of the U.S. who actually cared about the Constitution and our continued civil liberties. And if he worried our enemies so much then why couldn't his administration ever find Osama Bin Laden, even though he had several years in office following 9/11? And why do his policies seem to have resulted in more, not less, Islamist extremists fighting for their warped cause? And let's keep in mind that Iran continued its plan to incorporate nuclear facilities into its infrastructure during the entirety of Bush's administration.
Obama's primary threat against the Tehran thugs has been sanctions. OK, let's see if he can get internationally recognized sanctions that actually bite. I'm offering 100-to-1 odds in Tehran's favor.
I think U.N. pressure would help immensely. However, with Israel's current posturing and pushing the U.S. towards military conflict with Iran, and the fact that the U.S., Israel, and so many other nations have nuclear weapons, how can we effectively convince Iran to give up its apparent nuclear ambitions? I can agree with sanctions against Iran's military forces that are backed up by all the nations in the U.N., along with a determination not to allow Israel to obstruct these efforts in favor of a military confrontation (good luck with that!), but we need to steer clear of any sanctions that will severely harm the poor majority in Iran while having relatively little impact on the wealthy mullahs who rule the nation.
China won't play. Beijing wants Iran's oil and values Tehran as a regional cat's paw.
The problem is, nearly every nation want's Iran's oil, and since the U.S. and a few of its closest allies now have control over Iraq's petroluem supplies, you can see that the U.S. invasion of Iraq initiated by the Bush administration certainly didn't do much to endear China to us (and then there are those loans they hold over us, but I won't get into that!). Can it be that part of the problem is the world's overly addictive reliance on oil and other fossil fuels for their energy needs? Wouldn't it help the world if the U.S. actually led the way in switching to viable and affordable clean and non-depletable energy sources? Wouldn't that largely allow all powerful nations to leave the small nations in the Middle East the hell alone, as well as improve conditions for the international community? Hmmmm...but don't count on Obama pissing off the billionaire oil barons in the U.S. to actually implement such things during his administration. And I hope the Obama supporters do not try to justify this, too.
Dubai won't halt its massive illicit trade with Iran. Local ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's desert playground is $80 billion in the hole. And smuggling's Dubai's only growth industry these days.
Correct. And the U.S. won't halt its own dealings with Middle Eastern nations that it loves since they play ball by its rules, such as Saudi Arabia, whose government is every bit as bad to its people as Iran's, not to mention the fact that many of the 9/11 terrorists were of Saudi origin. Why didn't the U.S. attack and occupy Saudi Arabia? In response to that, the Bush supporters would simply tell me, "don't go there, you treasonous scum!"
Obama's threatened sanctions get even more laughable, since they'd target only Iran's power elite. Insiders in any dictatorship are those best able to duck the pain of sanctions. So Ahmadinejad can't get a visa for a Vegas vacation. That'll teach him a lesson.
The sanctions need to target Iran's power elite in a major way and not hurt the average innocent Iranian civilians in such a way that many of them develop extremely anti-American attitudes and develop sympathy for the more radical sects of Islam. And though I hate sounding redundant...tell all nations in the world who have nukes to get rid of them! There may be no easy solution to this problem within the current status quo. I don't pretend to have all the answers myself, but I do know that a tremendous use of military force will likely not solve the problem of Islamist terrorism if past recent history is to be any indication.
Only comprehensive sanctions backed by a military blockade have any chance of working. Otherwise, as we've seen in North Korea, the well-connected continue to feast while the commoners faint from hunger. And there won't be a blockade, folks.
I fully agree with this as a possible solution. And if all the nations in the world have good evidence that Iran is actually trying to create a nuclear weapon, then perhaps they will join the U.S. and insist on a blockade (but if they don't give up their own nukes at the same time...don't worry, I won't go there again).
If sanctions weren't enough of a joke, we also have Obama's all-too-obvious reluctance to back the millions of Iranians struggling for freedom and democracy. Our president's empty remarks this week checked the block for nervous American leftists, but provided no useful support to Iranians risking their lives for basic rights.
I fully agree that we should do much to support the many citizens in Iran who are fighting for a democratic regime in that nation. After all, if any Middle Eastern nation adopts a secular, democratic government, it must come about solely by the will of the people living there. We can offer them support, but we cannot force democracy on them by a military attack.
Also, before someone points out the obvious to me, I am obligated to ask: how often has the U.S. under any administration actually backed or helped create a fully democratic nation anywhere in the world as opposed to its long and sordid history of backing and supporting the likes of any petty and brutal dictator who agrees to play by its rules? This is especially the case since the labor force is so much easier to control under such dictators. We must ask ourselves with all honesty if Obama the Great Centrist Capitulator to Wall Street and the Republicans is going to be any different from any other president in the past in regards to this(*ducks tomatoes from all the fervent Obama supporters who are screaming, "He has no choice but to do these things! And at least he's marginally better than Bush, not to mention a lot more charming and sophisticated as well!"*) Alas, I think the bulk of the support that the brave citizens in Iraq fighting for a democracy, and who represent true hope for the lessening of the terrorist threat from the Middle East, is going to come from citizens' groups in America and other Western nations, not from the U.S. government beyond mere lip service.
What should this inept administration do? Provide clandestine, covert and overt support to Iran's freedom crusaders.
And break America's colorful history of providing such aid to usually right-wing "freedom fighters" like the Contras? Wait...maybe Obama will be different than all the others! Right...
"We just have to give him a chance! After all, the poor guy has only been in office for a year!" (And all this while ignoring what his track record of defying the pro-business agenda that is behind nearly all wars has indicated so far, of course). Meanwhile, a paradox arises from those courageous demonstrations in Iran: They really do threaten the monstrous regime of the mullahs -- and that makes Iran's bully-boys even more likely to use nukes as soon as they get them.
Oh really?? Interesting speculation.
If Ahmadinejad and the turbaned tyrants sense that time's running out, they'll launch any nukes they have against Israel in a frantic attempt to kick-start Armageddon and entice the Hidden Imam to return.
Geez, you're starting to sound like the right-wing Christian followers of Bush who were trying to escalate the war in the Middle East on similar theological grounds. Many of them wanted us to use the bomb, too.
These are not rational actors by our standards. They're authentic fanatics. And the (shrinking) civilized world is racing against the clock to change the Tehran regime before the regime can change the world.
Have you been reading Dick Cheney's speeches for inspiration?
President Obama's answer? Make it harder for Iran's rulers to acquire foreign luxury goods. Guess Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah Khamenei won't be drinking Chateau Margaux or Cheval Blanc at their we-popped-a-nuke celebration.
Yup...let's bomb them into oblivion! I'm sure the surviving citizens will be shown whose boss as a result and will never consider threatening America again, no matter how many of them are embittered, traumatized, and radicalized by seeing their neighborhoods turned to rubble and their families become "collateral damage." That always worked to stifle the creation of more terrorists in the past, right? Right??