Monday, December 06, 2004

High stakes poker in the Gulf

The New York Review of Books lays out the essential nature of the decision-making process that led us to wage a war of choice in Iraq:
Put simply, President Bush has laid an immense wager that the American military invasion and occupation of Iraq will result in a stable government friendly to the West and thereby make America safer. Some members of the administration have argued further that a genuine democracy in Iraq will help to change the political landscape in the Middle East, and Paul Wolfowitz, one of the Pentagon architects of the plan to invade Iraq, was even quoted as saying before the war that the road to Jerusalem -- by which he meant peace between Israel and the Palestinians -- lay through Baghdad. These hopes seem to have dimmed now, but the wager is on the table and cannot be withdrawn. Social and political realities in the region of conflict will determine whether the answer is win, lose, or draw....
Leave aside whether the wager was a wise one from the outset. Leave aside also whether geopolitical wagering is an appropriate approach to diplomacy. What's clear nonetheless is that for the U.S. to consider attacking Iran at this juncture is the wagering equivalent of splitting on a pair of fives when the dealer's showing an ace.

But just such a wager is quite clearly what the Bush regime and its neocon fantasists are contemplating:
We should all take careful note of official American remarks about Iran and Syria, but Iran especially; to my ear they closely echo what the administration was saying about Iraq beginning early in 2002— the regime is unelected, it is dominated by extremists, it is embarked on a program to build nuclear weapons, it supports terrorist groups and might give them weapons of mass destruction, the regime is a threat to America.
As the saying goes, haven't we seen this movie before?

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