October 13, 2007

No, I Just Hate Stupidity

Apparently, opposing Sen. Clinton's vote to declare a branch of Iran's military a terrorist organization means that I've given Obama a pass for supporting a similarly worded bill that doesn't seem to have made it to a vote, and that I'm acting out of a partisan presidential primary motive. Or that maybe, I've just got a bad case of Hillary hatred. No.

The facts are that even if one looks at the violence in Iraq today, not even the Bush administration can tie Iran to more than 8 percent of it, while the Saudis are funding Sunni militias responsible for the large majority of suicide attacks and also make up 45 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq, though overall, most insurgents are Iraqis. Also, Iran was busy brokering peace among warring Shiite factions the same weekend that Gen. Petraeus was accusing them of promoting hostilities in Iraq.

No rational, objective reason exists for acting as though Iran was the biggest threat to peace in Iraq or the region, or the biggest threat to US troops. Certainly, no sensible reason exists for giving Bush more rope with which to hang us all.

And Obama might be late getting religion on this, but it isn't as though he's got a good record on talking sensibly about Iran, even though he managed to duck the vote in question. Let's revisit his propaganda-filled divestiture proposal, links mine:

... Iran supports violent groups and sectarian politics in Iraq, fuels terror and extremism across the Middle East and continues to make progress on its nuclear program in defiance of the international community. Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that Israel must be "wiped off the map."

In response, the Bush administration's policy has been tough talk with little action and even fewer results.

... For diplomacy to work, we need to dial up our political and economic pressure - not just our tough talk. Iran's troubling behavior depends in large part on access to billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue.

... The bill works in three ways. ... Third, it would give private fund managers who divest protection from lawsuits, while urging the government's own 401(k) fund to create "terror-free" and "genocide-free" investment options for government employees. ...

And yes, Obama called for diplomacy in this missive, but I could barely hear it over the bullpuckey and the aggressive posturing.

First, he repeats the lie about what Ahmadinejad said about Israel (see links above.) Funny. Ha ha. Then, he says the Bush administration hasn't taken enough action, and what that means with this administration in office one can only guess. Next, he suggests that the problem is that Iran gets oil and gas revenue, like someone is going to seriously try to keep their fuel off the world market and witness a doubling in fossil fuel costs. Lastly, he suggests that merely divesting from Iran could yield terror and genocide-free investment portfolios.

Considering that the Bush administration has been kidnapping Iranian diplomats and issuing at least monthly threats against them, I don't know how much tougher they could be on them, how much more action they could take, without ordering a bombing run.

Then, was Obama going to suggest a worldwide embargo of oil and gas from Iran? No. I think we can pretty categorically say that, unlike unprovoked military strikes, this will kept off the Table. You know, that table, where John Edwards says countries must keep all their options. So why mention it? Nothing comes to mind save gratuitous demonization. 'Oooh, the scary Iranians have ... money! From the sale of their own natural resources! The horror!'

And finally, the real gem: divest from Iran and you, too, can have a morally pure portfolio. No genocide. No terrorism. To fully unpack the hypocritical stupidity of such a claim would take pages of bland enumeration of companies and countries still considered perfectly investment-worthy that have nonetheless been engaged in what many would call terrorism and genocide. At least, they would be called terrorism and genocide if those terms still referred solely to brutally killing lots of people and controlling them through fear, instead of usually referring solely to bad behavior as exercised by our political enemies.

See, and if there's one thing I can't stand, it's stupidity in public officials. I'm an equal opportunity critic about it, and it should go without saying that I'm sure any of the Republicans would have us at war with Iran inside a month of taking office, if we aren't already at war with them by next year and are therefore not only clearly idiots, but completely insane.

Why is this such a big deal to me? Because a war with Iran means that a lot of options will be off the table for the forseeable future. There will be no peace in the Mideast in our time if we start a war with them. There will be little to no money domestically for expansions of healthcare, infrastructure repair, nutrition support, schooling and special education, public transportation or conservation. There are unlikely to be enough resources, or a suitable political climate, with which global warming could be effectively fought.

Anyone who takes a step closer to making all our lives that much more difficult will have my opposition in that. I don't care what their party affiliation, race, or gender is. I don't care what other messaging or general election viability is at stake.

Ratcheting up the climate of hostility between the US and Iran it this point is both dangerous and stupid. Claiming not to see why it's dangerous is doubly stupid. Claiming that it's actually smart makes me very tired.

Posted by natasha at October 13, 2007 08:07 AM | Iran | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

This post is right on. While I do believe that Iran presents serious problems in the region and their leader is insane, I could say the same on both counts for the U.S. If the goal is to have a more moderate leadership that gets Iran to pullback on its nuclear capabilities and is less of a threat to the region, to me the answer involves not playing to their nationalism by backing them into a corner, while failing to talk to them as equals. Oh, of course, invading next door for no reason sure doesn't help either. Good post.

Posted by: Scott at October 13, 2007 10:16 AM