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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky
by Mark Steyn
||Blood In The Water
The big question is this: How will Iran read the results of the American midterm elections, the conclusions of The Iraq Study Group Report, the departure of John Bolton from the U.N., the departure of Donald Rumseld from the Pentagon, and the appointment and rapid confirmation of Robert Gates to be the next U.S. Defense Secretary?
I believe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs who support him will draw four conclusions:
First, the American people and her representatives are losing the will to fight radical Islam, and thus a bipartisan consensus is building in Washington for the United States to retreat from the Middle East as rapidly as possible.
Second, the United States has either no intention of or no capacity to punish Iran or Syria politically, economically, or military for pumping huge amounts of arms, money, propaganda and foreign jihadist fighters into Iraq to kill Americans, terrorize innocent Iraqi citizens, and overthrow the democratically elected government of Iraq.
Third, neither the United States nor our European allies have any intention of taking preemptive military action to stop Iran from building, buying or stealing nuclear weapons.
And, fourth, aside from "direct talks" with Iran and Syria, the United States apparently does not have a serious plan to stop Tehran and Damascus from seizing control (directly or effectively) of the governments of Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Nor does Washington have a serious plan to stop Islam from creating "a world without America and Zionism" (i.e., a world without the U.S. and Israel). To the contrary, Iran will now expect the U.S. and Europe to put more pressure on Israel to make deeper and deeper concessions to the Palestinians and the Arab world, with little or nothing in return.
Consider the fact that even a cursory glance at that The Iraq Study Group Report reveals the growing bipartisan call to retreat from Iraq by the time President Bush leaves office, sooner if at all possible.
Consider, too, the ISG's recommendation that the U.S. start talking to Iran and considering it to be a potentially helpful player in the Middle East, despite years of evidence that international negotiations with Iran have led absolutely nowhere. "The United States should embark on a robust diplomatic effort to establish an international support structure intended to stabilize Iraq and ease tensions in other countries in the region," the report suggests on page 43. "This support structure should include every country that has an interest in averting a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq's neighbors -- Iran and Syria among them. Despite the well-known differences between many of these countries, they all share an interest in avoiding the horrific consequences that would flow from a chaotic Iraq, particularly a humanitarian catastrophe and regional destabilization."
Consider as well that fact that while President Bush's new defense secretary Robert Gates was a member of the ISG and is himself on the record as being strongly opposed to preemptive military action against a potential enemy state. Gates is particularly adamant that we not use such action against Iran (or Syria), saying the intelligence against Tehran is not compelling enough. "I worry that political leaders -- and particularly presidents -- will come to require absolute evidence before acting and, by that time, it may well be too late," Gates has said. "But also there is the danger that they will act on the basis of ambiguous information and find that they were wrong. If intelligence is going to be used to justify a military attack or a preemptive action, it better be unambiguous, and it must be timely," Gates said.
During his Senate confirmation testimony, Gates said that while he believes Iran is engaged in global terrorism, is trying to destabilize Iraq, is trying to destabilize Lebanon, is trying to acquire nuclear weapons, is lying when the say they are not, and thus poses a very serious threat to us and our allies, he nevertheless does not place a high priority on using military action to stop Iran from going nuclear, or even making Iran think that military action is a serious option.
SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D-WV): Mr. Chairman, I thank you. Dr. Gates, our relationship goes back over a number of years. Do you support -- now we hear all these rumors about the potential for an attack on Iran, due to its nuclear weapons program, or on Syria, due to its support of terrorism. Do you support an attack on Iran?
MR. GATES: Senator Byrd, I think that military action against Iran would be an absolute last resort; that any problems that we have with Iran, our first option should be diplomacy and working with our allies to try and deal with the problems that Iran is posing to us. I think that we have seen in Iraq that once war is unleashed, it becomes unpredictable. And I think that the consequences of a conflict -- a military conflict with Iran could be quite dramatic. And therefore, I would counsel against military action, except as a last resort and if we felt that our vital interests were threatened.
SEN. BYRD: Do you support an attack on Syria?
MR. GATES: No, sir, I do not.
SEN. BYRD: Do you believe the president has the authority, under either the 9/11 war resolution or the Iraq war resolution, to attack Iran or to attack Syria?
MR. GATES: To the best of my knowledge of both of those authorizations, I don’t believe so.
SEN. BYRD: Would you briefly describe your view of the likely consequences of a U.S. attack on Iran.
MR. GATES: It’s always awkward to talk about hypotheticals in this case. But I think that while Iran cannot attack us directly militarily, I think that their capacity to potentially close off the Persian Gulf to all exports of oil, their potential to unleash a significant wave of terror both in the -- well, in the Middle East and in Europe and even here in this country is very real. They are certainly not being helpful in Iraq and are doing us -- I think doing damage to our interests there, but I think they could do a lot more to hurt our effort in Iraq. I think that they could provide certain kinds of weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological weapons, to terrorist groups. Their ability to get Hezbollah to further destabilize Lebanon I think is very real. So I think that while their ability to retaliate against us in a conventional military way is quite limited, they have the capacity to do all of the things, and perhaps more, that I just described.
SEN. BYRD: What about an attack on Syria? Could you briefly describe your view of the likely consequences of a U.S. attack on Syria.
MR. GATES: I think the Syrian capacity to do harm to us is far more limited than that in -- of Iran, but I believe that a military attack by the United States on Syria would have dramatic consequences for us throughout the Middle East in terms of our relationships with a wide range of countries in that area. I think that it would give rise to significantly greater anti-Americanism than we have seen to date. I think it would immensely complicate our relationships with virtually every country in the region.
SEN. BYRD: Would you say that an attack on either Iran or Syria would worsen the violence in Iraq and lead to greater American casualties?
MR. GATES: Yes, sir, I think that’s very likely.
SEN. BYRD: Your answer is yes on both questions.
MR. GATES: Yes, sir. Very likely.
If all that weren't troubling enough, the ISG Report urges Washington to push the Israelis to make enormous concessions with its Arab enemies. These include urging Israel to give away the strategically vital Golan Heights to Syria, possibly with U.S. troops or an international "peacekeeping" force guarding the border (Recommendation 16, page 57). It also includes urging Israel to make concessions on a so-called Palestinian "right of return." (Recommendation 17, page 58). And then there's this latest headline: "Baker wants Israel excluded from regional conference."
Bottom line: Yes, several important provinces in Iraq are a mess. Yes, it's going to take more time to get the Iraqi military and police forces fully ready to secure their own country. Yes, it's going too slowly, though we are making real and measurable progress. But with the midterm elections throwing the President's party out of control of the House and Senate, the recommendations of The Iraq Study Group Report, the depature of John Bolton from the U.N., the departure of Donald Rumsfeld from the Pentagon, and the views of Robert Gates now ascendant in the Bush administration, Ahmadinejad smells blood in the water.
To the new Hitler of the Middle East, steadily mounting evidence confirms that the U.S. is losing the battle for the Middle East, and that Iran and her allies are winning. What's more, he knows full well that if the establishment in Washington has its way, a full American withdrawal from Iraq and mounting international pressure on Israel will not be far off. Ahmadinejad couldn't be happier. He is convinced that wind is at his back, that Allah is on his side, and that no matter what he does, he cannot lose. Is this really the message we want to be sending a man who believes it is his God-given mission in life to bring about the end of the world and usher in the coming of the Islamic Messiah?\ CRO
copyright 2006 - Joel Rosenberg