Taking The Bait: War With Iran Would Only Come If We Stay In Iraq
Deciding what to do next about Iraq is hard — on the merits, and in the politics. It’s hard on the merits because whatever comes next, from “surge” to “get out now” and everything in between, will involve suffering, misery, and dishonor. . . . By comparison, Iran is easy: on the merits, in the politics. War with Iran would be a catastrophe that would make us look back fondly on the minor inconvenience of being bogged down in Iraq. While the Congress flounders about what, exactly, it can do about Iraq, it can do something useful, while it still matters, in making clear that it will authorize no money and provide no endorsement for military action against Iran.
Matt Yglesias ran with the same nonsense the other day:
[W]hat I'd urge everyone to do is keep their eyes on the real ball in the air at the moment: Iran. If Bush really bombs Iran and spineless Democrats back him ex post facto then the whole Iraq dynamic changes dramatically, and not for the better. If you want to hassle your member of congress on behalf of some peacenik cause this month, hassle him or her about Iran.
This is so wrong, so obtuse, so plain dumb from both Fallows and Yglesias, that I simply can't understand how they came to think these things. Let's be clear -- the chance of Congress authorizing military action against Iran is zero. Zilch. None. Bush will not even consider asking for it. Everyone must know this. How could they not? The ONLY reason Bush can even contemplate action against Iran is - surprise - BECAUSE WE ARE IN IRAQ! You want to stop military action against Iran? Then work like hell to get us out of Iraq. This is too obvious. How could these smart people not see this?
[T]he really weird thing: reports are now coming out that Bush and Cheney are considering a military confrontation with Iran that has nothing to do with its nuclear program.
Check out this report yesterday from U.S. News:The US News Political Bulletin has learned Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly concerned that President Bush will order air strikes against targets in Iran in the next few months or even weeks. They cite as evidence the tough warnings from senior Administration officials, including the Commander in Chief, that Iranian help for insurgents in Iraq is leading to the deaths of US troops and Iraqi civilians. Democratic insiders tell the Political Bulletin that they suspect Bush will order the bombing of Iranian supply routes, camps, training facilities, and other sites that Administration officials say contribute to American losses in Iraq. Under this scenario, Bush would not invade Iran with ground forces or zero in on Iranian nuclear facilities.If true, this is a much crazier idea than anything being contemplated in Israel. Whatever Iran is up to in Iraq, the reality is that its primary agents in Iraq are SCIRI and its Badr Corps militia, which the Bush administration has called the great hope for marginalizing the Mahdi Army and building a "unity" government. And for that matter, the Maliki government is unmistakably pro-Iran as well. It's hard to overestimate the extent to which a shooting war with Iran could destroy what little influence the U.S. still has in Iraq, unless we're going to make the Sunni insurgency our new base of support. . .
It is not weird at all Ed. It is the ONLY way Bush can get at Iran. He has no authority to attack Iran. Hell, there is not even a plausible plan for attacking Iran's alleged nuclear facilities. We don't even have a clue where they are. As for the effect on the Iraq War, since when has the Bush Administration ever done anything that made sense in Iraq?
Do people not get it yet? It is not only that the Bush Administration is filled with shameless liars, it is that the Bush Adminstration is the worst in history. Their incompetence knows no bounds.
But my question is what are people like Fallows and Yglesias thinking? Don't push on Iraq because of Iran? Excuse me, one of the reasons to push hard on Iraq is to preclude an attack on Iran!
Bush does have a Congressional blank check on Iraq - the 2002 Iraq AUMF. He has no check at all on Iran. Any action taken against Iran MUST be justified by reference to the Iraq authority.
To argue that we must forget Iraq to concentrate on Iran is an argument so obtuse that is amazing that any intelligent person, and both Yglesias and Fallows are extremely intelligent, could possibly make it.
It is as plain as the nose on your face - to stop a war with Iran, we must end the war in Iraq.
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