Thursday, October 4, 2007

Former CIA officer less hawkish than Dems

Today the National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal, had a brilliant article written about the saber rattling against Iran after President Ahmadinejad's recent trip to New York. Written by former CIA intelligence officer and Francis Walsingham Fellow for the American Conservative Defense Alliance Philip Giraldi, the article goes into detail about how, in fact, the Iranian president is highly unpopular and if he runs in the 2009 election, he will most likely be defeated by a large margin. This myth about all Iranians supporting the bizarre and often offensive claims of their president is the same bunk as the Red state/Blue state crap (if you need counter-examples see Texas, and the Deep South) peddled to rationalize Bush's reelection in any way aside from pointing to Kerry's miserable campaign.

Furthermore, Ahmadinejad has very little power:

"Contrary to the assertions of Columbia President Lee Bollinger last week, Ahmadinejad is no “petty and cruel dictator.” He is an elected president with very little power, frequently at odds with the country’s religious leadership and its parliament. Even if Iran had a nuclear arsenal, which it does not, his finger would not be on the trigger...He does not command the Iranian armed forces and he does not determine Iranian foreign policy. Far from being a belligerent expansionistic power, the last time Iran attacked a neighbor was in the seventeenth century."
I only wish those who froth at the mouth at the thought of attacking Iran to ensure regional stability and peace could point to our over 300 year abstention from invading other countries.

Giraldi continues by challenging the reality of the 'diplomatic approach':
"Bilateral sessions in Baghdad have consisted of little more than staking out adversarial positions. The United States is demanding that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment program as a precondition for serious negotiations, but Iran is legally entitled to carry out enrichment as part of an energy program and both the Iranian public and the government are strongly supportive of that right. The U.S. insistence on Iranian capitulation in advance of any talks means that the negotiations are intended to be a non-starter, leaving only a military solution to the Iran problem."
As far as destabilizing intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, a key claim by both Democrats and Republicans, any definitive evidence proffered by the White House is undercut by the rampant arms black market in Central Asia and contradicted by the Iraqi and Afghani governments. Nor, according to this expert, is there any solid evidence of a nuclear arms program.

Ultimately, Giraldi chastises Congress for not challenging the White House and paving the way for military intervention with the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to the Defense Procurement that classifies the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

On the whole this article is a brilliantly sober assessment of the bluster and hawkishness that has been drippings from the presses and mouths of many these last few weeks. The major issue Giraldi fails to address (and considering his job, I'm not surprised) is the rise in anti-Arab and Muslim racism that pauly talks about in his most recent post. The effects of justifying imperialist policy abroad IS being felt at home.