Saturday, June 16, 2007

NYT on a Nuclear Armed Iran: 'Oh, Yes, That's Interesting.'

I guess the New York Times hasn’t got a dog in this fight.

The Times reports today on what it calls a debate behind the scenes at the White House between those who favor the diplomatic approach to reining in Iran’s nuclear program, and those who think military strikes are a better idea. (“Iran Strategy Stirs Debate at White House”)

The article offers this telling assessment of the recent trouble-making by Iran:

“Even beyond its nuclear program, Iran is emerging as an increasing source of trouble for the Bush administration by inflaming the insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and in Gaza, where it has provided military and financial support to the militant Islamic group Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip.”

Now has it occurred to anyone at the NYT that when Iran finally succeeds in toppling the government in Lebanon, or when it has helped re-establish the Taliban in Afghanistan, when it has finished helping to reduce Gaza to a Sharia prison, when it has facilitated the leveling of more mosques and provided more IEDs to murder GIs in Iraq, and then when it has finally obtained nuclear weapons to use against Israel and share with terrorists bent on destroying Americans, that it will be more than a source of trouble only to the Bush administration?

The Times seems marvelously disinterested by the whole mullahs-with-nukes scenario, while at the same time endlessly fascinated with the political Sturm und Drang inside the Bush White House.

In today's article the Times tries painting a picture of infighting between Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and her folks on the pro-diplomacy side, versus “the few remaining hawks inside the administration,” namely Dick Cheney and his guys. Cheney’s faction, the Times reports, “are pressing for greater consideration of military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Well, let’s hope so. At a moment when there is so much bad news on nearly every front, I’m thankful somebody, somewhere, is still discussing hawkish options at policy meetings that don't open with shouts of "Death to America!"

And why should the Times find it noteworthy that there’s lively debate amongst the President’s counselors as they weigh the benefits between historically feckless diplomacy and the grave choice for war? If in the end we do strike Iran, you can just bet the NYT will be complaining that there “was no debate” leading up to the action, just as they mistakenly insist now that there was no debate before the Iraq war. Or, in the alternative, whatever his decision is, Bush later will be accused of having failed to listen to those on the other side. ("I do solemnly swear that I will protect and defend, and listen to, the views of those on the other side").

This kind of story also is meant to illustrate the leftist myth that George W. Bush is “isolated” behind an impenetrable barrier filtering out realities facing all the rest of us, realities painfully obvious to the sardonic Left. (You know: global warming, universal health care, America regaining popularity with all the really cool kids at the UN).

Not only can the Times count the rise of a nuclear armed and belligerent theocracy in Iran as nothing more than “an increasing source of trouble for the Bush administration,” the Left never tires of portraying how the “so-called” war on terror was never anything more than Bush’s paranoid invention, anyway, cooked up only to achieve the nefarious ends that caused him to seize power in 2000. Iraq is always “Bush’s war.” Al Qaeda latest moves are thwarting Bush. Hamas's takeover is a blow against Bush's efforts at peace in the region.

And to highlight this isolation, the Times says Secretary Rice’s pro-diplomacy corps “appear to be winning so far,” while Dick Cheney and his side, “the few remaining hawks inside the administration,” seem to be dwindling.

Of course, the President himself is inside the administration, and whether or not he turns out to be a hawk regarding Iran, he has already shown himself a hawk in the fight against jihad, and he still is the one who consistently refuses to remove the military option for Iran from the table.

Nor are the hawks limited to the few remaining in Dick Cheney’s posse. Joe Lieberman, hardly a Cheneyite, recently has been quite outspoken on the subject of Iran, saying two weeks ago on Face the Nation:

"We can tell them we want them to stop that, but if there's any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can't just talk to them," Lieberman said. "If they don't play by the rules, we've got to use our force, and to me that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they're doing." (“Lieberman: Bomb Iran If It Doesn't Stop”).

Lieberman even favors a military strike into Iran on the sole basis of their involvement in attacks on US soldiers in Iraq:

"I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Mr. Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers." (“Lieberman Favors Military Hit on Iran”).

As I said before, I’m gratified to read that military options against Iran are being debated in the White House, even if, as the Times gloats, the diplomacy side seems to be winning for the moment. The fact that discussions are happening at all means military-strike options are being presented to the President, and that those arguing for continued diplomacy have to do it with ticking wristwatches held up to their noses by opponents.

As has become quite obvious since 9/11, the Left’s obtuseness on the reality of global jihad is an incurable affliction. Until the Bush administration leaves office in 18 months or so, defeats and victories in the war against jihadism abroad will serve no other purpose than to point up the failures of Bush’s foreign policy, and domestic events in the fight against attacks at home will be used only for outlining Bush’s totalitarian usurpations of power. Bush will continue to be portrayed as out of touch with reality, “reality” being defined rather liberally by the likes of Al Gore.

Yet it is the Left that dandles and plays with the harsh realities upon which it reports daily with a clueless innocence, like the toddler curiously peering down the barrel of its father’s loaded handgun.

How else could people write anything like the following:

In the year since Ms. Rice announced the new strategy for the United States to join forces with Europe, Russia and China to press Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, Iran has installed more than a thousand centrifuges to enrich uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency predicts that 8,000 or so could be spinning by the end of the year, if Iran surmounts its technical problems.

Those hard numbers are at the core of the debate within the administration over whether Mr. Bush should warn Iran’s leaders that he will not allow them to get beyond some yet-undefined milestones, leaving the implication that a military strike on the country’s facilities is still an option.

Why are “those hard numbers” only the core of a debate within the Bush administration, rather than the core of a worldwide debate amongst all the nations soon to share the peril of the Iranian threat? Or at least a debate within the New York Times, for crying out loud?

Why? Because terrorism is Bush’s problem, not ours. Because the Left has more important problems, like lowering the planet’s temperature, and making sure oil companies don't make too much money.

It has been too rarely pointed out since 9/11 that the West’s war against jihad is a defensive war, and we are the defenders--fighting to stave off Islamists who first declared war on us. In fact, have declared war on us repeatedly, from the 8th century to the 16th century and Vienna and right on down to Beirut and bin Laden and Ahmadinejad.

After January 2009, that “so-called” war on terror will no longer be Bush’s war. It will either be our war, belonging to all of us, or it will belong only to, and be decided only by, those who first declared it on us.

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