S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Iran is a big question

Defense is the word: There is lot of news about defense that came out in recent days. OCP, our current president, made his State of the Union Speech. As they do every four years, the Pentagon formally announced it's official defense strategy. The Director of National Intelligence testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. And the United Nations is trying to figure out what to do about Iran.
Iran is the place: The subject of today's post is Iran because of the dramatic increase of focus. In a survey from just one news service, Reuters, the picture became more clear. In this post I am laying out what I feel are the most crucial Iranian developments news-wise, sometimes embedding one article inside another for brevity.
Decisions are unknown: It is always crucial to find out what is going in this secretive Bush administration. On the one hand, I see the big guns swinging around towards Iran. It makes my blood run cold because that is exactly what happened before we attacked Iraq. On the other hand, it seems that OCP has not yet decided what to to about Iran. According to this 1/31/06 Reuters article Neocons are pressing for a regime change in Iran. I quote,
Despite his push for democracy in the Middle East, President George W. Bush is not expected to involve the United States in pressing more vigorously for political change in Iran, according to Republicans who have been urging a stronger approach . . . they expect no new initiatives, such as boosting funding for pro-democracy and civil society groups in Iran, in Bush's (SOTU) speech. . . the debate has become more public since Iranian President Mohammad Ahmadinejad was elected last year and openly espoused a more anti-western attitude.
Nukes are the danger: Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, warned Thursday that Iran's nuclear ambitions are a big deal in the administration. To quote:
The United States does not believe Iran has a nuclear weapon but the danger Tehran will acquire one is an "immediate concern . . . We judge that Tehran probably does not yet have a nuclear weapon and probably has not yet produced or acquired the necessary fissile material . . . The danger that it will acquire a nuclear weapon, and the ability to integrate it with the ballistic missiles Iran already possesses is a reason for immediate concern," Negroponte said.
The U.N. is still out there: The good news, according to Reuters, is that the matter is still being worked through the United Nations.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement: "We hope the Iranian regime will heed this clear message. The world will not stand by if Iran continues on the path to a nuclear weapons capability." . . . Rare consensus between the permanent powers on the Security Council -- Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China -- over Iran reached last week made the vote possible. . . . the United States, which has not ruled out military action against the Islamic republic, will begin unspecified measures at the council starting in March to gradually press Iran to limit its programs.
"We are going to ratchet up the pressure step-by-step," (Burns) said.
War is an option: Senator McCain is allied with other hawks in the administration on the question.
U.S. Senator John McCain, a top member of President George W. Bush's Republican Party, urged the world on Saturday to impose economic and other sanctions on Iran, bypassing the United Nations if needed. Welcoming the vote by the UN nuclear watchdog on Saturday to report Iran to the Security Council, McCain repeated that military action against Tehran must remain an option if it did not bow to international demands to halt its nuclear activities.
Diplomacy is an option: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, speaking in Munich on Saturday, is coming down - at the moment - on the side of diplomacy. Reuters reports,
Rumsfeld accused Iran on Saturday of being the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, a charge that his Iranian counterpart rejected as "ridiculous" and "outrageous". . .
"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism . . . The world does not want, and must work together to prevent, a nuclear Iran . . . We must continue to work together to seek a diplomatic solution to stopping the development of (Iran's) uranium enrichment program," Rumsfeld said.

What next is the question: The administration's use of aggression exacts a high spiritual and financial cost around the world. The Bush administration is constantly at war, but I do not consider them honorable "warriors," but aggressors.
At the same time, we never really finished the job in Afghanistan before moving into Iraq. I fear we will make the same mistake by leaving a mess behind as we move out of Iraq to, who knows where, to make war again.
The WaPo analysis of the new Pentagon 20-year defense strategy, entitled "The Long War," is headlined, "Ability to Wage 'Long War' Is Key To Pentagon Plan
Conventional Tactics De-Emphasized." The phrase, The Long War, saddens my spirit. It implies that our nation will become financially bankrupt in the process. And, until we can find an intelligent way to deal with these threats, we are morally bankrupt.
My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is about "weebling" over the web.

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