Wednesday, June 25, 2008
There may be such a thing as absolute truth, but evil is, without question, a relative commodity, especially when it comes to elections. I rejected Hillary Clinton as a suitable presidential candidate because of her penchant for kissing up to the neocons. She was going hook, line and sinker for their Iran narrative the same way she took the bait on Iraq. As president of the United States, John McCain would be the most dangerous human being in the history of civilization, so he made for an even worse candidate than Hillary.
On May 19, the (then) least of three evils made the most rational foreign policy statement uttered by a presidential candidate since World War II: "Iran, Cuba, Venezuela—these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us."
Perhaps more importantly, Barack Obama displayed a greater aptitude for the commander in chief job than McCain and Clinton combined when he said that Iran spends “one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen.”
Indeed, who in his right mind would consider it a sign of weakness to listen to a nation that, to paraphrase former Central Command chief William Fallon, we could crush like ants if we needed to? McCain thinks it’s a sign of weakness, of course, but remember; the question stipulated "right mind," so "Gramps" doesn't count as a correct answer.
McCain returned fire, noting that his opponent's awareness of Iran's military insignificance shows "the depth of Senator Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment." McCain's rant was pretty comical, in fact, up until the moment Obama made the mistake of taking him seriously and answered, “Let me be absolutely clear: Iran is a grave threat.”
That's the kind of remark that makes you wish Obama's foreign policy advisers would take him aside and tell him, "Don't say dumb stuff like that, huh?" Unfortunately, a couple of Obama's top foreign policy advisers have been saying some pretty dumb stuff themselves.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is a pro-Israeli think tank founded in 1985 by Martin Indyk, a former research director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). High profile neoconservatives Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and James R. Woolsey serve on WINEP's advisory board.
WINEP's Presidential Task Force on the Future of U.S.-Israel Relations recently released a report titled How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge. The report stated among other things that the U.S. and Israel should discuss policy options that include "preventive military action" against Iran.
Signatories to the report included, not surprisingly, McCain advisers Woolsey and Vin Weber. Obama supporters should find it disconcerting that the signatories also included two of their candidate's foreign policy experts: Tony Lake and Susan Rice.
For somebody who talks constantly of making a "change" in the way America plays with the rest of the world, Obama sure sounds at times like he's up to the same old shell game. Despite his often moderate, rational sounding statements about Iran, Obama seems to have accepted the neocons' Iran bashing nonsense from the outset of his presidential bid. In September 2004 he said that missile strikes might be a viable option to destroy nuclear sites in Iran. In March 2007, speaking to a pro-Israeli audience in Chicago, he called Iran "a threat to all of us." Now his proxies are agreeing that the U.S. and Israel should consider preemptive deterrence measures against Iran.
All this because of the wholly unsubstantiated neoconservative claims that Iran is arming and training Iraqi militias and has ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons. The Bush administration promised in January 2007 to provide proof of Iran's direct role in killing U.S. troops in Iraq. A year and a half later, it has yet to produce a stitch of credible evidence. The most compelling testimony we have that the Iranians ever pursued nuclear weapons is the recent National Intelligence Estimate that says they abandoned their program in the fall of 2003. Since Russia only started building Iran's first reactor in the fall of 2002, whatever nuclear weapons program Iran had must have been the kind of thing Spanky and Alfalfa could have slapped together in Darla's back yard over summer vacation.
So what in the wide world of sports, arts and sciences are two of Obama's key foreign affairs advisers doing at a conference with a neocon infested, AIPAC affiliated think tank and signing off on its Persian Peril policy?
If Club Obama plans to let Israel keep leading us around by the foreign policy tool, we might just as well hand the keys to McCain. With Gramps behind the wheel, there's at least a chance he'll doze off before he backs out of the driveway.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Russ Wellen's interview with Jeff at The Huffington Post and Scholars and Rogues.
at 7:06 PM