The Airing of Grievances
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
What A Difference A Letter Makes
The world is going crazy all around us, but at least events leading up to elections in Iraq are silky smooth. Right? Right? Wrong. After two days of bombings inflicting multiple casualties in areas bordering Baghdad's Green Zone (the equivalent, from a security standpoint, to blowing shit up on the sidewalk in front of the White House) and an assassination attempt on a Shi'ite cleric today, one gets the impression that things in East Texas are just about ready to go completely pear-shaped (as opposed to mostly pear-shaped) anytime now.

The Boy King has responded with a vague, empty threat:
"We will continue to make it clear to both Syria and Iran that ... meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq is not in their interests," Bush said in Washington without elaborating.
Well, clearly it is in their interests, since they border Iraq, 60% of Iraq shares a common religious bond with the majority of Iran and you've gone so far as to single them out. Whatever. We can't rely on W to understand all of the many idiosyncracies of realpolitik and how the world really works.

But what of Iran? In my continuing effort to link to at least one Atlantic Monthly piece a month, I give you James Fallows' excellent "Will Iran Be Next?" Fallows writes of a war game exercise conducted recently, with military and public policy experts participating and playing the roles of the most senior Cabinet and national security officials who would have an interest and input in to any decisions made with regard to Iran. The question: how to dissuade and deter Iran from furthering its nuclear ambitions.

Short version: beyond an extremely careful game of carrot and stick, we're pretty much SOL. That whole "stretching our military and diplomatic options too thin with an unpopular, misguided invasion and cocked-up occupation of a non-threat" thing coming back to bite us in the ass.

But hey, I trust these guys to take the smart, prudent course of action. Don't you?
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