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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Forget Political Science -- It's Time For Some Political Magic, Baby
Like Uri Gellar bending a spoon with the power of his mind, George W. Bush continues to twist reality by the feverish exertion of his wishes and dreams. In a recent interview on Air Force One, Dubya asserted once again that all is going well in Iraq and that his course will lead us to glorious victory. How does he know for sure?

Well, because the American people re-elected him, that's how; the wisdom of his policies have thus been vindicated. If his policies have been vindicated, no review of those policies is necessary. If no review of his policies is necessary, no mistakes have been made. And if no mistakes have been made, no individual can be held accountable.

Flawless logic. Never mind the fact that the Bush campaign told every lie it could think of about Iraq in order to get through the campaign; or that the lion's share of campaign rhetoric was devoted to personal smears against John Kerry. In a weird, Hitler-esque way, Bush is beginning to confuse God with Fate, Fate with History and History with the Will of the People. In the long run I suppose we will all pay the price for this, but in the short run it looks like Iran will.

Seymour Hersh's upcoming article in the New Yorker, "The Coming Wars", alleges that the Pentagon is running its own intelligence operation in Iran, laying the groundwork for a future invasion. Apparently tired of the pesky CIA bringing up "facts" and "reality" all the time, the administration is apparently opting for a factory-direct approach to intelligence-gathering. Both administration spokesdroid Dan Bartlett and the Pentagon have been shouting the official response all weekend: Riddled with errors! Rumor! Innuendo! Poppycock! Fiddle-faddle!

But when asked to deny any of Hersh's allegations, both Bartlett and the Pentagon clam up. "We don't discuss missions, capabilities or activities of Special Operations forces." Why not, if there's nothing at all to these rumors?

Today, though, Dubya couldn't resist. He wasn't going to issue a non-denial denial. His message was, watch out, Iran! You're next!

"I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table," Bush said in an interview with NBC News when asked if he would rule out the potential for military action against Iran "if it continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons program."

Sound familiar?

This is the clumsiest sort of brinksmanship. The idea is to make your opponent think that you're so reckless and crazy, you might do anything. Yes, of course I'm bogged down in a ground war with the last country I accused of having nuclear weapons. I'll probably have 150,000 troops there for the next decade. Hell, I'd be CRAZY to start another war under those circumstances, wouldn't I? Well, maybe I AM crazy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The problem with this strategy is, it only works as long as no one is willing to call your bluff. And the Iranians will be the first to see that this is straight from the Saddam Hussein playbook. Saddam had been crippled after the first Gulf War and a decade of air strikes and economic sanctions had bled him white. He had no deterrent to an invasion -- and so he pretended that he had an enormous chemical, biological and nuclear stockpile and that he was just crazy enough to use them.

That he ended up jabbering to himself in a spider hole for six months before he was captured is not a ringing endorsement of this policy.

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