"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the
animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel
nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest
lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
Samuel Adams, (1722-1803)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
WikiLeaks doc show how George W. Bush's misguided Iraq War made Iran a bigger threat
Say what you want about WikiLeaks - and I don't much like what it has done - it nevertheless would be useful for its founder, Julian Assange, to follow George W. Bush as he lopes around the country, promoting his new book, "Decision Points." When, for instance, Bush attempts to justify the Iraq war by saying the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, Assange could reach into his bag of leaked U.S. government cables and cite Saudi King Abdullah's private observation that the war had given Iraq to Iran as a "gift on a golden platter."
Iraq now has a Shiite-dominated government, and many senior officials who are ominously friendly with Iran. It was always American policy to use Saddam's Iraq to counterbalance Iran, since it was really Iran that posed a danger to the region. That danger is now amply documented in the new WikiLeaks documents - including the revelation that North Korea has sold Iran missiles capable of reaching, say, Tel Aviv or, a minute or so later, Cairo.
To a certain extent the leaked documents contain the rawest form of gossip. It is amusing to learn that Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy will not travel without his Ukrainian nurse, described as a "voluptuous blond." It is fun to wonder, in a Scrooge McDuck moment, how Afghanistan's vice president was able to take $52 million in cash out of the country and get it through customs in the United Arab Emirates last year when you and I get stopped for having a small tube of shampoo. Something wrong here, I suspect.
The Arab world's alarm at the imminence of an Iranian bomb is on full display in the leaked documents - as is the Obama administration's methodical and effective attempts to isolate Tehran. Saudi Arabia's Abdullah implored Washington to "cut off the head of the snake" while there was still time. The (Sunni) Arab world loathes and fears Iran on sectarian grounds and also because it espouses a revolutionary doctrine.
This is the world George Bush left us. It exists everywhere but in his book, where facts are either omitted or rearranged so that the war in Iraq seems the product of pure reason. As my colleague, the indefatigably indefatigable Walter Pincus, has pointed out, Bush manages to bollix up both the chronology and the importance of the various inspections of Iraq's weapons systems so as to suggest that any other President given the same set of facts would have gone to war. "I had tried to address the threat from Saddam Hussein without war," he writes. On that score, he is simply not credible..........................