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Republican War Policy Made Simple

ph2007051602898.jpgI swear, I can’t sort out what the Republicans are talking about when they describe our Middle East wars and who the enemy is, but I’m pretty sure they want eventually to be at war with just about everyone.

In today’s Washington Post, Robin Wright explains that some of the White House necons see us in Cold War II against the menacing Iranians. That would be the same Iranians who are allied with the most influential of the Shia factions that currently control the Iraqi government that we are presumably protecting. But ignore that little disconnect for the moment and the fact that the Iranians are fine helping their Shia friends fight al Qaeda. Whenever the Administration wants to torque up American hostility towards Iran, it feeds their favorite reporter embedded at the New York Times information about how the Iranians are providing weapons and training to Shias who kill Americans, but the stories rarely mention that the US is pursuing military alliances with Sunni tribal leaders whom al Maliki believes did the same thing.

Other Administration officials leaked to a different team of Times reporters the story that the real problem in Iraq is the financial and other support the Saudis are providing to the Sunni insurgents in Iraq. It seems that most of the suicide bombers are “foreigners” with a 40 percent Saudis who oppose the Iran-backed, Shia-dominated Iraq government. Although the Saudis appear to be even more upset than we are about the inevitable Iranian influence in Iraq — and warned us this would be a problem before we overthrew Saddam — some in the Bush Administration seem to believe the Saudis can’t figure out their own strategic interests, and thus are not doing enough to support the Iran-backed Shia-dominated Iraq government that the Saudis believe, with good reason, are trying to displace Sunnis from their own neighborhoods. One wonders what the Saudis must be thinking as they are forced to listen to the geniuses in the Bush White House lecture them on their own interests in their own region.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration is trying to figure out how to convince Congress to allow the sale of $20 billion in highly sophisticated arms to the Saudis, the same Saudis we think are being so unhelpful. Which side of the WH civil war leaked that story? Could there be a clique that wonders if providing more sophisticated arms to a region that is sliding towards regional war encouraged by our policies is a good idea?

While all this deep thinking is going on, the President is in la la land listening to sages like Bill Kristol, clinging to President General Petraeus’ vanishing credibility [Frank Rich in Times Select] and claiming our principal foe in Iraq is al Qaeda in Iraq, which he says is the same thing as the 9/11 al Qaeda gang. Under this reasoning, fighting one is the same as fighting the other. You have to be a dedicated 28 Percenter to believe that the way to ensure that al Qaeda in Afghanistan doesn’t undermine the Karzai government and al Qaeda in Pakistan does not get it’s hands on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is to keep 160,000 US troops bogged down in Iraq fighting al Qaeda knock offs, while Dick Cheney starts wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Except for Paul, none of the Republican candidates for President sees anything wrong with this picture or questions the still conventional wisdom that got us into this mess. But never mind that, Rudy, Mitt, and Fred have this sorted out: all Muslims are suspected Islamofacists, and if we don’t threaten to fight them put them in Gitmo I, II and III, we’ll never get to Armageddon.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley