Thursday, January 11, 2007

Control the Cowboy and Save a Nation

Meanwhile in the saloon
The swinging door is closing
Behind the cowboy buffoon
Who doesn’t know he is losing
A faith, a people, a war
And mothers cry: What for?
And the quagmire only gets deeper
For an incompetent brother’s keeper

Once again, Bush has modeled American foreign policy on a Hollywood B western. As the tough new sheriff in town, he has warned Evil Roy Slade (Iran) to stay out of Dodge (Iraq). He has organized a posse (two aircraft carrier task groups) to control the territory (Persian Gulf) and is ready to get the draw on anybody that raises a hand in question. In fact, his deputies have already put on their star badges and raided a hideout (the Iranian Consulate in Irbil, Kurdistan, Iraq).

Last night’s presidential speech not only defied Democrats, but also most Republicans, virtually 75% of Americans and even higher percentages in nations across the world. Instead of following the Baker-Hamilton Commission advice to negotiate with Iran and Syria, he is threatening them directly with the Eisenhower and the Stennis carrier task forces. To fully understand the enormity of the insanity that is King George, we need to recall that we are losing a war occupying a nation of 25 million souls (minus casualties and escapees) and that Iran has 76 million souls, most of whom are younger than 30. Targets in Iran are hardened. The enemy in Iran is now joined at the hip with the Shiites in Iraq through Muqtada al Sadr and others. The Shiites, including the PM al Malaki, are running Iraq as the armed majority. Iranians have some modern surface-to-surface missiles purchased from China and perhaps Russia. They have Chinese subs. They have speedboat patrols that protect their shores. The Persian Gulf is analogous to the Box Canyon of the spaghetti western and we just had a collision of one of our subs with a Japanese tanker in those tight waters near the Straits of Hormuz. Neither the Iraqi insurgency not the Mahdi Army death squads has ballistic missiles, yet we are deploying Patriot missile batteries to the area. The air war in Iraq is long over. Given the history of utter incompetence of this administration to provide credible intelligence or effective military plans, what are the odds that we will not suffer a shore to ship strike from Iran that will “justify” retaliation? The contest is between Ahmedinijad and Bush. Neither one strikes me as logical yet both strike me as ideologues. That adds up to two strikes. Bush’s strike on a Consulate demonstrates a lack of discipline. Was that the third strike in a no-win contest? Can we expect more from Ahmedinijad than Bush? As a survivor of the Gulf of Tonkin ploy by Johnson, I see this not as blunder but a deliberate provocation aimed at getting us into war with Iran. Iran has surface-to-surface missiles that put our troops in Iraq in great jeopardy, especially when they are canalized in the Bremer Wall Gully that is Baghdad. Even the appointment of a flag level naval aviator to lead the ground forces in the zone must now be questioned. Was it done because we have no competent ground generals or are we opening the (nuclear?) air war? The Eisenhower is due to stay on station through March 2007 and the Stennis just arrived.

When I studied for my MBA, the Finance course made it clear that a sunk cost was never a valid reason for an investment in the future. It is good money after bad. A rational investor knows when to cut his losses. What makes this situation in the Middle East far more threatening is that the losses are calculated in measures of blood not money. Who will stop this reckless cowboy? I am not a supporter of suicide, so if Bush is suicidal, why doesn’t he get counseling instead of condemning our troops to injury and death? I know enough about ideologues to understand that they can have great conviction and even great faith, but when two ideologues confront each other and the world is at risk, it is time to consider a psychiatric removal of the one that reports to us, as the American people. He is our president, and to that extent, we are responsible for him. Let the Iranians take care of their problem. If Bush can no longer act rationally, then our elected representatives should take all steps for a competency hearing for Bush. If they cannot control his foreign excesses like Iraq or his domestic excesses including his signing statements to deprive us from mail and telephone privacy, then perhaps, it is time for a medical intervention. That cowboy is sick and he is a vector that may get us all hurt or killed.

George Giacoppe
11 January 2007

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