This week’s buzz over Iran and nukes was probably generated as much by Semour Hersh’s Strangelovian portrait of President Bush in the New Yorker as by statements from Iran.
People like Hersh will make it hard, if not impossible, for the administration to deal effectively with Iran. Here is some of what Mark Steyn says about the situation:
“The bad cop/worse cop routine the mullahs and their hothead President Ahmadinejad are playing in this period of alleged negotiation over Iran’s nuclear program is the best indication of how all negotiations with Iran will go once they’re ready to fly. This is the nuclear version of the NRA bumper sticker: ‘Guns Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.’ Nukes don’t nuke nations. Nations nuke nations. When the Argentine junta seized British sovereign territory in the Falklands, the generals knew that the United Kingdom was a nuclear power, but they also knew that under no conceivable scenario would Her Majesty’s Government drop the big one on Buenos Aires. The Argie generals were able to assume decency on the part of the enemy, which is a useful thing to be able to do.
“But in any contretemps with Iran the other party would be foolish to make a similar assumption. That will mean the contretemps will generally be resolved in Iran’s favor. In fact, if one were a Machiavellian mullah, the first thing one would do after acquiring nukes would be to hire some obvious loon like President Ahmaddamatree to front the program. He’s the equivalent of the yobbo in the English pub who says, ‘Oy, mate, you lookin’ at my bird?’ You haven’t given her a glance, or him; you’re at the other end of the bar head down in the Daily Mirror, trying not to catch his eye. You don’t know whether he’s longing to nut you in the face or whether he just gets a kick out of terrifying you into thinking he wants to. But, either way, you just want to get out of the room in one piece. Kooks with nukes is one-way deterrence squared.
“If Belgium becomes a nuclear power, the Dutch have no reason to believe it would be a factor in, say, negotiations over a joint highway project. But Iran’s nukes will be a factor in everything. If you think, for example, the European Union and others have been fairly craven over those Danish cartoons, imagine what they’d be like if a nuclear Tehran had demanded a formal apology, a suitable punishment for the newspaper, and blasphemy laws specifically outlawing representations of the Prophet. Iran with nukes will be a suicide bomber with a radioactive waist.”
So maybe Hersh & Co. should be less shocked that the administration is exploring options should diplomacy fail? Just a thought.
The left’s war cry may no longer be no more Vietnams-it will be no more Iraqs. The front-page report on today’s Washington Post paints a picture of the Bush administration suppressing postwar information that did not support the rationale for war-while Christopher Hitchens has a piece indicating that the Bush administration was right all along about Iraq and “yellowcake”–that Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger. (Captain Ed calls the Post report “dishonest and deceptive.”)
Isn’t it interesting that, at this juncture in our nation’s history, the cognoscenti are nodding knowingly over perceived illusions to Bush in “The Persians,” an ancient Greek play by Aeschylus about the country we now call Iran?
Washington Post reviewer Philip Kennicott suggests that the “blood-soaked Greek tragedy” may have gotten an “extreme makeover.” Here’s the end of the review:
“At a preview last week, knowing glances and titters were exchanged in the audience when her text hammered away at the idea that Xerxes is an undeserving, arrogant, incompetent scion on his father — a scene that Maureen Dowd might have written about the Bush clan. Words like ‘barbarian,’ casually thrown around in other versions, have disappeared from her text. And McLaughlin explicitly echoes the great antiwar poet Wilfred Owen when the herald says that he has seen war, and ‘the pity of it.’
“So, yes, this can be an antiwar play, if you try hard enough.
“‘The Greeks imagine their own Persians and the Persians imagine their own Greeks,’ says Karimi-Hakkak.
“And we imagine something entirely our own.”