Warren’s campaign website features a policy statement declaring that “Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons” and “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable because a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies, the region, and the world.”
The statement continues, “The United States must take the necessary steps to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I support strong sanctions against Iran and believe that the United States must also continue to take a leadership role in pushing other countries to implement strong sanctions as well. Iran must not have an escape hatch.”
Warren’s claim that “Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons” is especially notable because it contradicts public statements by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as reported intelligence findings of the U.S. and Israeli governments.
At a February hearing, Panetta told lawmakers, “The intelligence does not show that [Iran officials] have made the decision to proceed with developing a nuclear weapon.”
Reuters reported in March, “The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.”
There is no difference between these killings and Palestinian suicide bombings in the West Bank.
As Glenn Greenwald elaborates:
Does anyone have any doubt whatsoever that if Iran were sending hit squads to kill Israeli scientists in Tel Aviv, or was murdering a series of American scientists at Los Alamos (while wounding several of their wives, including, in one instance, shooting them in front of their child’s kindergarten), that those acts would be universally denounced as Terrorism, and the only debate would be whether the retaliation should be nuclear, carpet-bombing, or invasion? As always, Terrorism is the most meaningless — and thus most manipulated — term of propaganda; it’s always what They do and never what We do.
Conrad Black is optimistic about our political future. “As long as there is a candidate that can speak and tie up his shoelaces in the morning,” he writes, “I do not believe Obama can be reelected.” Further, he continues, the election of a Republican will be seen as a mandate for the party’s small government platform and for a tougher stance against Iran.
I’m not nearly as optimistic. If Ron Paul doesn’t win the nomination, there’s no reason to believe that a new Republican administration would govern any differently than any of the Republican presidents have since Eisenhower. And that means deficits, increased spending, and fake tax cuts. And more war, of course.
I do think that Black is correct that a GOP president would be tougher on Iran. Unlike him, I don’t think this is a good thing. Especially not for the cause of small government.
But there’s something else Black is missing–Ron Paul’s power to influence the race. Dr. Paul is emerging as a front runner in Iowa and New Hampshire, and if he wins either state, getting the nomination will be in the realm of possibility for him.
But even if he doesn’t win the nomination, he’ll still have an opportunity to greatly affect the general election. According to recent polls, if Paul runs as a third party candidate, he would garner around 18% of the vote. That would be the death knell for Romney, no matter how unpopular Obama is.
Now, Paul has said that he has no intention of running as a third party candidate. He hasn’t categorically ruled out the possibility, however, and once he considers the benefits of running as a Libertarian or as an Independent (ticking off a lot of the bad guys, getting much more attention, and preventing the election of a bad Republican), I think it’s very likely he’ll take advantage of the opportunity.
Contra Black, therefore, Obama’s reelection is a very real possibility. And while that is not a cause for optimism, neither would be the election of any of the establishment Republicans.
That’s what Lew Rockwell reminds us today, after Newt Gingrich comes out in favor of the use of “bunker busting” nuclear weapons against Iran.
UPDATE: A newt is actually an amphibian. But whatever.
We already knew that about 5,000 security contractors would be staying in Iraq after the “withdrawal.” Now, we’re learning that the administration is planning to increase the number of combat forces in Kuwait. These troops will be available both to re-intervene in Iraq and to attack Iran, and will be supported by an increased naval presence in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
With the current bipartisan foreign policy consensus, wars never really end. And as long as the United States remains committed to maintaining a world spanning empire, they never will.
Members of the media are having a difficult time bringing themselves to question the federal government. Many of them recognize that the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil sounds ridiculous, but the general attitude is to say, quoting one observer, “I don’t know what the evidence about this is, but I’m not in a position to doubt it.” Maybe a failing used car salesman did hatch a plan to hire a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi official.
In other words, the U.S. government gets the benefit of the doubt. The same government that built up a case for war with Iraq on false and misleading information. The same government that for years ran a secret and illegal domestic eavesdropping program. The same government that lied about torturing terror suspects. The same government that is run by a man who promised to reverse these abuses of civil liberties and then strengthened them. The same government that has been trying to use the exact same tactics it used with Iraq to drum up support for a war with Iran.
That’s the government the media is having such a hard time bringing themselves to question. Case in point is Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. “I simply don’t know what to make of it,” he writes.
It might very well turn out just as the Justice Department has alleged, but it seems so odd to me — the Iranians, we know from experience (the Argentina bombings in the 1990s in particular) are pretty good at this sort of thing, and this operation seems terribly goofy.
But just as this hint of skepticism begins to leak out, he pulls back. He won’t speculate; he doesn’t know.
By the time he updated his post, he had fully regained his senses. “President Obama sounds very sure this is a serious, Iranian-government directed plot,” he reassured his readers.
That’s journalism in America today. The national correspondent for one of the country’s major magazines ends his blog post with a link to what amounts to a press release for the White House.
Karl Rove doesn’t mention Ron Paul in his latest Wall Street Journal piece. But he does mention Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who lost his last election by 18 points and is currently running a strong 2-3% in the polls.
Santorum has been consistently strong in the debates, Rove says, and has even had “Reaganesque moments” on foreign policy.
It is true, Santorum has been forceful on foreign policy questions. Unfortunately, he’s been forcefully wrong. Consider this exchange with Ron Paul over Iran, which is a moment Rove undoubtedly sees as “Reaganesque.” Santorum opines:
Anyone that suggests that Iran is not a threat to this country, is not a threat to stability in the Middle East, is obviously not seeing the world very clearly. [Ron Paul] sees it exactly the same way Barack Obama sees it. That we have to go around and apologize that we have gone out and exerted our influence and created freedom in the world.
First, there is no evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But even if they did, why can’t they be contained like North Korea, Pakistan, China, and Russia? Second, Iran spends about $10 billion a year on their military. The U.S. is spending around $700 billion. Iran has a tiny navy and a small air force that hasn’t been modernized or expanded since 1980. They are incapable of threatening the United States in any conventional way.
It is possible that they have supported insurgents in Iraq, but does that warrant a declaration of war? The Chinese supported the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Should the U.S. government have launched World War III in response? Maybe Santorum thinks they should have.
Third, Barack Obama never went around the world apologizing for America. Neoconservatives like Santorum just get upset whenever a president’s rhetoric falls short of the type of belligerent language on display in Bush’s axis of evil speech. As Ed Brayton recently put it, they’re “like the high school jock who beats up on a nerdy kid to establish his ‘cred’ with the other thuggish idiots he hangs out with. He does it because he has a crying, insatiable need to pose and posture because it soothes his insecurities.”
And finally, anyone who suggests that Ron Paul and Barack Obama have similar worldviews obviously isn’t seeing the world very clearly. Ron Paul is a strict noninterventionist who would completely dismantle the American empire. Barack Obama expanded the war in Afghanistan, kept tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, and launched a war in Libya without Congressional authorization.
I don’t apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time, and now they’re under a mullahocracy…
So apparently, because the CIA installed the Shah’s government, it must have been a free regime. Of course, Santorum ignores how the Shah ruled over an extravagant and corrupt government, whose secret police agency, Savak, arrested and brutally tortured the Shah’s political opponents. And it was this corruption that layed the foundation for the very “mullahocracy” that Santorum denounces.
The former senator then goes on to accuse Iran of setting training camps in Venezuela and warns us that if Iran gets nuclear weapons, “the world as we know it will be no more.”
First, the various reports of cooperation between Iran and Venezuela are filled with vague, unsubstantiated, and non-credible accusations. Second, what evidence is there that Iran and Venezuela are so suicidal that they would launch nuclear attacks on the U.S. if they had the chance?
Most of these accusations hinge on the idea that Ahmadinejad is mentally unstable because he called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” The problem is, this oft-repeated phrase is actually a mistranslation. Read in context, it’s clear that Ahmadinejad was simply reassuring his listeners that the Israeli government would eventually “vanish from the page of time” just as the Shah’s regime, the Soviet regime, and the Hussein regime have. Obviously, he does see Israel as an enemy. But this speech was hardly a call for suicidal war. American political leaders–like Rick Santorum–call for the end of foreign regimes all the time. Does this mean that they are willing to unleash a nuclear holocaust to ensure the end of every single government that they denounce? Their approach to North Korea answers this question. (And shows why Iran and Venezuela might want nuclear weapons.)
Santorum’s foreign policy, it should be clear, is not predicated on securing the safety of the United States. It’s predicated on spreading his own idea of “freedom” around the world, even at extraordinary costs. Luckily, even the militaristic base of the Republican Party is not warming up to this unrepentent Bushist.Which is why, perhaps, Rove is trying to draw attention to him. Bush’s legacy is ultimately Rove’s legacy. The more the Republican Party is influenced by Ron Paul, and the more George W. Bush’s ideas are discredited, the less relevant Rove will become.