Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shall We Play A Game?

Idiot! Fucking idiot!:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush warned on Wednesday a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III as he tried to shore up international opposition to Tehran amid Russian skepticism over its nuclear ambitions.

Bush was speaking a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has resisted Western pressure to toughen his stance over Iran's nuclear program, made clear on a visit to Tehran that Russia would not accept any military action against Iran.
Here's the really scary part:
"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel," he said. "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
(emphases added)

Oh good lord! Rachel Maddow of Air America Radio said it better than I ever could on the Today show this morning. Bush isn't threatening war with Iran over nuclear weapons, he's threatening war over the "knowledge necessary" to make nukes, meanwhile, you have an unstable regime in the region that already has nukes, has tested them, and is passing on the "knowledge necessary" to anyone who pays enough (Pakistan).

Against this backdrop comes this curious little news item:
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Iran a "special message" on its disputed atomic program and other issues, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator was quoted as saying on Wednesday, without giving details.
Somehow, I'm guessing it wasn't a long distance dedication on American Top 40 with Casey Kasem....more likely, it was "We'll stand by and stop any UN sanctions, but you have to stop picking fights with Bush. Wait until the next administration and maybe we can all sit down and let saner heads prevail."

Speaking of "saner", one of the talking points on the right wing has been about Bush's "tough talk" with Iran (and Russia and China), openly talking about World War III. Apparently, none of them could recall the last time a President said those magic words.

Um, hullo? IT'S BECAUSE THIS PRESIDENT IS AN INSANE FUCKING LOON!, whereas every other President, including Ronald Reagan, was at least close to sane.

One of the more bizarre aspects of this posturing on Bush's part (one can only hope that he's secretly playing "good cop, bad cop" with Putin's assistance...but I doubt it) is the flimsy evidence that Iran has developed anything close to the capability to even develop the "knowledge necessary," beyond what a college freshman might learn in a physics class.

After all, we invaded Iraq on "evidence" that, at least on its face, was far stronger for Saddam Hussein having WMDs (after all, we had the receipts to prove that) which turned out in fact to be bogus, setting aside even the question of weapons inspectors for a moment.

Who figured Hussein was more truthful than Bush? It was easy to believe Bush, frankly because we wanted to and the nation was itching for a fight.

This time, however, the sense I get is that the rhetoric has been ratcheted up, which tells me that the evidence is even more flimsy and even more bogus (Iraq, at least at one time, had WMDs).

The Bush brinkmanship doctrine doesn't even have a clear offsetting nuclear power to keep it in check at this time.

Russia would of course stand up to us. It would have to, but it would do so reluctantly, and it's not clear that it would do it in a sufficiently timely fashion in order to avoid a nuclear exchange. China might get involved, but then again, it might see an opportunity to let the world go to hell in a handbasket, then pick up the pieces and pluck the ripe fruit. With that much land to hide in, there's really no reason for it to get involved unless forced to.

Which brings us back to the sanity clause...