Jun 11, 2007

How many people will pay the price for Bush and Ahmadinejad’s tough talk?

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The fear of insanity being repeated here in the Middle East recently prompted Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to warn against the continuing political influence and uninterrupted aggressiveness of the "new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran.'" The remark was widely viewed as a reference to US Vice President Dick Cheney, who recently issued a stern warning to the Islamic Republic from the deck of a US aircraft carrier in the Gulf, ominously close to the Iranian coast, that Washington would prevent Tehran from "dominating" the Middle East, and "continue ... delivering justice to the enemies of freedom." The vice president's rhetoric echoed the remarks heard prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, a misadventure from which he seems to have learned no lessons despite its results: enormous bloodshed among the Iraqi people, the erosion of the US Army and Marine Corps, and the weakening of American interests and influence across the region.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted on Friday that Washington is not preparing for war against Iran, but rather is pursuing "a diplomatic course," a policy that she claimed "is supported by all the members of [US President George W. Bush's] Cabinet and by the vice president." But Rice's reassurances do little to offset the bellicose words of the lunatics who are still working in the White House and still peddling the same confused analysis to support the same flawed doctrine of "pre-emptive war" that led to the current mess in Iraq.

Iran, too, has its share of irrationality in governance. On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that the clock was ticking toward the destruction of Israel, the same sort of refrain that has allowed the Western media to demonize the Islamic Republic and so to prepare the ground for possible assaults by the Americans and/or the Israelis.

Both Ahmadinejad and Bush like to hold up Lebanon as an example of the effectiveness of their respective policies. The Iranian president said Friday that "the Lebanese nation destroyed the hollow power of the Zionist regime" during last summer's war. His American counterpart frequently champions "democracy in Lebanon," but he has shown no willingness to accept democratic verdicts that empower parties which resist US hegemony over the Middle East. For all their boasting, neither president was of much use to the Lebanese people as they were subjected to last summer's Israeli onslaught. In fact, Bush worked actively to prolong and intensify the Jewish state's rampage, and Ahmadinejad's ill-advised comments served the purposes of those who portrayed Hizbullah as an extension of Tehran - and so to openly belittle the value of Lebanese civilian lives.

Both Iran and the United States had until recently scaled back the bellicosity, but both still show a propensity to repeat the same mistakes. In order for the Lebanese, and all the people of this trouble region, to rest easily, we will most likely have to wait until 2009, when the crazies start leaving office.

From: Daily star Lebanon

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