Wednesday, July 12, 2006

# Posted 8:53 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

STANDARD SLAMS BUSH: From this week's editorial:

What was "unacceptable" to President Bush a week ago (a North Korean missile launch) has been accepted...

The pursuit of nuclear weapons by the clerical regime in Iran has also been deemed "unacceptable" by the president. Yet, as the Iranian regime has resumed uranium enrichment, threatened to obliterate other nations, and scorned offers to negotiate, it has been rewarded with gestures by us that certainly seem to be concessions.

Now, watching North Korea, the mullahs must be feeling even less intimidated. And despite Syrian and Iranian complicity in killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq--detailed by our generals--neither has paid a price.

The one "red line" the president seems to be holding to is that we will not cut and run in Iraq. But even there, there seems to be no interest in rethinking a counter-insurgency strategy (or nonstrategy) that is not working.

Indeed, the president took pains at his press conference Friday to reiterate that he would not insist on changes: "General Casey will make the decisions as to how many troops we have there. . . . I told him this, I said, 'You decide, General.'" So we have a Rumsfeld-Casey decision to plan for a not-too-embarrassing withdrawal from Iraq, rather than a Bush decision to insist on a strategy for victory in Iraq.

But hey, we're in sync with the EU-3 and the U.N.-192. And our secretary of state--really, the whole State Department--is more popular abroad than ever. Too bad the cost has been so high: a decline in the president's credibility around the world and sinking support for his foreign policy at home.

Well, I guess Bush would say that diplomacy takes time. My bold prediction is that when Bush leaves office, the situation in Iran and North Korea will be almost exactly the same as it is now.
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

David: it just shows that Bush really doesn't have a clue about how everything fits together.
Really, Steve?

Are you suggesting that it's clueless to treat the DPRK, which under most scenarios would kill hundreds of thousands of South Korean citizens if attacked (and that's with artillery, no nuclear weapons required), differently because of that? Do "clues" require completely ignoring civilian casualties?

Yes, I'm perfectly willing to admit that the ability of states to inflict tremendous injury and death on civilians limits what we can do against them.

In the case of Iran, the US government has been paralyzed for a long time with the idea that the popular distaste for the realm and its quasi-democratic workings mean that it will take care of itself in the long run, and that any sort of preemptive action would be catastrophic.

In Iraq, quite obviously, neither of those two things applied to that degree.
yes john. It's PWC (presiding while clueless) to declare something unacceptable, then do nothing about it. it's wrong to let the threat of damage against South korea limit what needs to be done to protect the united states. it's stupid to go on and on about how we need to do X and Y in Iraq and ignore what Iran and Syria are doing to make sure that X and Y don't happen. and, as far as preemptive action against iran being catastrophic, it may not be perfect, but bush's paralysis will only ensure that more americans die when we can no longer pretend iran is not an imminent threat.
john wrote: "I'm perfectly willing to admit that the ability of states to inflict tremendous injury and death on civilians limits what we can do against them."

I agree. But President Bush obviously wasn't thinking of that when he said that it was unacceptable for NK to get nukes.

john also wrote: "In the case of Iran . . . preemptive action would be catastrophic."

Again, President Bush obviously wasn't thinking . . . .

Wait a minute, what does Bill Kristol want? It's so easy to be "tough" writing op-eds.

I mean it's one thing to say "It's bad to declare something unacceptable" and then later accept it when it happens" but what's the alternative? Escalating bellicosity of rhetoric (does Kristol think that would be "credible"?) or military action (and the first either leads to the second or exacerbates the problem Kristol is diagnosing). This president already pulled off one ill advised invasion to prove to the Standard how tough he was. And now we have to attack NoKo and Iran (and Syria I guess)? With what army?
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