Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Middle East: US Weakness

The Hezbollah-Israeli clash in Lebanon-Israel has prompted some to suggest Iran is behind the events, and that this is a golden opportunity for the United States leadership to show why Americans should rally to the RNC cause.

Dream on.

Recall Sy Hersh's essay in which conservatives "wished for" Iran to attack Iraq, that way the US would be in a better position. "Hay, we're already under attack." Small problem, Iran isn't cooperating with the RNC dreams.

* * *

Iraq and Afghanistan have proven to be quagmires; in the region the US is seen as vulnerable. The US Position is weakened.

Let's consider the "possibility" that the Iranians and Syrian "are emphatically" behind the Hezbollah attacks against Israel. As with the Hariri assassination, if this claim were real, then the US NSA should have been aware of the planning long ago (because of "obvious" Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah communication), and there should have been no surprise.

However, we have the opposite:

  • Apparent surprise

  • No specific evidence that Iran-Syria communications/planning/support occurred

  • Merely the US stating, several days later, that something should be done.

    * * *

    At the same time, there are some who are suggesting that the crisis between Israel-Hezbollah is something only the US can solve; and that in doing so, the US President will be seen as a great leader.

    This is absurd. First, the reason the US-Israel have a problem is because of the double standards. There's little prospect (in the short term) that those who are offering double standards will then be able to broker a peace.

    Some have suggested that the Congress and American public will "rush to" the President, as they "rally around the flag." Hold on, last time we checked, the US has no territory in the Middle East; and the US hasn't been attacked; nor is the US directly involved. How anyone could claim that the US population is going to "rally around the President" would require the President to be militarily involved. He is not.

    * * *

    Let's consider the situation from another perspective: DoJ Staff attorneys, war crimes, and Geneva Conventions.

    It's already clear that certain events have constituted war crimes. The issue is simple: Given the DoJ Staff attorney's lack of familiarity with Geneva (as evidenced by their assent to violations of Article III; and do nothing approach to wars of aggression in Iraq; and the excuses for rendition to Eastern Europe of US nationals in volition of Geneva), they have a problem in not comprehending the events on the ground in the Middle East; nor recognizing the opportunity or risks associated with the conduct.

    Specifically, once either Hezbollah or Israel commits war crimes, the US "should" be able to point to the activity and say, "We have a problem, and something should be done." The US has not done that because:

  • To point to war crimes would amount to a double standard

  • The US isn't in a position to point to anything which it does not understand

  • The time to have pointed to the illegal war crimes would have been early, not later

    * * *

    The inaction, non-comment, and failure to mention the war crimes does little to address the larger issue: The lack of convincing evidence the US has that there is a link between Iran-Syria and this specific set of events between Hezbollah and Israel.

    * * *

    We judge the following:

  • The Middle East is getting, at best, mixed signals on the benefits of Democracy. The US notion of Democracy has been discredited in Iraq, and Lebanon. Democratically elected forces like Hamas are not necessarily willing to be a pawn of the United States. It is inconvenient for the West to accept that Hezbollah has been elected to office, and has not seized power as has the United States in Iraq. Democratically elected forces like Hezbollah in Lebanon will be recast in the American media is something other than voter-related phenomenon;

  • The US is vulnerable. The US is perceived as being well below the high water mark of Middle East influence. Smaller military forces, unrelated to Syria and Iran, are able to move with greater confidence that the US is unable to take any action to thwart their efforts to assert power;

  • We have more 9-11-like lessons: Surprise despite an advertised capability to conduct monitoring. The NSA analysts do not have information supporting the White House and State Department public statements. The US has no real evidence of Syrian-Iranian support, coordination, of active planning with Hezbollah to attack Israel; the delays in commenting, discussing response plans, or taking any military action show the NSA, National Security Council have been surprised;

  • US inaction on the military front raises doubts about the public statements about Iran and Syria. The events fail to bolster the claim that the Iranians are a looming threat. The US has not taken any military action against either Syria or the Iranians because there is no imminent threat; nor has there been an actual attack on the United States;

  • US Propaganda efforts, in Orwellian fashion, are recasting the disaster and evidence of US powerlessness as the opposite: A sign of strength, and good news. There is a false sense of "expected nationalism" wholly disconnected from a credible reason. There is no reasonable argument to justify why the US government, during a time of weakened position in the Middle East, should have confidence that the US population will "rally around the flag";

  • The RNC talking points related to the President are disconnected from evidence and reality. The speculative "benefits" that the President may "deserve a boost in the polls" are wishful thinking;

  • US policy making and forecasts are based on perverse desires, not reasonable plans or analysis. The wishful thinking of what Iran might do in Iraq (attack Americans) is meaningless; and the US inability to quickly respond shows evidence that the contingency plans for the Middle East are narrowly focused on success oriented criteria;

  • The events between Israel-Hezbollah are a convenient distraction away from important domestic issues related to abuse of power, NSA illegal activity, and the FISA violations;

  • US justifications about NSA activity and capabilities are not realized; the benefits Americans are being told are the tradeoff for less privacy is not better information about military threats. We're seeing that, despite the "willingness of the Administration to violate the law to gather investigation against American citizens," that same military capability inside the NSA is meaningless when it comes to real military actions, planning, and communication where the military forces have a greater chance of being used and posing a greater threat to civilians;

  • US and Israel may have had a notion of something unfolding, but chose inaction to permit an attack, and then justify war crimes and retaliation;

  • Hezbollah has attacked the port city to trigger Israeli outrage, and prompt a poorly planned counter strike. This is designed to expose the vulnerabilities of Israel and the United States, further bolstering Anti-American sentiment; and

  • DoJ Staff Attorneys are weak on the laws of war and Geneva. The Geneva violations are not comprehended, nor used as a basis to really the world for or against any party because the US has a poor understanding of the Geneva conventions, and is not well positioned to comprehend unfolding events as they compare to Geneva.