Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Somebody needs to be killed, is all I'm saying

Adam Blickstein reminds us all of the most infuriating aspect of the stream of undiluted bullshit coming from the White House, Pentagon, and McCain campaign over Iran. McCain continues to claim that Barack Obama said he would negotiate unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, when all Obama's ever said is that he'd negotiate with Iranian leaders. (Which is, you know, the perfectly sane policy the US should follow.)

In any case, Ahmedinejad makes a useful (anti-semitic, scary-man-with-facial-hair) foil for McCain, even if he has to lie about his opponent. But (to repeat myself) the important point to make here is that Ahmedinejad has absolutely zero impact on Iran's foreign policy. He can want to destroy Iran until the cows come home and he's less dangerous to Iran than I am. Iran's military and foreign policy is set by Khamenei and the other clerics, not the elected President or legislature.

Even more offensive, however, is the current emphasis on Ahmedinejad as the face of Iran. If you cast your minds back to the hallowed days of 2003, Blickstein reminds us, the same weakness of the Iranian Presidency that McCain is deliberately obscuring was seen as the very reason that you couldn't negotiate with Iran -- the reformers who were currently in power would easily be overruled the clerics.

So, the status of US-Iranian relations, 2002: The President may be a reformer, but he doesn't count, so we can't negotiate.

2008: The President is a maniac! We can't negotiate!

Basically, the strategy is to never talk until after the war I guess. At a certain point, though, we should ask why it is that American politicians keep finding it convenient to twist themselves in to knots, so long as it involves killing people of different religions and skin tones.

No comments: