September 3, 2007


When Bush Comes to Iran: The view of American tough talk from Tehran (Reza Aslan, Sept. 3, 2007, Slate)

All of this makes Kamran chuckle. "Regime change. Regime change," he mocks in an American accent. It's not that he doesn't want an end to the clerical regime. He'd love nothing more than to drag the mullahs out of the halls of government. But he has stopped caring. Like the rest of his friends, Kamran has grown so disenchanted with Iran's political system and so suspicious of American intentions in the wake of the Iraq war that he has simply given up. He doesn't vote in Iranian elections anymore. He barely reads the newspapers. He's stopped watching CNN International and the BBC. He has more immediate concerns, like how to pay his mortgage, how to afford skyrocketing gas prices, what to do about the impoverished Iraqis flooding into the country, and, most of all, how to use his immense computer expertise to make a decent living. The only time he pays any attention to the news is when the Iranian press announces yet another impending threat from America.

Those stories are popping up a lot lately. In the past couple of weeks, President Bush has raised the rhetorical stakes again, first by threatening to label Iran's military/intelligence branch, the Revolutionary Guard, a terrorist organization (essentially a declaration of war in the age of the "War on Terror"), then by announcing in a fiery speech before the American Legion that he is authorizing U.S. forces in Iraq "to confront Tehran's murderous activities." Both moves come after months of accusations that Iran is arming and training Shiite militias who are killing both American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

The accusations of Iran's meddling in Iraq are no doubt true. But consider this: According to a report released by the New York Times, of the 60 to 80 fighters who enter Iraq each month to join al Qaida in Mesopotamia, half are from Saudi Arabia. The majority of suicide bombers are Saudis, as are about 45 percent of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. And nearly half of the foreign prisoners in U.S. custody in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. Yet, far from threatening to confront Saudi Arabia's murderous activities, Bush has just offered to supply billions of dollars in advanced weaponry to that country.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 3, 2007 12:09 PM

Sun Tzu would have understood.

Confusion to the enemy, and it will look as though we had not sought it.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 3, 2007 6:30 PM

Yes, it depends heavily on the belief that the majority of Iraqis are our enemies, which makes the war infinitely stupid from jump street.

Posted by: oj at September 3, 2007 7:11 PM

The Saudis seem determined to alienate Iraq. Perhaps the royal family just wants to get rid of malcontents, but the Sunni in Iraq can't be happy to see hundreds (thousands) of Saudi whackjobs crossing the border just to stir up trouble. We already know what the Shi'a think of it.

Posted by: ratbert at September 4, 2007 1:35 AM

I'm sure the Saudis have been more than happy to export their troublemakers to Iraq for a quick and messy martyrdom. Saves so much on clean-up costs at home.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 4, 2007 7:57 AM

Of course they're happy to see them. This is just Sunni vs. Shi'a, which is why the Administration is behaving foolishly.

Posted by: oj at September 4, 2007 7:58 AM