The signals, despite being rather loud and believable in the past year and a half, have become deafening. In his mockery of democracy, liberty, and peace last night, George Bush said a couple of things that were strange:
Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
We’re also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.
We will use America’s full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new
sanctuary for extremists and a strategic threat to their survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors, and they must step up their support for Iraq’s unity government. We endorse the Iraqi government’s call to finalize an International Compact that will bring new economic assistance in exchange for greater economic reform. And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region, to build support for Iraq and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East.
The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy, by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom, and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.
From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists, or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?
Although Iran and Syria have served as scapegoats frequently in the past, their appearance again is not surprising. But the strange thing in this is mention of the deployment of Patriot missile systems to ‘reassure our friends and allies.’ Whatever for, unless Bush anticipates missiles raining on our friends and allies, presumably from one of these hostile states? And why would that happen? It seems clear that no sane Middle Eastern country would initiate hostilities with either Israel or the US. But just as Saddam reacted angrily in 2003 by raining a few Scuds on the Saudis, wouldn’t Iran also probably react in just such a fashion if they were the object of intense bombing? Of course, that deployment of Patriots already took place for Israel and the Saudis years ago, so it is additionally mysterious in that sense.
Further evidence of an imminent outbreak of war is the harrassment being leveled against the Iranians inside of Iraq. Last month US forces detained two Iranian nationals on suspicion of weapons smuggling in a raid in Baghdad, but the pair were later released. Then today five (or six, depending on which report you read) Iranian diplomats and staff were arrested at the embassy in Erbil. And there’s this: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran that the United States won’t “stand idly by” if Tehran tries to disrupt Washington’s renewed effort to stabilize Iraq. Speaking hours after US troops reportedly arrested five Iranians in a raid in northern Iraq, Rice said Washington was determined to crack down on Iran’s “regional aggression.”
The purveyor of his Daddy’s New World Order has been laying the groundwork for widening aggression in the Middle East for months. With these latest actions and the inflammatory rhetoric, it seems clear that W’s final solution to secure Middle Eastern resources for Amerikan consumption and corporate profit is near at hand.