By Jim Simpson
Dialogue with Iran and Syria, as has now been officially proposed with today's release of the Iraq Study Group Report, is insane. These two countries are perhaps the greatest long-term promoters of international terrorism in the world (excluding of course, the illustrious Soviet Union, which started, developed and has fueled the whole thing all along). An article this morning from the pages of the seminal Wall Street Journal, originally a piece in the ever-insightful American Spectator, brings much needed insight into public debate on this issue.
Since time immemorial, the liberal establishment has relentlessly promoted the idea that “dialogue” is the cure-all in foreign relations. The truth is that this solution has always favored our enemies. Since G.W. Bush took office the Left has pelted him with criticism for “going it alone,” engaging in bi-lateral talks when they think multilateral talks are the answer and vice versa. Seems he can do nothing right as far as the foreign policy illuminati are concerned. Now they are at it again, this time disingenuously promoting the idea that the Bush administration has, until now, stubbornly refused to speak with these Axis of Evil regimes. But as the Wall Street Journal reveals:
The premise--pushed by Democratic politicians and others--is absolutely false. The people pushing this, among them Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, seem intent on sandbagging President Bush into negotiating from a position of weakness over some form of "grand bargain" with some of our most deadly enemies. But the fact is that plenty of engagement has already been taking place… Since the September 11 attacks, Washington has held discussions with Tehran and Damascus on a wide array of issues, including matters such as Afghanistan; al Qaeda's international terror networks; Iraq; Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Now I don’t know if Hagel (R-NE) is a deliberate saboteur, or just an inveterate idiot. Probably somewhere in between. The unfortunate fact is that many members of Congress and the Senate are only peripherally knowledgeable about most these issues, usually acting as mere mouthpieces for the various and sundry interest groups which keep them in office. But Hagel has always struck me as particularly ignorant, so no surprise that he is one of the vocal leaders of this idea, sure to weaken both U.S. defensive posture as well as cement the growing perception of Republicans as the party of Stupid. He was an infantry squad leader in Vietnam, which tells me he had courage at one time (unlike the fake-medal-bedecked "war hero," John Murtha). But his website biography suggests a man who has fallen in love with himself, a fate all to common in Washington, where every sort of sycophant is willing to treat you like a god, as long as your godliness follows their playbook. Sycophants always have an angle.
However, as the Journal article correctly explains:
The real issue today is that the Bush administration, which has been repeatedly burned in recent years when it tried to engage these governments, prefers discretion and holding lower-level talks.
These regimes insist on holding well-publicized summits that yield them P.R. windfalls without forcing them to substantively change their policies.
Liberal foreign policy favors what I call the non-learning model. Another word for this is insanity, the popular definition for which being bantied about these days, although applied interestingly enough to the Bush administration, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you recall, Bush put a stop to twelve years of such insanity by invading Iraq. Now, however, it is back in spades. And the results are there for anyone willing to look. Again quoting the article:
The fact is that, since the Carter's presidency, U.S. administrations of both parties have tried unsuccessfully to persuade these governments to end their support for terrorism and their efforts to sabotage Washington's efforts to facilitate peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
In 1982 and 1983, veteran U.S. diplomats Philip Habib and Morris Draper conducted months of arduous shuttle diplomacy in an effort to end the violence in Lebanon--a civil war that began in 1975, followed by Israel's 1982 military campaign to uproot Palestinian terrorist groups based there.
Syria did everything it could to sabotage efforts to stabilize Lebanon: It likely facilitated the September 1982 assassination of Lebanese President Bashir Gemayel and undoubtedly assisted the rise of the Iranian-backed Shi'ite terror organization Hezbollah, whose "credits" included the October 23, 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 U.S. servicemen.
Former Secretary of State James Baker, now leader of the REALPOLITIK Iraq Survey Group, takes credit for negotiating Syria’s support of the 1991 Iraq invasion. At the time, many of us knew that would cause problems down the road. And it did, giving Syria a wholly underserved legitimacy, a 10 year respite from U.S. hostility, and many other bennies, for the paltry contribution of one or two virtually useless and definitely untrustworthy brigades of Syrian combat troops during Desert Storm.
From a recent article in American Thinker: “Baker's style of ‘wheeling—dealing’ is to insult allies and coddle terrorists.” Now Baker's group would like us to talk with these regimes, despite the fact that Syria was almost certainly behind the November assassination of another Lebanese politician, Pierre Gemayel, nephew of the 1982 assassinated Bashir, nevermind last year's assassination of Lebanese PM, Rafik Hariri. Meanwhile, Iran's certifiable whackjob President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been sponsoring Iran's efforts to destabilize Iraq, including shipments of deadly IED's, certainly responsible for American deaths. Has the Iraq Study Group been studying anything other than their navels?
I guess it's okay to ignore conventional wisdom too, when you're trying to reimpose other, wiser, conventional wisdom. For, according to the politically correct 9-11 commission, "There is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers."
Oh, so what! Old news! Boring!
There is also evidence, though no one likes to talk about it, that since 9-11, Iran is housing or has housed Osama Bin Laden himself. Read about that little gem, here, and here.
In any event, this rebirth of the old status quo foreign policy imbecilethink, which brought us to 9-11 in the first place, is yet another disastrous consequence of the November elections. They are coming out of the woodwork, like so many termites we thought were finally exterminated in 2000, but no such luck. When American voters this November repudiated Republicans' lackluster performance, they committed the fatal error of assuming the bad was the worst. Newsflash: it can always get worse.
And it has. We didn’t trade in tired, self-serving Republican functionaries to get “fresh ideas” as the Democrats laughably suggest. We fired them only to bring back the same infinitely more corrupt, self-serving and dangerously anti-American crowd of Leftist flunkies that we decisively fired in 1994! Unfortunately, they're baaaack, and either due to a self-serving desire to be loved by our Leftist press (which he is), or some other covert agenda, Republican James Baker deserves to be lumped in with this crowd.
I don’t despise liberals so much for their simplistic, ill-informed, nihilistic arrogance, as many of us, myself included, experienced such a phase in our lives. But for us it was only a phase, part of growing up. What I find absolutely unacceptable is the fact that through deliberate deception and cowardly, intellectually dishonest, underhanded media manipulation, these willfully ignorant, relentlessly immature deviants are again forcing this insanity on the rest of us. And we the innocent, we the patriots, we the defenders of this fine country and all it stands for, along with our parents, children, spouses, friends and neighbors, will be forced to suffer along with them when the disastrous consequences of their foolish policies finally come home to roost.
Whether we believe it or not, whether we like it or not, indeed, whether we even know it or not, the United States of America is the last hope for a world soon to descend into an irretrievable bloodbath of totalitarian monstrosity. Alas, the time is near. This is the clarion call. Now is the time to fight, and fight with all our heart.
For starters we can only hope President Bush doesn’t listen to the non-solutions just proposed by this group of senile Washington groupthink retreads.
Freelance writer Jim Simpson is a former White House staff economist and budget analyst (1987-1993). His writings have been published in the Washington Times, FrontPage Magazine, DefenseWatch, Soldier of Fortune and others.