"That's what you get when you bring your crackpot up from Texas."
George Bush is condemned to repeat history. He didn't learn much to begin with -- about Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, the Middle East -- so we are stuck in a deadly remedial class with him.
Bush is also in the odd position of vigorously repeating his ignorance as the fallacy, lies and incomptence of Iraq bubble up between Lebanon and Israel, and between the Islamic and non-Islamic world.
It is a nightmare of his own making. The Neocons he listens to found a willing ignorant ally in Bush, and 5 years after 9/11, almost as many US troops have died in Iraq as the number of civilians killed at the World Trade Center. Bush touts the simplistic notion of democracy in the Middle East like some sort of naive Johnny Appleseed.
Now, of course, the eruption of war and cascading violence threatens to engulf the rest of the region. Former Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal claims the Neocons and Bush actually welcome this conflict. Remember when Bush claimed that the war between Israel and Hezbollah was an "opportunity"? Blumenthal claims his sources really believe that escalating bloodshed and tension is a good thing:
Inside the administration, neoconservatives on Vice President Dick Cheney's national security staff and Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative senior director for the Near East on the National Security Council, are prime movers behind sharing NSA intelligence with Israel, and they have discussed Syrian and Iranian supply activities as a potential pretext for Israeli bombing of both countries, the source privy to conversations about the program says. (Intelligence, including that gathered by the NSA, has been provided to Israel in the past for various purposes.) The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war.[Go to Salon]
Blumenthal says his sources claim "the neocon scenario extends far beyond [tactical advantages for Israel] to pushing Israel into a "cleansing war" with Syria and Iran."
The president and his pals think the result of the Mother of All Battles will lead to ridding the Middle East of, well, angry Islamic people. People who use terms like 'cleansing' also believe in 'surgical strikes.' War is a lot like surgery...and if you have ever been in an operating room you know what a bloody, messy, and invasive world that is. Our policy makers, though, never get their hands dirty.
The secretary of state is lost in all this. Poor Condi Rice. She's been in over her head from Day One: a Cold War-drenched historian who cannot adjust to a post Cold War world. Plus, she displays a disturbing lack of confidence and uncertainty. Condi is a fraud in an administration of cynical sharpies.
She has now become Colin Powell II. Set on the world stage as a diplomatic moderate, her credibility is ruined (if it ever had any impact). One day she talks conciliatory, then obfuscating, cryptically, (hang) tough, and after the massacre of enough civilians in Lebanon, she talks cease fire. Twisting in the wind.
And while she does, the other ignorant and darker forces with the president work to make Orwellian logic actual US policy: war=peace.