Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Iran '06 isn't Germany '39

Congressman Dan Burton’s comparison of today’s Iran to pre-war Germany (The ’39 parallel? 11-27-06) misses the actual history leading up to World War II and misinterprets other realities. Iran is not a serious threat.

First, it was the abusive Versailles Treaty at the end of WWI that “paved the way for the beginning of World War II”. Hitler was determined to expand the Third Reich with or without a “Non-aggression Pact” with Stalin. Second, Iran has no expansionist plans. Jihadists may have fantasies of a global caliphate but they have as much chance of achieving that as the KKK.

It is our failure to learn from history that will lead to the end of civilization. The first World War set the stage for WWII and most of the Middle East conflicts we see today. WWII set the stage for the Cold War which in turn set the stage for rise of radical Islamists. There is only one conclusion from this. War begets war. The League of Nations and the UN failed to achieve peace because they were never given the power to do anything beyond disease control, feeding the poor, after-the-fact ‘peacekeeping’.

If the US had given the UN had any real enforcement powers it could have indicted Saddam Hussein after he used poison gas to mass murder Iranians and Kurds in the late 1980s. But Saddam was a US ally then and Iran the victim, not the aggressor. Saddam’s capture then would have prevented the first Gulf War which led to the massive US troop buildup in Saudi Arabia (Osama Bin Ladin’s primary grievance against the US).

The greatest acts of Jihadist appeasement are the Bush Administration’s withdraw of US troops from Saudi Arabia almost immediately after 9-11. That’s what Bin Ladin wanted. He also wanted Palestinians to have a state of their own. Bush again acted in Bin Ladin’s favor. Bin Ladin was also opposed to US sanctions on the Iraqi people. Bush obliged and gave Bin Ladin a recruiting bonus – tens of thousands of US troops in Iraq so Jihadists wouldn’t have to cross the Atlantic to kill Americans.

“Tough sanctions” on the Iranian people could be more deadly than US air strikes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that’s the real problem. His calls for genocide are a violation of the UN Charter and the Genocide convention. Ahmadinejad may be ignorant but he’s not stupid. He knows a nuclear strike on Israel would mean the end of Iran’s long and glorious civilization.

If Burton is still looking for a legitimate and profoundly serious ‘parallel’ he should consider the global catastrophic threat of the Bird flu. It was the chaos of WW I that accelerated (and may have even sparked) the spread of the Spanish flu that killed over 40 million people world wide and more Americans in just one year than all the wars of the 20th century. Waging war in our era of hyper globalization sets the stage for a pandemic that could easily kill more Americans than a limited nuclear exchange. Iran is not a serious threat. The chaos of war is.

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