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.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fear Russian Iranian cooperation

Oliver North’s reasonably fears Russian and Iranian cooperation (Lions, Bears and Birds. Commentary 2-25-07) in WMD proliferation and their exchange of smaller high-tech weapons likely being used in Iraq to kill American soldiers. But what is his solution? Armageddon?

The US has often used this same ‘the enemy, of my enemy, is my friend’ tactic when its perceived self interests were threatened or our leaders thought we could achieve political gains by arming others. Our gift of Stinger Missiles to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan resulted in the killing of thousands of Russian soldiers and helping to bankrupt the USSR. Our gift of chemical weapons precursors and helpful intelligence for Saddam Hussein’s targeting of Iranian forces during his war against Iran was responsible for killing tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers. Even though Saddam started the war we didn’t want Iran winning it. Payback’s a bitch.

Now it sounds like North’s solution to stopping the Russian/Iranian arms exchange is with some threat or actual use of more military force. That would be as stupid as thinking an eagle can defeat a bear or a lion. We are not dealing with animals. We are dealing with highly capable nations/civilizations that have access to the most powerful technologies, educated engineers and committed warriors the world has ever seen.

In this era of ubiquitous and affordable WMD any nation, and increasingly any radical group, is capable of acquiring or developing genocidal weapons of mass destruction for which there is no defense. Is that really the path that Mr. North wants the US to lead the world down?

The other option would be to give the “United Nation’s toothless ‘nuclear watchdog’’ real teeth. International law enforcement needs real teeth. If the US had been willing to give the UN’s International Criminal Court real teeth years ago, Saddam Hussein would have been indicted for war crimes and genocide for his mass murder gassing of the Kurds in the late 1980s. Going down this path, Saddam would have been tried and hanged before his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and US forces wouldn’t have been mass mobilized in Saudi Arabia (on Islamic Holy land) that strongly motivated Osama Bin Laden planning for 9-11. And, if we had gone town the ICC path, the path of international law instead of war, we wouldn’t now have brave US soldiers dying in Iraq by the thousands and involved in an occupation that only increased the ranks of Islamic terrorists, increases the risk to our homeland, and reduces the resources we have for dealing with our own domestic problems.

Yes, I’m concerned about Iran’s access to WMD, but I’m far more concerned about US leaders who don’t understand what motivates others to acquire and possibly use such unstoppable weapons.

Felix Rosenthal?


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