If we are to use the rational-actor model to understand American government policy since 2000, then we conclude that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and the entire staff of the American Enterprise Institute and the Weekly Standard are deep-cover Iranian agents--part of a conspiracy so immense to attempt to bring the Shia Mahdi back down to earth.
Josdhua Micah Marshall reflects on an article by Anthony Shadid:
Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall January 30, 2007 12:02 AM: Complimenting Anthony Shadid's work is almost redundant.... In the US at present we tend to think of the 'Iran' issue in terms of Iranian influence (or 'infiltration' -- take your pick) on Shia militias and political factions within Iraq. But we need to pull back the frame of reference and see that before 2001 Iran was bordered on the east and west by hostile or at least unfriendly countries -- Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran almost went to war with the Taliban government in the 1990s, Shadid notes.
Over the last five years we've overthrown both governments and... created a power vacuum.... Read Shadid's narrative of events and you see that if the US government were in the pay of Iranian agents they would have been hard-pressed to find a series of actions and policies better crafted to increase Iranian prestige and power in the region and decrease ours.... As a Saudi writer told Shadid: "The United States is the first to be blamed for the rise of Iranian influence in the Middle East. There is one thing important about the ascendance of Iran here. It does not reflect a real change in Iranian capabilities, economic or political. It's more a reflection of the failures on the part of the U.S. and its Arab allies in the region."...
[H]ere we come back to the recurring theme of the Bush presidency: the president's perverse effort to be the beneficiary of his own incompetence and policy disasters.... Iran's power is waxing. And we're supposed to rely on the approach of the White House, the guys who created the terrible situation in the first place, to solve the consequences of their latest screw up. It's like a perpetual motion machine of calamity and self-justification.... "Don't tell me about how stupid I was to get us into this situation. Now that I've created a disaster this big, what's your policy to deal with it?" Sort of takes your breath away....
[W]e're in this eerie afterburn of our four long years of disaster. The public has rendered its verdict. Every thinking person has rendered their verdict. But the administration is still going on more or less as though nothing's happened. Serious thinking in Washington of The Note variety is still on a sort of mental autopilot. The story's over. All the real arguments are settled. But as of yet the car is still in drive rather than reverse.
Like the line says, first do no harm. And for the United States as a country, right now, that means doing everything constitutionally, legally and politically possible to limit the president's and even more Vice President Cheney's free hand to shape and execute American foreign policy. Sift it all out and it's that simple. Stop them from doing any more damage. All the rest is commentary and elaboration.
Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach Richard Cheney. Do it now.