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Two Turning Points, says Michael Barone

by Christopher Chantrill
February 05, 2007 at 5:48 pm

DEMOCRATS, we know, have to play to their base.  And their base believes that violence never solves anything.  Republicans, of course, play to their base.  And that base tends to believe in the vision of the legendary Al Davis: Just Win Baby.  Thus the ongoing domestic conflict over Iraq and the war on terror.

So let us rise above all this and listen to the adult Michael Barone.  There have been, he asserts, two important turning points in the last year.

The first was the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra in February 2006. This was intended to, and evidently did, spark an upsurge of sectarian violence — Shias killing Sunnis and vice versa.

 The second was the Hezbollah war in Lebanon.

The Sunni Arab states viewed the Hezbollah attack — undertaken without even the notification of the Lebanese government, yet putting Lebanon at grave risk — as an Iranian offensive aimed at establishing something like hegemony over the greater Middle East.

So the question in the Middle East is no longer “winning” in Iraq.  It is, as it has always been since 1979, the problem of revolutionary Iran.

So now, belatedly, we are conducting a “surge” in Iraq which may have as its principal goal the reduction of Iranian influence in that war-torn country.  And there is also this.

Bush appointed an admiral to be the head of CentCom, the regional command in the area, and ordered a second aircraft carrier group sent to the Persian Gulf. This is a hugely significant move, signaling that if necessary we can bring overwhelming military force to bear against Iran, as we did in 1986-88.

Naturally the Democratic Party responded with weakness.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded by demanding that the administration not take action against Iran, and The New York Times condemned Bush for "bullying" poor, sweet little Iran.

Oh please.  The fact is that we have been at war with Iran for nearly 30 years, ever since the Iranians violated the US embassy in 1979.

And as for the idea that violence never solves anything, what about the two civil wars that the US conducted in its teenage years: one against the Brits and one against the South?  That certainly solved something didn’t it?

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill