Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'The Last Helicopter'

Hassan Abbasi has a dream--a helicopter doing an arabesque in cloudy skies to avoid being shot at from the ground. On board are the last of the "fleeing Americans," forced out of the Dar al-Islam (The Abode of Islam) by "the Army of Muhammad." Presented by his friends as "The Dr. Kissinger of Islam," Mr. Abbasi is "professor of strategy" at the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps University and, according to Tehran sources, the principal foreign policy voice in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new radical administration.

For the past several weeks Mr. Abbasi has been addressing crowds of Guard and Baseej Mustadafin (Mobilization of the Dispossessed) officers in Tehran with a simple theme: The U.S. does not have the stomach for a long conflict and will soon revert to its traditional policy of "running away," leaving Afghanistan and Iraq, indeed the whole of the Middle East, to be reshaped by Iran and its regional allies.

To hear Mr. Abbasi tell it the entire recent history of the U.S. could be narrated with the help of the image of "the last helicopter." It was that image in Saigon that concluded the Vietnam War under Gerald Ford.[snip]

According to this theory, President George W. Bush is an "aberration," a leader out of sync with his nation's character and no more than a brief nightmare for those who oppose the creation of an "American Middle East." Messrs. Abbasi and Ahmadinejad have concluded that there will be no helicopter as long as George W. Bush is in the White House. But they believe that whoever succeeds him, Democrat or Republican, will revive the helicopter image to extricate the U.S. from a complex situation that few Americans appear to understand.

Mr. Ahmadinejad's defiant rhetoric is based on a strategy known in Middle Eastern capitals as "waiting Bush out." "We are sure the U.S. will return to saner policies," says Manuchehr Motakki, Iran's new Foreign Minister.

Please read the rest

Mideast dictators try to "wait Bush out." They may be miscalculating.

It's not just the Iranians and other ME dictators that are waiting for this moment. Many left leaning people have been rooting for this moment since even before Iraq, but certainly, as soon as the first tanks crossed the border between Kuwait and Iraq.

In fact, my youngest brother was crowing last night about the falling support for "Bush's War" sighting a poll that states the beginning of the war had 72% support and it is currently down below 50%. From his comments it is easy to understand the thought processes of many in the United States who have never supported the war or have only done so as "sunshine patriots".

From their perspective, a defeat and ignominious retreat is not a defeat for the United States, but a defeat for President Bush and his policies. A defeat is not a defeat of our military, but a defeat of Donald Rumsfeld. It's not a defeat for democracy or freedom, but a win for realistic foreign policies. It's not a defeat for the American people, but a win for the mass voices that just want to go back to the days when the world was "calm" and did not intrude on their way of life.

Forget the broader implications for the Middle East, Islamic Terrorism or the future of security in the US. What's important is that Bush is proved wrong, even if it gives the enemy satisfaction and an open window to proceed to their own dreams of hegemony.

There is no such thing as an American War anymore. It's Johnson's War, Nixon's War, Bush's War. Apparently, the United States is a separate entity from the Executive office and, through some mystical magical machinery, the US will not suffer any consequences because it's all about the President. All of these folks are looking for the Wizard of Oz who will wave his magic wand and turn the world back to September 10th where we can pretend there are no men in Boston waiting to catch an airplane and fly it into buildings.

When the last helicopter leaves, these folks believe we can go back to the way it used to be. Except, of course, Ahmadinejad has a different idea of what that means. Something about Iran becoming the ruling (nuclear weapon holding) leader of the ME complete with Mullahcracy and destruction of Israel.

Mr. Ahmadinejad believes that the world is heading for a clash of civilizations with the Middle East as the main battlefield. In that clash Iran will lead the Muslim world against the "Crusader-Zionist camp" led by America. Mr. Bush might have led the U.S. into "a brief moment of triumph." But the U.S. is a "sunset" (ofuli) power while Iran is a sunrise (tolu'ee) one and, once Mr. Bush is gone, a future president would admit defeat and order a retreat as all of Mr. Bush's predecessors have done since Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also notes that Iran has just "reached the Mediterranean" thanks to its strong presence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He used that message to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to adopt a defiant position vis-à-vis the U.N. investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon. His argument was that once Mr. Bush is gone, the U.N., too, will revert to its traditional lethargy. "They can pass resolutions until they are blue in the face," Mr. Ahmadinejad told a gathering of Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical Arab leaders in Tehran last month.

There's more. Why? Because all the leaders of the ME are getting the idea that soon they can go back to doing things the "old way" and not have to even pay lip service to American policy. What makes them think so? Why, we do of course. Just watch our media and you'll know the message that these folks are getting: stay in your rat hole, soon the cat will be gone and you can come out and play again.

Good job, America. The thing we've become the best at is running away and we think that's just great.

Wonder if any of these folks know what happened to Carthage while the senators dithered? Think any of these folks could find the modern state of Carthage on a 2005 map?

Didn't think so.


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