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Friday, February 12, 2010

Iran is Bush's failure too

In the middle of ripping President Obumbler some new body parts for his handling of Iran over the past year, Jonathan Tobin lets fly some justified criticism of former President Bush.
The defense for Obama’s feckless diplomacy put forward in the Times article is that Obama had to spend at least a year trying diplomacy so as to convince the world that he tried engagement after the confrontational Bush years. Blaming Bush is Obama’s all-purpose political tactic on all issues, but it won’t wash here. Bush not only failed to confront Iran; he also outsourced our diplomatic efforts on the nuclear issue to France and Germany in his second term. The utter failure of his engagement effort was clear by Bush’s last year in office, but rather than face the issue and take action, he decided to pass it off on his successor. This James Buchanan–like approach to a critical issue was one of Bush’s genuine failures, and the fact that he spent 2008 similarly vetoing any Israel action on Iran only makes Obama’s dedication to the same cause both ironic and scary. But however badly Bush blundered on Iran, the idea that we needed an additional year of diplomatic failure to justify subsequent action is a joke.
Tobin's right on all counts. Granted, Bush was confronted with the false and misleading 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, but one had the sense throughout 2008 that the NIE was false (and Israel repeatedly presented evidence that it was false) and that the Bush administration was using it as an excuse to avoid dealing with a difficult problem.

I expect that 30-50 years from now, it will come out that the NIE was invented by forces in the intelligence agencies who did not want to see Bush act. Still, that's no excuse.

But whatever Bush did or did not do, Obama has only made things worse.


At 9:04 AM, Blogger yzernik said...

I think that Robert Gates was the main force behind the 2007 NIE, and that's why Obama let him keep his job as Sec. of Defense.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

"But whatever Bush did or did not do, Obama has only made things worse."

This is not about keeping score! Iran came to the point they are today because of the inaction of past U.S. administrations. PERIOD.

We are to blame also because our trust and partisanship blinded us. All the good conservative, pro Israel supporters amongst us whom we looked up to kept their mouths shut.

Regrettably, Obama the weak kneed, Carteresque, socialist, apologist came after Bush and now we are really screwed.

If we can not draw very real parallel's to 1930's awful signals, to the smell of burning flesh to the refusal to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz...to the refusal to take Iran by the neck years ago and shake them into submission, to turning Israel the victims into the pariah like victimizers then perhaps deserve what we are in for. (again)

At 5:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think as strong as Bush was on his convictions, he didn't take up the Iran issue as strongly as he should have because of weariness. After Afghanistan and Iraq, I believe he was worn out, and wasn't prepared to face up to the domestic criticism that would surely have broken out.

Bare in mind, this WAS after the 2007 NIE, AND before the June 2009 elections where large internal divisions in Iran became public.

Not saying he was right, just pointing out that Bush had to face hell at home for Af/Pak & Iraq and Iran would have been no less fierce.


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