Bush: Hands off Iran

posted at 3:58 pm on January 30, 2007 by Allahpundit

Pro forma denial or meaningful statement of intention?

MR. WILLIAMS: By the way, just quickly, Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader says that if you have an incursion into Iran, he expects that you would come to the Senate for approval.

PRESIDENT BUSH: I have no intent upon incur—going into Iran. I mean, this is the kind of thing that happens in Washington. People ascribe, you know, motives to me beyond a simple statement – of course we’ll protect our troops. I don’t know how anybody can then say, well, protecting the troops means that we’re going to invade Iran. If that’s what he’s talking about, there’s – I mean, we will protect our interests in Iraq. That’s what the American people expect us to do. That’s definitely what our troops want to do, and that’s what the families of our troops want us to do. And if we find the Iranians are moving weapons that will end up harming American troops, we’ll deal with it.

I think he means it. This op-ed at the Guardian is getting some (derisive) attention today, but the basic point is sound and I’m sure Bush knows it. The mullahs are running their country into the ground; why mess with a good thing?

Ahmadinejad appeared to follow the dictum of his mentor, Ayatollah Khomeini – “Economics is for donkeys”. Indeed, his policies could be defined as “anything but Khatami” (his predecessor). So the oil reserve fund was spent on cash handouts to the grateful poor, and the central bank, normally a bastion of prudence, was instructed to cut interest rates for small businesses.

These had the effect, as Ahmadinejad was warned, of pushing up inflation. The rationale for high interest rates was to encourage the middle classes to keep their money in Iran. Now they decided to spend it. Richer Iranians, worried about rising international tension, decided it would be prudent to ship their money abroad. This further weakened the rial, and added to inflationary pressure. In the past few months the prices of most basic goods have risen, hurting the poor he was elected to help. Moreover, far from investing Iran’s oil wealth in infrastructure to create jobs, he announced recently that Iran’s economy could support a substantially larger population, as if current unemployment was not a big enough problem…

Ironically, it is this very international crisis that may serve to save Ahmadinejad’s presidency, a reality that the president undoubtedly understood all too well. As domestic difficulties mount, the emerging international crisis could at best serve as a rallying point, or at worst persuade Iran’s elite that a change of guard would convey weakness to the outside world.

So why not leave them alone and let them stagger? We’re working them over at the margins. They’re already negotiating with the Saudis in Lebanon, apparently in earnest and to the dismay of Syria. Why not live and let die? Two reasons:

1. What if they’re close to getting the bomb?
2. What if, to force precisely the sort of rallying point the Guardian author imagines, they attack us first? It’s far-fetched but if they reach a point where they feel the regime is in danger, what would they have to lose?

I wonder how Iran’s Sunni neighbors would react if the mullahs really were in jeopardy of being overthrown. Would they intervene to try to make it happen — or to stop it? Sunni supremacy and regional stability wouldn’t be pointing in the same directions in that case. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them make a deal to prop up the leadership in return for Iranian withdrawal from some of the current Sunni/Shiite frontlines in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Just a little idle blather on a slow news afternoon. I leave you with some non-idle blather from former CIA agent Robert Baer, writing in Time:

Some Iraqis speculate that the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] has already started a campaign of revenge with the killing of five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20, nine days after the arrest of the IRGC members in Erbil. As the logic of the rumor goes, five American soldiers were killed for five Iranians taken; Karbala was an IRGC message to release its colleagues — or else…

Aside from arming the opposition, the IRGC is capable of doing serious damage to our logistics lines. I called up an American contractor in Baghdad who runs convoys from Kuwait every day and asked him just how much damage.”Let me put it this way,”he said.”In Basra today the currency is the Iranian toman, not the Iraqi dinar.”He said his convoys now are forced to pay a 40% surcharge to Shi’a militias and Iraqi police in the south, many of whom are affiliated with IRGC.

The Blotter has a photo of that special Iranian-made IED that’s been killing so many American soldiers. You’ll be hearing more about it from the White House later this week, I suspect.


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We should probably be looking forward to military airstrikes in Iran coming up. I’m thinking precision strike on factories making the weapons that Iran is importing to Iraq. It’s not like they can do any more than what they are doing. THey already send Iranian intelligence officers, IEDs, other weapons, and probably foreign insurgent fighters to Iraq to kill US and Iraqi troops. Short of full invasion, which they would lose, what more can they do to combat US forces more than they are?

sweetlipsbutterhoney on January 30, 2007 at 4:10 PM

What if, to force precisely the sort of rallying point the Guardian author imagines, they attack us first? It’s far-fetched but if they reach a point where they feel the regime is in danger, what would they have to lose?

Indeed. It’s important to remember Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic perspective. He doesn’t need to win a war, nor even to survive it. He merely needs to start it. The Twelfth Imam will take it from there.

RedWinged Blackbird on January 30, 2007 at 4:29 PM

.”Let me put it this way,”he said.”In Basra today the currency is the Iranian toman, not the Iraqi dinar.”

Chilling at best. Markets have a way of being way ahead of the politics.

Dinnerjacket wants to be the ‘victim’ and I believe will welcome an attack. If GW doesn’t follow the plan then he will put together something the American’s can resist bombing.

Limerick on January 30, 2007 at 4:38 PM

can’t

Limerick on January 30, 2007 at 4:38 PM

o the oil reserve fund was spent on cash handouts to the grateful poor, and the central bank, normally a bastion of prudence, was instructed to cut interest rates for small businesses.

So he’s trying to buy stability for his presidency.

The Blotter has a photo of that special Iranian-made IED that’s been killing so many American soldiers.

And that jerk who wrote the LA Times editorial that we’re overreacting tried to make the point that terrorists don’t have any advanced weapons. This IED sounds like an M1′s SABOT round, and if it can really get through our thickest armor (and offense ALWAYS beats defense) then our soldiers are in even more danger. If Pres. Bush says he won’t invade, (which is probably a good thing) then how is he going to stop the influx of weapons?

dalewalt on January 30, 2007 at 4:40 PM

Key here is to hit them where thay are weak.

I’ve read that they have started Gas rationing… because they don’t refine enough in country, and with Oil prices plummeting, can’t sustain their transportation system…

Sooo… just like the WWII air campaign to take out ball bearing plants in Germany… take out their refineries… and when they rebuild? take em out again.

Minimal civilian casulties with maximumal societal pain.

Romeo13 on January 30, 2007 at 5:22 PM

Romeo13 on January 30, 2007 at 5:22 PM

That sounds good but I believe any strike that hurts the population will backfire on us. The rich aren’t harmed by oil shortages because they get theirs first.

I like the concept though.

csdeven on January 30, 2007 at 5:39 PM

pffft

By “the rich” I meant “their leaders”.

csdeven on January 30, 2007 at 5:56 PM

The Iranians have been trying to escalate this thing for quite some time. At least the top few idiots in charge.
With what Baer said, the escalation is drawing near. The Iranians/Ahmamadjihad do have a plan for when we take action. I just hope our spooks now what their plan is.

shooter on January 30, 2007 at 6:05 PM

I don’t see how we could mount strategic airstrikes on a scale that could prevent Iran from smuggling basic insurgency material into Iraq. That would entail, essentially, destroying all the explosives and ammunition in Iran, and that’s obviously not possible. So any sort of airstrikes against them would have to be punitive, aimed at dissuading them from interfering by imposing costs on the nation sufficiently high that, in their eyes, the rewards no longer justified the costs.

In principle that can definitely be done; it worked against the North Vietnamese and Serbians, for example. But with Iran I’m not sure anybody’s ready for that yet–particularly when you consider that it’s the sort of action that could bolster the regime internally by giving it a popular rallying point. Right now, I would think regulating the border along with internal counter-insurgency action would have the better chance of being effective on the ground in Iraq.

Blacklake on January 30, 2007 at 6:21 PM

The mullahs are running their country into the ground; why mess with a good thing?

Quite right. “When your opponent is attempting to destroy himself, let him.”

On the other hand, keep the safety off and your finger on the trigger.

Jaibones on January 30, 2007 at 6:41 PM

Because of the times we live in, I’m so happy that this man is the CiC, and not our other option, the honorable, smart, modest, not-at-all-narcissistic, curageous, good-looking, worldly and patriotic Mr. John Kerry.

I said CiC – Commander in Chief, and not Communicator in Chief:

I have no intent upon incur—going into Iran.

On a very serious note, I’m glad the NYT doesn’t have the Iran plan, yet, little Mr. Reid.

Entelechy on January 30, 2007 at 6:42 PM

Will Achmendinijihad require all Iraqi’s to read this book?
http://www.amcoptic.com/fatawy_islamiah/ayatollah_khomeini.htm

bloggless on January 30, 2007 at 7:07 PM

Bloggless,

A man can have sex with animals such as sheep¹s, cows, camels and so on. However he should kill the animal after he has his orgasm. He should not sell the meat to the people in his own village, however selling the meat to the next door village should be fine.
From Khomeini’s book,

Sheesh! You’d think that by now everybody would know you shouldn’t sell the meat of the camel you boffed to the people in your own village, DUH!

Alden Pyle on January 30, 2007 at 8:19 PM

No were not thinking of fighting with Iran those three carrier groups are just on a shake down cruise. sheesh what a dumb question.

sonnyspats1 on January 30, 2007 at 9:21 PM

Gosh-a-mighty Khomeini’s book is just chock full of handy tips for the stinky,unbathed,unshaven muslim man about town. This comes from the spiritual head of state! AAAHahahahahaha…. Yeah right spiritual my a@@!

sonnyspats1 on January 30, 2007 at 9:35 PM

5 dead Americans at the hands of the Iranians, who killed them because we arrested 5 Iranian agents involved in terrorism.

If I were in charge, that would be 5 cruise missiles fired into 5 military target inside Iran, with the public announcement that any future interference in Iraq OR any attempt to close Hormuz OR any attempt to interfere in Gulf shipping means that all military bases in Iran and their oil producing facilities will be struck.

georgej on January 31, 2007 at 2:19 AM