Sunday, November 18, 2007

Regime Change

I do not believe President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and all the Bush-Cheney horses and all the Bush-Cheney men somehow engineered blowing up the World Trade Center. I do not believe they conspired with Israel to hire some Islamic suicide squads, nor did skilled media manipulators on Madison Avenue computer generate images of airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers for broadcast on network television. I do not believe that the world is ruled by a bloodline of “reptilian” descendants begot according to some peculiar passage in The Bible otherwise deservedly ignored.

However, I do believe that the more-or-less constitutionally-elected Presidency of George W. Bush has misused the ruthless and tragic historic events of 9/11 to selfish, misguided and nefarious purposes, the results of which are well on their way to ruining the United States beyond recovery in my lifetime. Take your pick of ruin: economy, military, diplomacy, and world leadership. Your enemies do not have to defeat you in armed battle if you will organize for them a circular firing squad. It is not just that the War in Iraq has gone on longer than WWII with no end in sight. In the Pottery Barn metaphor of Colin Powell, we broke it, we bought it. “Mission accomplished,” reported George Bush early on but not lately. What on earth could he have had in mind? Maybe the simple matter of Saddam Hussein and Regime Change?

No matter how bad the regime, regime change is bad policy. It was bad policy in Iraq. It was bad policy in South Vietnam in 1963 when John F. Kennedy used it to replace Ngo Dinh Diem. Kennedy did not live long enough to regret the Diem coup, arrest, and assassination in the same month as his own assassination motorcade in Dallas. Regime Change in 1963 did not prevent more than a decade of war in Vietnam, nor keep 58,195 names off the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

Now comes the regime in Pakistan of General Pervez Musharraf, who has not been a dependable ally in the War in Afghanistan, poppy capital of the world, Pakistan’s next-door neighbor, and hideout for Osama Bin Laden, the hunt for whom is the Mother of All Regime Change. Musharraf is having a hard time keeping events under control in Pakistan, thus far the Moslem world’s only nuclear power. He has declared a state of emergency in the face of opposition among the nation’s judiciary and cancelled scheduled elections upon the return of Benazir Bhutto from exile. The photogenic Ms. Bhutto, twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and twice removed from office on corruption charges, has been under house arrest in Lahore. She is a Harvard graduate.

So President George W. Bush sends John Negroponte to Pakistan on a special mission. Negroponte has been an important player in the Bush foreign policy and is currently number two at the State Department. He was formerly Bush’s Ambassador to the United Nations, then to Iraq, and became the first Director of National Intelligence. A career diplomat favored by Republicans, Negroponte was Ambassador to Honduras under Ronald Reagan. When George W. Bush nominated Negroponte as Ambassador to the U.N., some human rights groups charged Negroponte had been too cozy with the military dictatorship in Honduras and Nicaraguan death squads during Iran-Contra. The purpose of the current visit to Pakistan is “to work with the government and people of Pakistan and the political actors in Pakistan to put the political process back on track as soon as possible," Negroponte says.

Valerie Plame, legally blonde once-upon-a-time hostess of Embassy parties in Iraq, was not available due to having been outed as a CIA secret operative by the Bush Administration following political differences with her husband Joseph Wilson, formerly Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

Copyright 2007 by William C. Cotter

1 comment:

Tina said...

I often listen to taped courses from The Teaching Company. In one of the courses, taped before 9/11, the professor (a retired diplomat) made the statement that it was no longer economically feasible for the U.S. to have faraway ground wars with boots on territory halfway 'round the world. He said that we learned that from Viet Nam.
Obviously not everybody learned that, and even more obviously, one wonders about the quality of the advisors with whom GWB has surrounded himself.
We could have BOUGHT Iraq cheaper!
Like we could have said: "Hey, Saddam, we'll give you a billion dollars and you can go build yourself a castle somewhere with gold faucets, a harem, and the works."


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