This is an excellent column. Unfortunately my guess is that her last paragraph will go right on by those who should most heed it.
Distrust of Bush eclipsing real concerns about Iran
BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, Columnist
LA Daily News
02/20/2007 10:07:13 PM PST
NOBODY is listening about the situation in Iran.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. I've stood with Iranian activists on the sidewalk outside Fox News as they tried to get media attention for their efforts to stop the Islamic Republic's stonings of women; other activists - some Iranian, some Americans who just care - tell me that they've spent all their money and waking hours promoting freedom in Iran to little avail.
Editors don't always give ink to the human-rights saga raging within the nation; producers don't give a lot of air time to the exiles who know better than anyone about the imprisonment of bloggers, executions of gays and other atrocities of the Islamic regime.
For all the dedication of these grass-roots operations committed to getting the real news out of Iran, these stories are reaching just a limited audience. Sad, but true.
It was from these and other reputable sources that months ago I got wind of Iran supplying Iraq's Shiite militias - including the goons led by Mahdi Army commander Muqtada al-Sadr, nowadays reportedly comfy in Tehran - with more sophisticated explosive devices.
The elite branch of the Revolutionary Guard suspected of calling the shots in the usage of Iranian munitions is the Quds Force. The Quds mission is specifically to work for Islamic revolution outside Iran, such as arming Bosnian Muslims.
And when it comes to Iran channeling money and weapons into Iraq, nobody's listening there, either. In fact, many have their hands pressed firmly over their ears, singing "LA-LA-LA-LA, Bush lies!"
Amazingly, the prevailing response to the recent release of this disturbing intelligence has been suspicion that the Bush administration is cooking up a juicy tale to jump into another war.
"We don't want to get into a situation where hyped intelligence leads us into another invasion and another conflict," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.
Last month, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., asked Condoleezza Rice, "Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran, in the absence of a direct threat, without congressional approval?"
Nobody has said we're going to - in fact, the Bush administration is claiming no attack is imminent until blue in the face - but political posturing demands that the Dems publicly doubt White House motivations.
"I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This immediate aversion to even the thought of force against Iran makes me nervous, because how will we react if the future threat does necessitate force in Iran? What if they're about to unleash a nuke on our interests or our allies? Will the next president of the United States be so gun-shy, so concerned with remaining popular, that he or she won't act if and when necessary?
Iran has everything to gain by coalition failure in Iran. Meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday, Ahmadinejad lauded the continuing violence in Iraq as a sign of "increasing weakness of the U.S. and the Zionist regime," according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
"By aggravating the diversity of opinions and by pretending sympathy with the region's nations, (the U.S.) intend(s) to show that they are trying to create stability and security while they are consolidating their own positions in the region," Ahmadinejad said in a clear instance of the pot calling the kettle black. Since taking office, the Iranian leader has shuffled representatives from Belgium to Oman to Venezuela through his office, singing the praises of greater ties with Iran and simultaneously singing the evils of the U.S. and Israel (the country that he stated should be "wiped off the map").
"As an Iranian, I would naturally oppose any form of military attacks on my homeland, but I do condemn any form of negotiations with the regime that would either prolong or further strengthen their tyrannical rule," wrote blogger Ardeshir Dolat on Sunday. "I wish those who want the West and America to negotiate with the Islamic regime would also make some reference to the suffering of the Iranian people at the hands of the regime."
And is it so much to ask Bush's detractors to put concern about Iran above their disdain for the commander in chief? Is it too much to ask people to tamp down their rhetoric and finally listen?
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)