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Likely Scenario That Will Be Pretense For War With Iran February 10, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Commentary, Congress, Main, Military News, Politics, US News, White House, World News.
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This will be my last post on Not A Pundit. With the birth of my second “baby pundit” I find that I am having to squeeze my news posts at odd hours of the day. I leave you all with this final post on what I hope will not come to be true, but I think that Zbigniew Brzezinski has laid out a likely scenario that will be pretense for war with Iran.

Unless you live like a hermit or live in a cave, you must be aware of the Bush saber rattling towards Iran. The nuclear weapons issue is important but some analyst agree Iran is years away from being able to build a weapon. I’m not an intelligence official so it may be true or it may not be true, but one thing that is true is the capture of five Iranians in Iraq that has increased tensions between both the US and Iran. Iraq has become a military quagmire at a time when North Korea, Venezuela and Iran are testing our world hegemony. That is not a good thing to show the world. So what to do?

Iraq has become a proxy battleground between Washington and Tehran, which is challenging – at least rhetorically – the U.S.’s dominance of the Gulf. That has worried even Iraq’s U.S.-backed Shiite prime minister, who – in a reflection of Iraq’s complexity – also has close ties to Iran.

Prof. Gary Sick, a leading authority on Iran, believes the U.S. is seeking to divert world attention from the crisis in Iraq and organize a coalition of Israel and conservative Sunni Arab states to confront Iran.

“The truth is that Iraq is a mess. It is in a state of low-level civil war. And all of these groups are largely self-motivated,” he said on the Council on Foreign Relations Web site. “But it’s much easier to blame it on the Iranians.”

Would the US go to war with Iran alone? Yes and no. At this point I don’t see the US confronting Iran militarily without some Sunni Arab support. Not necessarily military but tacit approval from those nations. Israel and NATO frankly are the better military allies.

The truth is that Iraq is a powder keg ready to explode. In more ways than just a proxy war between the US and Iran. But a powder keg indeed:

In Tehran, political analyst Hermidas Bavand said U.S. force increases were leading many Iranians to believe Washington is looking to pick a fight.

“It’s an extremely dangerous situation,” Bavand said. “I don’t think Tehran wants war under any circumstances. But there might be an accidental event that could escalate into a large confrontation.”

The US has increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf with additional battle carriers. The troop surge supposedly to go to Iraq is forming in Kuwait awaiting their orders. Hhmm…I wonder when they’ll reach Iraq?

Let there be no doubt of possible war with Iran, because our President has made it clear:

Bush said Monday the U.S. “will respond firmly” if Iran escalates military action in Iraq and endangers U.S. forces. The U.S. accuses Iran of arming and training Shiite Muslim extremists in Iraq. U.S. troops have responded by arresting Iranian diplomats in Iraq, and the White House has said Bush signed an order allowing U.S. troops to kill or capture Iranians inside Iraq.

This leads me to my final point that reminds me of an article that went over the newswires that grabbed little attention. Basically Zbigniew Brzezinski laid out to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee what he thought would be the likely outcome of a continued military quagmire in Iraq and the likely scenario leading to a confrontation with Iran.

Zbigniew Brzezinski also told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Bush administration policy was driven by “imperial hubris” and has proved to be a disaster on historic, strategic and moral grounds.

“If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, and I emphasize what I am about to say, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski set out as a plausible scenario for military collision: Iraq fails to meet benchmarks set by the U.S., followed by accusations that Iran is responsible for the failure and then a terrorist act or some provocation blamed on Iran. This scenario, he said, would play out with a defensive U.S. military action against Iran.

That, Brzezinski said, would plunge the U.S. into a quagmire that eventually would range across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Brzezinski’s Solution:

Proposing a massive shift in policy, Brzezinski said the U.S. should announce with no ambiguity its determination to leave Iraq “in a reasonably short period of time.”

Can this be something that our President will do? I’m not holding my breath. Can Congress use its legislative power to push for such a massive policy shift? Lets all hope they can. They can recall the National Guard back to the states. They can place a cap on troops in Iraq. They can refure to provide funding for additional troops. They simply can refuse to authorize the President to go to war with Iran. Plain and simple. Our congressional leaders just need to actually debate the issue this time in the full light of day, instead of the weak abdication of power they showed when authorizing the war in Iraq.

GOP Blocks Full-Fledged US Senate Debate Over Iraq February 6, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.

WASHINGTON (AP)–Republicans blocked a full-fledged U.S. Senate debate over Iraq on Monday, but Democrats vowed to find a way to force President George W. Bush to change course in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops.

“We must heed the results of the November elections and the wishes of the American people,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Reid spoke moments before a vote that sidetracked a nonbinding measure expressing disagreement with Bush’s plan to deploy an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.

The vote was 49-47, or 11 short of the 60 needed to go ahead with debate, and left the fate of the measure uncertain.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky described the test vote as merely a “bump in the road” and added that GOP lawmakers “welcome the debate and are happy to have it.”

The political jockeying unfolded as Democrats sought passage of a measure, supported by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., that is critical of the administration’s new Iraq policy. It was the first time Democrats had scheduled a sustained debate on the war since they won control over Congress in last fall’s midterm elections.

McConnell called for equal treatment for an alternative measure, backed by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., saying Congress should neither cut nor eliminate funding for troops in the field. That measure takes no position on the war or the president’s decision to deploy additional forces.

Democrats launched a withering attack on Bush’s war policy in the run-up to the vote.

“The American people do not support escalation. Last November, voters made it clear they want a change of course, not more of the same,” said Reid. “The president must hear from Congress, so he knows he stands in the wrong place, alone.”

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat, echoed Reid. “If the Republicans want to stand by their president and his policy, they shouldn’t run from this debate. If they believe we should send thousands of our young soldiers into the maws of this wretched civil war, they should at least have the courage to stand and defend their position,” he said.

McCain: Iraq Resolution Supporters Intellectually Dishonest February 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee sought to weaken support for a resolution opposing President George W. Bush’s Iraq war strategy, saying Sunday that supporters are intellectually dishonest.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a 2008 presidential candidate, contended the bipartisan nonbinding resolution amounted to a demoralizing “vote of no confidence” in the U.S. military because it criticized Bush’s plans to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq without offering concrete alternatives.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that you disapprove of a mission and you don’t want to fund it and you don’t want it to go, but yet you don’t take the action necessary to prevent it,” McCain said.

“In other words, this is a vote of no confidence in both the mission and the troops who are going over there,” he said, noting the proposal does not seek to cut off money for troops.

“I do believe that if you really believe that this is doomed to failure and is going to cost American lives, then you should do what’s necessary to prevent it from happening rather than a vote of “disapproval,” which is fundamentally a vote of no confidence in the troops and their mission,” McCain said.

An early test vote is tentatively set for Monday.

A fellow Vietnam veteran, GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, disagreed with McCain’s assessment. Hagel said the resolution would make clear the Senate’s belief that Bush’s policy is misguided.

Hagel said the proposal also lays out alternatives such as moving troops away from the sectarian violence and closer to the Iraq border to provide “territorial integrity.”

“We can’t change the outcome of Iraq by putting American troops in the middle of a civil war,” said Hagel, who is considering a run for the White House in 2008.

The Democratic-controlled Senate heads toward a showdown this week on the bipartisan resolution by Sen. John Warner, R-Va. In a bid to attract more GOP support, Warner added a provision pledging to protect money for troops in combat.

The newly worded resolution states that Congress “should not take any action that will endanger United States military forces in the field, including the elimination or reduction of funds for troops in the field.”

That compromise, however, drew the ire of some Democrats, including Sens. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, who said it leaned too far in endorsing the status quo. They want to see binding legislation to cap troop levels, force a new vote to authorize the war or begin bringing troops home.

Republican leaders worked to block a vote on Warner’s resolution. They insisted that several proposals be considered and each be subject to 60 votes – a strategy that could dilute support for Warner’s measure and make it tougher for any measure to pass.

McCain, who is sponsoring a resolution expressing support for a troop increase and setting benchmark goals for the Iraqi government, sought to capitalize on some of the Democratic division. Democrats hold a 51-49 working majority in the Senate.

He said Warner’s proposal makes no sense for Democrats who want stronger action. It also risks undercutting a military mission that could haunt the U.S. in the future should it fail.

“The consequences of failure are such that you will see a level of violence that far exceeds anything that we have seen,” McCain said. “I believe we’ve got a great general there. I believe that this new strategy has a good chance of success.”

Hagel said the Warner resolution strikes a careful balance for a majority of senators who oppose a troop buildup but differ on the appropriate response. If the resolution passes, some Democrats may choose to move forward with stronger measures against the war, he said.

“This is not a cut and run resolution,” Hagel said.

He called McCain’s proposal meaningless because it offers benchmarks but doesn’t spell out what the U.S. government will do if the Iraqi officials fail to meet them.

“What are the consequences? Are we then going to pull out?” Hagel asked. “Are we going to cut funding? Now, that falls more in the intellectually dishonest category.”

Hagel and McCain appeared on ABC’s “This Week.”

McCain Rejects Talk War Position Hurting His 2008 Campaign February 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Arizona Sen. John McCain says only Washington insiders believe his 2008 presidential campaign may be suffering because he supports President George W. Bush’s decision to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

“Well, I think there’s that, maybe, perception inside the Beltway. But outside, a lot of Republicans are rallying to this belief that we need to have a strategy that can win, and realize the consequences of failure,” McCain said Sunday.

“Many people trust my judgment because they’ve known me for many years,” he said. “Looks, it’s of secondary importance, but I think we’re doing just fine, and I think polls indicate that.”

McCain pledged to respond to any negative attacks against him during the race.

“Obviously, I would do so, but I hope we would do so in an honorable fashion,” he said. “We will run an honorable campaign. Most people believe that, and I do, too. I’m committed to it.”

Voters swept Republicans from Capitol Hill control in November’s elections, but McCain said the GOP is best aligned with the nation’s core beliefs.

“We’re still a right-of-center party. This nation is still a right-of-center nation. And I believe the Democrats are the left-of-center party. So, do we need to make significant adjustments, learn the lessons of the 2006 election? Absolutely.”

McCain appeared on “This Week” on ABC.

Senator Hagel: Not An Anti-War Candidate February 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Sen. Chuck Hagel, a possible White House hopeful in 2008, says do not consider him an anti-war candidate if he does run.

The Nebraska Republican, a Vietnam veteran, has criticized President George W. Bush’s troop increase plan for Iraq as “the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.”

Hagel is one of five Republican senators who so far are backing a resolution by Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican, that would put the Senate on record as opposing Bush’s plan.

“Every member of the Congress should be engaged here and their people that they represent should know where they stand,” Hagel said Sunday. “If they want to continue to send young men and women to fight and die in Iraq, then they should step forward and explain that position and why. If they don’t, explain that.

“But to have a different position than the president’s on a war doesn’t qualify anyone to be an anti-war candidate,” he said.

As for 2008, Hagel said he will make that decision “as time develops.”

The senator was on “This Week” on ABC.