Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Breaking up is so hard to do

In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Amir Taheri manages to write a critique of decades of US policy towards Iran without once mentioning Republican presidents prior to the current one -- or, for that matter, the Shah. Three failed models -- JFK, Carter, Clinton -- are described, then an implied criticism of Jack Straw, and a demand for exclusion of direct US-Iran talks as an option now.

By leaving out Republican presidents, he therefore leaves out the emboldenment of Iran: the mysteriously cooperative hostage release in 1980 (during Reagan's inauguration), the arms for hostages deal in 1986, the containment and eventual destruction of Saddam Hussein, the removal of the Taliban, the continued US courting of pro-Iran militias in Iraq, and finally, George W. Bush's call for a boycott of last year's Presidential election in Iran -- the one that brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

But then again, acknowledging those facts would have required something more than stomping on a keyboard demanding a war -- a rumination on how difficult it is to end a 27 year symbiotic relationship.

UPDATE 22 MAY: Taheri's name comes up in connection with the made-up story that Iran was requiring Jews to wear stars.

UPDATE 4 AUGUST: At least one Bush Administration appointee understands the irony (subs. req'd) --

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, quipped about Iran's influence in a recent speech in Washington. When he met his Iranian counterpart in Afghanistan, Mr. Khalilzad said, "I used to joke with him that 'you guys ought to be much more helpful to us, because look, you couldn't deal with the Taliban problem, you couldn't deal with the Saddam problem, and we've dealt with both. That's a big deal. We'll send you a bill one day for that.' "

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