Let me start by saying that I really, truly love my country. I actually do tear up at patriotic events and have (thanks to Ish) sent care packages to the troops in Iraq. I'm not joking about this, in the core of my soul I love my country. It is a really important part of my self-identity. Like many, I lost two aquaintances on 9/11 (I won't be presumptious to call them friends, although one was a sports teammate of mine in college), and if I was put in a situation where it was needed, I do honestly believe that I would lay down my life for my fellow citizens, and I'm in no way being tounge in cheek about that. And I do not expect that very many people who read this feel differently.
The reason I say all this is because I think alot of people (ok, not the three people who read this blog, but others may) would really not like what I'm about to say.
Holy motherfucking shit, the United States foreign policy is traipsing into hypocricy grounds that is so unbelievably mind-numbing that it makes me cry, literally (I literally cried listening to the news in my car this evening).
So the U.S. has found that Iranian arms may well be part of insurgent attacks on U.S. troops. Assuming this is true, not because I trust U.S. intelligence, but because it meets the logic test, I am shocked and dismayed. I am NOT shocked and dismayed at Iran, even though I am a critic of Iran and their foriegn policy. I am shocked and dismayed at the American government (all branches), the American media and the American ethos in general (painting with a unwarranted broad brush here).
Here's the deal. We, a country from thousands of miles away, invaded a soveriegn nation that borders Iran four years ago. We wrecked shop and did a terrible job trying to create stability. The country is in danger of falling into complete sectarian catastrophe, perhaps it already is. And Iran, a nation that borders that country and for whom Iraq presents the most critical security risk in the world (see: Iran-Iraq war) has not been asked to the table or even saliently spoken to about Iraq by the power that be (U.S.). Furthermore, amid nuclear sabre rattling the U.S. has, all while not extending any diplomatic hands, has moved military assetts to within striking distance.
And so several years later we start to find evidence that perhaps Iran is using some of it's secret paramilitary forces and itelligence apparatus to arm and/or fund some element in Iraq to its advantage. I'm not in favor of this, because I'm on our side, not Iran's. But holy motherfucking crap, how in the world can we look at this, like the media reports seem to to date, as a development that is about Iran "meddling" or "interfering" in Iraq. I don't want them to do it, make no mistake, I want them to stay out of our way and let us do whatever it is we're trying to do in Iraq (which is a whole other debate). But I heard a quote today from Lieberman (and this isn't to bag on him, I still like him sort of) which said something like "if this it true, Iran is being very aggressive in Iraq." Hmmmmm....aggressive, would that be like invading them?
What bothers me about this isn't the negative feeling toward Iran, I get that. It's the bizarre moralistic theme that somehow if Iran is arming or funding elements of the civil war in Iraq that it's a massive breach of global protocol. That they're evil for doing so. That it proves they are the real enemy.
That line of logic is tantamount to blaming the victim of a crime. And I'm not happy that Iran can be seen as a victim. But I'm sorry, it's true. We invaded their neighbor and the most important element of their context in the global political scene. And for four years, as things went to shit, we refused to even try to engage them in being part of the solution. If someone invaded Mexico, you bet damn well we'd be doing something, if not overt than damn well covertly supporting whatever elements we could to support our interests. Sort of like we supported Sadaam Hussein against Iran in the 80s, but apparently, that's an element of it that's beside the point.
Because the point is this - every country, not just ours, can be expected to aggressively pursue it's national security. While sometimes we might not like the outcome of that pursuit, to characterize it as evil or even surprising shows a depressing lack of understanding of the world. This is the classic argument of why you engage with countries instead of isolate them.
So we're left with Iran being an overt military rival. Which didn't have to happen, but it did because of our military and political policy, as "bad" as they might be. That's what its come to, we're facing a military confrontation with Iran that came about because of policies we started, but which will be characterized as them being at fault by just about everyone.
Seriously, I hope that people think about this. The implication is that we're allowed to invade a country and all of their neighbors are obligated to sit on the sidelines, no matter how dire the outcome is to their national secuirty, because it's us. And we're better than them.
As much as I love my country, it makes me weep that we have become so callous, myopic and just plain self-denialist when it comes to our foreign policy. Because strength doesn't come from stupidity or self denial, it comes from having a clear understanding of what's going on, making wise decision, and then backing them up with unwavering force. But if you don't start with the clear understanding, the unwavering force just don't work so well.