Yesterday, I talked about the proxy war that Bush is fighting against the Islamists of Somalia through the Ethiopian Army. After looking at the evidence, all indications are that Bush is similarly planning to wage a proxy war with Iran as well.
Our troop strengths have been stretched to their limits. There is no way for the Bush administration to bring in 500,000 troops to Iraq even if they wanted to. Some have speculated that Bush is planning to send 50,000 troops to Iraq in order to invade Iran; those numbers are far too small for that kind of an invasion. This is no more than a propaganda device to convince people that if we would just wait a little longer, we could "win" Iraq, whatever that means.
Therefore, there has been speculation that Bush may be planning to launch a nuclear strike of Iran. That option, however, has been discussed and rejected for pragmatic reasons. The reasons planners rejected the nuclear option were as follows:
--The intelligence to execute a successful strike is lacking;
--Only 80% of the territory is mapped out; even the territory that is mapped out is only done so sketchily;
--A nuclear strike would unleash rampant terrorism, missile strikes, and further destabilize Iraq;
In addition, John Negroponte, the current intelligence czar, has said that there are numerous technical errors in their nuclear program and that there is no hurry:
John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, has told President George W Bush that there is no rush to use force as Iran’s nuclear programme is beset with technical errors. "He has been saying, ‘Slow down, it’s not an immediate problem’," said Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
All indications, therefore, point to Bush fighting a proxy war using Israel and various insurgent groups to deter or destabilize the Iranian regime.
As ambassador to Honduras during the Reagan years, Negroponte was one of the key people for their efforts. He set up a clearinghouse for efforts to train and equip Contra fighters and right-wing Honduran death squads in an effort to overthrow the Sandinistas and to stamp out political opponents to the right-wing Honduran regime. He managed it in a way in which he could then turn around and claim that he did not know anything even as people were being kidnapped and tortured to death.
Negroponte's experience in organizing and directing insurgent efforts is why Bush has appointed him to the position of Deputy Secretary of State. He has been touted specifically for his experience with Iran. Therefore, all indications are that he plans to use that experience to organize and coordinate efforts to destabilize the Iranian regime through passing on vital intelligence and through coordination dissident activities.
Another indication that Bush is planning to fight a proxy war with Iran can be found in the recent behavior of the Israeli government. For years, they had denied that they had nuclear evidence and had gone out of their way to suppress evidence to the contrary. Now, they have completely reversed that policy and not only admitted that they have nuclear weapons, but that they intend to use them on Iran if they go too far with their nuclear program, similar to their bombing of Saddam's nuclear reactor.
Negroponte and the invasion skeptics are of the opinion that the American intelligence on Iran's nuclear program is sketchy at best and that it should therefore be up to Israel, whose intel-gathering ability they regard as superior, to determine if Iran has gone too far. After all, it costs a lot less American lives and resources if some other country is fighting our wars for us than if we are doing all the heavy lifting.
This is similar to the attitudes displayed by the Soviet Union towards the conflicts in North Korea and Vietnam. Their economy was too shattered by the Second World War for them to risk a full-scale war with the US over those places. However, they were totally willing to let proxies fight their wars for them. In fact, when they invaded Afghanistan, they were drawn into a war that bled their resources dry and contributed to their collapse.
The appointment of John Negroponte also touches on the conflict between Bush I and Bush II. The father was always the Machivellian, always plotting behind the scenes to overthrow a regime or turn on a person he didn't like. He did not like to launch an invasion until he had an overwhelming force behind him as well as overwhelming international support.
However, the petulant son is the one who always wonders why the father does nothing. He wonders why the father does not grind everyone to pieces and destroy them instead of letting them live. He wonders why the father let Saddam live to try to kill him off instead of finish him off in 1991. But the petulant son does not understand that the father wants to be remembered as a great statesman and not a warmonger. The petulant son does not understand that the father wants to destroy Saddam as much as he does, but recognizes the limits of his mandate and thus can only continue the war through proxy (encouraging the Iraqi people to rise up and overthrow Saddam).
However, it seems that the daddy has won this conflict. Daddy knows quite well all about the son's shenanigans from way back when and can simply make a few phone calls to bring them out into the open. Daddy is enraged at the petulant son's outing of CIA agents for partisan political purposes. Daddy is sad that all of his life's work is going to hell thanks to his wayward son and cannot easily be rebuilt again. For all his petulance, the wayward son must obey daddy or find himself ridden out of town on a rail, helped by a convenient "Deep Throat II" episode.
Thus, while daddy can no longer be President anymore, the son must appoint all of daddy's old people to positions of high importance. This explains the appointment of Negroponte. Negroponte is not a neocon, but he is a student of the Kissinger school of realpolitik. Negroponte is a company man, completely amoral, and completely willing to look the other way when necessary to implement the company's objectives. He is daddy's type of guy -- willing to do whatever it takes, including lying, to protect the company's reputation. And even the petulant son understands the value of having someone around who is completely loyal to the program.
The fact that Bush is appointing a Machiavellian like Negroponte to help Rice out suggests that he is not planning to invade Iran himself, but to fight a proxy war using Israel and anti-Iranian insurgent groups as pawns in order to achieve his objective.