Remember way back when Saddam was our proxy in the Middle East and we could count on Iraq to keep those pesky Iranians under control? Yes, those were the good old days. In the protracted war between the Babylonians and Persians, those ancient civilizations ever locked in combat, they just shed the blood until there was hardly a drop left for the sand to swallow up. Saddam was our foil. And as long as he was willing to do our bidding we turned our heads at little things like the gassing of the Kurds. He was ruthless, no doubt about it, but he kept the oil tap open. And of course, he was our chess piece against Iran.
Today we don’t have a Saddam, a strongman distraction. Instead, Israel and the United States have to rattle their own sabers. Attack, bomb Iran now? A preemptive attack? Really? Well, let’s at least get all the way out of Afghanistan so that both of our ten-year wars are complete before we start a new one. Is this becoming like … an addiction?
I suppose we should have given up making war on Iran for Lent.
Here’s something to consider: There is a pro-democracy movement in Iran. Our CIA tells us all about it. It gets painted by opposition as traitors, a movement colluding with outsiders, Western powers. Right now their hard-line secular leadership and fundamentalist clerics are starting to turn on one another, rather than on the pro-democracy folks. Might it be best to just let them duke it out?
At times like this you miss good old Saddam, our bird in the hand. We sure could use him in a time like this. But like it or not, we’ve got to go it alone, do something ourselves. Or do we?