As if it wasn’t already bad enough that the Republican presidential candidate is taking fire from all sides for labeling 47% of Americans as “tax deadbeats” or “freeloaders” who do not take “responsibility for their lives,” and consider themselves “victims,” more secret videotape footage has been released showing an utter misunderstanding of terrorism threats and terrorist capabilities.
Comically, in Romney’s hastily-called Monday news conference in California–designed to quell the media firestorm caused by the secret video of Romney’s remarks to $50,000-a-plate donors in Florida a few months ago–Romney urged the owner of the video to come forward and release the entire video, rather than just the short snippet on the 47% issue. Be careful what you wish for, Mitt.
The video has proved to be a “treasure trove” of anti-Romney material on much more than just Romney’s glib, right-wing dismissal of half of the American electorate. He also delved into foreign policy, basically giving up any hope for there ever being a solution to the Israeli–Palestinian two-state conundrum or the possibility of Mideast peace. Why is it he wants to be president, if there is no hope? Then Romney went off on a wild, terrorist nuclear tangent which, as a former intel operative (with the U.S. Air Force) I found disturbing for its ignorance, if not alarming in its substance. He linked his remarks to a nuclear Iran, saying:
“If I were Iran – a crazed fanatic, I’d say let’s get a little fissile material to Hezbollah, have them carry it to Chicago, and then if anything goes wrong, or America starts acting up, we’ll just say, “Guess what? Unless you stand down, why, we’re going to let off a dirty bomb. I mean this is where we have – where America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people. So we don’t have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”
While I found it rather telling that he suggested Chicago (President Obama’s campaign locale) as a possible target for such a terrorist plot, I found his ignorance of the workings of nuclear material appalling! First, let me dispense with the idea that Iran itself would dare to hatch such a plot. There is a convenient theme (in Neocon ideology) by the right-wing and their ill-informed and unqualified presidential candidate that the Iranians are somehow crazy.
Is their leadership fanatical? Yes. Crazy? No. That they are pursuing nuclear technology toward the ability to build nuclear weapons I have little doubt. That they would risk massive–and possibly nuclear–retaliation for such an attack on American soil…that’s simply preposterous. They are not the U.S.S.R. and the only ‘assured destruction’ would be theirs.
Security against an Israeli and/or U.S. strike appears to be their motive for obtaining nuclear weapons. Sabre-rattling notwithstanding, they see the practicality of it as a rational deterrence against aggression. The basis for that belief? Has the U.S. ever attacked a nation in possession of nuclear weapons? No. Yes, we have launched drone strikes in nuclear-armed Pakistan…but NOT directed at their government and, while Pakistan has publicly railed against these attacks, privately they wink and look the other way, lest the fundamentalist/Taliban Jihadists among them (the real target of our drones) undermine their control. In essence, we are doing their own dirty work for them in containing the Islamic extremism there.
The evidence with Iran is much more compelling than in the Cheney/Bush ‘cooked intel books’ on Saddam Hussein and Iraq. However, there is an American/Iranian dynamic at play which we must not lose sight of. The Islamic Revolution came about in Iran in 1979 after the people rose up after decades of cruel oppression imposed by the Shah, whose reign was a product of British post-WWI machinations, arbitrary Mideast borders and American facilitation–through our own CIA role in training the Shah’s feared state security apparatus–in torture and suppression of the Iranian people.
Once the Shah was overthrown and our embassy taken and American hostages held for 444 days, we began to up the ante under President Reagan and the U.S. and Iran have not exactly had a ‘bff’ relationship ever since. Diplomacy gave way to arming despots for oppression and war. All in the interest of regional stability and maintaining a ‘balance of power.’
The West–in order to keep oil flowing–played one regime against the other in the Mideast for decades, leading to an eight-year war between our guy, Saddam Hussein (there are many images of Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam shaking hands and chatting amiably long before we ‘slit his throat’ in 2003) and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic/military regime. Over a million died in that war, often called the “First Persian Gulf War” by military historians. One which produced nothing but death and stalemate in the region.
Yet now, to further fan the ‘jingoist flames,’ Mitt Romney is once again venturing into the deep, deep water. Into the murky world of foreign intrigue…without the slightest regard for facts or science. Specifically, why give terrorists–whether state-sponsored or freelance – any ideas they might not already have? And, more importantly: get your facts straight, Mitt[.
A so-called “Dirty Bomb” does NOT require “fissile material.” As noted last night by Rachel Maddow on her show on MSNBC, radioactive ingredients required to make a “Dirty Bomb” can come from any number of sources, including radioactive waste material. It doesn’t need fissile material or take the shape of a ‘mushroom cloud’ as Mitt’s remarks might suggest. It merely requires an explosive blast of sufficient strength to disperse the radioactive material over a wide area for maximum impact.
Mitt Romney is rapidly proving himself to be not just unschooled in matters of foreign policy, but perhaps a fool. At the very least, a compliant tool of the Neo-conservative advisors he has surrounded himself with, hell-bent on war with Iran and more war in the Mideast, rather than the balanced approach required and pursued by the President Obama and his capable Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; not to mention his pragmatic military and foreign policy staff.