Monday, July 24, 2006

McLaughlin Brays Out

Powerlineblog.com has a good bit on recent policy statements by a former CIA bigwig, John McLaughlin. The crowning idiocy:
Lesson No. 4 is that even superpowers have to talk to bad guys. The absence of a diplomatic relationship with Iran and the deterioration of the one with Syria -- two countries that bear enormous responsibility for the current crisis -- leave the United States with fewer options and levers than might otherwise have been the case. Distasteful as it might have been to have or to maintain open and normal relations with such states, the absence of such relations ensures that we will have more blind spots than we can afford and that we will have to deal through surrogates on issues of vital importance to the United States. We will have to get over the notion that talking to bad guys somehow rewards them or is a sign of weakness. As a superpower, we ought to be able to communicate in a way that signals our strength and self-confidence.
A high school dropout should understand why we do not have "open and normal relations" with Iran--including an embassy in Teheran. Apparently it escapes twenty-year men in Washington.

This is circular gobbledegook. We do not have "open and normal relations" with the "two countries that bear enormous responsibility for the current crisis" precisely because we consider the current situation a "crisis" for which we assign "responsibility". We can normalize relations tomorrow, by declaring that financing, training, and arming terrorists that have killed Americans and are killing Americans in Iraq, is not an issue "of vital importance to the United States." I don't know what "options and levers" are made available to us by declaring that what Iran and Syria are up to is just dandy; it still seems to me that just gives "the bad guys" the option of playing the table-shape gambit which they don't currently have.

When the Federal government brought Lucky Luciano into WW2 as a labor consultant, it did nothing but strengthen the Mafia. They didn't concede labor racketeering was a bad thing to be deplored--apart from the loot, it was the only reason for the government to approach them atall. It was the Federal government that did the conceding. Having the US government acknowledge, accept, and accommodate your operations is a prize that can only be gifted. Teheran and Damascus can't make us turn a blind eye to anti-American violence.

And the fact that Mr. McLaughlin sees thirty years of such violence, and the lethal interference in Iraq, as mere quibbles blocking what really matters--Dialogue--should bar him from further employment on behalf of the United States.

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