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Neocons Are Clueless About Iran

The Iran protests have thrown Republican ideologues into such a tizzy of circular logic that they're stepping on their own propaganda.

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See how it works? Obama is weak because he won't scream denunciations at Ahmadinejad; if only he would, then Ahmadinejad would have a more secure hold on power -- which (to complete the circle) is what the neocons not-so-secretly wanted in the first place.

Bush first nibbled at the pretzel of U.S.-Iranian relations right after he came to power. President Mohammad Khatemi had been elected in 1997 on a promise of reform, leading many in the West to suggest the possibility of a rapprochement with Tehran back then. But once the U.S. Supreme Court put Bush into office, he immediately began squashing any such cream-puffery, and once 9/11 happened and he fixated on invading Iraq, all hope was lost. The 2003 invasion provoked Ahmadinejad's election in 2005 and hardened his determination to pursue nuclear power, thus laying the groundwork for Iranian intransigence and a nice, long-lasting conflict that hardliners on both sides feed on.

But the odd truth is that people get tired of all the shouting and sick of fighting wars. So the calm and cautious Barack Obama was elected over the truculent and reckless John McCain (old "Bomb-bomb" is now knocking Obama for being "tepid"), and now we have the season of Republicans tying themselves into knots. Last week, after eight years of denouncing Democrats for "betraying the troops" if they so much as discussed voting against funding for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the House GOP voted almost to a man against the military appropriations bill because of a few minor Democratic attachments (they weren't "betraying the troops," they were standing for fiscal sanity).

One thing about being lost in the wilderness, you lose your sense of direction.