The Bush Follies-Dont Miss Them

George W. Bush is now attempting to justify a long term American occupation of Iraq by citing non existent parallels between that country and South Korea. The two cases have nothing in common, as Juan Cole details. But Bush’s outrageous claim only serves to underline the incredibly wrong headed policies of the Bush administration.

If more is needed, check out the Op Ed page of the International Herald Tribune, a piece entitled “The Follies of Bush’s Policy.” The authors call for the Bush administration to immediately terminate the clandestine distribution of $75 million dollars to opponents of the Iranian government. The funds were requested by the Bush administration last year and authorized by the U.S. Congress to “bring” democracy to Iran. Ironically, the attack on the administration’s policy is being made by two Iranians who oppose the Tehran regime. One of them is Shirin Ebadi, who was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and is the lawyer for Haleh Esfandari, the Iranian-American scholar currently under arrest in Iran.

Some of the U.S. millions are funneled to Iranian exile groups, but not all. The entirely predictable results of that secret dole has been to tarnish all opposition groups including those in Iran, leaving them open to the charge that they are paid lackeys of America. In short, say the authors, the program has “backfired” One of its consequences, the recent detention of several Iranian-Americans in Iran such as Haleh Esfandari . Another: “It has made it more difficult for the more moderate factions within Iran’s power hierarchy to argue for an accommodation with the West.”

“Iranian reformists believe that democracy can’t be imported, it must be indigenous. They believe that the best Washington can do for democracy in Iran is to leave them alone. The fact is, no truly nationalist and democratic group will accept such funds.”

One of the more violent opposition groups that has been backed by the United States is known as Jundallah or “God’s Brigade.” According to ABC News, which cited unnamed US and Pakistani intelligence sources, most of God’s Brigade are drawn from the predominately Sunni Muslim Baluchi tribe. Though the U.S. supposedly provides no direct funding to the group, it has been “secretly encouraged and advised” by the American government since 2005. Funding would require an official presidential “finding” and congressional oversight. Instead, money has been provided by Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.

If pushed to the wall, Dick Cheney or Bush might defend this action as a vital part of America’s War Terror. But you want terror? “God’s Brigade” has claimed responsibility for bombings, kidnappings, and televised beheadings that have killed more than a dozen Iranian troops and officials.

Indeed, there is an appalling, underlying theme to the so-called “war against terror” from the Mediterranean Coast to Central Asia. Many of the forces arrayed against America and its ally, Israel, are movements that those two countries and their cronies themselves helped create.

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