Monday, December 18, 2006


Interview with Flynt Everett, former member of the National Security Council:

We [US] haven’t been hit because the Jihadists themselves have decided that, at this point in their strategy, they don’t think it is advantageous for them to strike at the United States. They would rather focus on going after our allies in the region and in Europe, and then they would come back at us. I think we are not really doing well in the war on terror.

EurasiaNet: What you just said about Jihadist strategy, is it speculation, or is your opinion based on hard intelligence?
Leverett: No, this is the internet age. All kinds of documents… are available on the internet and other places. This is a major theme of the Jihadist discourse -- that they don’t want to go after the United States right now.

This is a rare reference to 'jihadist discourse', in spite of its obvious importance. I'm an Australian, I'm a citizen, I'm a target of these murderous extremists. What is the level of risk that I currently face? I deserve to know. Does the media, academia, the defence force, the intelligence agencies, the parliament, the government, have any assessment about these matters? Do they even read 'jihadist discourse'?

At this point I am guessing, but perhaps the failure of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is in effect serving to increase the security of persons such as myself. The humiliation of the United States in Iraq, combined with the target-rich environment in Iraq of US personnel may be sufficient to satisfy the jihadist impulse for revenge for the time being.

Certainly it is obvious that the aggression against Iraq has only increased the risk of attack against Western targets.

I think this administration is dysfunctional in some unique ways. There can be splits in any administration; it certainly isn’t unique to this one. But the level of division within this administration is more profound, and what’s more, there isn’t any real inclination to resolve the divisions to produce coherent policy.

Everett is here referring to the fundamental characteristic of the Bush Administration, its capture by Cheney and the neoconservatives. They are a driving force who attempt to cut off options for Bush who appears to be a complete tool (unfortunately, as his weeping father might feel).

I think the grand bargain is the only way to forestall Iran’s nuclearization. Given the potential consequences of Iranian nuclearization, why should the United States not do that? It is so manifestly in our interest to do it that not doing it is the strategic equivalent of medical malpractice. It is a real failure of leadership by the United States.

Everett is suggesting (same as the ISG) that negotiations and concessions to Iran could produce satisfactory results for the US. But again Cheney is working day and night to block that option. Instead of diplomacy, softpower and hegemony, Cheney and the neocons' concept of empire is brute force. People are either under attack or under threat of attack. You never 'negotiate with enemies'. This is a frankly stupid and disastrous concept of power and empire. But the neocons are relatively inexperienced in the game and perhaps could hardly be expected to be other than foolish and hubristic. Let's hope China and India have greater wisdom as they gain the power in the 21st Century.

I agree that a military strike by the United States is a bad idea. But at some point, probably in the next 12 months, the president’s current efforts in the Security Council will have played out. What we would get out of UN is certainly not going to be enough to leverage the Iranians to stop their nuclear program. At that point, this president would face a very stark, binary choice. He could either stand by and let Iran continue to cross significant thresholds in the development of its nuclear capability, or he could order military strikes to try to delay that development. I think that, with this president, when he is faced with that choice, the chances that he might take the military option are not trivial. It is a real risk. It is not going to happen tomorrow, or next week. We would be still working on the diplomatic route. But a year or so from now when the diplomacy has failed, the risks of a military strike are not trivial.

Everett is making the argument better than nearly anyone that Cheney and the neocons are and have been systematically cutting off the tool/fool Bush's options in favour of war and thus it becomes a possibility in spite of the fact that war with Iran is almost universally regarded as more disastrous than the failed and disastrous Iraq war.

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