Friday, February 09, 2007

Persian conundrum

At a farewell reception at Blair House for the retiring chief of protocol, Don Ensenat, who was President Bush's Yale roommate, the president shook hands with Washington Life Magazine's Soroush Shehabi. A grandson of one of the late Shah's ministers, Soroush said, "Mr. President, I simply want to say one U.S. bomb on Iran and the regime will remain in power for another 20 or 30 years and 70 million Iranians will become radicalized."

"I know," President Bush answered.

"But does Vice President Cheney know?" asked Soroush.

The president chuckled and walked away.
Arnaud De Borchgrave - UPI
David Seaton's News Links
Bush's interchange with the grandson of one of the former Shah of Iran's ministers, quoted above, is one of the weirdest little historical, "slices of life" I have ever read. If the disaster finally is consummated, someday historians, will read much into it.

I roll it around and around in my head, but I don't know what to make of it. My first reaction is that Bush is just practicing frat-boy flippancy on Soroush, but the "I know" doesn't really ring like that. There is something mysterious about it. Tom Engelhardt thinks Bush and Cheney are suicidal, like Thelma and Louise. I respectfully disagree, I don't think they much want to die or much care who does have to die in order to save their bacon. But that "I know", just doesn't ring right.

Anyway, keep it filed away in your mind, just in case. DS


RLaing said...

One of the most interesting (and overlooked) aspects of logic is that the system itself is value-free: you can make any absurdity at all 'logical' if you start with the right inputs.

For example, back about the time Bush came into power, a brief news article appeared to the effect that the Department of Defense could not account for about a quarter of its assets, some 2 trillion dollars or so. Mr. Rumsfeld expressed outrage, and now the relevant data is no longer published. I don't know who got that money, but "Peace on Earth" would be a real disaster for them, at least.

Or, who knows, maybe the money was forgotten in a suitcase somewhere, and Mr. Bush's remark, if he made it at all, is just another curious oddity in a world filled with such things.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I still think, Bush's "I know" is the Zen koan of the whole war. To understand its implications would be to "understand".

RLaing said...

This actually happens to me all the time. Someone will say something like: 'This here war (in Iraq) is sure a mystery'. I'll say: 'Not so much. The corporations that run the show in this country were going to be cut out of trillions of dollars in profits if they didn't pull out the guns.' Then the other person will say, with a perfectly straight face: 'Yep. Guess we'll never know what this here war was about.'

This behavior is so astonishing to me that I've developed a theory over the years about people, which is that the chief difficulty we face in understanding ourselves is the simple fact that we do not wish to.

Strangely enough, I can explain why this should be so quite easily, yet, if the theory itself is true, there is no chance that I will ever be believed.

As if to confirm the theory, I've never once had anyone ask me to explain it when I hint at its existence.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

The war in Iraq is in fact a little mysterious and it certainly does resist reductionist theories.

Certainly people like James Baker and Brent Scowcroft are no virgins and their military-industrial and big oil credentials are impeccable, to say the least. ( their masterpiece, "Gulf War-I" was quite an easy read from the point of view of Oil and military hardware.

I think there are many converging interests here, but the most believable cause for me, is that the neocons were executing a desperate strategy formulated by the Israeli hard-right to "reshape" the entire Middle East. How they acquired such influence over Bush is another question.