Posted by D. Cupples | Reuters reports today about the warm welcome that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's received when visiting Iraq this weekend:
"Pomp and ceremony greeted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his arrival in Iraq on Sunday, the fanfare a stark contrast to the rushed and secretive visits of his bitter rival U.S. President George W. Bush.
"Ahmadinejad held hands with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani as they walked down a red carpet to the tune of their countries' national anthems, his visit the first by an Iranian president since the two neighbours fought a ruinous war in the 1980s...."
"His visit not only marks the cementing in ties between the neighbours, both run by Shi'ite majorities, but is seen as a show of support for the Iraqi government and an act of defiance against Iran's longtime enemy, the United States, which has over 150,000 troops Iraq....
"'To Iraq's neighbours, Ahmadinejad's visit underlines that a non-Arab country has kept its embassies open since the fall of Saddam and its leader visits Iraq,' Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi told Reuters.
"Many Arab diplomats have stayed away after a suicide car bomber attacked the Jordanian embassy in August 2003, killing 17 people. Militants have killed several other diplomats, including an Egyptian who had been sent to head Cairo's mission in 2005....
"Ahmadinejad's motorcade took Iraq's notoriously dangerous airport road to Talabani's palace at the start of his two-day visit, eschewing the helicopter trip usually taken by other visiting dignitaries as a security measure.
"Bush's last visit in September 2007 was to a desert airbase in Anbar province in Iraq's west. He flew in unannounced to ward off insurgent attacks and the visit was over in a few hours...."(Reuters)
Military strikes against Iran have been on President Bush's mind since at least 2002, when he declared Iran part of the "Axis of Evil." In 2007, Bush ally Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) went on Face the Nation and advocated bombing Iran.
As late as last year, the Bush Administration vociferously claimed two rationales for attacking Iran:
1) that Iran had nuclear weapons, which posed an imminent threat;
2) that Iran's government had armed U.S. enemies in Iraq (as opposed to drug lords or other individuals operating in Iran without government approval).
In December, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) eroded the first claim, stating that Iran had dropped its nuclear-weapons program in 2003.
After the NIE, Administration officials went back to focusing on the Iran-is-arming-our-enemies claim, albeit via vaguely created impressions. (Washington Post)
There is little debate over the notion that arms have been moving from Iran to Iraq. The still-unsettled debate is about whether people operating in Iran (such as drug lords) unofficially sent arms to Iraq or whether the Iranian government officially did it.
Given the later debunked "reasons" that the Bush Administration had given us taxpayers for invading Iraq, it's difficult to believe -- without concrete proof -- anything the Administration claims.
It's sad that recent history provides solid cause for us to seriously doubt anything that our President says. Perhaps that's why, in February, President Bush's approval ratings sunk to the lowest of any U.S. president -- reportedly, lower than Nixon's lowest ratings (during Watergate).
Apparently, the American people consider honesty an important trait in a president, and for good reason.
See Memeorandum for other commentary.
Other BN-Politics Posts: