Speaking of Iran, Iraq, and Israel, Billmon makes some crucial points here that need to be repeated far and wide. As we know, a lot of purportedly “antiwar” Democrats are against the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Fine. But most of those same Democrats are also in favor of letting Israel kill hundreds of civilians and launch quixotic and bloody wars around the Middle East to fight whatever perceived threats may arise, regardless of what those wars mean for the United States. The problem is that those stances are in grave tension with each other, if not outright contradictory.
If the United States withdraws from Iraq, Iran certainly won’t sit still. In the event that the ongoing Sunni-Shia civil war continues to expand, Iran will side with the Iraqi Shiites. It might even send troops in to invade. Israel, of course, will fear that Iranian influence in, or worse, control of Iraq will pose a grave threat to its existence. (After all, 100,000 Iraqi Shiites just marched in Baghdad chanting, “Death to Israel!” and supporting Hezbollah.) So Israel might oppose a U.S. withdrawal in the first place—and House and Senate Democrats could agree, so long as it’s Israel at stake.
Worse still, Israel could ask the United States to ensure that Iran stay out of Iraq. That could mean war. It’s not as if Olmert and Bush have shown much restraint in the past. And Democrats, tethered as they are to Israel—including those self-proclaimed “antiwar” icons such as Howard Dean and Ned Lamont—could well acquiesce. Why not? They’ve supported the Lebanon adventure so far. Needless to say, war with Iran would be a disaster—for the United States, for Israel, for the world. The point is that various parts of the Middle East are all connected—Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, the whole of it—the situation is extremely dangerous, and it’s looking very likely that the Democratic Party will prove itself utterly incapable of stopping the worst of it.