Ezra Klein, commenting on the recent Kyl-Lieberman amendment, makes this great point:
The Senate’s adoption of the Lieberman/Kyl amendment designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist group” isn’t merely embarrassing, it’s counterproductive. Designating the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group — which in contemporary American terms means they’re a target — makes it all the more important for Iran to keep us tied up and weakened in Iraq. The more we telegraph that we’d like to devote forces to regime change or strikes in Tehran, the stronger Iran’s incentive to keep Iraq an unstable morass trapping ever-greater numbers of American troops who can’t be easily diverted from a chaotic mission and are geographically vulnerable to Iranian counter-attack.
Like I said, Ezra makes a good point, but there’s more to it. Counterproductive describes the GOP agenda for most of the Bush term. For example: North Korea. Bush spent 5 years telling everybody that Clinton was an appeaser for dealing with the North Koreans. Nevermind that they actually halted their nuclear program. Clinton did it = it was bad. So, Bush talked hard, and blustered about, refused to negotiate with one of the Axis of Evil, and North Korea ended up with a handful of nukes.
Then, suddenly this February, diplomacy was pursued, and talks are underway this week to negotiate the transfer of 950,000 tonnes of heavy fuel, after the DPRK halts its nuclear program. In other words, a return to the status quo. Oh, and North Korea now has nuclear weapons. There’s that, I guess.
What about Jose Padilla? Arrested in 2002, he was then held for years while the Bush Administration argued he had no rights to a lawyer or to fight his imprisonment before a trial of his peers. Again, let’s forget the Constitution and Bill of Rights thingies, they don’t apply. It’s not like Padilla was a citizen or anything. According to Bush, he was a threat to national security, and couldn’t be allowed to communicate with an attorney.
Then, suddenly, when the Supreme Court was just about to rule on whether or not Bush could hold Padilla indefinitely, the Administration caved and charged Padilla.
Are we seeing a pattern here?