"Our Karl Rove is the blog you should be glad that Democratic strategists don't seem to listen to"
-- what they're saying on Republican blogs

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Democrats: Extend an Invitation to the Axis of Evil

Democrats & Fellow Citizens,

It's happening again. The Bush administration is re-framing reality so effectively that most people (even those of us paying attention) are being taken by another shell game of magnificent proportions. But before we dive into what's happening now, it's important to look back at what just happened...

Reality Distortion

Last time, the Bush administration's re-framing of reality successfully coaxed most of the country -- including the press and Democratic politicians -- into believing that Iraq was an imminent threat, ready to blow us up with nukes, anthrax, or whatever it was that Saddam supposedly had hidden away in his little lair in Baghdad.

In effect, the Bush administration created a reality distortion field. A reality distortion field is a term that has been widely used to describe Apple's Steve Jobs in the technology sector, but it's also quite applicable to Bush & friends: Modern Republicans have proven to be naturals at framing new "realities" (as they see them) based on spurious and speculative information. Then, they effortlessly convey these "realities" to the masses in a way that makes them appear unmistakably and unerringly right... and righteous. Doing this distorts the reality in ways that are difficult to prove, and easy to subscribe to. They distort reality just enough to make their "new reality" sound legitimate, even though it's not.

The Iraq reality distortion field was able to withstand real reality for three full years during which the U.S. eviscerated any shred of goodwill it had left in the pressure-cooked Middle East. And only after three years did the press, Dems, and most everyone else come to their senses and promise "never again."

I hate to break the news, but...here we go again.

Here's a quick test to see if you've been trapped within the latest foreign policy reality distortion field unleashed by this Republican administration: What Islamic country is autocratic, out-of-control, terrorist-harboring, WMD-selling, has nuclear weapon manufacturing abilities, and is run by a President that lacks in democratic convictions, speaks out of both sides of his mouth, and took control of his country by military coup?

If you answered "Iran" then you've already fallen into the Bush/Cheney trap of re-framing reality in a way that simply doesn't represent reality - the reality distortion field. Worse, the country described above -- which is not Iran -- is considered to be an ally to this administration and most Republicans.

So, why are we all talking about Iran? Because Dick Cheney has a laser-like focus on Iran like nobody's business. This aggressive, manipulative positioning of Iran as the latest source of all the U.S.'s problems in the Middle East (i.e., Hezbolah, Iraq, nukes... you name it) is not only misguided, but incredibly misleading. And when I say that this is reminiscent of the Iraq drumbeat back in 2002, don't confuse this comparison with knee-jerk liberal screaming. Here at OKR, we have substantive concerns around this newfound "love to hate Iran" refrain that go well beyond predictable partisan emotions.

This Iranian focus has a two-fold effect:

1. Iran gives this administration something new to blame for all the problems they've had in securing Iraq.

2. Blaming Iran conveniently and effectively deflects attention from this administration's failure to deal with Pakistan -- the multi-dimensional menace to U.S. security [the answer to the test above].

The Problem with Pakistan

Under Pervez Musharraf's rule, Pakistan is the underlying U.S. security threat in the region. Yet because the Bush administration has a president in Pakistan that is compliant with U.S. demands, the U.S. turns a blind eye to the astounding problems that Pakistan creates. This goes to show how much this administration values loyalty over everything else, including U.S. security. A loyal Musharraf makes the Bush administration believe that he is an ally, thereby deeming Pakistan an official U.S. ally.

So, what's wrong with Musharraf?

  1. He was not democratically elected, nor does he endorse democratic elections.
  2. He does not have full control of his country, allowing Al Q'aida and Bin Laden a safe haven within his uncontrolled country borders
  3. He allowed a massive nuclear weapon trading scheme to happen under his nose, where real WMDs were sold to the highest bidders around the world (including potential terrorist groups)
  4. He is duplicitous -- telling his country one thing and telling our country something entirely different. Which Musharraf is to be believed?
This is what's meant by "here we go again": Ignoring the Pakistani Problem is a flagrant violation of all U.S. standards that have been set by this very administration. Yet, this administration has once again successfully created a reality distortion field where the conventional wisdom is now that Iran is the next big danger, and Pakistan isn't even part of any security conversation in our country.

This is dangerous. The nation once again is being guided by distorted reality, and it's quite disturbing to see it happen all over again when most of us should, by now, know just a bit better.

But it's not enough to just talk about it. We need to demand more from the press, our politicians, and our fellow citizens. Let's not let ourselves once again get distracted and misled by a dangerously misguided administration.

Here are some talking points for all of us to use as we call, write, and communicate with the press and our politicians:
  • Why is Pakistan an U.S. ally if they are harboring Al Q'aida and Bin Ladin?
  • What's stopping America from putting our full energy into weeding out Al Q'aida in Pakistan?
  • Why is an undemocratic leader in Pakistan our ally while we spend our blood and treasure trying to introduce Democracy in Iraq? Isn't that a double-standard?
  • If U.S. policies vary from country to country, does this Republican administration really have principles?
  • Which is more dangerous to America now: a country that is trying to create nuclear weapons or a country that already has them and his harboring Al Q'aida's leadership?
  • Why doesn't the so-called Bush Doctrine apply to Pakistan?
  • If the people responsible for 9/11 are in Pakistan, why are we focused so much on Iraq and Iran?
Note: While the Axis of Evil reference in the title is designed to be catchy and clever, we should never use George Bush's phraseology framework to talk about contemporary political issues. There is no Axis of Evil. There are countries that actively work against us, but that doesn't make them evil. It makes them, at the very worst, enemies. Evil has a much higher bar -- one that should be reserved for the likes of Dick Cheney.