Axis of Evil

So now that we’ve been greeted as liberators, showered with rose petals and sweets, removed all the weapons of mass destruction, assisted with fully functional and successful elections, and wholly democratized Iraq without a hitch, I was thinking we ought to check in on the rest of the Axis of Evil and see if they’re ready for the benevolent hand of unsolicited intervention to smack them on the bottoms like the naughty countries they are, too.


The biggest difference between Iraq and Iran is, of course, the spelling. But another difference is that, while Iraq never remotely had the capability to produce a mushroom cloud, or even actually had any weapons of mass destruction, Iran does. A final difference is that while Iraq is currently engaged with our fatigued troops, Iran acts with impunity, knowing our thinly stretched military resources won’t be in any shape to engage them anytime in the near future. Nonetheless:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that Iran must live up to its international obligations to halt its nuclear program or "the next steps are in the offing."

"And I think everybody understands what the 'next steps' mean," Rice told reporters after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers and European Union officials.

"It's obvious that if Iran cannot be brought to live up to its international obligations that, in fact, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) statutes would suggest that Iran has to be referred to the U.N. Security Council," she said.

Iran has refused to halt its nuclear program, saying it is only intended for peaceful
energy production.


"The message is there, the Iranians need to get that message, and we can certainly always remind them that there are other steps that the international community has at its disposal should they not be prepared to live up to these obligations," the secretary of state said.

She said that no timetable had been set.
The problem with threats is that, when they’re empty, they only embolden those at whom they are directed. Iran will continue its nuclear problem for whatever reason it damn well pleases, and in a stroke of extraordinary convenience, will carry on funneling money to the increasingly receptive hands of Iraqis who keep American troops distracted from any real threat Iran might present.

North Korea:

Spelled differently altogether, North Korea also has the distinction of being led by an utter madman, who uses our awkward and inconsistent dealings with him as a justification for increasing his arsenal. Today, they confirmed what anyone with two functioning brain cells has suspected for, um, ever:
North Korea announced for the first time Thursday it has nuclear weapons, and it rejected moves to restart disarmament talks anytime soon, saying the bombs are protection against an increasingly hostile United States.


“We ... have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration’s evermore undisguised policy to isolate and stifle the (North),” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The claim could not be independently verified. North Korea expelled the last U.N. nuclear monitors in late 2002. It is not known to have tested an atomic bomb, although international officials have long suspected it has one or two nuclear weapons.
If a little bell is going off about how Saddam’s expulsion of weapons inspectors seemed to be an integral part of Bush’s reasoning for his invasion of Iraq, you’re not alone. But hey—it’s hard work trying to sell the same story twice, especially when the first time you weren’t exactly, well, honest.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the North had no reason to believe the United States would attack.

“The North Koreans have been told by the president of the United States that the United States has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea,” Rice said in Luxembourg.
It certainly isn’t shocking that they are reluctant to take him at his word. Aside from Bush’s perceived estrangement from the truth, which was previously noted by Kim Jong-Il in the tit-for-tat that began with Bush calling Kim Jung-Il a spoiled child and purportedly a “dwarf moron”, it was less than a month ago that Bush was promising to end tyranny throughout the world. If one is a tyrannical leader with an arsenal of nuclear weapons, I’m not sure that a logical interpretation of that sentiment is the sense of a bull’s-eye on one’s forehead. That’s part of the danger of using inflammatory rhetoric when there are crazed leaders of dangerous leaders listening to your speech, too—not just your idiot flag-waving supporters who don’t understand or care that is isn’t America’s prerogative, nor is it within our ability, to go around stomping out any nation head who doesn’t conform to our notion of democracy. Words matter.
North Korea said Thursday its “nuclear weapons will remain (a) nuclear deterrent for self-defense under any circumstances.”
Of course, so do actions. And despite predictions that the Iraqi insurgency will survive for years, the administration still considers the invasion of Iraq nothing but a resolute success, an inconceivably selective vision that doesn’t reassure me they will take wiser action in future.

(Apologies for the slight overlap in Demosthenes’ earlier post.)

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