BILL CRAWFORD: Campaign cronies – irony and bombast

By Bill Crawford

Don’t you just love the irony and bombast in politics?
Rick Santorum, he of professed faith and pro-life advocacy, wants America to covertly kill civilian engineers and scientists who work in Iran’s nuclear program.
Mitt Romney, the self-proclaimed expert in corporate makeovers that included plant closures, layoffs, and outsourcing jobs to foreign countries, wants to grow industries and jobs in America.
Newt Gingrich, the man with a new idea a minute on both sides of most issues, wants to be taken seriously as a steadfast conservative.
Ron Paul, the conscientious libertarian, thinks he has a chance in an ever more conservative Republican Party.
As this was written all but Paul were coming to Mississippi, bringing those campaign cronies, irony and bombast, that we love so well.
The great irony of the moment comes from Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich proclaiming their willingness to start a new war with Iran while maintaining they will lower gas prices and cut deficit spending. It’s the Iranian “crisis” that’s pushing oil and gas prices so high; action against Iran will push them higher. Those with any memory at all will recall that the current debt spiral began when George Bush started deficit stoking wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bombast over Iran has also pushed President Barack Obama into saying he’ll attack Iran if his sanctions don’t work.
Only Ron Paul has maintained a position consistent with the facts. Attacking Iran will take more time, money, and might than most appreciate. The Pentagon said its Massive Ordnance Penetrator may not penetrate Iran’s dug-in, ultra-high-performance-concrete fortified nuclear sites. So, sustained airstrikes over an extended period of time would be required to knock out targets and, then, to prevent Iran from rebuilding. Many experts say only a land invasion could insure success. War weary America can’t afford a third one. Most Americans want troops to come home, not head to Iran.
Behind the push for quick action against Iran are Israel, publicly, and Saudi Arabia, quietly. Neither wants Iran to get nuclear weapons. Both would prefer for the U.S. to use its military power to incinerate that potential. Israel is ready to strike but needs both U.S. and Saudi support to succeed.
Meanwhile, U.S. led international sanctions against Iran seem to be working. Recent elections shifted internal power away from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as sanctions caused scarcity and pushed inflation over 20%. At the same time China, India, and Japan, which import half of Iran’s oil exports, cut back oil purchases. Most recently, grain traders say Iran asked Russia to barter wheat for oil as financial sanctions make payments for Iran’s international transactions more difficult.
Politics, reality and facts merge so seldom in election years that irony resounds and bombast abounds.
Bill Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.