Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Who Should Karzai Believe, Bush Or His Own Lying Eyes?

By Cernig

The Nation had a look at the Bush/Karzai summit that was so exactly right that it's worth quoting.
On the eve of the summit, Karzai told CNN that:

1. "The security situation in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely deteriorated. The Afghan people have suffered. Terrorists have killed our schoolchildren. They have burned our schools. They have killed international helpers."

2. "We are not closer (to catching bin Laden), we are not further away from it. We are where we were a few years ago."

3. "So far, Iran has been a helper (in the fight against terrorism)."

All of those statements, made by Karzai in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the eve of his trip to Camp David, were corrected by Bush upon the Afghan president's arrival.

On the security situation, Bush told Karzai not to believe what he was seeing on the ground in Afghanistan. "There is still work to be done, don't get me wrong," Bush said. "But progress is being made."

On the bin Laden search, Bush spoke of how the hunt is progressing and declared that, "With real actionable intelligence, we will get the job done."

On Iran's positive role in the region, Bush again told Karzai not to believe his own experience but instead to accept the neoconservative version of events. "I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence there in Afghanistan is a positive force," the American president pointedly told the Afghan president.

So there you have it, a meeting of the minds Bush-style.

A foreign leader from a region of supreme interest to the United States comes to Camp David to brief the American president on what is going on. The foreign leader speaks his mind, offering his best assessment of the experience he is living. Then the president tells the visitor from abroad that he is wrong.
Indeed. Nor is it the first or last time Bush has ridden roughshod over foreign and domestic leaders who want to tell him a plain truth that just doesn't match what Bush wants to believe.

Update UPI notes just how emphatic Karzai is about Iran's help:
Iran has been a supporter of Afghanistan, in the peace process that we have and the fight against terror, and the fight against narcotics in Afghanistan. They have contributed steadily to Afghanistan. We have had very, very good, very, very close relations" with Iran, Karzai said.
I'm guessing he is sure of his facts, there.

Meanwhile, AFP also notes Bush's deliberate lie about Iran's nuclear program and subsequent White house spin when challenged to give evidence:
"It's up to Iran to prove to the world that they're a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon," he said during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

But Iran has repeatedly said that its nuclear program, which is widely believed in the West to be cover for an effort to develop atomic weapons, is for civilian purposes.

Asked to provide examples of Tehran openly declaring that it seeks atomic weapons, White House officials contacted by AFP said that Bush was referring to Iran's defiance of international calls to freeze sensitive nuclear work.

They explained that he was referring to Tehran's uranium enrichment -- a process that can yield nuclear bomb material -- and resulting worries by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"After keeping their nuclear program secret for a decade, the Iranian government has refused the offers of the international community to provide nuclear energy and continues to flout the inspectors of the IAEA," said national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

"Unfortunately, their intentions seem clear," Johndroe said.
However, it's worth re-examining why that secrecy began:
The US systematically contravened the {NPT] treaty in the 1980s and 1990s by successfully bringing pressure to bear on western governments and companies, as well as China and Russia, not to enter nuclear collaborations with Iran - which, as a signatory of the treaty, has been entitled since 1970 to receive material, technology and information for the peaceful use of nuclear power. This eventually drove Iran, after the bombing of Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant by Israel in 1981, on to the black market in order to pursue its nuclear programme. The subsequent partial concealment of Iran's nuclear activities gave rise to western suspicion of its nuclear ambitions, but rarely does the media characterisation make reference to the context in which the recourse to the black market took place. It is rare, too, to see mention made of the fact that the IAEA has found no evidence of a weapons programme after over 2,200 hours of snap inspections of Iranian nuclear plants.
It's also important to note that Iran has always said it wanted to close the nuclear fuel cycle because it didn't trust Russia to deliver on promises of fuel under intense US pressure. Guess what? Russia isn't going to, at least according to anonymous Bush administration officials.

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