Wisdom from elders: Schlesinger and Brzezinski speak out

With a thousand days left in Bush's presidency, two former presidential advisors are speaking out against the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war. JFK's advisor Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., hopes that a third Bush war won't arise:
Observers describe Bush as "messianic" in his conviction that he is fulfilling the divine purpose. But, as Lincoln observed in his second inaugural address, "The Almighty has His own purposes."

There stretch ahead for Bush a thousand days of his own. He might use them to start the third Bush war: the Afghan war (justified), the Iraq war (based on fantasy, deception and self-deception), the Iran war (also fantasy, deception and self-deception). There is no more dangerous thing for a democracy than a foreign policy based on presidential preventive war.

Maybe President Bush, who seems a humane man, might be moved by daily sorrows of death and destruction to forgo solo preventive war and return to cooperation with other countries in the interest of collective security. Abraham Lincoln would rejoice.
And another presidential advisor, Carter's national security expert, Zbigniew Brzezinski, weighs in on the perils of preemptive war with Iran, predicting that "an attack on Iran would be an act of political folly, setting in motion a progressive upheaval in world affairs. With America increasingly the object of widespread hostility, the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end." Four reasons not to attack Iran:
1. In the absence of an imminent threat (with the Iranians at least several years away from having a nuclear arsenal), the attack would be a unilateral act of war.

If undertaken without formal Congressional declaration, it would be unconstitutional and merit the impeachment of the president. Similarly, if undertaken without the sanction of the UN Security Council either alone by the United States or in complicity with Israel, it would stamp the perpetrator(s) as an international outlaw(s).

2. Likely Iranian reactions would significantly compound ongoing U.S. difficulties in Iraq and in Afghanistan, perhaps precipitate new violence by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and in all probability cause the United States to become bogged down in regional violence for a decade or more to come. Iran is a country of some 70 million people and a conflict with it would make the misadventure in Iraq look trivial.

3. Oil prices would climb steeply, especially if the Iranians cut their production and seek to disrupt the flow of oil from the nearby Saudi oil fields. The world economy would be severely impacted, with America blamed for it. Note that oil prices have already shot above $70 per barrel, in part because of fears of a U.S./Iran clash.

4. America would become an even more likely target of terrorism, with much of the world concluding that America's support for Israel is itself a major cause of the rise in terrorism. America would become more isolated and thus more vulnerable while prospects for an eventual regional accommodation between Israel and its neighbors would be ever more remote.
The Eighth General: Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul van Riper is the eighth retired general to call for the retirement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [video here]. A registered Republican whose son is fighting in Iraq, van Riper says, "We have to stay, we have to finish it. Let's do it right... If I was the president, I would've relieved [Rumsfeld] three years ago."

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