Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Table - Upon Which Everything is (Not)

All options are on the table.  We've been hearing this clumsy, ham fisted trope for well over a decade now. It's supposed to be a clever exercise in diplomatic ambiguity, government doublespeak for "yes, of course we'll start another war if we decide we should".  It gets used so often leaders often even use it without thinking, as the final yeah, but statement when they talk about diplomacy or containment with Iran.

Politicians are political, of course, and they fear angering or alienating any large or particularly vocal group of citizens.  But more than that they fear saying something that can be played over and over again, that classic "Gotcha" gaffe that allows them to be portrayed as uncaring, soft on crime, or often in the United States, insufficiently willing to rain death and destruction down upon any nation, provided that nation lacks the ability to retaliate against us directly.  All one must do is realize that we are still freaking out, shredding our civil liberties and fighting pointless wars over the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington - 3000 dead over a decade ago and we still quiver in fear.

But the options on the table, according to a literal reading of the statement, include everything.  All options are more than one option - we learn that in First Grade.  So when the President wants to say he's willing to use the military to attack Iran under some set of circumstances, he chooses instead to say there's nothing he's not willing to consider.

But waitaminute.  Here's President Obama, at his press conference on March 6th:

And what I have said is, is that we will not countenance Iran getting a nuclear weapon. My policy is not containment; my policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon
So, let's see.  Right here are at least two options that are not on that table where everything supposedly is.  Living with a nuclear-armed Iran is not on the table.  Containment of a nuclear-armed Iran is not on the table.  It would seem that there are a lot fewer items on the table than we have been led to believe.  Certainly, we can now be certain that some options have been taken off the table, meaning "All options are on the table" is a bald-faced lie.

Then, think about this.  The US Government could do its actual duty and put American interests first in its international relations.  SecState Clinton could go to Iran and forge a separate peace - "Look, we know you don't have a nuclear weapons program, and for the most part you guys are adhering to your agreements under the NPT, unlike some people we could mention, so look.  Let's just end this charade that we have anything to hate or fear from each other.  We're gonna stay in your face about human rights and democracy, but this whole nuclear thing is just stupid and wasteful".  Hmm. That doesn't seem to be on the table either.

In fact, instead of "All Options" being on the table, it seems that exactly TWO options are on the table.  Either the table is very small, or the CGI guys from "Avatar" are making it look crowded as a political exercise.  Other than "Crippling Sanctions" and "War", I'd like somebody to explain to me what options ARE on that table.  Oh wait.  There's also "Iran's abject surrender to illegal and irrational demands".  I'm pretty sure we'll keep that one on the table right to the end.

I once had to take the gas tank off my motorcycle and put it on the table.  Well, first I had to put it in the bathtub, but THEN I put it on the table.  The table was never the same again.  The point here is that if all you put on your table is death and suffering and brutality in the name of some imaginary goal, you ruin the table and your own international reputation at the same time.  It's time to start being a little more honest about the table, and the things that are on it....

Brief explanation - this goes back to my very first post at Sadly No!  And yeah, I miss those guys, and I miss those days.  In a weird, inexplicable way, I even miss George Bush.  Maybe it was just easier when the other side was responsible for the evil.


  1. Well said, Mikey. Well said.

  2. The US Government could do its actual duty and put American interests first in its international relations.

    You're a dreamer, mikey, but you're not the only one.

    P.S. Here's a Stuart Zechman segment on blog talk radio. It's long (almost 46 minutes!), but I'll summarize: a senior Democrat (I believe connected with the Obama Administration) explains that the American people decided long ago (aka 3 decades ago...he's referring to Reagan) that they didn't like big government.

    This is such a load of crap that I might listen to it again and make a transcript. This is their excuse for being just another set of corporate whores when they were in fact voted into office promising 'change'.

  3. All "options" that lead to "Iran's abject surrender to illegal and irrational demands" remain on the table.

    But whom to hate when no one wants to stay & shoot up Afghanistan any more?

  4. You're a dreamer, mikey, but you're not the only one.

    Imagine sucks!

  5. Profit is ALWAYS on the table.