The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Mutually Assured Obfuscation

Those of us who have been highly critical of Barack Obama have found little solace in his latest "historic" preliminary nuclear "framework" with Iran. In fact this president's Rose Garden pronouncements on the deal have a eerie similarity to earlier Rose Garden pronouncements on other matters of import.

In a worthwhile retrospective on the Rose Garden, Matthew Continetti suggests that pronouncements on Benghazi, Bowie Bergdahl, and now the Iran deal are cut from the same fabric of fantasy thinking, political maneuvering, and outright lies. In each case, White House statements made in the Rose Garden immediately following each event have been shown to be false—not misinterpretations of existing facts, but outright lies that contradict facts known to this president. Obama's trained hamsters in the media try hard to look the other way, and that's what they're doing yet again as the White House puts on a full court press to try to convince the public (via a media that asks milk toast questions and then accepts vague answers without further hard probing) that the Iran "deal" is in the best interests of the United States.

Bret Stevens comments:
‘So when you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question: Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East?”

That was Barack Obama on Thursday, defending his Iran diplomacy while treating its opponents to the kind of glib contempt that is the mark of the progressive mind. Since I’m one of those inevitable critics, let me answer his question.

Yes, it’s worse. Much worse.

Yes, because what the president calls “this verifiable deal” fails the first test of verification—mutual agreement and clarity as to what, exactly, is in it.

Take sanctions. Iran insists all sanctions—economic as well as nuclear—will be “immediately revoked” and that “the P5+1 member countries are committed to restraining from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.” But the Obama administration claims Iran will only get relief “if it verifiably abides by its commitments.” The administration adds that “the architecture of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be retained for much of the duration of the deal.”

So who is lying? Or are we dealing with a case of Mutually Assured Obfuscation?
This morning I listened to Wendy Sherman, one of the U.S. negotiators on Obama's Team of 2s. She gave new meaning to the word "obfuscation," providing non-answers to question like:
  • Will the sanctions be lifted immediately upon the signing of any agreement in June?
  • Why is it that the U.S. and Iran have such different interpretations of the framework?
  • How much advance notice will we have to provide before any inspection of any facility?
  • Why is it that Iran can litigate verification findings they don't agree with?
and on and on.

There's something unsettling about a president who is has worked overtime to make Iran the good guy and Israel the bad guy during these negotiations, about a White House that is working hard to keep Congress from evaluating the details of any deal that is struck, and about spokespeople who hide behind vague statements and excuses about a "deal that isn't done" but at the same time try to  sell the deal (as if it were done) to a skeptical public.

If, as Wendy Sherman and her administration clones argue, the deal isn't done, then why try to sell it at all? Why tell us it's a "good deal" if it isn't done? Why tell use that it's verifiable if it isn't done? Why say anything, except that more work remains before we'll know if it's a "good deal."

The administration told us that Benghazi was the work of a mob (absolutely, positively not al Qaeda) that watched and didn't like a anti-Muslim video. That was a lie. The administration told us that Bowie Bergdahl served with "honor and distinction." That was a lie. Now they're telling us that Iran won't develop nuclear weapons because of the brilliant diplomacy conducted by John Kerry. There's a reason to feel uneasy—very uneasy.