Thursday, July 10, 2008


THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS SOON BEHIND US, and not a moment too soon. To transcribe the hypocritical nature of "the decider" is a long and arduous task, too daunting a task to deal with here, so let's just point a finger at all this, uh, trading with Iran during his administration. After nearly fifty years of tough sanctions against tiny, powerless Cuba, and no end in sight, what does America do in the face of a more challenging opponent, that oppressive yet boastful member of the axis of evil nations our president named in his very first State of the Union address—Iran, supposedly hamstrung with official policy sanctions issued from both the United Nations and the United States government?

Oh yeah, humanitarian aid.

Or so we thought. It turns out that the Bush Administration is even more hypocritical than even we knew—reversing a Clinton Administration stranglehold on Iran in trade. Motor City blogger Debbie Schlussel knows. In 2001 we exported only $8.3 million worth in goods to Iran. Last year it was $146 million. And, as with the Coke and the Pepsi, it wasn't just the "bare necessities" that the Bushies allowed to go to prop up this Crown Jewel in the Axis of Evil.

There are plenty of items on Iran's shopping list the United States is more than happy to supply: cigarettes, brassieres, bull semen and more. U.S. exports to Iran grew more than tenfold during President Bush's years in office even as he accused it of nuclear ambitions and sponsoring terrorists. America sent more cigarettes to Iran—at least $158 million worth under Bush—than any other product.

Other surprising shipments during the Bush administration: fur clothing, sculptures, perfume, musical instruments and military apparel. Top states shipping goods to Iran include California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of seven years of U.S. government trade data...

"I understand that these exports have increased. However, we believe that they are increasing to a segment of the population that we want to reach out to, we want to know and understand that the U.S. government, the U.S. people want to be friends with them, want to work with them to integrate them into the world economy and become partners in the future," Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said Tuesday when asked by reporters about AP's findings.

The government tracks exports to Iran using details from shipping records, but in some cases it's unclear whether anyone pays attention.

Sanctions are intended in part to frustrate Iran's efforts to build its military, but the U.S. government's own figures showed at least $148,000 worth of unspecified weapons and other military gear were exported from the United States to Iran during Bush's time in office. That included $106,635 in military rifles and $8,760 in rifle parts and accessories shipped in 2004...

Iran received at least $620,000 in aircraft parts and $19,600 worth of aircraft during Bush's terms. Iran relies on spare parts from other countries to keep its commercial and military aircraft flying. In some cases, U.S. sanctions allow shipments of aircraft parts for safety upgrades for Iran's commercial passenger jets. . . .

The U.S. government seems uncoordinated on efforts to limit trade with Iran.

Read it all.

Bush, oh Mr. Bush, why did you sell us out to the enemy? Tell us why. We know, you just wanted the money and the friends you made, and you just wanted things to go way the they were supposed to, we know, but we just want you to admit it, fair and square.

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