Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Terror Divestment Advances, Despite Bush

How do you get a "but" after this?

"No one is for terrorism ..."

Here it comes, courtesy of Laura Ecklar, a spokeswoman for Ohio's second-largest public investment fund, the $75 billion State Teachers Retirement System.

"... but no matter how noble the cause, pension funds shouldn't be used to set foreign policy."

Ecklar and others in 15 states are speaking out against state legislative measures that would restrict public investment funds from investing companies that do business with Iran ... companies like, say, Honda Motors. But let's turn Ecklar's protest around: "No matter how disgusting and dangerous the regime, pension funds shouldn't be used to set foreign policy."

It doesn't sound quite as defensible, does it?

Ohio is one of 15 states that have passed or are now considering Iran divestment legislation. The move in the Buckeye state is spearheaded by a freshman legislator who served in Iraq, Josh Mandel (right), who told the WSJ (here, probably subscribers only):
"The state should not be investing people's hard-earned dollars in countries that are sworn to America's destruction."
Sounds straightforward enough, but the Bush Admin is against these measures, WSJ tells us, because they feel it threatens multinational efforts to isolate Iran. Their position seems disingenuous on its face, but in the club and carrot world of foreign diplomacy, they want to be able to offer a quid for Iran's pro quo. Without foreign investment from pension funds, the Bushies fear, there just might not be enough quid to get the Mullahs to shut down their cyclotrons.

Oh wait. It is disingenuous. All the public pension funds in America control a mere $1 trillion in assets, a fraction of which would be impacted by a divestment program. In the scheme of things, they're a pretty small club -- and besides, if Iran gets its act together and behave like a modern nation, the investments could come back.

With recent busts of Iranian arms shipments to Afghanistan, Iran's nasty intentions towards our soldiers are quite clear. Bush should be using his bully pulpit to urge all 50 states, not just 15, to cleanse their pension funds of investments in terror.

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