War with Iran?

Last night, I tuned into Fox News, as I do from time to time, because I always suspect that they provide insight into the latest in administration thinking. I watched Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal editoralist, and The Beltway Boys. The prime topic was "what to do about Iran," and the general feeling was "why haven't Cheney and Bush sent in the bombers yet?" The Boys at Fox and WSJ seem to be ready for another war, seeing as we've had so much success in the current one.

Gigot quoted an interesting report that said that 70% of all American casualties come from roadside bombs planted by Shiite militias with parts supplied by Iran. Now, I have no way of knowing whether this is true or false. What makes this "statistic" interesting is that it directly contradicts everything else the administration is saying. In every single speech and statement about Iraq, we are told, "Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda!" In fact, Cheney and Bush pause in saying "Al-Qaeda" only long enough to interject "9/11!." Now the party line seems to be shifting; the enemy is not the Sunni insurgents (since Petreaus has made a temporary alliance with them), but the Shiites, especially those who share religious and cultural ties with Iran. They are the ones (so the current story goes) who plant most of the bombs that are responsible for most of the body bags, lost limbs, and lost minds.

I can't get over the feeling that we are seeing another sales job, similar to the one that got us into the war in the first place. It looks like the same accident about to happen all over again. Only worse. Much worse. While we were promised a six-month war in Iraq with a relatively small occupation force, this war is supposed to last three days with no army at all. Instead, the Air Force will take out 1 to 2,000 targets, the regime will collapse, and everyone will live happily ever after in a New Democratic Paradise, just as they do in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Unfortunately, this fairy tale is even less relevant for Iran that it was for Iraq. Saddam Hussein was friendless and the head of a weak and unstable country. Iran, on the other hand, is acquiring powerful allies, namely, the Russians and the Chinese. In fact, the administration seems bent on forcing these old competitors into an anti-American alliance, an alliance which has already borne fruit in largely forcing the Americans out of the central Asian countries that were formed in the break-up of the Soviet Union, places that Americans know nothing about and can't even pronouce. Russian is re-establishing its hegemony over its old empire, thanks in large part to this administration's diplomatic and military blunders. And China's insatiable need for oil and raw materials makes an alliance with Iran a tempting prospect. I don't think they would overtly join a war to defend Iran, but they can give the Iranians advanced technical and military support, and put all kinds of pressures on Europe and the United States.

Of course, the war propaganda is not confined to the right-wing. We had the spectacle of Lee Bollinger, the President of Columbia University, lecturing Ahmadinejad with incredible rudeness. It is not that Bollinger was wrong to pose the tough questions to the Iranian president; he was right to do so. But you do not invite a man to your house for the express purpose of insulting him. Across the Middle East, the whole thing was taken (correctly, I think) as the very sign and symbol of American arrogance and condescension towards the "Third world" in general and the Muslim world in particular. Ahmadinejad is quite capable of making a fool of himself (as he did) without the host's help. Instead of exposing a pretentious fool, Bollinger managed to make him a figure of sympathy in the Middle East and in Iran, where he is normally very unpopular.

Are Cheny and Bush planning another war? Who knows. Insane as it might sound, it is certainly a possibility with this pair of arm-chair warriors. Will the country stand for it? I doubt, but the real question is, "does that matter?" The nation has already turned decisively against the current war, and that hasn't mattered one little bit. The Democrats are too weak and divided to to do much about it, and the Republicans too wedded to the party line to dispute the question very much. Indeed, the fact that neither Cheney nor Bush will ever again have to face the voters may mean that they can ignore the voters. And their past actions have shown that they are quite willing to ignore reality. Cheney and Bush may wish to go out in a blaze of glory and no-bid war contracts. And what's a few thousand body bags compared to that?

The signs of war preparations will not be so much the gathering of military force, but the volume of propaganda. If the party line continues to shift from Al Qaeda to Iran, then you will know that war preparations are underway. Fox News is always the first source for this shifts in party line. From what I have been seeing, we should be afraid, very afraid.

3 comments:

Athanasius Monday, October 1, 2007 at 12:12:00 PM CDT  

As far as I can see the whole bit about Iran this is propaganda, and more than likely a lie. American business needs oil to function, or else us wage slaves can't get to work to produce wealth for them. The future of this country is staked upon oil. Iran is a threat to our oil interests, since they are poised to take over Iraq as soon as we are gone. The administration, being entirely ignorant of Islam, and of the history of the region was very happy to blow up the only possible stability that could have been provided in the region, in the person of Saddam. He contained Iran, and Iran contained him. Now the administration suddenly discovered it let the Iranian genie out of the bottle and is scrambling for what to do. What better thing than lies about Iran's involvement in Iraq, and even better, declaring Iran's army a terrorist organization? The war on transitive verbs continues!

Anonymous,  Monday, October 8, 2007 at 10:24:00 PM CDT  

When are we going to realize that the PRC is supplying the technology and weapons to Iran and Iraq and North Korea and whatever other "axis of evil" nation that is on the list? You know why we'll never attack Iran? Because the Chinese will cut all financial ties, pull out of the bond market, sell off all of their US Dollars and then leave us stuck trying to figure out how to afford to bring our troops back home because we have no money to fight anymore. We can't screw with PRC allies much longer without experiencing blowback from the PRC or, quite possibley after the 08 Olympics, from the PLA. George Bush in his mind thinks he is helping to fulfill a twisted version of biblical prophecy for the end times. Maybe Dick Cheney will rise up out of the east. Oh you didn't get it. Yes I was implying he's Satan's love child.

John Médaille Monday, October 8, 2007 at 11:47:00 PM CDT  

Anonymous said Yes I was implying he's Satan's love child.

Careful. Satan might sue you over that comment.

The PRC (People's Republic of China) is certainly playing their own games in their own interests. No surprise there. What will be a surprise to most Americans is that there is little we can do about it. The Chinese hold the mortgage on America, and Clinton and Bush were happy to give them a mortgage in return for a little ready cash.

Talk about your sub-prime loan...

John

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