Further Out On The Brink

A couple of weeks ago I came across a disturbing essay that sought to install Bush as a permanent president whilst at the same time leaving all of the Middle East (except Israel of course) burning in a sea of fire.  At the time I thought the whole thing ludicrous, but while the idea of Bush as President forever is a non starter for obvious reasons, the idea of setting the entire Muslim world is looking to be coming closer to reality on a daily basis.

The beginning came from the Cheney faction of the administration, as the Arch Chancelor started “leaking” stories overseas press friendly to the neoconservative model.  This has followed a time tested modus operandi of the right wherein stories are started in the obscure periodicals, and filter towards increasingly more credible (for whatever that means) publications.  And so when news reports about Iran’s involvement in the Iraq conflict started showing up in British tabloids, discerning folks were able to see it for what it is.

Unfortunately, this knowledge has done absolutely nothing to slow the march to war with Iran.  According to whispers seeping from the White House, however, one thing that did seem to be standing in the way of a run on Iran was actually Condi Rice herself.  Apparently there was a little publicized internal conflict between Cheney-ites and Rice-ites as to whether to proceed on Iran.

If Rice was really trying her hardest to stop a conflict with Iran at a time when we are still dealing with wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, neither with an end in sight, her efforts failed as reports came that Bush had finally sided with Cheney.

What would follow is a PR blitz that would be uncannily similar to that of the run up to the war in Iraq.  From the manipulation of friendly media markets (preferably those owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch), to the attempt to validate the claim within the intelligence community, in this case through the pushing of the case into a recent NIE, the idea was simple, get people afraid of Iran, and then maybe they wouldn’t mind so much if we went to war against the Country.

Those who hoped for prudence and caution  would find even more reason to be disappointed as the machinery continued to align itself for war.  When Bush opted to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a 125,000 strong military unit, a terrorist organization, the legal stage was set.

With congress’s support for his adventure in Iraq at the very least in question, it would be folly to think that there was any kind of appreciable chance for Bush to seek a direct approval for war in Iran.  However, I think that the declaration of the IRGC as a terrorist organization gives Bush the legal standing to do so without congressional approval.  While legal experts may agree or disagree with this, the declaration essentially puts Iran as an enemy in the War on Terror, and would give White House lawyers enough space to make a case.

Remember, this is the same team that legally ninja’ed their way into torturing, and violating the constitution to spy on Americans without warrants, so legal foundations don’t have to be particularly strong or broad with this group, they just need to exist, if only nominally.

But there’s still more work to be done.  Tragically, for Bush, Iran wasn’t a part of 9/11, and we haven’t had another 9/11 to attach Iran to, so his case for war takes a serious blow there.  But on the other hand, there was another aspect to Iran that would lend itself towards the drum beating of chicken hawks.

Perhaps sensing that the news reports from overseas weren’t convincing enough, Bush decided to take the argument nuclear.  Eschewing the imagery of mushroom clouds and smoking guns, in a recent speech to the American Legion Bush made a hard case against Iran and showed a tough stance on preventing them from attaining nuclear weapons, despite word from the IAEA that Iran has been for the most part cooperative with their efforts and plan to have most questions answered by November.

As you know, Iran claims that fuel enrichment in Iran is for nuclear power and not nuclear weapons.

And while the PR battle has been waged with much zeal, our posture towards Iran has driven us to the brink of war.  Recently a couple of British scholars released a report that shows exactly how prepared we are to go to war against Iran, a report that should strike fear in the hearts of most reasonable people.

And just when you thought we couldn’t get farther on the brink, comes news that the Pentagon has planned for a three day blitz against Iran that is geared towards essentially destroying their military.

THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.

A “very legitimate strategic calculus”.  Yes, much like our invasion of Iraq was based upon a very legitimate calculus, just nothing before or after was.  And so, when we talk about Iran and calculus, there are some questions I have; aspects of our I guess imminent war with Iran that I wonder made it into the calculus:

-So if the IAEA comes back in November and says, “Hey, it’s okay, they really are just putting up power plants,” are we going to stand down?

-Are we even going to bother giving the IAEA time to do its job?

-Have we thought about what happens after this time?  No, I’m curious.  We fucked Iraq up completely and totally, and I just want to know if we can expect more of the same this time around.

-Have we spent any time at all exploring the very likely political fall out in the region?  Have we looked at what our responsibilities in the country would be following a complete and total destruction of the military?  Have we looked at what other states in the region may seek to take control of Iran should we cripple it as the Pentagon would have us do?  And what do we plan on doing against those states?

Finally, are we prepared to completely and totally isolate the entire muslim world?  Are we prepared for truly endless war?  Are we prepared for the hotbed of terrorism such an action would create?

We’re standing about as far out on the brink of war as we possibly can.  Are we really prepared to jump?

2 Responses to “Further Out On The Brink”

  1. matttbastard says:

    Heh, you and I both posted on this around the same time (although you went into further depth – have updated to include your questions re: ‘legitimate strategic calculus’.)

    Also, how I spent (a good part of) my holiday weekend: being driven ’round the bend by Marty Peretz’s exasperating intern (‘I shall call him ‘Mini-Marty’).

    Am accepting donations for a new desk. My skull–nor sanity–are not so easily replaced, alas.

  2. Actually, Matt… could you shoot me an email when you get a chance? Thanks.

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