Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Questions about Bush and Iran

Bush is doing everything he can to avoid a debate on Iran. Republicans in Congress can't be bothered to hold hearings on the failures in Iraq, the uneasy situation in Afghanistan which is far from resolved and the failure to find Osama bin Laden. But the Republicans leaders in Congress can hardly claim ignorance of Iran as an issue at this point; the lunatic right-wing media is already pushing for action. Even Charles Krauthammer, just as he did before the Iraq war, has written a column or two claiming that life as we know it will end unless we stop Iran (the Iranians republished Krauthammer's article in one of their newspapers). The big media outlets spend five minutes on Iran and as usual move on to other things.

Instead of debating whether or not Bush intends to attack Iran, it might be useful, as an exercise, to assume that it is Bush's intention to launch a preemptive bombing strike against Iran. I'm not going to detail what such a strike might mean. All I want to do is ask questions.

1. Why are the six generals speaking up against Rumsfeld at this time? Is the issue Iran? What is their main concern?

2. Are we already engaging in military activity inside Iran? Do we as a nation have a right to know if such operations are going on? Does Bush need authorization for these activities? What would be the purpose of these activities? Will Bush seek Congressional authorization for a major bombing strike? What will Congress do if Bush launches a bombing strike without authorization and drags us into a major war?

3. If Bush plans to attack Iran, will the attacks take place before the 2006 elections or after? Will we see another deceptive campaign like the one we saw with Iraq?

4. Again, assuming that Bush is seriously considering an attack against Iran (in this mental exercise), why now? The CIA talks as if it will be another ten years before Iran has a bomb. What is it that Bush would hope to accomplish with a bombing strike? Is there a realistic possibility he could accomplish his purposes without starting a major war with Iran?

5. Is Bush seriously considering the use of nuclear weapons for use against nuclear facilities? Has there been an analysis of what might be gained or lost by using such weapons? What would such an analysis show? Are cruise missiles being considered? Is there a chance a fully armed nuclear cruise missile can land like a dud as happened in Saudi Arabia during Rumsfeld's shock and awe campaign in Iraq? Could such a weapon be disarmed by the Iranians and used against us? What happens if our aircraft use nuclear weapons and an aircraft is shot down? What happens if our nuclear bunker busters accidentally explode in an urban area instead? How will the Bush Administration prevent photos and video footage being shown to the world of collateral damage to human populations if such weapons are used? Have the repercussions been considered? Has any of this and a host of other issues been considered?

6. In the months before attacking Iraq, Bush claimed to be serious about diplomacy but we now know that a decision to go to war had been made almost a year previously and that little serious diplomacy took place. Will Americans accept a lack of diplomacy this time? Is it wise for a president to refuse repeatedly to talk seriously with Iran? If Bush is serious about Iran, then why haven't there been two or three days of talks with the Russians? Two or three days of talks with the Chinese? Two or three days of talks with the Europeans? Long and repeated talks at the UN? Diplomacy is always cost effective. Is Bush even capable of diplomacy?

7. Does Bush have a contigency plan if the Strait of Hormuz is closed? Or if Iran simply stops producing oil? Or if Iran launches a successful attack against some portion of Saudi Arabia's oil fields? Even without a war, the price of oil has spiked to $70/barrel. What energy policies does Bush have in place now? Since our strategic oil reserve can only last about five weeks, what plan does Bush have if oil hits $100/barrel and the gas at the pump is $5/gallon and the war in Iran goes on as long as the war in Iraq?

8. If Bush bombs Iran and it leads to a wider war, can our military avoid a draft? Even with a draft, it takes time to train soldiers; where will Bush get the extra personnel needed for military action? The British are reluctant this time to be involved. Mercenaries are unreliable. More bombing as a substitute for troops may only lead to a wider war. How will Bush stabilize the Middle East if he cannot stabilize Iraq?

These are hypothetical questions and I have many more and I urge others to come up with their own questions. But Americans need to think clearly about a reckless and incompetent administration and what it might do if given the chance. I take seriously Sy Hersh's article in the New Yorker; and Congress should as well.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Good questions, all.

Maybe the scariest possibility is that Bush, Cheney and/or Rove come to the conclusion Republicans are going to suffer heavy losses in November unless something drastic is done.

That something could be a gambler's all-or-nothing roll of the dice, bombing Iran, partly or completely in hopes the public will once more rally behind Bush as fearless leader in a time of war, re-electing congressional Republicans to assure him the backing he requires.

If they actually do such a thing, some kind of serious repercussions had better ensue. We'll be a long, dangerous way down the road to a fascist dictatorship — and that's not something I say in haste or lightly.

Not just a fascist dictator but quite possibly a Capt. Queeg rendition of a fascist dictator.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:19 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

"Capt. Queeg." That's one of the better analogies I've seen for the Decider-in-Chief!

10:23 PM  

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