Friday, September 28, 2007

Bush and Neocons Still Obsessed with Iran

The most dangerous development in the last few months has been the failure of Congress to hold President Bush accountable; given Bush's litany of failures, it's also been alarming that Congress has been unable, once and for all, to rein in his reckless behavior. I'm perfectly aware of the slim majority that Democrats hold and how counterproductive the obstructionist behavior of even the more reasonable Republicans can be; and yet, while there's a realistic limit on what Democrats can do, there's no doubt in my mind that much more can be done and would be done by the majority of Democrats. Unfortunately, weathervane Democrats, like Senator Schumer, talk a good game but seem to believe it's more important to lay low and play safe until the 2008 elections. I don't know what's going to happen between now and January 2009, but it's time to restore some sanity to our nation before the compound blunders of the Bush Administration do more damage to our nation than they already have.

More than likely, the war in Iraq is going to blunder along until next year when possibly Bush will reduce troop numbers in Iraq to help Republicans in the elections. But this is not Bush's only option. Major military action against Iran remains on the table if Bush feels he can get away with it.

Truthout has an important and powerful article by Scott Ritter, the former American arms inspector who knew a long time ago that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction and was no imminent threat to the United States. It is still a fact that our war in Iraq was fraudelently sold to the American people and that fact has still not been dealt with by the legal mechanisms of Congress (and may never be, which shows the dangerous state of our nation). Read the whole article but I offer this excerpt:
...This, of course, brings us back full circle to the immediate period after the attack in [the Iraqi city of] Karbala, when U.S. military sources speculated that such an attack had to have been planned by Iran given its complexity. Nothing else is directly attributed to [the Lebanese Hezbollah member Ali Musa] Daqduq, leaving open the question of sourcing and authenticity of the information being cited by the U.S. military.

From speculation to speculation, the case against the [Iranian] Quds Force by the Bush administration continues to lack anything in the way of substance. And yet the mythological Daqduq has become a launching platform for even graver speculation, fed by the media themselves, that the highest levels of leadership in Iran were aware of the activities of Daqduq and the Quds Force, and are thus somehow complicit in the violence. Not one shred of evidence was produced to sustain such serious accusations, and yet national media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post both ran stories repeating these accusations. ....


.... Unlike the lack of evidence brought to bear by the U.S. to sustain its claims of Iranian involvement inside Iraq, the Iranian government has captured scores of MEK and Jundallah operatives, along with supporting documents, which substantiate that which the U.S. openly admits: The United States is waging a proxy war against Iran, inside Iran. This mirror imaging of its own terror campaign against Iran to manufacture the perception of a similar effort being waged by Iran inside Iraq against the U.S. has been very effective at negating any Iranian effort to draw attention to the escalation of war-like activities inside its borders. After all, who would believe the Iranians? They are only trying to divert attention away from their own actions inside Iraq, or so the story goes.


Continued war in Iraq is a tragedy. Having the conflict spread to Iran would be a disaster. No one can claim to possess a crystal ball showing the future. There are many who, when confronted with the potential for conflict with Iran, choose to brush these warnings aside, noting that such a conflict would be madness, and that the United States currently lacks the resources to fight a war with Iran. Such wishful thinking borders on irresponsible foolishness. If the headlines from this month tell us anything, it is that war with Iran is very much a possibility. The Bush administration has been actively planning war with Iran since the fall of 2004. Since that time, several windows of opportunity have presented themselves (most recently in spring 2007), but the Bush administration found itself unable to pull the trigger for one reason or another (the Navy's rejection of the presence of a third carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf scuttled the spring 2007 plans).

The administration always heeded the justifications for aborting an attack, primarily because there was time still left on the clock, so to speak. But time is running out. Israel has drawn a red line across the calendar, indicating that if Iran has not pulled back from its nuclear ambitions by the end of 2007, military action in early spring 2008 will be inevitable. The attack on Syria by Israel sent a clear message that attacks are feasible. The continued emphasis by the Bush administration on Iran as a terror state, combined with the fact that the administration seems inclined to blame its continuing problems in Iraq on Iran, and not failed policy, means that there is no shortage of fuel to stoke the fire of public opinion regarding war with Iran. Add in the "reality" of weapons of mass destruction, and war becomes inevitable, regardless of the veracity of the "reality" being presented.

The antiwar movement in America must make a strategic decision, and soon: Contain the war in Iraq, and stop a war from breaking out in Iran. The war in Iraq can be contained simply by letting war be war. There is no genuine good news coming out of Iraq. There won't be as long as the United States is there. As callous as it sounds, let the war establish the news cycle, and let the reality of war serve to contain it. The surge has failed. Congress may not act decisively to bring the troops home, but it is highly unlikely that Congress will idly approve any massive expansion of an unpopular war that continues to fail so publicly.

Iran, however, is a different matter. Congress has already provided legal authority for the president to wage war in Iran through its existing war powers authority (one resolution passed in 2001, the other in 2002). Likewise, Congress has allowed the Bush administration to forward deploy the infrastructure of war deep into the Middle East and neighboring regions, all in the name of the "global war on terror." The startup costs for a military strike against Iran would therefore be greatly diminished. Sustaining such a conflict is a different matter, but given current congressional reticence to stand up to a war-time president, it is highly unlikely any meaningful action would be taken to stop an Iranian war once the bombs start falling. And we should never forget that Iran has a vote in how this would end; once it is attacked, Iran will respond in ways that are unpredictable, and as such set in motion a string of cause-effect military actions with the United States and others that spins any future conflict out of control.

The highest priority for the antiwar movement in America today must be the prevention of a war with Iran. ...

We are already engaging in military activity against Iran. The level of our activity in Iran would provoke war in many places around the world. Because of the size of our military strength, the Iranians have shown restraint but there should be no doubt that any country, including the Iranians, would have a line in the sand that will lead to war if any particular nation, including ourselves, cross that line.

The Iraqis fought us when we invaded their country and they have less than half the population of Iran. Already, we have no clear purpose for being in Iraq except perhaps to clean up Bush's mess. Once again, if Bush and Cheney can get away with it, their possible attack on Iran would also have no particular purpose, at least in terms consistent with our history and democracy. It will be a disgrace if Bush leaves the White House while handing three wars to his successor. The war in Afghanistan, which should have been finished a long time ago, is now beginning it's seventh year.

One should note that the existence and possible progress of the Iran nuclear weapons program is far from proven and Iran may in fact be more or less in compliance with international law ('more or less' is the reality but also the wriggle room that right wingers seem anxious to use to justify war; just about every nation that has nuclear power (or nuclear weapons) can fall under the ambiguity of 'more or less' when it comes to adherence to the rules that govern such situations (the recent 'accident' that allowed armed nuclear weapons to be mistakenly transported by air to Louisiana were clearly a violation of US rules but they may also have been a violation of international rules as well). The neocons have not been straight with the American people on why we're in Iraq and they're clearly not being straight with us about their promotion of a war with Iran. Scott Ritter is right. The critical issue at this time is Iran.

One last note. This is unconfirmed and I wish I knew someone who could confirm the story or put it to rest; apparently there was a woman who called in to the Ed Schultz radio program and mentioned that there was considerable increased activity at Moffett's Field, located south of San Francisco. If true, we may be seeing an alarming buildup of supplies reserved for a potential conflict with Iran (though I should add that Ritter happens to point out that most materiel that might be used against Iran is already in the Middle East). Moffett Field in recent years has developed multiple uses but is still used by the military. In the fall of 1990, my wife and I were living in the Santa Cruz mountains about fifteen miles west of Moffett Field and watched dozens of planes at night, one after another, as they carried supplies to the Middle East for the buildup for the Gulf War. The woman who called in said there was similar activity at Moffett Field in the months before the current war in Iraq. Something may be afoot.

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