Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Attack on Iran Will Run

Mission to be Accomplished for Deserter-in-Chief

When, back in 2002, I said that the US would attack Iraq, people thought I was alarmist. I was not. I was alarmed. I am getting the same feeling now about Iran. (Indeed my alarm alternates between Syria and Iran) Iran will be attacked. And it will be a disaster. It may also be that the famous "surge" is actually in preparation for Iran rather than Iraq.

It really is déjà vu all over again. In the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the steady drum beat from the NeoCons and quasi-Likudnik Israel supporters, and the statements from the Bush administration showed that they were intent on doing it. And of course there was the matter of military resources being diverted away from Afghanistan towards Iraq.

President Bush is certainly consistent. He supported the continuation of the Vietnam War from the safety of the Texas Air National Guard, and even when he was AWOL in Arkansas. He has had a lot of support in his irrational endeavours in Iraq – and does now for Iran. History shows that George W. Bush, executioner in chief of Texas, does not need a long rope to lose his head.

And now he supports continuing the war in Iraq from the safety of the White House and even when he is on his frequent vacations in his ranch in Texas. He is not going to give up on this war, no matter how many people die to exorcise whatever deep personal “Rosebud” the Deserter-in-Chief has impelling him forward to match his father's genuine war record.

Israel wanted to remove the only Arab state in the area that posed any kind of threat. Since then it has been claimed that Sharon warned Bush against regime change, but one cannot be totally convinced. The Israeli prime minister may have warned against any hopes for democracy, but he is conveniently unavailable to testify and in any case, there was near unanimity in support of the war from the most fervent Israeli supporters in USA.

However, despite the considerable power of the Israeli lobby, it could not and cannot force the US into a war that is against American interests – but it can provide very useful backing for others who want that.

So was it oil? I think not. While the current laws being forced on the Iraqis would put the Western oil companies in a very favoured position, the costs outweigh the benefits. The oil companies could buy the Iraqi oil whoever was extracting it.

The Neocons certainly are vociferous supporters of Israel, but to be fair, they also have other ideological motives. As the (far removed) ideological descendants of Trotskyist schisms in New York, they genuinely believed that the US Army could take democracy to the Middle East on the bayonets of the US Army, in the same way that Leon Trotsky thought he could take socialism to Warsaw on the bayonets of the Red Army.

The Neocons could also call upon a group of idealist liberal interventionists, including Tony Blair, who genuinely, and correctly, thought that Saddam Hussein was a bloodthirsty tyrant, but who, patently incorrectly, thought that his removal would make all well. To win these over, the Neocons had to hold their noses while the administration and Blair invoked the UN and the resolutions that Saddam was defying. That paper trail of resolutions was crucial in giving the attack some residual legitimacy to persuade some over-scrupulously legalistic types, like Britain's Attorney General.

Gideon Rachman in today's Financial Times
succinctly shows the role of the Neocons in the media in advancing all these separate arguments, and we could rely on them not to draw attention to the other countries that were defying UN resolutions, whether Israel in the territories, or Morocco in Western Sahara.

While their active role in spreading the Big Lie: that Saddam Hussein was behind Al Qaeda and 9-11 was crucial, even more important was the silence of most of the media in the face of that. This was a very active passivity in its way, as the Victorian poet put it in his version of the Ten Commandments.

"Bear not false witness; let the lie
Have time on its own wings to fly"

Certainly few of the major media were taking shot at this duck when it started doing a victory roll over the Potomac.

So what about Iran? All the signs are the same. Iran is being demonized to the extent where fair-minded people could almost feel sympathy for the authoritarian theocrats running it.

The US has twisted the elbows of the Security Council to secure a resolution that Iran will refuse to accept, giving Bush (and maybe even Blair) a UN-blue figleaf of a legal justification for action.

Iran is to blame for the "setbacks" in Iraq: even though it is the Iranian-leaning Shi'as who are the (very expedient) backbone of the Baghdad government.

Iran is behind Al-Qaeda: which is as likely as a conspiracy between the Reverend Ian Paisley and the Pope. Israeli supporters are jumping up and down demanding action.

Iran has weapons of mass destruction: just like Iraq, and despite continual reports from the IAEA and other intelligence agencies suggesting that it has none.

US forces are being directed to the Gulf – and there is talk of a green light, or at least not a red light from the Bush administration to the Israelis to attack using bunker busting bombs on Iran (see Sunday Times ).

That may appeal to some in Washington as a disclaimable act. However, the horror of crossing the nuclear threshold would be apparent to the rest of the world. So would American complicity if, for example, the Israeli planes attacked across Iraq without challenge from the USAF, or indeed if the US did not immediately impose sanctions against Israel for using nuclear weapons.

One suspects that if the US is encouraging the Israelis, the purpose of the US forces in the region is to contain Iranian retaliation, and that the "Surge" also has this in mind. This was, after all, the administration that took resources chasing after Bin Laden in Afghanistan and diverted them to Iraq.

However the real effect of the "surge" will be to provide a lot more targets for the Shi'a militia who are presently not attacking Coalition forces but definitely will be.

The effects of the attack will be much more profound than the attack on Iraq, and it is all down to the President. He is the catalyst that unites all the various factors in this deranged enterprise.

To exorcise the ghosts of George W. Bush's cowardice during Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of American and US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf will be put at risk – along with the world's oil supplies, the dollar and the world economy. And that could pale into insignificance at the future consequences of a complete collapse of nuclear non-proliferation efforts if Israel crosses the nuclear threshold with, or indeed even without, American complicity.

It is, of course, all totally irrational – but this White House is on the record as thinking that reality can be moulded to its desires. It is also on the record, most recently from the "Surge" in seeing that it learns nothing from its demonstrable failures.

And of course, to refresh your memory on W's skimpy war record, click on "Deserter."

1 comment:

Alamaine said...

"President Bush is certainly consistent. He supported the continuation of the Vietnam War from the safety of the Texas Air National Guard, and even when he was AWOL in Arkansas."

There is a fact about this and a nuance. The fact is he was in Alabama. The nuance was that he was "AWOL" or a "deserter." The truth of the matter -- overall -- is that he was probably allowed to vacate his position in Texas inasmuch as he had demonstrated his lack of usefulness to his organisation. That he was permitted to leave completely without any subsequent obligations confirms this position, even when augmented by anecdotal evidence that he had developed a serious liking for holey spirits (and they do come out of the hole in the top of the container) and had become afraid to go aloft to be closer to his maker as a result or coincidentally.

We find in Younger George's demeanor the insistence on his being "born'd agin," which is code for making up for past misdeeds. He traded in, reportedly, his holey spirits for the Holy Spirit (or is it Sprite?) and now has found a worrisome warrior's resolve in sticking with the goal of prevailing over the Arabs and Persians. There's something Tennysonian* or Kiplingesque** about fighting to the last man, even in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Unfortunately, digging up old corpses in the cemetery of history is not the same things as resurrection, no matter how one drapes the Armani on the army of skeletons and fêtes them and their past glories as in a belated Irish wake. Had Saddam Hussein been left in power, he'd have gotten old and died, leaving his own impetuous son to deal with the rest of the World. But, as we know, there are now more skulls and bones for the Yalies' tomb rooms to rattle around or from which to make dice for future gambling runs. But being the result of his sire's first throw and go, it is only fitting that Younger George (or Uday) would amount to a "crap out," crippled by his devotion to his mother and his testy(-cular), competitive relationship with his father. What is amazing is his having been allowed to keep his bones active and in play.

* http://poetry.eserver.org/light-brigade.html
** http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_brigade.htm