Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Round 3?

Who's playbook are we using?

I find this all very disconcerting.

From the Secretary of State today (from CNN):
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that it is "time for action" on the international demands for Iran to cease its uranium enrichment activities.
I do have to say the yellow sign has a point (I think the other sign is more than overkill; if I remember correctly, Bush doesn't even compare with fascists... on any number of levels).

Check out this interview with Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. I find his parallels between the rhetoric before Iraq II and the current rhetoric to be, er, scary, frankly. Iran is now Iraq. Prediction: We take the fight to Iran, and Iran will bring the fight to us. There'll be no more magnate attracting terrorists to Iraq (or Iran). Nope, we'll be looking for IED's in New York City and Norfolk and Nashville.

Read another interview with Joseph Cirincione here.
Cirincione says of the possibility of air attacks: "I can't think of any more counterproductive move if you have the goal of enabling the Iranian people to choose their own government, than to launch a military strike against Iran now."
And then, there was the New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh:
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.
Well, given the headlines of the last 24 hours, I guess we missed the opportunity of denial, at least for the pilot program.

From Andrew Stephen over at the Newstatesmen, we get this gem:
There will be an attack; that much is already assumed in Washington. Whether it should be nuclear is a matter of intense debate. The verdict may depend upon the wild card of the president's Messianic "To me it would be a worse crime to stay silent if telling the truth could prevent war."
"Oh, joy, I'm so happy," say I. Further down we read,
The dominant view, including from the Pentagon, is that nuclear strikes against Iran would be disastrous, militarily and politically. Yet there remains the terrifying wild card of what Hersh so rightly calls Bush's Messianic complex.

It is a sign of how dangerous the situation has become that the current focus on the possibility of a nuclear attack actually makes the prospect of a conventional strike seem like a soft option.

Inside the bunker, Rumsfeld has already written off Rice (and, in effect, Straw), dismissing her admission that the Bush administration has made thousands of mistakes in Iraq. "I don't know what she was talking about, to be perfectly honest," he said, adding that her comments probably reflected "a lack of understanding . . . of what warfare is about". She's only a woman, you see, and one now tainted irrevocably by all those commies in the State Department.

But he-men like himself and Bush and Cheney are made of sterner stuff, ready to nuke the world if they have to do that to save it, whatever the wimps outside the bunker may say. Whether the increasingly united Washington establishment will let those hunkering down in the bunker prevail is a different matter.
Oh, I just love rhetoric and hyperbole.

And speaking of rhetoric and hyperbole, this headline caught my eye: Playing craps with Iran: Now that a real threat is emerging, what’s Bush going to do?
The situation is dangerous, but not yet dire. And while the Iranian president is truly scary, what’s scarier still is the thought that the four stooges who have bungled Afghanistan and blown Iraq — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice — may be planning yet another war. Seymour Hersh is not the only one writing and talking about this. In Washington and in expert academic circles, it’s been something of an open secret. A week before Hersh’s piece ran, the American Conservative, a magazine at the other end of the ideological and cultural spectrum from the New Yorker, dedicated much of an issue to the notion that the Bushies are planning a war on Iran.

In a piece titled “An October Surprise?”, Pat Buchanan, former aide to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, former conservative candidate for president, and television’s most prominent — and perhaps only — credible paleo-conservative analyst, writes about how it is not unreasonable to imagine Bush trying a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone strategy: attack Iran and take out its nuclear capability while diverting attention from our miserable failures and terrible losses in Iraq.

What do Hersh and Buchanan know that we don’t know? They’ve seen the darkness with their own eyes. Hersh uncovered Vietnam’s My Lai massacre and Iraq’s Abu Ghraib–prison horrors. Buchanan has seen from within the White House bunker what happens to the nation when politics go tragically wrong. These guys may have more in common than people think. They are certainly divided by politics. But they both have a gruff and grizzly take on life. Simply put, their independent track records for predicting political disaster — while not perfect — are too good to be ignored. Both have been right about all the wrong that Bush has done in Iraq to date, and so we ignore them at our peril now.
Here's a bit from Patrick Buchanan's October Surprise essay:
While there seems no sense of urgency in Washington, the Bush Doctrine and Cheney ultimatum have painted us into a corner. Either Iran’s nuclear program is shut down, or the Bush Doctrine will have been defied by Tehran and Pyongyang, leaving Iraq as the Bush legacy.

All this has led to speculation that this summer or fall, Bush, his options having been exhausted, will order the air strikes.

What would be the benefits of such an October surprise?

Rather than appearing a retreat, Bush’s pullout from Iraq would look like that of a defiant gunfighter backing through the swinging doors of a Tombstone saloon with both guns blazing.

Bush’s rating could soar 20 points. Republicans would rally at the return of the 9/11 president. Democrats would be loath to attack a president who acted forcefully to remove what they themselves say is an intolerable threat. The neocons and Christian Right would hail Bush as the new Churchill. Bush would hold onto both houses in November, costing Democrats their best chance in a decade of recouping power.

What would Hillary do? Nothing but wait and see what the fallout was from Bush’s newest pre-emptive war.

And the risks? Iran could push its Shia allies to attack British and U.S. troops and send Revolutionary Guard “volunteers” in, which could mean a U.S. debacle, unless we responded with more American troops. Tehran could make us pay a price in blood in Afghanistan. Tehran could also send its agents into the emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to attack U.S. installations, setting the Near East ablaze and oil prices soaring to $200 a barrel, plunging the West into recession.

Thus a pre-emptive war on Iran, while a political triumph for the president this fall, could, like the invasion of Iraq, prove a long-term disaster.

To some of us, this would be another unnecessary war.
All in all, I'm not looking forward to round three.

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