Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 9-3-07: Update on the Coming "Confrontation" with Iran -- Will the USA Stumble From Stupidity to Insanity

Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph des Willens (1935)

The Bush Administration is once again escalating its confrontation with Iran. Clearly they have multiple motivations for doing so.... But details have emerged from the recent escalation that strongly indicate what many have long suspected: the Bush Administration’s fundamental conflict with Iran is not about its nuclear program or alleged weapons smuggling - so far unproven - into Iraq. It’s simply a great-power struggle for influence. ... How many U.S. soldiers’ lives is that goal worth? How many billions of U.S. tax dollars? Robert Naiman, Slam Dunk: The Bush Administration Is Trying to Provoke Iran, Common Dreams, 9-1-07

In a new report bound to cause shivers among the Washington hawks applauding the White House's anti-Iran escalations, the United Nations' atomic agency has confirmed "significant progress" in Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since May. Throwing cold water on the hot furnace brewing yet another war in the volatile region, the report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei raises hope that the Iran nuclear crisis may be resolved one step at a time, unless the United States and Israel somehow manage to derail the process, just as happened with Iraq five years ago. Kaveh L Afrasiabi, A small break for Iran, Asia Times, 9-1-07

Hard Rain Journal 9-3-07: Update on the Coming "Confrontation" with Iran -- Will the USA Stumble From Stupidity to Insanity

By Richard Power

Will we soon reach the point of no return?

The cliché goes, "elections have their consequences."

Yes, but stolen elections have grave consequences.

Twice now, in 2000, and again in 2004, the Democratic Party leadership has passed on the moral responsibility and political opportunity to declare Bush-Cheney for what it is -- an illegitimate regime.

Could they have reversed the outcome in either instance? Probably not. But they could have called it what is was, and held every action of the Bush-Cheney regime, in particular matters of war and peace, to the harsh light of that illegitimacy.

If the Bush-Cheney national insecurity team had been hobbled from the beginning, they would not have done so much damage; and if Kerry had exposed their theft of Ohio in 2004, they would have been further weakened.

Yes, stolen elections have grave consequences.

I was opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, way back when it was still only as glint in Dick Cheney's eye, not because it would be immoral or illegal (although of course it is indeed both immoral and illegal); I was opposed to it because it would be stupid.

And subsequent events have proven that assessment to be 100% correct, it was a catastrophically stupid idea. (Unless, of course, your goals were short-term political gain in the 2002 and 2004 US elections, obscene profits for corporatist cronies, and perennial conflict. And yes, there is damning evidence that these were indeed the real goals.)

Now Bush-Cheney's saber-rattling has begun, once again, over Iran.

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.
Sarah Baxter, Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran, Times of London, 9-2-07

Launching an unnecessary war with Iraq was stupid, launching an unnecessary war with Iran would be insane.

Bush, Cheney and their cabal have already proven themselves to be psychologically disturbed. But what of the US political establishment and mainstream news media? Have they been no more than enablers, too weak-willed to stand up to the scary people in the White House? Or are they willing to compound their capitulation to stupidity in the instance of Iraq, by joining in the insanity of an attack on Iran?

What will the Democratic leadership do? What will the Democratic presidential candidates do? What will the US mainstream news media do? Will they show that they have learned from their mistakes? Or will they all blink and carry this filthy water too?

If the decent men and women held captive in the Cult formerly known as the Republican Party do not rise up and refuse this second dose of Kool-Aid, they will consign themselves to political oblivion.

If the Democratic congressional leadership capitulates and offers credence to a Bush-Cheney attack on Iran, it will risk a profound and perhaps terminal fracture within the party, and they will lose the ground gained in 2006.

If one of the major Democratic presidential contenders, e.g., John Edwards, refuses to blink and condemns such an attack in clear and unambiguous terms, while Sens. Clinton and Obama equivocate, or worse yet, endorse it, the resulting paroxysms could alter the race for the nomination irrevocably, it could turn the race upside down.

If the US mainstream news media enables such military adventurism without putting it into the context of the lies that led up to the invasion of Iraq, I hope that one day they have to stand in the dock at the Hague, alongside the architects of the regional war, and possible global conflagration, that will follow.

What will the men and women in the US military, intelligence and law enforcement communities do? After all, they have sworn allegiance to the US Constitution, not to the neo-con fantasy of a "unitary executive" that the chickenhawks cling to.

Yes, the Iranian regime is an ugly one. So was Saddam Hussein's. But no one with any grasp of reality could still argue that the Iraqis, the region as a whole, or even the USA, is better off today because he was toppled.

Yes, the Iranian regime is an ugly one. But is it any less democratic than the Saudi regime? Certainly not. Indeed, although twisted, it is more democratic than the Saudi regime. And is Iranian religious extremism any more abhorrent than the Wahabbism taught in the Saudi and Pakistani madrasses? Certainly not.

Did the Iranians attack us on 9/11? They had as much to do with it as the Iraqis. Nothing. (Indeed, Iran and Iraq had been mortal enemies of Al Qaeda.)

Yes, the Iranians are up to no good in Iraq.

Consider this excerpt from the incredible Stephanie Miller's recent interview with Wesley Clark:

Stephanie Miller: Well, and General as we, you know, I've said many times on this show, we're also not being honest about what's going on. Of course, we're not even mentioning that, that it's Saudi Arabians that are killing the majority of American troops. The, they're the majority of the bombers that are coming in. So, you know, why aren't they saber-rattling, rattling at our good friends Saudi Arabia?
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, the, there are Saudis in there who are part of the Sunni militia and the Al Qaeda in Iraq, but there are also Iranians in there who are part of the problem and doing the training, and we're also losing people to Shia. In fact the explosively formed penetrators, the EFPs- -these copper slugs that are causing so much damage, that's a, that's a technology that's been brought in through Iran, not through Saudi Arabia, and that's actually the major problem that we're facing right now. What's happening is the Saudis are, are behind the scenes working officially to support the United States. They're trying to encourage the tribes, the Sunni tribes, to rally and side with the Americans instead of resisting the Americans and, and that's happening...
General Wesley Clark on the Stephanie Miller Show, 8-20-07

But war, as Wesley Clark, emphasizes, is not the answer in this situation.

As I suggested in a related post last year (Hard Rain Journal 11-20-06: The USA Needs A Scapegoat, I Suggest the Bush-Cheney National Insecurity Team), the USA needs a scapegoat. Al Qaeda and the Iranian regime are boogey-men, not scapegoats. The USA needs to pin the debacle in Iraq on some grouping.

Iraq is not a military defeat after all. The US military did not fail in Iraq. It accomplished its mission, it toppled Saddam Hussein.

Iraq is a geopolitical disaster. The US political establishment failed. The White House failed. Neo-con doctrine failed. The US mainstream news media failed.

The USA needs a scapegoat, and it needs one fast.

Again, I suggest that the scapegoat should be the Bush-Cheney regime. There are only two ways forward, either impeach them, a course that is clearly justified, but also politically unfeasible, because it would be unsuccessful in the US Senate as currently constituted, or scapegoat them, shut them down, refuse to authorize, refuse to fund, investigate, expose and vilify them, relentlessly until the end of their illegitimate reign.

What must you and I do?

Ray McGovern says it well.

Why do I feel like the proverbial skunk at a Labor Day picnic? Sorry; but I thought you might want to know that this time next year, there will probably be more skunks than we can handle. I fear our country is likely to be at war with Iran -- and with the thousands of real terrorists Iran can field around the globe.
It is going to happen, folks, unless we put our lawn chairs away on Tuesday, take part in some serious grass-roots organizing, and take action to prevent a wider war -- while we still can. ...
Bush's Aug. 28 speech to the American Legion comes five years after a very similar presentation by Vice President Dick Cheney. Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002, Cheney set the meretricious terms of reference for war on Iraq. ...
So, on Tuesday, let's put away the lawn chairs and roll up our sleeves. Let's remember all that has already happened since Labor Day five years ago.
There is very little time to exercise our rights as citizens and stop this madness. At a similarly critical juncture, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was typically direct. I find his words a challenge to us today:
"There is such a thing as being too late.... Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with lost opportunity.... Over the bleached bones of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: 'Too late.'"
Ray McGovern: Do We Have The Courage To Stop War With Iran?, Buzzflash, 8-31-07

Take heart. If Cheney had gotten his way, we would already be at war with Iran.

I urge you to go to Securing America, Vote Vets or Stop Iran War and join Gen. Clark, and other patriots, in this struggle to save the USA from making yet another terrible mistake in the Middle East.

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