I am not hopeful tonight. Three US carrier groups are off the coast of Iran.
Talk of an attack is increasing. Rumor has it that in a shouting match at the White House a few weeks ago, the eminence grise (Richard Cheney) reasserted himself and took over the reins on the Contra-Iran campaign, pushing the Secretary of State aside in her wussy attempts to establish a dialogue with Iran.
Now that Tony Blair has departed the Prime Ministry, Joe Lieberman is vying for the title of Bush's lapdog and keeps insisting that we should attack Iran. I watched the testimony this morning of Dennis Ross before the House Foreign Relations Committee, and you can hear the hackneyed phrases pile one upon the other, all of them setting up Iran as a target.
No one, it seems, has even the moral courage to speak temperately about the situation. It is again a clear attempt to portray Iran as "deserving" of attack--and of course, since the Democrats did not have the courage to oppose the Administration's theory of unilateral warfare when it counted, back in 2002-03, well, what's another aggressive illegal war (wink wink nod nod)?
Of course, Iran is playing a game of chicken as well, by making aggressively stupid statements, so you can't really defend their position, even though they have the right to develop their uranium enrichment program under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. (Lest you think I am defending Iran, I'm not. The NPT by all accounts of the experts I have read, has a very serious conceptual flaw in forbidding the production of nuclear weapons while at the same time encouraging "peaceful" enrichment, and Iran has apparently been less than transparent in submitting to oversight.)
The other day the Senate voted 97-0 in favor of a resolution warning Iran that it "would be held accountable for its role in attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq." The motion was presented in such a way that if any Senator opposed the resolution he or she would have been branded a traitor. What else can you do but vote for it?
Of course we should hold Iran responsible--but by the same token we should also hold Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia responsible. No condemnation of Saudi Arabia involvement will be put to the vote, I can assure you, just as we haven't done a damn thing to the Saudis for the obvious large majority of the 9/11 terrorists who sprung from Saudi Arabia's loins.
And I have noticed in the past three weeks the increasing assertions by the Administration that Iran is responsible for killing our troops in Iraq. It first started with the insistence last winter that the IEDs in use are so complex that only Iran could supply them. This, despite the fact that expert military technicians know that the basic technology for the effective shaped charges is relatively simple (shaped charges have been known about since the beginning of the 20th Century and were used in World War I), and that Iraqis themselves are quite capable of creating the copper disks to shape the explosion and make it more effective. Do we really think that the Iraqis are "dumb Arabs" incapable of fighting skillfully? Do we really think that the insurgency doesn't possess weaponry and explosives from the arsenals we forgot to properly secure on our drive to Baghdad, or others which were hidden away in anticipation of an insurgency? I think that a considerable part of the hold Iran accountable for weapons technology argument, in addition to a constant pressure to justify an attack on Iran, is also supported by a deep and abiding racisim--a form of orientalism--which regards Arabs as savage people who do not have the intelligence of Westerners, who could not possibly have enough intelligence to fashion booby traps. Left out of the equation, of course, is the stupidity of our military strategy of continuing to send troops out in their less than adequately armored humvees.
The recent revelations that a large majority of captives in Iraq are Saudi Arabians, points to a very significant fact that the Administration does not like to admit: support for the Sunni resistance against American troops is provided by Saudi Arabia. Finally, perhaps most significantly, you will note the insistence in the speeches everyone makes on the Iraqi war that Al Quaeda is the primary enemy. As Herr Goebbels once said, repeat a lie enough and it will be believed. I have even heard assertions that Iran--which is hated by Al Quaeda and hates them as well--is supporting al Quaeda in Iraq! The US General named Bergner is insisting that "Our intelligence reveals that senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity." Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner posting before going to Iraq was on the National Security Council staff as "Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq." (Hey, let's put one of our good guys in there to control the flow of information. The spectre of Karl Rove flits by again.)
Bergner said a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq. Bergner said Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hezbollah and was "working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds force."
For some good perspective on the whole issue of Al Quaeda in the mess, look at a blogger called Old Hickory --where he reviews a very recent paper by the Intelligence analyst Anthony Cordesman called "Iraq's Sunni Insurgents: Looking Beyond Al Qa'ida." The fact of the matter is that we really do not know exact intelligence about the various insurgency groups, but that at best Al-Quaeda in Iraq is probably no more than 15% of the insurgency." I have seen other estimates put it as low as 5%. Yet George W. Bush talks about Al Qa'ida as if it were the primary enemy in Iraq.
To hear others in the Administration and the chicken hawks talk, they are the largest and most dominant. Cordesman's study is interesting for another reason: when you look at his summary of the information about all of the insurgency groups, what comes out clearly is their total opposition to the occupation of Iraq by the United States and their intention to get the U.S. out of the country as quickly as they can.
Again, in my thinking, it comes down to the fact that we invaded Iraq illegally and we should properly withdraw.
Don't bite or even nibble on the propaganda popcorn, folks, the President is in his bubble and he will go to his grave thinking that the folks who brought us 9/11 brought all the evil into the world, are out to rape you and yours and make you into slaves for their Islamic state. It's the return of the repressed: the President's nightmare is the inverse image of history. Don't play the game. Focus on what needs to be done and get this country back on track.