Sep 1, 2007

Wait until dark

Last night, driving home from seeing "No End in Sight" for the second time (if you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to do so! Bring a Republican friend if you have one!) I really noticed how the days are getting shorter. The sun was already below the mountain to the west of the city at 7:10 pm. The heat is still here in the West--it is nearly 105 today and was at least 100 yesterday--but the changes in the light tells us that Fall is on the horizon. There's nothing like blazing sunset on patches of cirrus and heavy cumulus clouds over the higher mountains to the north.

And when we get more night than day is when the fireworks are most spectacular, especially when the fireworks are real and kill, maim, and destroy. Fox News loves those shock and awe campaigns in the dead of night.

I've been writing for a number of months about a coming attack on Iran. Now, a number of ominous storm clouds are coming together. Gareth Porter is an impeccable reporter on the machinations going on in Iraq, and an interview with him on tipped me to information from Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation of New York University. Rubin has posted at Informed Comment Global Affairs information which makes a parallel between the propaganda campaign for the Iraq war in the Fall of 2002 and an upcoming campaign this Fall for war with Iran. The scary suggestion is that they are not looking for manufacturing majority consent, but only about 35 to 40% consent, from the American public. Rubin hesitated to post the information, but I for one am glad he did.

According to Rubin's post, the office of Vice President Cheney has instructed staff to line up the usual suspects (American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, et al) to initiate a major propaganda campaign to begin right after Labor Day. The Petraeus "progress report" (and what progress report do you know of that has ever reported "failure"?) is now scheduled for 9-11-2007. President Bush's major speech on Iraq shortly thereafter you just know will use 9-11 as its North Pole. All the props are being moved onto the stage. Of course, little of this "propaganda program" is confirmed, but perhaps as we watch the news we will see it unfold before us.

I urge you to review the following information and to be prepared to discuss and argue. For over six months, now, the Pentagon, military leaders in Iraq, and administration spokespeople (and their conservative flacks) have asserted that Iran is the "source for weapons" used against US troops. The assumption has been that the Iraqi insurgents are not smart enough to manufacture IEDs and that Iran therefore must be supplying them. The casus belli will clearly be those IEDs

If the United States is going to attack Iran it will be based on a mixed program of partial truth, distortions, exaggerations, fabrications, and bold lies, the same pattern that we saw in preparation for the illegal invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. George W. Bush, after years of rejecting an analogy to Vietnam, has now decided to make the analogy. Why? Because he believes--one of the standard conservative assertions that America was driven from Vietnam not because we could not win the war against the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, but because the military were "betrayed" by the American public. Hogwash.

For a whole commentary on that ultimate distortion, see Arthur Silber's "They are the Damned" for February 11, 2002.

So to get back to arming yourselves with the information that will counter the manufacture of consent, please go to radio. Listen to the most recent interviews--or download an .mpg file to your iPod--with Gareth Porter and Wayne White, both of whom are very knowledgeable. Porter, as I mentioned above, is one of the impeccable reporters on the war. He will be publishing a piece soon on the attempts to fabricate the rationale for an invasion of Iraq. I'll link to it here when it comes out.

White is a former member of the State Department. He truly believes that Iran is in the process of developing Nuclear Weapons, but as with the AIEA and US intelligence sources' recent reports, they are still years away from successful manufacture of a nuclear weapon. It is a long interview but worth listening to for the sanity and practicality of his evaluation.

I am not defending Iran here. I can understand their situation, however, and I am not surprised by their dangerous and foolish bluster and tightrope walking. In many ways their leaders are as arrogant and as stupid as ours. But I also know that our diplomacy with them had been non-existent and is now too little and too late. You got a problem? talk it out and argue, but you don't solve a problem with military violence.

As White points out, the last person to try to invade and go for a regime change in Iran was Saddam Hussein. The war with Iran lasted 8 years (September 1980 to August 1988) and resulted in up to 1.5 million deaths.

And if the propaganda works and the Bush administration decides to commit the folly of attacking Iran, they will do it with our military, already stretched to the limit by the war in Iraq. I hope that reality will prevail and that an attack on Iran will be seen as impractical. However, remember what I suggested in earlier posts the carrier groups headed for the Persian Gulf area and a Navy man was put in charge of the forces in the Central command: the Air Force and the Navy, removed from the immediate action, have been champing at the bit to prove their destructive capability, and since they are not experiencing the ground casualties of the Army and Marines, they are insulated from the madness on the ground.

Ray McGovern, the former CIA officer and founding member of Veteran Intelligence Officers for Sanity (VIOS) thinks that maybe the only thing keeping us from this second madness and disaster will be the Joint Chiefs of Staff and/or leaders of the Army and the Marines. I think McGovern is searching for rays of hope, as are all of us who can see the folly in the future. But as much as the Joint Chiefs may be reluctant to invade Iran, they will follow orders if they are given. Phil Ochs, remember? Always the old who give the orders, always the young who fall.

My own ray of hope is that Congress maybe for once can dig deep down into its soul and oppose another war, and I will be writing my Congress critters to let them know my views. I am not happy with Congress so far, and don't see them changing their cowardly ways. Realism and sanity should prevail over war fever and propaganda, but I'm not sure they will. Congress will always cave in to their fear of charges of lack of patriotism.

There are demonstrations scheduled by war protesters for September and October. Time to put on the walking shows and make the banners. Last time we may have known the truth and been angry as the manufacturing of consent occurred; now that we know it is going to begin to take place--what better time than a year without an election?--let's push back against the propaganda with more confidence and indignation.

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