One Nightmare Not Enough—Iran Next?

23:29 Mon 16 Jul 2007

I’ve been noting the signs (moving significant naval forces into the area, propaganda pushes to assign blame for things in Iraq, Dick Cheney’s maneuverings around everyone else in the administration, the AIPAC stance, urging Britain to go to war over its captured sailors) for a while, but I just didn’t think the US would actually go to war with Iran. But last Thursday, the Senate voted to blame Iran for attacks on US troops in Iraq—a clear prelude to allowing the use of military force. Given the obviously belligerent nature of this US Administration in particular, which will use any excuse it can to get away with doing whatever it wants, this vote by the Senate looks disturbingly like a blank check.

And what was the vote, in the Senate? 97-0.

No-one voted in opposition. Not one Democrat voted against giving President Bush a convenient pretext to start a second war in the Middle East. Any Senator opposed to attacking Iran would have had to have voted against this to make sure that they couldn’t be politically ambushed later with the line “you agreed they’re attacking our troops, how can you be against us defending ourselves?”

Unbelievable. As so many progressives have feared, the Democratic leadership don’t really oppose the occupation of Iraq. In fact they, like the Republicans, want to increase the scale of the conflict to encompass Iran.

This would be a disastrous act of insanity by the United States. The US military is having an awful lot of trouble fighting in Iraq. To expect them to take on Iran as well is ludicrous. They might well be able to destroy the Iranian conventional forces, but then where does that leave them? And if for whatever reason the US can’t defeat the conventional forces, they might well resort to using nuclear weapons. Which would be truly beyond hideous.

Of course, they have all kinds of pretexts. The Iranians might get nuclear weapons, the Iranians support terrorism, the Iranians are supplying some of the groups inside Iraq. Even if all three are true, that doesn’t justify an attack on Iran morally, and practically speaking it would just be stupid.

Even if you believe, for whatever reason, that the United States should have full control over the Middle East and its resources, the attack on Iraq was moronic. There were far better ways to achieve what they desired there, ways that would not have exposed the weakness of the US military, and would not have destroyed foreign sympathy for the US. The moral objections to invading Iraq are numerous and compelling, which is why the government lied their way into it.

So, having severely damaged the US Army, bogged it down in an essentially unwinnable guerrilla conflict in hostile foreign territory, and having dissipated almost all global goodwill towards the United States, what does the Bush/Cheney cabal want to do now? Attack Iran.

Why? More of the same of their rationale for attacking Iraq. Not because it’s the best way to control the region, but because they want to project American military power. Essentially, they want to “show the world who’s boss”. That was a big part of why they handled Iraq the way they did, and in attempting that, they did quite the opposite. China and Russia are not more frightened now than they were in 2001.

And, of course, there’s tremendous unhappiness with the administration, and the war, at home. What’s the best answer? Start another war, obviously!

The Democrats aren’t going to be much use here. And maybe we won’t be either.

What to do? I don’t know. But if they do attack Iran, protest, in the sense of real, ongoing, non-stop protest, might be the only answer. For a variety of reasons, some of them entirely selfish, I hope we never get there.

Along the way, do not believe anything the Administration says about Iran. If you read media reports that the Iranians have killed American soldiers, remember how accurate the claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction were, and the claims that Iraq was involved in the September 11th attacks—that is to say, remember that they’ll feed you any kind of bullshit to get you to support the war, or even just to make you uncertain so you won’t protest.

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