see x minus 38
There are two groups who would try to convince us that those who think that the Bush administration is bluffing over Iran. There are two principal sources:
The statements of the Bush administration, those of the American Enterprise Institute, and some miscellaneous individuals who think basically that Bush “would not do such a thing.”
The former two have absolutely no credibility. None. Besides what we all know about what they told us about Iraq, look at what they are saying about the announced British (and Danish) pullout of troops; the obvious and deep dishonesty of these statements by the White House, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State show the deep contempt they have for the media and the people of the United States.
And even if they did have any credibility, note that they never (or almost never) use the expression “no ATTACK.” They sometimes say “no WAR”, clearly parsing words, in the hopes that a massive air attack on a sovereign nation can be passed off as just a transient little attack, just a tit for tat, just a retribution, just a warning, just to protect our troops, etc, etc. Here’s an excellent example from today from Rice:
“Let me just say here publicly, the United States has no desire for confrontation with Iran. None,”
What is the point of that statement?
The American Enterprise Institute is describing the preparations for war as “poker,” and “pressure.“
But if this is just poker, just pressure, just using the threat of military force to gain concessions from Iran, why did the Bush administration not do EXACTLY THAT IN 2003 when Iran offered to negotiate out of fear that they would be the next country invaded after Iraq?
Finally, there are some individuals who try to offer some convincing “he’d never do it,” or “he can’t do it…” statements. One of the most interesting is a posting on dKos suggesting that we should all “calm down,” because it helps Bush if we get excited; and that the military will stop Bush (?!) if he tries something irresponsible.
Well, it would be nice if there were some reasonable people wearing uniforms, but such hoped-for checks on the Commander in Chief are, for practical purposes, pie in the sky; what would a trapeze artist say if you told him that there IS a safety net below, but it’s invisible, and he isn’t allowed to go down and feel it…until he falls. It should be obvious that to rely on this hope and a prayer is irresponsible, and in its own way, disturbing from a constitutional sense.
The same author, in another post, suggests that the current ship positioning is not optimal for the best effect/defense; I frankly find this argument foolish on its face; these assets are obviously moveable to other configurations in a matter of a few hours. To suggest that we should not worry until the ships move is, well, silly in the extreme. What can the Congress do with 6 hours notice on a Saturday night?
And I must say, this “calm down” author never does get around to addressing two issues that shout for his attention: the first is, how does it serve Bush’s purposes for citizens to be very concerned about an attack on Iran, and more important, how does the author, apparently an expert on naval tactics, explain the appointment of Admiral William J. Fallon as head of Central Command? The wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan are ground wars. Fallon has little knowledge of this kind of fighting, at a time when clearly the US war efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan are in crisis. This is clearly a statement that something is MORE IMPORTANT THAN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. What would that be, and how can a navy/flier admiral’s expertise be used? The answer is obvious: a naval/aerial assault on Iran. In my opinion there is no stronger statement of what Bush is about: he has given up expertise that would be helpful in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN for the expertise of Fallon.
On the other side of the discussion are a number of responsible, honest experienced people who believe that Bush is on track to attack iran. I have already cited Sy Hersh. Look at what Wesley Clark says.
the Administration has refused to change our approach, and has instead chosen to augment the least effective element of US power in the region – air and naval.
We are already totally dominant in air and naval power over Iran. Even with Iran’s new Russian antiaircraft equipment, no one should doubt that US forces could penetrate these defenses and strike with precision with minimal losses. Iran’s naval countermeasures in the Gulf can be largely preempted. The Iranians no doubt recognize this…Whatever the pace of Iran’s nuclear efforts, in the give and take of the Administrations rhetoric and accusations and Iran’s under-the-table actions in Iraq, we are approaching the last moments to head off looming conflict.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of State:
“If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a ‘defensive’ U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.”
“American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day,
Ret. AF Colonel Sam Gardiner:
“Bush’s ‘redline’ for going to war is Iran having the knowledge to produce nuclear weapons—which is probably what they already have now,” says Sam Gardiner, a retired air-force colonel who specializes in staging war games on the Middle East. “The president first said [that was his redline] in December 2005, and he has repeated it four times since then.”
President Bush is preparing to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of April and the US Air Force’s new bases in Bulgaria and Romania would be used as back-up in the onslaught, according to an official report from Sofia.
“American forces could be using their two USAF bases in Bulgaria and one at Romania’s Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran in April,” the Bulgarian news agency Novinite said.
Scott Ritter: Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to war with Iran. It’s going to happen. There’s nothing we can do to stop it.”
Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee,
told The New York Times he believes the White House is developing a case for taking action against Iran….told Wolf Blitzer, “I have a great deal of worry that this [escalation of the war in Iraq] could expand…into some kind of action with respect to Iran, which I think would be an enormous mistake.”
former C.I.A. officer Philip Giraldi:
“I’ve heard from sources at the Pentagon that their impression is that the White House has made a decision that war is going to happen.”
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon – which it denies. Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.
Hilary Mann left the Bush administration in 2004. She’s a former National Security Council director for Iran and the Persian Gulf Affairs:
they’re trying to push a provocative accidental conflict. They’re pushing a series of increasing provocations against the Iranians in, I think, anticipation that Iran will eventually retaliate, and that will give the United States the ability to launch limited strikes against Iran, to take out targets in Iran that we consider to be important.
And I do not even count such members of Congress as Ron Paul, Nancy Pelosi, Joseph Biden and others who have expressed concern; these people are not wet behind the ears.
And finally, to go back to Bush’s pals at the American Enterprise Institute:
“I still believe, at the end of the day, that he will bomb the Iranian (nuclear) facilities,” said Joshua Muravchik, a neoconservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank with close ties to the Bush administration. Muravchik, who favors military action, sees Bush’s current focus on diplomacy [sic] as a prelude to attack.
“When he does it – if he does it – it will be wildly unpopular. He certainly at least wants to be able to say convincingly, `I tried everything else [sic],’” Muravchik said.
In summary, the Bush administration have given every reason for us to believe that an attack on Iran is forthcoming. There is no credible reason why we should not act with all due haste and vigor to convince our Representatives, Senators, and governors to stop Bush before he can engage in this disasterous act.