Before Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez resigned last Monday, both his office and the White House lied about it all weekend. It is par for the course for this gang. They lie about everything, including The Surge, as you can see.
When I want to know what’s going on in the Middle East, I stop by Juan Cole’s.
I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting in a supposedly safe all-Shiite area. The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing in a snit (much less more Sunni Arabs being brought in from the cold). The parliament hasn’t actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.
Next up, apparently: marketing a war with Iran. Cole’s colleague Barnett R. Rubin reports:
Today I received a message from a friend who has excellent connections in Washington and whose information has often been prescient. According to this report, as in 2002, the rollout will start after Labor Day, with a big kickoff on September 11. My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way:
“They [the source’s institution] have ‘instructions’ (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this–they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty.'”
Of course I cannot verify this report. But besides all the other pieces of information about this circulating, I heard last week from a former U.S. government contractor. According to this friend, someone in the Department of Defense called, asking for cost estimates for a model for reconstruction in Asia. The former contractor finally concluded that the model was intended for Iran. This anecdote is also inconclusive, but it is consistent with the depth of planning that went into the reconstruction effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I hesitated before posting this. I don’t want to spread alarmist rumors. I don’t want to lessen the pressure on the Ahmadinejad government in Tehran. But there are too many signs of another irresponsible military adventure from the Cheney-Bush administration for me just to dismiss these reports. I am putting them into the public sphere in the hope of helping to mobilize opposition to a policy that would further doom the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and burden our country and the people of the Middle East with yet another unstoppable fountain of bloodshed.
One thing I don’t get is, why they’d even bother trying to muster 35-40% support for anything at this point–and what they think is going to happen to that support when the price of gasoline doubles or triples.
Sunday Times: “Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran”
Sunday Telegraph: “Will President Bush Bomb Iran?”
Justin Raimundo (Antiwar.com): “Showdown Over Iran”
McClatchy Newspapers: “U.S. actions against Iran raise war risk, many fear”
Rawstory.com: “Study: U.S. preparing ‘massive’ military attack against Iran”
Time.com: “Prelude to an Attack on Iran”
Patrick J. Buchanan (Antiwar.com): “Phase III of Bush’s War.”
Buchanan, one of many paleo-conservatives who were marginalized by the neocon-driven GOP for their opposition to the war in Iraq, has been writing for quite some time about the disaster sure to be awaiting us if we were to pre-emptively attack Iran:
No voice in America was more resolute that the war would be an historic blunder than ours. From our first issue in 2002 until the 3rd Division stepped off, we warned this was an unnecessary war. Though Saddam was a monster, we said, he was no threat to us. But a U.S. invasion would radicalize Islam, increase terror, and leave our troops mired down in a nation whose people would come to hate us. We scoffed at the utopian blather about democracy breaking out as propagandistic nonsense.
But if the “military option” is a preventive war on Iran, let us, at least this time, consider beforehand the costs and consequences. With its cruise-missile and smart-bomb bins refilled, the U.S. could effect the nuclear castration of the mullahs in 48 hours. The Iranian air force and navy would be an afternoon’s work. But all of Iran’s Shahab missiles would likely be fired at U.S. bases and Israel, to the delight of the Arab and Islamic street, widening the war.
And how might Tehran respond? Iranian volunteers pouring into Iraq inciting the Shia to attack U.S. troops. The Green Zone turned into Fort Apache. A debacle, unless we send in more troops. Iranian oil exports halted. Terror attacks on U.S. installations and Gulf allies. Silkworm missiles fired at tankers. Oil at $100-$200 a barrel. A worldwide depression. That’s for openers.
In an all-out war, Iran could break apart. If so, we will multiply the ranks of terrorists hell-bent on getting their hands on a nuclear weapon, perhaps from Pakistan, and using it on us.