Stop Us Before We Kill Again!
By Bernard Weiner
The essence of Bush&Co. strategy, from January 2001 to today,
can be boiled down to this: We'll continue doing whatever we
want to do until someone stops us.
So, if you're wondering whether the U.S. will back off from
attacking Iran, or whether corporations will no longer be given
the ability to dictate Administration environmental policy, or
whether domestic spying on U.S. citizens will cease, or whether
Scalia might recuse himself on cases he's already pre-judged --
if you still harbor any or all of those illusions, forget about
Since Bush&Co. openly carry out the most reprehensible crimes,
with nobody being able to prevent them from moving on to even
worse atrocities, it's almost as if their unconscious is
screaming out for a political intervention, reminiscent of that
old plea from a tormented serial-killer: "Stop Me Before I Kill
But consciously, as they sense their time in power may be coming
to an inglorious end and as they read their quickly-sinking poll
numbers, they can't help themselves from issuing their
traditional, in-your-face dare: "Stop me if you can, losers!"
This big-A "Attitude" started long before Inauguration Day, when
Karl Rove & Dick Cheney were devising their strategy and theory
of governance. It goes something like this: We need only one
vote more than the other guys -- on the Supreme Court, in the
Senate, in the popular vote totals in key states. Once we get
our victory by whatever means necessary, we are then the
"legitimate" rulers. We can claim The People Have Spoken and
that we have a "mandate" for action and can do whatever we want.
If you don't like it, tough. If you're foolhardy enough, you can
try again at the next election and see where that gets you,
suckers -- our side counts the votes!
THE POSITIVES & NEGATIVES
The Bushistas look around and, though not happy with how their
policies have fallen out of favor, they can be somewhat
sanguine. After all, their fundamentalist base of about 33% is
still hanging in there with them. The mainstream media -- most
newspapers, Fox News, radio talk-shows, cable pundits -- are
still more or less in their pockets. The bothersome Democrats
remain in the minority, marginalized in Congress and far away
from the levers of power. The votes are still tabulated by a few
Republican companies, many from e-voting machines that are
easily manipulatable by company technicians, even from remote
distances. Another major catastrophe -- a new war, a huge
natural disaster, a major terrorist attack -- can re-focus the
headlines away from Bush&Co.'s current and ever-growing
On the other hand, a determined prosecutor Fitzgerald is still
out there, deeply knowledgeable about what really went down in
the manipulation of pre-Iraq War intelligence. The military
establishment is rebelling against Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld war
policies, openly in the case of those generals who resigned to
speak their minds, and covertly in the case of those actively
serving who are leaking their opposition to Jack Murtha, Sy
Hersh and others. More and more conservative and moderate
Republicans are backing away from too-close association with
BushCheney, and there have been a number of embarrassing defeats
for the Administration in Congress. Revelations of one Bush&Co.
scandal after another keep coming (Katrina, Abramoff, domestic
spying, WMD lies, torture, Plamegate, Unitary Executive
dictatorship, and on and on).
Given all that -- and one suspects that is just the tip of the
criminality iceberg -- one would expect that Bush and Cheney
would be approaching the impeachment dock shortly. But while a
majority of the public is willing to consider or support making
Bush and Cheney accountable for their lies and corruption and
incompetency, the weak-kneed politicians simply refuse to even
consider a censure resolution, let alone to pass one authorizing
impeachment hearings. In short, the Democrats have chosen not to
put up a real fight for either the future well-being of the
Constitution or their own political survival, preferring instead
to watch from the sidelines as the Republicans implode in
corruption, scandal and disarray.
And so, with no effective opposition in their way, Bush&Co.
simply keep moving forward. Next stop: Iran.
THIS IS NOT JUST SABER-RATTLING
Though there is some speculation that all this talk about Bush
attacking Iran is so much saber-rattling to get the Iranians to
back away from pursuing their nuclear ambitions, I don't buy it.
Bush&Co. want this war for a variety of reasons: to further
their deeply-held goal (and Bush's sense of "legacy") of
altering the geopolitical makeup of the greater Middle East; to
control the vast oil reserves in the region; to provide yet
another demonstration model to Muslim rulers in the area not to
mess with U.S. desires and demands; and, of course, to wrap Bush
in the warrior flag yet again as a way of deflecting attention
away from his domestic and foreign scandals by counting on the
public's fascination with footage of laser-guided "precision"
bombs striking the "enemy's" buildings and radar batteries.
("Precision" is in quotation marks because by now we know to
anticipate thousands of dead and wounded civilians when the
missiles and bombs go off-target. And, let us not forget, we
haven't even brought up the subject of the radiation effects
that might ensue if, as is being planned, Bush uses "tactical"
atomic bombs, the so-called mini-nuke "bunker busters," to get
at Iran's deep-underground labs. If such WMD are employed by the
U.S., hundreds of thousands could be killed or badly damaged by
radiation, and the area contaminated into the far future.)
The propaganda barrage being laid down by Administration
spokesmen these days is so utterly identical to the fog of lies
that preceded the attack on Iraq that it seems all Rumsfeld and
Rice have to do is simply re-use the original press releases and
change the last letter of the target country, "n" instead of
"q." We even get ye olde "mushroom cloud" image hauled out
again, supposedly warning us about Iran's non-existent nuclear
weapons; this time, that mushroom cloud could well be one
effected by the U.S. bombers and missiles.
Even the fantastical expectations are as out of whack as what we
were told would happen in Iraq. There, we were promised, the
American forces, in a "cakewalk," would be greeted as
"liberators," with kisses and flowers. In Iran, we're told, much
the same will occur, and the oppressed Iranians, chafing at the
harsh rule of the fundamentalist mullahs running the country,
will rise up and topple their repressive government. Seymour
Hersh writes: "One former defense official, who still deals with
sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the
military planning was premised on a belief that 'a sustained
bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership
and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.' He
added: 'I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, 'What
are they smoking?'")
These predictions of a popular Iranian uprising, which arise out
of neo-con ignorance and desire, simply ignore the realities on
the ground. Imagine, for example, how U.S. citizens would feel
-- even those opposed to the Bush Administration -- if a
bullying foreign power bombed the hell out of our country's
scientific and industrial laboratories, killing a lot of our
citizens in the process, and badly hampering our economic
progress for decades to come. If the attack included nuclear
bombs, multiply those angry reactions (and the resulting
radiation deaths) by a thousand per cent. How would the citizens
react? Of course: The American people would unite behind their
leaders, beloved or despised, in resisting the attackers. Much
the same reactions should be anticipated from Iran's citizens.
In Iran's case, given that it's the major Muslim military and
political power in the region, that resistance might well lead
to retaliation where it hurts. Israel, America's one surefire
ally in the region, probably would be attacked, thus widening
the already red-hot conflict; U.S. warships in the area would be
targeted by Iranian missiles; oil sales to the West would be
greatly reduced or cut off entirely, and perhaps other oil
fields in the region might be bombed; the Straits of Hormuz,
which control entry into the Persian Gulf, might be blocked to
sea traffic; Iranian assault troops might enter Iraq to support
the insurgency, which would have redoubled its attacks on U.S.
forces; Iran-sponsored terrorists would hit American targets
both in the region and perhaps even inside the United States.
Plus, the Law of Unintended Consequences would lead to even more
ruinous events not even contemplated here as other Islamic
nations become involved.
Surely, Iran knows how much the U.S. military is stressed these
days in Iraq and Afghanistan, how thin the troop strength is
around the globe, how so many U.S. troops are going AWOL or are
not re-upping, how National Guard troops and commanders are
reacting negatively to their overuse outside America's
boundaries, how many in the Pentagon brass are opposed to Bush
policy, etc. The aim of the Iranians, in this scenario, would be
to get the U.S. bogged down in yet another land war in the
In short, it's not just the ineptly-managed quagmire in Iraq
that is behind much of the opposition from high-ranking officers
and retired brass in America's military command. Clearly, they
are speaking out now because of the prospect of another disaster
about to unfold in Iran, which will get young American troops
slaughtered and tied-down in yet another military adventure.
(Let us be clear. The military brass currently in revolt against
Rumsfeld and his superiors -- the unnamed Cheney and Bush -- are
not liberal activists energized by the issues of whether these
wars are moral or legal or even well-advised; they are arguing,
for the most part, on how best to properly manage such
conflicts, how to more effectively conduct such imperial
adventures while keeping their troops safe. But, whatever their
motives, progressives should welcome any dissent that weakens
the hold of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld triad on the levers of
WHY IRAN WANTS NUKES
Do I believe that Iran's rulers are nice, progressive guys who
deserve our active support? Of course not. Ahmadinejad mirrors
Bush as a close-minded, backward-looking, religiously-influenced
fundamentalist leader, and Iran's senior mullahs likewise. Do I
believe Iran wants uranium-enrichment purely to build nuclear
power plants? Of course not. They desire to be the big power in
the neighborhood, plus they've seen how defenseless Iraq and
Afghanistan were treated, and how this differs from how the U.S.
behaves toward North Korea, Pakistan and India, all recent
members of the nuclear-weapons club.
If for no reason other than their own protection against the two
atomic powers in the region (the U.S. and Israel), the Iranian
government's goal is to possess some nuclear-tipped missiles.
Their atomic program is taking its first babysteps these days.
America's own intelligence analysts believe it would take
anywhere from five to ten years to get to the point of Iran
having a nuclear arsenal. And, if both sides possess nuclear
weapons, the world may return to the days of MAD, Mutually
Assured Destruction, as a brake on rash action.
The Bush doctrine of "preventive" or "pre-emptive" war is to hit
potential enemies before they can even get on the track of
building up their weaponry. Hit 'em while they're weak and
vulnerable, even if they have no plan of attacking anybody (such
was the case with Iraq) -- that's the operating principle. The
Islamic states are weak and vulnerable right now; hit 'em. Iraq
is weak and vulnerable; take it. Iran doesn't yet have a fully
developed nuclear program; blast it.
THE APRIL 29TH ANTI-WAR TEST
Nobody is sure when the U.S. attack on Iran will come. Given the
resistance inside the American military to launching such an
attack, the Bush propaganda machine may feel it needs a few more
months to soften the public's attitude to the "inevitability" of
the move on Iran. (And to obtain the international fig-leaf of a
vaguely-worded U.N. Security Council authorization vote for
war.) Or they could judge that the situation requires a
"the-sooner-the-better" approach, before too much opposition
develops in the American body politic and around the globe.
Since this will not be a ground invasion, the air assault could
happen at any moment. I'm guessing we have maybe a month in
which to head this madness off at the pass.
Before the attack on Iraq in 2003, more than ten million people
worldwide marched in opposition to that imminent invasion. Three
years later, there seems very little organized resistance to the
impending war on Iran. Only now is the possibility of such a
U.S. attack coming onto most folks' radar screens. The peace
movement seems puny in its ability to organize masses of
demonstrators these days, whereas the march of immigrants across
the country brought out millions.
We'll have a better sense of the strength of the peace movement
on April 29, when the big anti-war march (the war being opposed
is the one in Iraq) will happen in New York City, this one
organized by United for Justice & Peace. Will those in the
anti-war movement see the larger picture and alter their
approach and rhetoric and actions accordingly? We shall see.
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international , has
taught at various universities, worked as a writer-editor with
the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently is co-editor of The
Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). For comment:
firstname.lastname@example.org << .
Copyright 2006, by Bernard Weiner
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