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Following on No Comment’s “Setting the Stage for the Next War” (June 21, 2007), we hear further murmurings about possible conflict with Iran from across the Atlantic. The international community remains without meaningful progress on the Iranian nuclear issue, and accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq mount with the increasing urgency of the U.S. mission there. Now, the Guardian reports that it has learned from anonymous U.S. sources of an increasing tilt within the Bush administration towards military action against Iran:
The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.
The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.”
The article suggests that once again Vice President Cheney has prevailed over Condoleeza Rice and Robert Gates. Cheney wants war at all costs, before Bush leaves office. The two senior cabinet officers consider this foolish and self-destructive.
In the meantime, a heavy U.S. Navy presence in the Persian Gulf, which the Pentagon insists is solely the result of routine rotations of carrier groups in and out of the region in support of operations in Iraq, leaves doubt as to peaceable intentions on the part of the United States. Add on top of this news from back in late May that the Bush administration has authorized non-lethal covert CIA action within Iran, and it seems clear that the Pentagon has been instructed to prepare for a dramatic and sustained aerial strike against Iran—if Bush gives the go ahead.
How exactly does Cheney keep the president in his thrall? Supposedly fueling Cheney’s justification for encouraging war is the belief that Bush’s successor, Democrat or Republican, won’t have the appetite to deal with Iran. The White House remains in a Neocon-induced trance, the Guardian reports with some convincing detail. And in the Neocon Neverneverland, a wide consensus against a given policy provides precisely the justification for pursuing that policy. There are seventeen more months to wait until adults arrive in the White House, and until that time, anything could happen.
Evan Magruder contributed to this post.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”