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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 — 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.
The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.
Amount an auditor estimated last year that Oregon could save each year by feeding prisoners less food:
Kentucky is the saddest state.
An Italian economist was questioned on suspicion of terrorism after a fellow passenger on an American Airlines flight witnessed him writing differential equations on a pad of paper.
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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.'”