Monday, September 17, 2007

The delusional necessity of war with Iran

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A few weeks ago I wrote about the coming war with Iran in a post entitled "Wag the dog in desperation". In it, I made the case, as many others have done, that Bush, Cheney, and the warmongers need a new war to recover their credibility and to get their project of global American hegemony back on track. Iraq has been a failure, but why not try again with Iran? And forget regime change and occupation. This will be a massive, media-friendly, video-game-like strike on Iran's nuclear and military infrastructure, and it will be designed so as to minimize American casualties and to avoid the sort of quagmire that Iraq has become.

The motivations are complex. Bush, Cheney, and the warmongers, many of them neocons, may believe in their delusions. They may believe that war with Iran is the right thing to do -- right for them, right for the country, right for the world. How frightening it is, however, when the delusional have the largest military arsenal in the history of the world at their disposal.

And yet there is more: The delusional are also playing politics, personal and party both. They may believe that war with Iran is the right thing to do, but they may also believe that it is the right political thing to do. For them, moving on from Iraq to Iran would give them a second shot at the lasting glory they so desperately desire, but it would also benefit them, and their allies, politically. You see, they need America to be at war. They need an Enemy, an Other, a Purpose. Idealistically, they seek global American hegemony. Realistically, they seek those wars that will keep them in power: the endless war on terrorism, a war that can never be won, Iraq, a war that turned into a disaster, and now, soon, Iran, the merger of political and ideological necessity.

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I presented some of the latest evidence of the coming war in that "Wag the dog" post. Here is more, from the U.K.'s Sunday Telegraph:

Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

There is even "a chilling scenario of how war might come," an escalation of tension initiated by the U.S., beginning, as we have seen already, with ill-founded and trumped-up claims that Iran is supporting the Iraqi insurgency. This will lead to U.S. raids on "training camps and bomb factories" inside Iran, then to "a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and even its armed forces".

And so on.

Bush will have his legacy, the neocons and their ilk will have their war, yet another war, and the rest of us will be left with the consequences of what is sure to be a disaster: fewer U.S. casualties, less of a quagmire on the ground, but repercussions that further weaken the U.S. and trigger turmoil around the world.

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