Is anyone surprised that our Supreme Leader has refused to rule out nuking Iran? Asked if there was anything to Seymour Hersh‘s scoop revealing U.S. plans for a nuclear strike against Tehran, Bush replied:
“All options are on the table. We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we’re working hard to do so.”
All options? Including genocide? Well, uh, yes but don’t worry. We’ll issue a good number of threats before we actually commit mass murder: we’ll bellow and beat our chests, like King Kong atop the Empire State Building. Then we’ll nuke ’em! That’s “diplomacy” in the Age of Bush II.
Bush says he plans to discuss the Iran issue in his talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. One hopes the discussion will be informed by Mr. Hu’s knowledge of Chinese history, especially including Mao Tse-Tung’s crazy-yet-plausible belief that China could survive a nuclear war and still come out on top. Maybe then the Americans will realize that someone, someday, will finally call their bluff.
I think we have reason to be grateful, at least on this one occasion, for our president’s crudity. His bluntness is a blessing. Now we know that, stripped of its moral pretensions, its “strategic doctrines,” and its highfalutin’ rhetoric, American foreign policy is nuclear blackmail, pure and simple.
In the interest of parsimony, both budgetary and literary, let us dispense with the high-flown policy pronouncements, communiqués, and other effluvia of diplomatic parlance, and boil it down to a simple statement of unmistakable clarity:
Defy us and we’ll destroy you.
There are, of course, degrees of destruction, and also various styles. There is economic warfare, ranging in intensity from the Iraq sanctions that Madeleine Albright infamously characterized as “worth it” in spite of the horrific human toll, including half a million children to the wrist-slapping diplomatic sanctions imposed on Belarus as punishment for President Lukashenko having won the election. This latter example blends into the realm of ideological warfare, aimed at provoking hatred and war hysteria at home, while rationalizing war preparations in the eyes of the world, and is usually carried out indirectly by the government’s spear-carriers in the media. Reporters who take dictation from government officials, often their sources; columnists who function as courtiers; and lobbyists, especially those in the pay (or under the influence of) foreign governments all these are the shock troops of the War Party’s propaganda corps, whose function is to send out scouting parties in search of fresh conquests.
The shooting begins only after the last volleys have been fired in the war on the home front over the future of America’s foreign policy. Will we adopt a frankly terrorist doctrine that asserts a “right” to initiate force anywhere, at any time, against anyone for any or no publicly revealed reason? This is the question that confronts us as we begin to evaluate or, rather, back away from in horror the consequences of the so-called Bush Doctrine to date. Over 2,300 U.S. troops dead, tens of thousands horribly wounded. It’s no wonder the U.S. military refuses to estimate the number of Iraqi dead and debilitated. After all, we can’t expect every mass murderer to enumerate his own criminality although some do.
As the neocons try to beat the rap in a court of law, as well as the court of public opinion the debate hinges on the awareness and inherent skepticism of the American people when it comes to government. That’s where Antiwar.com comes in. The War Party is relentless: no sooner had we invaded Iraq than we were already preparing for war against Iran, and now that we are moving against the mullahs one can only wonder which future targets are being contemplated: Damascus? Beirut? One is reminded of the most extravagant expression of neoconservative triumphalism, uttered by one Laurent Murawiec in those halcyon days when war advocates were confidently predicting the road to Baghdad would be strewn with rose petals. Murawiec, a former LaRouche cultist who somehow talked his way into the Rand Corporation, told members of the president’s Foreign Policy Advisory Board that we ought to prepare an invasion of Saudi Arabia, adding with a flourish:
As a pure expression of the brazen kookery, the odd mixture of naïveté and pure evil, that lies at the dark heart of neoconservative foreign policy doctrine, that statement has few equals. Murawiec was dismissed as a marginal crank at the time, but now that the administration is moving against Iran and rattling its saber elsewhere in the Middle East, one has to ask whether the inmates have taken over the asylum.
In the Bizarro World we’ve fallen into, on account of the sheer force of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, such “logic” as Murawiec’s makes perfect sense that is, if you’re as completely disconnected from reality as those strategic geniuses in the Pentagon.
If we mean to take our foreign policy and our country back from the little Napoleons [.pdf] who have seized the reins of power, we have to turn Murawiec’s words on their heads, and realize that Iraq is the tactical pivot and if we don’t draw the right lessons from that disaster, we will live to repeat them. It’s time to start identifying, blaming, and when appropriate prosecuting the gang that lied us into war.
If we take Saudi Arabia as a metaphor for our relations with the whole of the Sunni Arab world, we have to realize what the furor over the Dubai ports deal really means: the start of a civilizational war that is not in our interest to launch. The strategic pivot of our struggle with Islamist extremism has to be an effort to isolate the Osama bin Ladens, not empower them.
As for “the prize,” it is not Egypt, but the reclaiming of our foreign policy and our government from those who purport to speak and act in our name. The reputation and moral standing of the United States has been badly damaged, but the destructive effects are not irreparable. We can win, because we have the truth on our side. Our main task is to get the truth out there and that, my friends, is what Antiwar.com is all about.