Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Real Man Plan for Iran

The story of war hurtles on, like a brakeless truck. Be warned in advance: the following text has been drizzled in warm mineral oil. If you are unwilling to add to the vomit in your suitcase, do not read any further. This will NOT make your day. What I've done here is to edit (by shortening) one of the lead blogs on the HuffingtonPost, dated September 2, by Howard A. Rodman:

"For long time now, perhaps a year, I've been hearing (we've all been hearing) that the White House is planning to bomb Iran. As the neo-cons say, "Boys go to Baghdad; real men go to Tehran." It's a strategy so seductive that John McCain set it to music. I've been dismissive of these rumors, as have you. Why? Because one would have to be a madman (or Dick Cheney) to start a second war when the first one is going so fucking well.

Unfortunately, this doesn't take into account the way decisions about these things are made; and it neglects to take into account, as well, this particular president's view of himself in history.

As Bush this weekend was disclosed to have said to his biographer, "I made a decision to lead... One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?" [The biography, by the way, is called Dead Certain. How reassuring to the rest of us.]

In the eyes of our president, an Iran with a different government is a world better off. The people of Iran, or what's left of the people of Iran after a 1,200-target bombing campaign, will greet us as liberators. History and Joe Lieberman will judge him brave for having turned the tide in the Grand Battle Against Islamo-fascism -- a battle which, as we now know, had its origins in the Vietnam war.

Still, I was inclined (you were inclined) to dismiss all this bluster as sabre-rattling. Alas, in the past week it has become more likely that those sabres are Tomahawk missiles -- locked, aimed, targeted.

Here are the indications that a large bombing campaign against Iran is not only on the table, but is in fact the main dish -- the turkey, if you will, of Thanksgiving 2007. I list them in order of ascending terrifyingness.

First: Robert Baer, the former middle-East CIA operative and a man who is not unconnected in the intelligence world (c.f., Syriana), says his peeps tell him we're planning to "hit" Iran.

Second: Barnett Rubin, a scholar and one of the Serious people in the academic foreign policy establishment, says we're already committed to an attack on Iran, and that the marketing for this attack will be ramped up after the long weekend. [In this light, Bush's speech to the American Legion and various Cheney remarks of the last month can be seen as test-marketings. As Bush said in that speech, "We will confront this danger before it is too late." Meaning, I suspect: "before I no longer have my finger on the button."]

Third: I doubt that David Addington believes that Bush, under the AUMF, really needs the permission of congress, or of anyone. As a courtesy, of course, he'd likely, as the planes are on their way, inform a bipartisan leadership group (several Republicans plus an independent from Connecticut)....

Fourth: the foreign press, which during the run-up to Iraq was far less blinkered than, say, the Gray Lady, has been over this weekend treating an attack on Iran as a fait accompli. See this from the Telegraph (UK) . The Times (UK) ran today a headline with the flat declaration, Pentagon 'three-day blitz' plan for Iran. The blitz includes what The Times terms "plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran...."

For me (and for you), beginning a war in Iran -- in the midst of the disaster that is Iraq -- is the precise incarnation of Santayana's warning: "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." But for Bush and Cheney, two of the ten or twelve people who actually believe that the Iraq war is going well, this new venture isn't fanatic at all. It would be, in their eyes-- Going from strength to strength.

I've written to my Congressman, and to both Senators. Call me quixotic, for writing; call me naive, for encouraging you to do the same; and, at day's end, call me cynical, for believing that public opinion here makes not one whit of difference...."

So it is that the demonic males in the White House are about to go on the rampage AGAIN. And it seems there is nothing we can do about it. As Hermann Goring said at his trial in Nuremberg: "This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

Which is why James Hillman describes war as "an archetypal truth of the cosmos." It is beyond the forces of history and beyond human ken. It cannot be understood, he claims, by reason, and it does not yield to reason. War goes on and finds ever new objects of enmity; peace only comes when war's ferocious momentum has run its course and exhausted itself.