Friday, February 16, 2007

The Well Tread And Bogus Path To War

We’ve been marched down this same path before and the rhetoric is eerily and unimaginably, similar. Perhaps it’s just that this administration is a one trick pony, but more likely is that they’re just sticking with what works. They ginned up intelligence, preyed on public fears and perpetrated an all out media blitz to gain support for attacking Iraq. Sure, all of their lies have since been exposed and their plans have proven utterly disastrous, but that isn’t stopping them from using the same tactics against Iran. The Bush administration cares little about how the public (and certainly Democrats in Congress) feels about their actions, so long as the action takes place, and why shouldn’t they proceed that way? It’s not as if there have been any consequences for being caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

“Anyone who leaked classified information will no longer work in this White House.” Remember that doozy? Last time I checked (this morning), Dick Cheney is still Vice President and Karl Rove is still Bush’s political advisor. Sure, Scooter Libby resigned to defend himself against criminal charges of perjury and Ari Fleischer and Richard Armitage have retired (at least for now), but none of these men were fired for their part in leaking the identity of an undercover CIA operative, an operative working on tracking weapons of mass destruction and nuclear materials to and from Iran. As the drum beat for military action against Iran gets louder and louder, the connections between Valerie Plame and the case against Iran are starting to come into focus.

I’ve been hearing a lot of policy analysts, pundits and public officials claim that the Bush administration isn’t crazy enough to start a war with Iran. I’d like to know what in the last six years has given them that impression. Was it their preemptive invasion of Iraq? Was it the fact that they did no post-war planning, believed we’d be greeted as liberators and thought the war would pay for itself? Or maybe it was their insistence on labeling Iran, North Korea and Iraq the “axis of evil” at a time when we enjoyed unprecedented support and goodwill from those countries AND when we needed them most? I can’t help but think that anyone who isn’t terrified of waking up to headlines that this administration has started bombing Tehran, isn’t paying attention. If we can look back and see that we were sold a bill of goods on Iraq, we should be able to recognize the same slick (or not so slick) sales pitch this time around. What Bush “knows” about Iran is the same as what he “knew” about Iraq. Nothing.

Political retribution is a possible motive for the outing of Valerie Plame, but so too is the fact that she was in a position to build a case against Iran and wasn’t finding enough of what the White House wanted. If the Bush administration is as intent on attacking Iran as they were Iraq, Valerie Plame could have been a problem for them. If there’s no “there” there to find, best to get rid of the person who can prove it, and better yet, replace her with someone willing to create the “there” out of thin air.

What this administration doesn’t know could fill the new and improved Superdome, but what they claim to know (and don’t) is what concerns me. Just as they “knew” where the WMD were in Iraq, they “know” that Iran is supplying weapons and training to insurgents in Iraq (and how can they, at the same time, not know that Saudi Arabia is funding the Sunni insurgents?). Flimsy and invented intelligence is what they used to back up the former and exactly what they have so far presented for the latter. Few in Congress were willing to challenge the fraudulent case for invading Iraq when it was being put together. Please let them, not only recognize their failure, but atone for it, by not ignoring the signs this time around.

11 Comments:

Anonymous david said...

I used to quarrel with the Straussians on my college campus. They loved to call their field "political philosophy". This just revealed their talent for evasion since they avoided all attempts to place political texts in historical context or to judge a theory by its practicality.

And yet it wasn't hard to figure out that Straussians were really fascists. They loved the 'eternal truths' of Plato's Republic and Machiavelli's The Prince. They prefered abstract platitudes to concrete programs and certainly had nothing but contempt for traditional academic interpretations.

Of course, it was the neo-con Straussians who got us into Iraq. And they are largely imposing their "philosophy" --not science-- to reshaping the Middle East and the world economies. That their theories are failing doesn't much concern them because they don't believe in science but 'eternal truths'.

Of course the path to war is bogus. It's not about security or oil, but a sustained attack on liberalism and science. It is ultimately an attack on equality and liberty and diversity. It is essentially a misguided crusade by religious zealots who fear a secular humanist world.

Sadly, these religious zealots breed more religious zealots. And they all embrace the idea of perpetually deceiving the public because they cannot accept the basic premise of democracy as they --and only they-- know what is best for us.

The only way to fight them is to embrace Jefferson's warning against entangling alliances; to transcend sectarianism with Emerson; to civilly disobey with Thoreau; and to insist that we have certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Christian Right may call America a Christian nation, but I do wish they would adopt the Golden Rule as Foreign Policy. Christian politicians behave unlike any Christian I have ever known. They show no love for the enemy, no mercy to the wicked, and no kindness to the poor.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

david wrote:
"Of course the path to war is bogus. It's not about security or oil, but a sustained attack on liberalism and science. It is ultimately an attack on equality and liberty and diversity. It is essentially a misguided crusade by religious zealots who fear a secular humanist world."

Your powder dry, david? What evidence do you have, or arguments, that a war with Iran is "an attack on equality and liberty and diversity"? "A sustained attack on liberalism and science"?
And, david, are you calling the Iranian government secularist? After all the war will only be with Iran and not the whole world.... we pray.

Please let me know if I have misread you.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous david said...

Kindlingman, do you see how easily you fall for their framing of the question? You have been tricked. Instead of using reason and rights, you are being asked to think with your gut.

"The war will only be with Iran and not the whole world"??? Didn't Bush go on national TV and say to the Taliban he had no quarrel with them, that he only wanted Osama bin Laden. Then the war moved to all of Afghanistan. Then Iraq. And now Iran.

Do you not think the world will be next? Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, China, Syria, Chile, etc. Any nation that does not have a compliant pro-American government is a target for US aggression. And sadly, this extends to the domestic Democratic Party, which is also seen as anti-American by the neo-conservatives.

If the Right is allowed to frame the question, then it only requires enough spin to make the case that Iran or whoever is Evil to gain consent to violate International Law, Human Rights, and the US Constitution. And, as we see, it is very difficult to withdraw consent once given and lives have been lost.

It is irrelevant whether Saddam Hussein or Ahmadinejad are fools or tyrants. Afterall, there are many who consider Bush to be a fool and a tyrant, do you think that any nation has the right then to overthrow the government of the USA?

Iran may be a theocracy, but so is Bush's Judeo-Christian corporatism. And one theocracy views another as heresy that must be exterminated. Judeo-Christian corporatism cannot tolerate liberal democracy or secular humanism.

Neo-conservatives do not believe in individual or collective human rights. They do not believe in Equality. The neo-con version of democracy is not one person/one vote but corporatism's one share/one vote.

The lie of neo-conservatism's export of Freedom & Democracy can be seen in the decline of Freedom & Democracy at home. And the stage managed 'democratic' revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine. Whoever controls the ballot box controls the Noble Lie and can call Tyranny Democracy and Imperialism Free Trade.

7:47 AM  
Blogger thehim said...

Kindlingman,
The reason that an attack on Iran would be an attack on liberty is because justice is an essential component of liberty, and by manufacturing the evidence against Iran in order to support our belligerence, we're promoting injustice. It has nothing to do with how the Iranian government is set up or how theocratic it is. Iran is a complicated country that does not wear any label very easily.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous drm said...

LGND,

just a quick unrelated comment. As you have probably noticed I agree with your views about 0% of the time.

Justed wanted to commend you for your fine little (don't take that personally, I have no idea how much traffic you get) site. This is a fun little corner in the blogosphere.

I always like to see what life on the Dark Side is like :)

12:30 PM  
Anonymous drm said...

Thehim,

and what evidence do you have that the evidence presented against Iran is "made up"? I guess we are getting pretty good at manufacturing IED fragments with serial numbers, or manufacturing Danish sniper riffles that were shipped to Iran over the last year or so.

Something to think about, if the Administration is so intent on manufacturing evidence against Iran, why didn't they manufacture evidence of WMDs after going into Iraq? If they are so good at manufacturing evidence I think manufacturing stock piles of chemical and biological weapons would have served them quite well

12:35 PM  
Anonymous david said...

drm, but the evidence was manufactured. That's why the President, White House, State Dept, and Pentagon had to retreat so quickly on the story. That's why the so-called 'intelligence experts' were anonymous.

I have said before that one of the tragedies of the Bush presidency is that it has politicized intelligence. It makes it difficult to believe that the White House or Congress is getting unbiased evidence of what is happening in the world.

What also has to be remembered is that, and the Bush administration was fully aware of this, there is a large expatriot Iraqi Shi'ite population in Iran which has been waiting for the fall of Saddam Hussein. Their return is both legitimate and expected. And that they would also oppose the occupation by the Coalition was also expected.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous drm said...

david,

you are smarter than that. Go back and review everything Bill Clinton said regarding WMDs and Iraq. Was he "manufacturing" the evidence. Go back and read everything that Jay Rockerfeller (leading member on the intelligence committee), Hillary Clinton, John Kerry to name a few, said regarding Iraq and WMDs post 9/11. And don't give me the crap, they were lied to. They had the same access to classified intelligence that the President did. Also, go back and read what English, French, Russian, Egyptian government officials said regarding Iraq and WMDs. Where they also "manufacturing" evidence.

A few things:

1. The CIA has been getting most every big thing wrong for decades: Examples: fall of U.S.S.R, Iraq and Kuwait, Iraq nuclear programs in early 90's, North Korea, 9/11, Iraq WMDs.
2. Intelligence is never 100% correct. President has at his disposal the work product regarding Iraq WMDs from various national and international agencies. Obviously there are many view points.
3. Things changed after 9/11, the President realizes we cannot sit back and accept attacks.
4. Given all the intelligence, and the post 9/11 landscape the President took an action he felt was best to protect the country.

There is no "if I knew then what I know now" when making real time decissions. (side note, that silly statement made repeatedly by Mrs. Bill Clinton should disqualify her from holding any public office). Every congressman/woman had the obligation to review all the intelligence and cast a vote and they did.

All the pols disavowing their vote by saying I was lied to in my mind are cop outs.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous david said...

I have no idea what you are talking about, drm. You seem to be living in a Rightwing Bubble.

The case for WMD and alQaeda links were weak. And some of the evidence was known to be forged.

The Neo-Con obsession with imposing an American Empire is criminal.

The UN weapons inspectors were working without any obstruction and should have been allowed to continue their work.

It was pathetic after the invasion to then hear Bush say the same things he mocked when said by Blix & ElBaradei.

This is Bush's fiasco and it does him no credit to try to spread the blame.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous rkelly said...

Political Ponerology: Read Carolyn Baker, PhD.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

My apology to david for not replying. I am engaged in family and business issues at the moment. Another day perhaps,

With respect,

8:31 PM  

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