|Michael Perelman wrote:
> > Now, the answer to Bush's war is to retreat to the permanent bases in Iraq, so that
> > the US can control the country with bombs dropped from altitudes, just as Clinton was
> > doing without the convenience of bases in the country.
I have always argued that as tenaciously as the u.s. clung to Vietnam,
that was nothing in comparison to the determination of _all_ sectors of
our rulers to cling to a military control center in the Mideast. The
debates that go on in which various "elite" spokespersons or
orgnizations _seem_ to say "Let's pull out" always end up with some
kicker to the effect that it must be planned and responsible
withdrawal, which obviously includes bases left in Iraq -- which means
that virtually everyone, in both parties, and all the different
thinktanks etc. are committed to eventual war with Iran. It is not for
them a question of whethr but how, under what circumstances, how
rationalized for public consumption, how keep Russia Europe at arms
The new drumbeat on Iran / The Guardian
The Bush team's latest rationale for bombing Iran is even lamer than
all the previous ones. But hey, Joe Lieberman buys it. Comforted?
July 11, 2007 6:30 PM
Why attack Iran? War hawks in Washington are having trouble answering
that question. Even their dire warnings about Iran's nuclear program
have not been enough to alarm Americans already weary of Middle East
Now the war drums have taken on a different tone. The Bush
administration is testing a new rationale for attacking Iran: We must
strike because Iranians are killing our soldiers in Iraq.
This is not simply a charge made by one state against another in the
hope that a misguided policy will be changed. It is also part of a
calculated effort to find an argument for bombing Iran that Americans
The politically ambidextrous Senator Joseph Lieberman, a vigorous
supporter of Israel and the Iraq war, floated the new gambit a couple
of weeks ago. He calculated that Iran-trained units fighting in Iraq,
and weapons from Iran or manufactured with Iranian help, have been
responsible for the death of 200 American soldiers.
If Iran does not change course, he said, the United States should
"take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them
from killing Americans in Iraq."
Soon afterward, American press officers in Iraq began asserting that
Iran is shipping weapons to Iraqi Shiite militias, specifically
"penetrators" that can make roadside bombs more potent. Then last week
a senior American commander in Iraq, General Kevin Bergner, charged
that Iranians had helped plan a January attack in Karbala that left
five American soldiers dead.
"The reality of this is that they're killing American forces," the general said.
Are Iranians really involved in the Iraq conflict, even arming and
training militia units fighting US troops? Probably. Might factions
within the diffuse, multi-polar Iranian government be encouraging such
aid? Possibly. Iran has deep strategic interests in Iraq, its large,
predominantly Shiite neighbor and longtime rival. It would be
unthinkable for Iran to adopt a "hands-off" policy while Iraq's future
is being decided.
By invading Iraq, the United States deposed an old order and arrogated
to itself the right to design a new one. Others - Iraqis, Iranians,
Syrians, Saudis, Kurds, Turks and a host of radical Jihadis - had
different ideas. They have insisted on their right to influence the
course of events in a suddenly chaotic Iraq. Americans threw Iraq up
for grabs, and cannot now complain that many are grabbing for it.
The larger question is whether Iran's involvement in Iraq - even if
Iran could be found directly responsible for the death of Americans -
is so outrageously provocative that it justifies an American attack.
History argues that it is not.
Most American soldiers killed in the Korean War fell victim to mines,
bombs or bullets made in China. General Douglas MacArthur - sounding
much like some in Washington today - wanted to carry the war into
China itself. President Harry Truman wisely refused and, when
MacArthur persisted, relieved him of his command.
During the Vietnam War, the Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with
weapons and ammunition that killed thousands of American soldiers. Yet
no one in the Johnson or Nixon administrations ever considered
attacking Moscow in retaliation.
Nor did the Sandinista government in Nicaragua try to attack the
United States during the 1980s, when American weapons and
American-trained fighters were killing Nicaraguan soldiers and
civilians. Helping friends during wartime is a tactic as old as proxy
Accusing Iran of deep involvement in the Iraq war is more than a way
to lay the groundwork for a US attack. It also provides a scapegoat
for America's looming defeat. By this rationale, the American
occupation would have succeeded, and Iraq would now be blooming and
tranquil, if only Iran had not interfered and ruined everything.
Not even Americans are likely to swallow that one. Most reject the
various rationales the Bush administration has so far offered to
justify a possible attack on Iran. If they remain hostile to the idea,
President Bush will eventually have to ask himself a fateful question:
Should I attack anyway?
Attacking Iran would accomplish at least one thing Bush must be
seeking. It will assure that future historians will not remember the
invasion of Iraq as his biggest blunder.