March 03, 2007

What Have You Done to Prevent the Next War?

Proving yet again that the world has gone mad, that evil is rewarded beyond all measure, and that good is cruelly punished, Jonathan Schwarz's site is temporarily busted, due to technical problems that we can only pray are quickly fixed. In the meantime, Jon is unable to post new entries. I have made numerous supplications and offerings to the Gods of the Internets, and I urge you to do the same, at least five times a day.

Via email, Jon points me to this article from earlier in the week. Robert Parry writes:
A number of U.S. military leaders, reportedly including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have waged an extraordinary behind-the-scenes resistance to what they fear is a secret plan by George W. Bush to wage war against Iran.

One intelligence source told me that Joint Chiefs chairman, Gen. Peter Pace, has explored the possibility of resigning if Bush presses forward with air attacks against Iran, a war strategy that might be done in coordination with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Though Pace has given no public signal on resigning, he has undercut Bush’s case for an expanded Middle East war by challenging the administration claims about Iran’s alleged sponsorship of attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and by telling Congress that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have eroded American military capability to confront another crisis.

In a classified report to Congress, Pace warned that there is a significant risk that the U.S. military would be unable to respond quickly and fully to a new threat, the Associated Press reported, citing "senior defense officials."


In other words, the Pentagon brass is raising an alarm over how stretched the U.S. military has become because of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting that another front in Iran could add to American vulnerabilities.

Sources familiar with concerns inside the Pentagon have told me that senior U.S. military commanders, including Pace, have publicized their differences with the White House as part of a shadow bureaucratic battle to head off Bush’s Iran war plans.

Despite assurances from Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that they have no plan to attack Iran, the steady build-up of U.S. forces in the region – including two aircraft carrier attack groups – have concerned the commanders as well as some members of Congress and the public that Bush is simply waiting for a pretext to attack.
This is the part you should be sitting down for:
[O]ne source told me that the resistance – from the Pentagon, Blair and even Democrats in Congress – appears to be having an effect on Bush’s decision-making. This source said he believed Bush had planned to launch an attack on Iran, possibly as early as this week, but was getting "weak knees."

Bush and his neoconservative advisers have long had their eye on "regime change" in Iran. In 2002, Bush counted Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as his original "axis of evil." In 2003, after conquering Iraq and facing the question of whether to invade Syria or Iran next, the neocons joked that "real men go to Tehran."


Senior commanders also appear to share the same distrust of Bush and his White House advisers as many citizens do. Despite Bush’s repeated assurances that no war with Iran is contemplated, the brass appears to be seeing the same troubling signs as others are.

From the outside, Bush looks to be following a similar course as he did before the Iraq invasion: he insists that war is "a last resort" yet puts in motion the engines of war; he times release of alarming intelligence reports for maximum political effect; he brushes aside doubts and warnings; he then presents war as unavoidable or a fait accompli.


Bush also has never budged from his claim that U.S. military intervention is justified anywhere in the world when a hostile state is developing the potential for weapons of mass destruction that conceivably could fall into the hands of a terrorist group that might use them against American targets.
"This source said he believed Bush had planned to launch an attack on Iran, possibly as early as this week..."

Mercifully, we managed to get through this past week without Armageddon being unleashed. I'm not prepared to place any bets on how we will fare in the future, especially if the American public remains totally docile and apathetic with regard to this question.

Several days ago, I offered six major ideas for actions we can all take to at least try to stop the gathering momentum toward an attack on Iran, in my post, "Building an Effective Resistance." To date, I'm aware of only a handful of bloggers who have endorsed those suggestions and begun to implement them. I don't have any especially proprietary feeling about my ideas; moreover, as I stated in that post, I would be absolutely delighted if someone wanted to use any of my writing, without credit or compensation to me, in the effort to prevent what could be a catastrophe of literally globe-shattering proportions. And I certainly don't consider my ideas to be exactly rocket science: I think anyone who genuinely wants to do everything possible to stop this insanity could have figured out the same general plan in an hour or two, and you could probably come up with an additional five, ten or twenty still better ideas.

In any case, if it continues to appear that almost no one is doing anything along these or similar lines by the middle of next week, I may have a few thoughts about what that indicates about our political culture in general, and about the priorities of most bloggers. But I'll wait until then, and hope to be surprised...