Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

To War or Not to War

by geezer in Paris Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 09:02:38 AM EST

     
Pretend for a moment that we are competent, professional information analysts who would like to get a grip on the question of whether the U. S. administration intends war with Iran.  
God! I've got a headache already. Not bloody likely!

OK, pretend we are a collection of reasonably bright and semi-informed putzers who would like to get a sense of the odds on the same question.
Phew. I feel more at home here.  

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob


Thanks to Colman, this question has already gotten some good play, --but I have something to say about it that probably ought not to be attached to a discussion started by someone who tends to be diplomatic, conciliatory, patient, tasteful--unlike me.
My personal approach to these kinds of questions begins with this method (as amended for the situation):

A) Identify the players, individuals and groups and their likely leanings.

B) Pick them apart- examine their background and whatever axe they seem to be grinding, and what narratives, personal and institutional they seem to be embedded in.

C) Construct a snapshot of the surround- the primary elements of the moment that seem germane, and then remember that life is dynamic. Find the process in the picture, look at the time flow.

I have done these things with this question, but am too lazy to write it all down, and much of it is common knowledge, or pretty boring anyway. So here's the crux of it.

These are the players in general opposition to doing Iran that I see. The question is, -are they effective enough to stop it?

Democrats?
Jeez. Fugedaboudit.

Congress in general?
Not a funny story, the congress. Sad. Almost totally ineffectual so far. A few heroes, but not nearly enough. Move on.

Traditional professional diplomatic elements?
(I use this in the sense that civil servants usually know where the buttons are for the elevator, while pols are still finding the stairs).
The technique of creating parallel structures and institutions to sideline the old ones has worked very well for Cheny/Rummy/Bush. With their outsourcing to publicly uncontrollable entities of huge chunks of traditionally governmental functions- even the collection and analysis of information- and the diversion of decision making away from the professionals in every area, the civil service and other professionals appear to be increasingly out of the loop. However, I think that the successful effort to get around the old structures to support an agenda and for ideological reasons has backfired and produced policy chaos. There remains some fragments of sanity and professionalism here, but they seem reduced to whistle-blowing as a last ditch attempt to stop the juggernaut. They are still a real opposition force.

The career military?
Does it still exist, in any independent way, at the general staff level?
Yes. A few months ago it seemed that the retired generals and joint chiefs might act to reign in the "Dickheads" as I have come to call Cheney's minions, and, perhaps because of this, Rummy finally went soft on Iraq. Would he have done Iran? I doubt it. But Petraeus seems to be just another compliant mouthpiece, and the rest are currently awfully silent, except for a few courageous non-coms who are getting no play for their beautiful and brave piece. I see some hope here, but the time to act may be past, if the brass were going to do so. If the order were given, do you think Gates would refuse? Me neither.

Media? Real investigative, informative journalists?
Another sad story. Jeez- no help there. Yes, the net helps, but not enough. We raise our voice, and a few listen. Fox shouts through a giant amp that shatters glass at 100 meters.

"Money"  --- who is "Money"?
 It's surely an important player, but--is Money monolithic? No, but let's pretend it is for a moment, for argument's sake. "Money" has failed to effectively control this administration at all, for years. In reality, only a tiny segment of "Money" has profited hugely in Bushworld--  that part of Money that Eisenhower feared, and that sucked up to   Cheny/Rummy/Bush. Allowing Neocon Theocrats to make policy has had nasty costs for "Money", and those real costs are just now beginning to emerge, but mid-level Money has been deluded into thinking that they were actually in better control than is really the case. However-  the segment of Money that is raking it in---is really raking it in. My call? Money is generally fragmented and ineffective as a restraining force. But there is a subset of that not-so-monolithic Money that is getting wiser, and will likely push in the opposite direction. See below.

How about plain old administration paralysis saving us?
 The kind of paralysis that results from internal dissension is a paralysis of the ability to build,-- to construct and execute rational policy. To destroy is easy, and can be accomplished by even a part of a discredited element. History is replete with examples. A single dingbat with a pistol and Archduke Ferdinand's being in the wrong place began a holocaust. Causus Belli abound under every flat rock right now

What about the people? Plain old public revulsion or revolt?
Again, out of the loop, too atomized, too absorbed in their own perceived ineffectiveness and real isolation.
"The American People" have seen the universally recognized image of a faceless, hooded prisoner wired for death and perched on a stool,-and this at the hands of their own military- and did not act. "The American People" know about the Lancet study, with the now years-old figure of 650,000 dead people in Iraq, --and just refuse to discuss it, -even accept without challenge substitute trumped-up feel-better numbers. There is little chance that the prospect of a war with Iran will move them to real resistance-even verbal. Someone will tell them that another huge number of people will die in Iran, and they will, for the most part, ignore that too. As Chomsky says, "Unworthy victims."

Well, then who really wants a war with Iran, and why?
There seems to be a group of motivations that are supported by various players, so it's easier to start there.
1.    a visceral belief in "end times", and a perhaps subconscious desire to aid in their arrival. (Primarily Bush here)
2.    Bush now can anticipate a place in history that is so dark, so negative that any risk, any chance however thin might seem worth taking if it could salvage something.
3.    An idealistic vision of the US as the rightful leader of a better behaved (subservient) world, A la Leo Strauss (not all idealists are nice, harmless guys). Might appeal to Bush, Cheney, the still-surviving coterie of neocons)
4.    SOME of the dumber "Money"  will support a war with Iran.
5.   Bob Altemeyer's  double-highs in government. The authoritarian personality coupled with bright people with a real thirst for control that Dr Altemeyer researched for so long tend to be pretty totally amoral, and are usually opportunistic players at the grand game. True sociopaths do not notice the dead in wartime, unless they fear running out of cannon fodder. For these,---in chaos lies opportunity.

If I were to guess some more, I'd say that between the players I discuss above, it's a complex standoff. However, I think there is another player that's hard to see, but that wields a very big stick.

I think Cheney intended this Iran move all along, and has support from this powerful but silent element,--a subset of Money.
The issues we discuss so often here on ET vis. the failure of the neoliberal model, global capitalism's impoverishment of the middle (consuming) classes and the consequences of that are no secret among many groups, including this war-supporting group. I believe in us, friends. I also believe that not all the industrial and corporate world's leaders are fools. Some of them get it too. FT is smoke for those who don't yet get it. Toxic smoke, yes- and worthy of deconstruction because of their influence, but I think if we could be a mouse in the halls and conference rooms of the world inhabited by Cheney's peers, many CEOs, and some of the movers and shakers of the financial world, we would see in these rarefied discussions a clear recognition of the need for a "plan B" that will let them keep all the marbles. They are aware of the failure of traditional capitalism and, worse,  China has shown that it's  NOT THE ONLY WAY, by God!! That fact alone destroys the theology.

The global American/UK "plan B" strategy -steal it- has to include Iran, either as a puppet or as a neutralized region, in order to even appear to work. Iraq will inevitably appear to history as a catastrophe without a strategy that deals with Iran, and without the oil. There is also a powerful urge to cop the oil before China gets it. If it is possible to do Iran and control the oil, Cheney, the neocons and this faction probably couldn't care less about the judgement of history. They are willing to take insane risks, because their backs are to the wall.

Peak oil
Global warming
The collapse of the real power of America- its consumers

Quite a lot on the plate, yes?
They think that if they pull it off, THEY will get to drive the bus for the foreseeable future, and then they'll write the history anyway.
They think US drivers will kiss the ass of anyone who gives them another decade or two of SUVs. They are probably right on both.
Once they have the wheel firmly in their grasp, they will solve all that other shit somehow. Right?
I think this group, with Cheney at point, has one hand on the controls, and they will pull the switch if they can reach it.
What do you think?  

One last point:
From everything I have read, and have seen, from every unintended look into perhaps the most secretive and powerful man in government today, from body language and facial tics, family glimpses and unguarded comments, it is apparent to me that Richard Cheney has two striking characteristics:
He is a self-righteous megalomaniac who sees himself as a patriot, and us as chaff, and
He hates. Deeply.

Who and why I don't know- perhaps the shrink world can explain it- but I see it. And it's important.

Richard's Ramblers tunes up and, in horribly perfect harmony, sing the lead song from their latest CD, "Neutralized":

Got my flame suit, Mama
    Gonna roast some meat tonight!
Got my smoke hood, Mama,
    Gonna roast that meat just right!
You may think you got 'em buried,
    But you'll see them glow tonight!

Horrible, grim tasteless image, is it not?

Like war.

http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/60493/

Ray McGovern's piece (above) is a glimpse of how it's really done by the pros.
Pray he's wrong. I pray I am wrong.  

Display:
We are so totally screwed.
by det on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 07:51:25 AM EST


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 11:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still don't understand what would be the ultimate goal of going to war with Iran. It seems to me that the probable outcome would be so catastrophic that only the most hideous motives are to be considered in answering this question.
Which is why I think no sane person in power would go for it. So, maybe it's the crazy Bond villains (Darth Cheney et al.) against common sense here. If I let the pessimist in me loose, the ending of this movie will be bad.

"We all wanna Hollywood end,
But we're getting foreign one
The script has already been penned
And titled The Epitaph Of A
Drowning Nation"
NOFX, Wolves in Wolves' Clothing


"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 08:28:39 AM EST
Yes, it does make grim reading and I wish I could be sure you were wrong in your analysis.

I still feel that the fact that they haven't yet bombed Iran is a suggestion that the debate is still ongoing within the administration. That the fact that the debate is ongoing suggests that Cheney doesn't have the authority within the administration we imagine.

Equally I feel that the Chinese are applying pressure because they have the same energy issues as the USA are Iran, as an American refusnik, is very attractive to them. But until they send troops to Iran, their hands are tied.

So, all in all I strongly fear that it will happen.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 08:40:09 AM EST
Believe it or not, I am less pessimistic since Peter Pace the Pooper got his guts together this afternoon--well, a little less.
I think there is another source of resistance that I missed-- elements in Cheney's own organization. Can't justify it, can't explain it, but he has been trying very hard to reach that trigger now for quite a while, and even with Kristal as a cheerleader, he aint got it yet. I think I see most of the other important players, and I just feel that there is a big piece of influence on the table I've missed. Could it be his own guys trying to snatch the matches out of his hands?

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 02:46:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree it's the players.  

Technically, the war makes no sense.  Never has.  Not even in its own, military, terms.  

It has always been about the delusions of the key people.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
idle musing:  relatively few wars do "make sense", outside the delusions of grandeur of some very warped, very charismatic personalities.  Napoleon?  Alexander?  how nuts were they, and how much death and misery did their fantasies and pretensions cost?  and yet we remember them in our history books as Great Men, and until we stop doing that we will keep raising anxious boys who need to prove their manhood by conquering and destroying in emulation of the Great Men of History...  imho.  there's just nothing like officially idolising psychopaths to build psychopathy into the roots of yer culture.  hell, more than half of the US still thinks Columbus was a big hero;  and in light of that, why would we expect them to get truly outraged about the continuing Conquista of Iraq? (sigh)

what really troubles me is occasional statements from the wingnut pols that they confidently expect a "major terrorist event on US soil" within the year.  the only way I know to confidently expect an event is to be the party planning it, or be privy to the plans of same.  so this does trouble me.  o please, all ye little gods, let them just be blowing smoke and trying to scare the electorate...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the only way I know to confidently expect an event is to be the party planning it, or be privy to the plans of same.    

Well that is really the heart of it, isn't it?  

This is not a change in strategy.  The War on Terra has ALWAYS been managed like this.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:59:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, wars do make sense. Some wars are about personality. Others are about profit.

Some wars that look like they're about personality are really about profit - like WWII.

Iraq looks like it's about profit, but I think that really it's about personality, which is why it has been such a fiasco - the guiding personalities believe they're Napoleon, Caesar, Alexander and Sun Tzu rolled into one, when in reality they're just teenage narcissist chumps.

For all of the evil snarling, Cheney remains politically impotent. The oil hasn't been won, and almost certainly won't be. By any military standard at all Iraq is a total failure as a war of conquest.

Of course Iraq has been a huge corporate welfare success. But the bill will come in eventually, and I don't think even the MilInd Money is going to be left looking healthy after it becomes due.

Which is why the real point of Iraq is to play soldiers, not to win a war. Commander Codpiece can march around accomplishing missions, Darth Stupid can snarl and look evil and make money for Halliburton, but it's all very amateurish and if it weren't so tragic it would be menopausal and ridiculous.

This doesn't bode well for Iran, because whatever these losers do is always about the noise, not the strategy. There is no viable strategy for Iran because Iran isn't a military problem. But Commander Codpiece is itching to give his war hormones one last outing, so I think some pointless bombing is really quite likely.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 09:42:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my only objection is attaching the word ´menopausal´ to sociopathic maniacs!  

It would serve us all well, I think, if age and menopause were regarded as wisdom and experience, vs. the disrespected version that has become popular.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 03:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have put your finger on my darkest nightmare here.

I have said over and over, ever since I wrote "The Quiet Coup", that this is the great risk, and that once the "Empireheads" had their back to the wall, the great danger was that they would make their own history.

And how would we know?

There are ways- whistleblowers, good, smart guys like Seymor Hirsch, --

But, after such an event, --would the New Yorker dare -or be able- to print it?

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of grandeur plans, what if they are after something like Ralph Peters outlined last year in his article Blood Borders ? The article was accompanied by a map which no longer seems to be included - they just list the losers/winers countries. But here it is:




Now, how would you such a thing? Toppling governments in the "Axis of Evil" countries, inciting civil wars there and let the people over there fight it out seems like a "workable" way. You'd end up with several ethnically and religiously compact countries which could even have reasonable "democracy". And since they'd be new and weak, they'd be also fairly easy to control. That few millions people will die? Like that ever stopped anyone...

by jv (euro@junkie.cz) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 11:11:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Read Paul Spencer's recent diary- it fits interestingly with yours.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 12:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, I remember a few months ago it was briefly discussed in some still-sentient corner of the media that  partition of Iraq might be a strategy that the oil pirates (US and the UK) might find palatable, for the old divide-and-conquer reason. You're onto something, as is Paul Spencer, I think.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 12:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And look at that Arab Shia State that gets a lot of the oil, that one will be client state number two (after Israel that looks unchanged after the redrawing of ethnic boundaries, wonder why). That  mayor US allies (Turkey, Saudi, Pakistan) looses territory, does not seem to bother the crazies who came up with this map.

What is this with redrawing maps btw? Where they not allowed to play Risk when they were kids and take it out on the world now?

And welcome to Eurotrib!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 09:16:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that the debate seems still ongoing-- Peter Pace, etc.--
The calmer heads were winning, I think, (to think I would ever call Condi a "calmer head") but the tide is shifting some. Krystal and Bush are rampant on a field of rotten history, the WaPo is belching mindless slime "--the least they could do---"
and the tame generals are reading their scripts into the company microphones.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:29:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've always had a slightly different take on this.

Plan A was, grab Iraq - bring Peace and Democracy US style while locking down cosmically profitable oil contracts for Big Oil (and Big Money) and then do the same to Iran.

Plan A didn't work, and (D'oh) there was no Plan B.

The Iran "nuclear threat" was not even a blip on the political radar screen until things started going wrong in Iraq, any more than there was ever any reference to Iranian involvement.

Cheney's single driving imperative has always been to secure profitable US oil supply from Iraq, and it was only Iran who were perceived as capable of preventing this. Hence the inflation of the non-existent nuclear threat (which suited Ahmadinejad just fine as the US Threat takes Iranian minds off domestic troubles) and other current nonsense about IED's etc etc.

Now I think that Big Money were fine about Plan A, but they are most definitely not fine about the possibility of a bombing campaign upon Iran that would massively and adversely affect the global economy.

Moreover, I think that the US are also facing the same defining "End of Empire" as the Brits did at Suez.

ie "Unless you cease this nonsense the plug is going to be pulled on your currency".

I reckon Paulson has already had the US's fortune read by the Chinese in that respect.

In other words, Cheney has no cards in his hand, and is making his last Bluff.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 10:14:10 AM EST
WWI generals fought that war by cannon fodder, using the tactics of 19th C war in a 20th C technological context.

The US is doing the reverse: using 20th C technology tactics in a 21st C sociological context. But, like those leaders of over 90 years ago, they won't stop trying till they've reduced themselves and the territory they seek to conquer to rubble.

The New World Order that they fantasize about, does not include them.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 10:53:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Iraq serves:

(a) as the "War to end Wars" - in terms of absolute technological military supremacy;

(b) to illustrate - through the rubble of Iraq - that nothwithstanding (a) a "peace" cannot be IMPOSED.

In other words, the future has to be both consensual and cooperative, because even the mightiest military machine the world has ever seen is unable to impose its will in the face of an unwilling population.

Fortunately, and I never thought I'd say this, the Russians, in particular, do have a credible nuclear deterrent to US nuclear threats.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 12:37:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A peace could easily be imposed.

Let's be clear about this - the US could potentially drop in a million troops, round up all the insurgents, persecute the remaining population (what's left of it), and grab the entire country.

Or at least it could have done this four years ago. Now it's too late, and China and Russia will be very unhappy if this is attempted. And so will the US population as a whole.

So there are no cards left to play. The most excitement we can see is some bombing, with the Iranians lobbing a few missiles back. There will be a lot of shouting and noise, but by this time next year it will be over. Bush's approval will be somewhere around 20%, there will be a recession or depression, and it's going to be a case of waiting out the clock.

At this point Cheney's only serious option for getting hold of that oil is to nuke Washington. With Congress and the Senate out of the way he can declare martial law, pin the blame on Iran, set up a draft, and he's good to go.

This might even work, up to a point. But it would surely lead to civil war eventually, and I think - or at least I hope - that not even Cheney is insane enough to contemplate this seriously.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 04:21:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point Cheney's only serious option for getting hold of that oil is to nuke Washington. With Congress and the Senate out of the way he can declare martial law, pin the blame on Iran, set up a draft, and he's good to go.

Not only has this crossed his mind, it is a plan option.  

Higher on the list is an attack in the "heartland."  The loss of an expendable city will serve to instill fear and rekindle enthusiasm for the War on Terra.  

Will it work?  Better than an attack on Washington, certainly . . .

--No, I did not imagine this my own self.  Several right-wing writers have been saying this is just what we need.  And it really is just the strategy they have been using since the beginning.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:28:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the run-up to the war it was being sold as a quick and easy war. It would only take 150,000 troops, it'll be over before you know it, the oil revenues will pay for the war, the WMDs will be neutralised, liberal democracy will spread like the plague throughout the Middle East.
Of course that was all bullshit, but could they have sold anything else to the American people?

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 04:48:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it will get that far.  There is a revulsion even in the backwaters that reminds me of when Viet-Nam had gone too long for even the general fools to tolerate.  I don't think thses guys have the credibility to mount another attack.  Course I've been dumbfounded before.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man...'" Robbie Robertson
by NearlyNormal on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 03:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, for the most part.
But it's a deadly bluff. And consider the best brains in the corporate world trying to generate a plan to deal with the three dead elephants in the lobby.
Iran can control, and they know it.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 02:37:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But they did know that they could control Iraq

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 02:45:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taking Iran, or "neutralizing" Iran was in the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) documents.  It was ALWAYS part of the plan.  

The only problem was how to sell it.  (Not how to achieve it.  Neither the neocons nor the PNAC guys know ANY military strategy, and really cannot be bothered.  They start with the presumption of victory and move on from there.)  Once the big money buys it--or the right big money, because in truth I don't  know quite who those guys are--it goes out to the media to peddle to the masses, and then it's a go.  

Over the last two years there has been a LOT of wavering and dithering in the media, but now we see them getting into line again.  So the big players have been sorting it out--in favor.  Why?  Well what has changed in two years?  Let me suggest:  The developing economic collapse.  It is either moving faster than anyone expected, or it is BIGGER than anyone expected, either way, nothing short of war--and complete martial powers--can hope to keep the little people (who will soon be broke, jobless, and homeless) in line.  There may also be some not-quite-so-little people who will be upset when their paper megafortunes vanish.  AS they will.  Those people too will have to be managed.  It is ALL coming down in the course of the next year.  

Keeping those SUVs running--now THERE'S a fantasy.  One thing the proposed Iran war is guaranteed to do is take a lot of oil off line.  It won't be a couple-of-day slowdown like hurricane Gonu.  

Of course, the neocons deal in fantasies.  

Incidentally, Europeans, like Americans, should be laying in food and basic emergency precautions.  Once war goes global, as this one will, life will become very unpredictable.  

Americans think that their Iran war will be contained, but they won't WANT to contain it when their fleet goes to the bottom or the Chinese pull the plug on their currency, either of which may happen.  

Putin has not been pulling his nukes out of mothballs for nothing.  Meanwhile, the Chinese understand the need to deny near space to an enemy, and have rushed to resolve the problem.  They now have that ability.  

This could be viewed as a revival of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction), except that Russia never believed in MAD, and now the US has abandoned it as well.  There is a German phrase, from the Nazi period, that catches the American mood perfectly, and comes out something like:  World-rule or nothing!  

Bush and Cheney are both death-trippers.  If you understand the Texas Tower Killer, or the Columbine Killers, or the more recent Virginia Tech Killer, you understand this implicitly, you know what is going to happen.  Because the basic problem is that these guys, and the government they lead and the powers that they front for, are inadequate by their OWN definition of masculinity.  

You cannot change their definition, and they cannot change their inadequacy:  Impasse.  They COULD change their definition, but they WON'T:  Impasse again.  They are addicted to control, but events are out of their control:  Impasse.  The COULD give up their addiction, but they WON'T:  Impasse again.  

You do not have to wait to the last reel to know where this movie is going or how it ends.  

Whatever is to be done, must be done soon.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:06:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great comment, Gaianne. Though I think you tend to swim in water too dark and remote for me. I agree with your point about PNAC. I mentioned the fact that Cheney intended this all along--should have mentioned PNAC also.

Once the big money buys it--or the right big money, because in truth I don't  know quite who those guys are--it goes out to the media to peddle to the masses, and then it's a go.

Yeah. Pretty much. But this subset are not idiots- if it's too hard a sell, they have in the past backed off, and adopted a plan that is inside the window of what is publicly marketable. This may change, should another "attack" "justify" martial law, but I think (hope) this is a long shot. However, it is indeed one way out of this very nasty spot for the neocons.

The Putin point is dead on, I think. The aircraft he is placing back in service were always a stopgap- a backup for ICBMs, a point the US media has focused on to the total exclusion of the other, more immediate capabilities these wonderful long-range turboprops have. Perhaps it's off limits to mention their great tactical, conventional value also--we have nothing that can equal them- but still, it looks like long-shot cover for him, should all go wrong.

I also caught that bit about the Successful Chinese launch of a satellite killer, and did not miss the implications.

The overall problem with your analysis, for me, is not the parts- every one of your points has a legitimate place in the probability mix, including the grisly nuclear response scenario. It's just that if you assemble a scenario of largely worst case outcomes, it ends up on the end of the curve.  Such scenarios are very occasionally right- the Bush presidency is one of them- But ---was it the law of distributed mean? The odds of drawing a dingbat are independent of the number of times you drew a dingbat in the past.

Bush and Cheney are both death-trippers.  If you understand the Texas Tower Killer, or the Columbine Killers, or the more recent Virginia Tech Killer, you understand this implicitly, you know what is going to happen.  Because the basic problem is that these guys, and the government they lead and the powers that they front for, are inadequate by their OWN definition of masculinity.  

You cannot change their definition, and they cannot change their inadequacy:  Impasse.  They COULD change their definition, but they WON'T:  Impasse again.  They are addicted to control, but events are out of their control:  Impasse.  The COULD give up their addiction, but they WON'T:  Impasse again.  

Again, too extreme for me, (I know nothing "implicitly") but the role of deep feelings of inadequacy has been commented on several times by other highly qualified shrink types, and makes a lot of sense, in reference to Bush. Cheney is another kettle-- forget the limelight, he's a psychopath, viewed in any light. Profit is no longer his motivation, and feelings of inadequacy are not his problem either, I don't think. I grew up with men like him, and their problem ain't feeling inferior, ducky. It's their absolute conviction that it's YOU who are inadequate. And me. and the rest of the Lower Orders.
But most of the "self-made men" I knew were basically patronizing to those they perceived as their inferiors. Sometimes they even mentored a black guy-- you know- a la late rotary club-- as long as he bought his house in another town. Cheney hates. I am taken aback at the intensity of it, and I am amazed that anyone could miss seeing it.

Whatever is to be done, must be done soon.  

Amen.  


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geezer.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins
by EricC on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 08:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on what you mean by "war". The US can't fight the kind of wars that are going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no available troops and materiel is in short supply.

The US can bomb Iran. It might also be able to impose an embargo on some economic activity as it did with Iraq, but it can't invade.

There were goals in invading Iraq. My version:

  1. Replace bases lost in Saudi Arabia (done)
  2. Install a client regime which will provide oil at terms favorable to the west (incomplete)
  3. Intimidate nearby states (Syria and Libya are behaving "better")
  4. Keep China from getting  the oil (so far a success)
  5. Show that we are still "strong" after being hit (failure)
  6. Try to impose western/Christian values on the infidels (counter productive)

Now what would we like to achieve in Iran?
  1. Reduce their influence in the region
  2. Install a client regime more favorable to the west
and ...

The difference this time is that Iraq had no friends while Iran has several including (depending on how you define friend) in Russia and China.

Perhaps the saber rattling is being used for US domestic consumption or perhaps it is part of plan to destabilize the Iranian government. The US did follow this path before.

I'm open to other hypotheses.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 02:23:21 PM EST
In my personal work I intentionally stayed away from the mechanistic, nut-and-bolts side of the question and focused on the players, their possible motives, their proximity to the switch, and how these elements might influence each other.
I think there are limitless verbal diapers that one can wrap around policy decisions that just might be, ---somewhere in the dark recesses of someone's mind, ---er, emotional.

Bush is a religious dingbat. It is one of the handles that is used by Cheney to manage him. Bush wants to be Commander Apocalypse, and that suits Cheney just fine. Why is that?

Cheney, on the other side, is a very smart megalomaniac, who radiates hate.

We will never know enough of the mass of tactical stuff to mess around  with troop movements, transport, etc.etc.-- unless "we" are more than we seem to be, which certainly could be the case here. Suffice it to say that if the Pres. said, "we go in 90 days. Make it happen." --would we go? Dunno. Never will.
We can, however, see a dangerous psychopath, with a little help.
We overlook these components at our own risk.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 03:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Cheney, on the other side, is a very smart megalomaniac, who radiates hate.

I see Cheney differently, but then I'm on this side of the Pond.

Most megalomaniacs court publicity - cf Sarkozy - Cheney keeps as well away from it as he possibly can bearing in mind the job he has.

I see him as a Corporate version of Kissinger. Unlike Kissinger he is not interested in power for its own sake, but rather for the profits that the exercise of power may bring.A cool, entirely amoral calculating machine/ cash register.

Hate? I really don't think any sort of emotion enters into it: there were plenty like him directing the Holocaust - if not selling the ovens and Zyklon B.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 03:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trust me.  

Yes, Cheney radiates cold rage.  Having him running loose on the streets would be bad.  Having him as vice-pResident is beyond words.  

We don't call him Old Buckshot for nothing.  And, by the way, that hunting accident was too crude even for a Stephen King novel.  

No lack of warnings.  

No lack at all.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:14:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to agree with Chris. There are corporate thugs like Cheney that are into profits, and then there are sadists like like pol pot who loved spearing babies on bayonets or Saddam's kids and their acid baths. Cheney isn't even in the same universe.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 07:14:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Trust me. Yes, Cheney radiates cold rage.  Having him running loose on the streets would be bad.  Having him as vice-pResident is beyond words. We don't call him Old Buckshot for nothing.  And, by the way, that hunting accident was too crude even for a Stephen King novel. No lack of warnings. No lack at all."

So you must know Cheney personally. Wow. And you were there to know that the hunting accident was not an accident? You must be really well connected.

by BJ Lange (langebj@gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 02:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
recognizable.  Once you know the pattern, you can recognize them.  

I don't say this fool-proof, but when you see the signs, you have had your warning.  Only a fool takes no heed.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 12:14:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See? It was his friend. He IS human. You injure your credibility by such.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
War feeds on war. It is as it ever was.

Hopefully, there's a Berezina lurking somewhere in the waters of the Tigris or Euphrates, as we know the Americans are unlikely to build a decent bridge or two to cross it.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 03:45:08 AM EST
Nice analysis by the way...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 03:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. A valued compliment.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 01:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to pull off what is in effect the biggest heist in history, it will take killing all the geese except the one that lays the military-industrial 'golden eggs'.

i.e. all the other powers-that-be are going to lose their lifelines, as the chances of running a consumer-based economy under martial law are pretty infinitesimal.

what worries me is that cheneycorp doesn't give a toss, as he will die with the most toys, which is all these sickos aspire to, and are programmed for...

i do think that the blowback will rip the usa apart, and will be uncontainable, no matter how many private armies are thrown at the lore'n'ordure shituation.

i assume all the 'captains' will jump ship while they can, leaving just pissed off rats to fight over the dwindling spoils of a foolishly planned society, one baste on waste and little else...

somehow i feel the occupation of america might be as tricky as the iraq one, and as unsustainable...

will logical minds grab the ship of state's tiller in time?

at a certain point not even fox could paint enough gilt on the turd that is sitting on everyone's dinner table.

now they can get away with it, but how much longer, if things go rapidly south, as suggested in this well-written, extremely sobering diary?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 25th, 2007 at 04:16:48 AM EST
that is the simplistic question.  It is still all about oil.

How much oil do we gain vs. how much oil can we lose?

There is oil to be lost through destruction and through broken friendships with other countries.  The are some direct and indirect players that haven´t been mentioned and could have an important influence on a decision, like the EU, Russia, Saudi Arabia...

I don´t even want to second guess the monsters.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 03:29:56 PM EST
To me it's worse than being purely about oil.

Securing oil supply is one thing: securing oil price - for the intermediaries - (the way they are still trying to do) is quite another.

If all this were for providing cheap oil for Joe Sixpack, that's bad enough.

But it's not. Joe Sixpack is going to have to pay the price determined by the Great God of the Market.

This is a war for private oil profits and for me, that makes it much, much, worse.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Aug 26th, 2007 at 03:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries