Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Listen -- you can already hear the drumbeat

War with Iran - just in the past couple days I can sense the buildup happening.

Bush and Co. are now blaming Iran for the death and destruction which the administration has caused and continues to cause in Iraq. I guess you could say it's a Presidential Two-Fer: Bush gets political cover for the Iraq quagmire and a handy pretext for attacking Iran.

Just take a look at what Bush said at the State of the Union last week (emphasis my own):

In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.
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Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government.
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In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia -- and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.
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If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.
In other words, if it weren't for Iran, things in Iraq would be going just fine, and more importantly, Iran is behind the terrorists. This repetitive language is no mistake -- it's part of the war-marketing.

And they're more determined than ever to close their ears to diplomatic efforts. On Monday the administration refused to consider a UN proposal intended to make an opening for diplomatic discussions.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States appeared to rule out on Monday a proposal by the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency aimed at helping the West and Iran avert a rush to war over Tehran's nuclear program.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, has proposed a "timeout" in the confrontation between Tehran and the U.N. Security Council under which Iranian nuclear work and U.N. sanctions on Tehran would be simultaneously suspended.

But acting U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said a December 23 council resolution specified that the sanctions could be suspended only after Iran fully and verifiably suspended its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities.


Those pre-conditions are designed to torpedo any talks with Iran.

I also realized today how fast things have been moving with a Bush attack on Iran when I saw that Josh Marshall (not someone prone to speculating wildly)
saying this:
As the saying goes, if it didn't exist, you'd have to invent it.

So with that in mind, let's do a little prospective journalism. When the bogus 'Iran incident' happens that becomes the predicate for a military attack on Iran, what will it look like? Let's try to sketch it out in advance. Will it be a real incident in Iraq for which the Iranians are blamed? Or will it be a complete bogus incident, something that never happened, that they're blamed for?


And now there's even a "secret dossier" the White House has supposedly got that shows "detailed and possibly damning specific evidence linking the Iranian government to efforts to destabilize Iraq", according to - don't be surprised - Fox News.

In case you're wondering why I'm writing about Iran (given that DailyKos, TalkingPointsMemo, Atrios and others have got this covered much better than me) it's because we appear to be going down the same road as Iraq -- same bogus arguments and all.

Jane Harman's unskeptical acceptance of the administration's claims about Iraq and her low threshold for attacking that country are not merely academic -- they're directly related to efforts to start a war with Iran.

Let's hope that this time, Rep. Harman will provide leadership in working to prevent a war rather than to start one.

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