And so the next great neocon folly begins... A progressive activist and organizer looks ahead to Iran:
Over the next four months the drumbeat about Iran continues until most of the country thinks they're ready to bomb us. They figure out how to silence the generals, maybe we catch an Iranian terrorist here in the U.S., a new crop of generals gets promoted and starts talking this up. Then, a month before the election, they ask Congress to vote to protect America from terrorism by authorizing the use of force against Iran. They split the Democrats. We have a civil war in the Democratic Party and a revived "Security Election" where the GOP wins.
So, what does that mean: starting now we need to get every Congress-critter on record saying that there are no good military options for Iran. etc.. We need to hunt the Republicans down on Security issues and corner them so they lose credibility.
Because if we come to that vote in October and we STOP BUSH because Democrats are united and Republicans are fractured we'll have an excited Democratic base ready to lay down on train tracks for Democrats in Congress.
And, America will be safer. Iraq was a pathetic shell of itself when we invaded. Iran is different.
Yes, the United States is seriously considering a nuclear first-strike against Iran and nobody cares.
Now, maybe this is just Republican political posturing to distract us from Abramoff, Iraq, and the crumbling conservative movement. Possibly, Bush and his cronies realize that striking Iran would be ruinous because we're already tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, as Amanda points out, Bush has little to lose. The Iraq debacle should have humbled the neocons, but like all compulsive gamblers, they're begging to go double or nothing:
I’m thinking the “nothing to lose” part is the major part of this. Having determined that he’s on the cusp of becoming a far larger failure at being President than Senior ever was, Bush probably has lost all sense of proportion. Anything less than insane action will result in him being a smaller man than Daddy, a villian in the history books. Why not make a last ditch effort at being the action hero? He’s got nothing to lose–it’s other people entirely that have to die for this.
Consider for a moment the breathtaking madness of launching a nuclear first-strike against Iran. We're not talking about a one-off surgical strike with conventional weapons. We're talking about a starting a war with an Islamic republic. According to Seymour Hersh, Iran's nuclear program is widely distributed and deeply buried. One military planner told Hersh that we'd have to knock out 400 separate sites to destroy the nuclear program. Of course, that wouldn't be enough to eliminate the threat. It's no good knocking out the nuclear sites if Iran immediately retaliates with massive conventional attacks on Gulf shipping and American positions in Iraq. So, the United States would also have to knock out the medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, sheltered airfields, and diesel submarines at the same time. Of course, we couldn't do all that with air strikes alone. America would need to send in Special Forces.
And then what? Flowers and candy?
No, according to Hersh's sources, the necons hope that a preemptive nuclear attack will embarrass the clerics right out of power:
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
Then we'll get flowers and candy--not to mention a massive Shia uprising in Iran and Iraq, and terrorist reprisals at home. Nothing like another 9/11 to set the mood for the midterm elections.