Being more or less an optimist by nature, I am generally skeptical of the stories that periodically surface claiming that we are months, weeks or even days away from war with Iran, given how insane it would be on so many levels. But the new spate of stories has me worried.
They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained.
Evidently 35-40% support is deemed to be enough--that would be the 25% of the population who are Bushbots (including the neocons) and 5-10% who either profit from war or who just think things going boom is cool.
Spencer Ackerman finds a connection between our embrace of new BFFs the Sunni tribal leaders and former insurgents and the talk of war with Iran. These same Sunnis warned the US in 2005 that elections would deliver the country to Iran. Is the increased support for the Sunnis and the undermining of Prime Minister Maliki a harbinger of a switch in who we are really backing? Was that part of the subtext of Bush's surprise visit to Anbar? After all, in the view of Reuel Marc Gerecht, it is the Shi'a militias, particularly the Mahdi Army, and their Iranian suppliers, who are now responsible for most American deaths. Best we teach those pesky Iranians a lesson now.
Ackerman sees the Cheney-led campaign as directed as much at the Pentagon as the American public.
Cheney's likely motivation for issuing such instructions to his think-tank allies would be to win an inter-administration battle over the future of Iran policy. Cheney, an advocate of confronting the Iranians militarily, faces opposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where the primary concern is preventing an open-ended Iraq commitment from decimating military preparedness for additional crises. A new war is the last thing the chiefs want, and on this, they're backed by Defense Secretary Bob Gates.
This theory makes war with Iran much less likely, except for one thing--The Decider. Of all the people who seem to really get off on war, Bush has to be the head cheerleader. And he does have a record of not listening to his generals, like Eric Shinseki. And we know he really likes kicking (Muslim) ass. In fact, showing them just how tough we really are is, to me, the most plausible reason for the misbegotten and mismanaged war we are still mired in.
The shakiness of the financial markets had seemed to me to argue against war with Iran, since the economic implications of war (increase in oil prices, possible damage to oil fields leading to even higher prices, China gets involved on some economic front, stock market goes down, debt goes up, etc) would seem to exacerbate most if not all of the problems we have now. But The Cunning Realist thinks that events in the global finacial markets related to the packaging and selling of subprime mortgages make war with Iran more, not less, likely. I'd like to see this theory elaborated.
In any event, if it comes to that we know that Bush doesn't think he has to ask permission to start a war. He's the Commander-in-Chief! And there's always the Authorization for Unlimited Military Force (that was the name, wasn't it?) passed after 9/11 that gives him Congress' blessing. Declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be terrorists and blaming all the weapons in Iraq (that aren't ones we gave the Iraqi Army) on them provides the provocation. If more is needed, it can be manufactured.
So now I'm worried again. What do you folks think?