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July 24, 2005


Sad thing is, the traditional intra-party break on Bush is an even bigger hawk than Bush or Cheney. McCain.

I'm just hoping Hagel, who at times has shown signs of aspiring to take over McCain's role there (recall his criticism of the Iraq war, for which he got attacked broadly in Rove's pre-Cooper-announcements slam gest).

Sad thing is, the President's war powers have gotten so expanded, Congress would probably have to vote that the DON'T approve of a particular war to give our military leadership the cover to defy Cheney. I suspect if they went to war, they'd rely on the military measures statement from back after 9/11.

War with Iran is a nonstarter. Using what army? If the Bush WH started ramping up for war, there would be a wave of leaks from the uniformed military, saying "are you nuts?" Then you'd hear from senior retirees, plus guys of the Scowcroft type.

The Establishment was no more enthusiastic about this war than the broad public was, because they always knew the real problem would be after you got to Baghdad. They all but jumped up and down last time saying "don't do this, Mr. President."

And, of course, the lower the WH swirls in the turdblossom bowl, the worse it gets for them.

-- Rick Robinson

War with Iran is a nonstarter.

You and I think so. I thought that about Iraq, too. Surely the Blix approach would prevail.

One problem for the neocon chickenhawks is they've sat with their thumbs stubbornly up their butts re: North Korea's nukes for the past three or four years, so running around claiming Iran's nuke program is a clear and present danger is going to be hard for them.

If Bush had focused on North Korea instead of Iraq in his "war on terror," the world would be a better place today. But he chose the easy target (Iraq), instead of the much scarier conflict (North Korea). The reality, of course, was just the opposite. With China's tacit support of U.S. leadership in handling North Korea, there would have been no insurgency in the aftermath of a hot war (had it come to that -- more likely we would have forced a China-friendly coup). Now we're stuck with a true, nuke-based cold war situation thanks to Bush's stubborn "we know best" refusal to listen to the Chinese.

Using what army?

The Air Force. Doesn't make it any less nuts, overall, but the talk all along has been - and presumably still is - of lots of air strikes. Nauseating as the idea is, I think they'd do it. These people go for broke, are always testing the limits of their power. I don't think they would care if there were broad 'support' or not. Playing Chicken has been these guys' MO for the duration. Your recollection of what Schlesinger said is most appropriate. Obviously, we can't predict anything, but I would by no means rule it out: they'd be doing what they want to do anyway, and get a nice diversion from scandal as a bonus.

Just to further my work in tying everything up into one bundle, do we think a stubborn refusal to recognize the realities, and instead to march forward into war with Iran, possibly prompting an adoption of the alleged Schlesigner doctrine and precipitating a constitutional crisis, would constitute "extraordinary circumstances?"

Or is it OK to proceed, because Roberts has a nice haircut?

I know the idea re Iran has been airstrikes, but that would be an invitation for Iran to step up involvement with the Iraqi Shias, in ways that would make life even harder for us in Iraq than it is now.

Bush succeeded in pushing us into war last time, in the face of deep skepticism, because while a lot of us suspected that it was abysmally stupid, it hadn't been shown to be abysmally stupid.

I just don't think the establishment will give him the slack this time.

-- Rick Robinson

This is another version of the often-asked "are there grownups in the Republican party?" question.

I think not, until it's abundantly clear that Bush/Cheney are politically dead. I don't even see any 08 contenders stepping up, because it's too risky. These guys are fundamentally conservative with risk -- until they're in power, that is.

Iran may be possible as a follow-up to Iraq after an Iraq pullout in 06, though. But hard to see public rallying behind it under *any* circumstances short of a nuclear terror attack.

Step up involvement with Iraqi Shia? What about pour across the border into Iraq in numbers that overwhelm coalition troops? We might want to fight this war in the air, but would the Iranians? Why not simply pull out the old Iran-Iraq War plans?

I'm sure the Bush Administration would be only too happy to respond with a tactical nuclear strike -- our "only option," they'd surely say -- but where does that leave us?

What would be more embarrassing, by the way? Iranians pouring across the western border and challenging our numbers in Iraq? Or Iranians pouring over the eastern border and driving us out of Afghanistan?

march forward into war with Iran...precipitating a constitutional crisis, would constitute "extraordinary circumstances?

Gee, ya think?

The key seems to be, if the constitutional crisis is slow-motion (if the the proverbial frog is boiled very slowly) then it's, you know, "we need to preserve 'comity'" etc. Of course our Men of Destiny in the WH use that penchant for dimwitted logeiness in Congress and elsewhere as an opportunity to occasionally change things up and sting like a bee (to mix metaphors ridiculously). It's worked so far. They could probably get away with bombing Iran by simply DOING it. It would be the beginning of the end of WH/Congressional lockstep, but that's practically over anyway.

As for the actual ramifications of having done it (and Iraq), the WH posture is clear: 'we'll al be dead before we know whether it worked or not'. Comforting, eh?

If I may quote from an old book:

- But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride..(Jer 13:17)

Hint: If we're dead, it didn't work.

As a dog returneth to his vomit..

Six in 10 Americans said they think [another world war] is likely, while only one-third of the Japanese said so, according to polling done in both countries for The Associated Press and Kyodo, the Japanese news service.

"Man's going to destroy man eventually. When that will be, I don't know," said Gaye Lestaeghe of Freeport, La.

Armageddon Fever: Catch it!

This may be the perverse reason behind the thinking that "George Bush and the Republicans keep Americans safe."

It was surely a lot easier, logistically-speaking, to hit London with backpack bombs on the mass transit systems than it would be to hit an American target, for a number of reasons. But was it also contemplated that such a strike would be likely to move Britons to opposition to the GWoT, whereas the American reaction would likely border on the insane?


Gdmit, I thought you were linking to an article pre-WWII. That's sick and sad.


RE: airstrikes. I think BushCo believes an air strike on Iran offers them two benefits. A war with Iran. And an excuse to revert their little Iraqi war to an air war. Remember, these people look on Fallujah as one of their big successes. I bet they believe they can scale it up across the entire Persian Gulf.

I really think there has been a great deal of buyers' remorse on the part of both the press and the public about the Iraq War. Short of a nuke or a dirty bomb in an American city, I just DO NOT see there being the kind of cheerleading that there was before the Iraq War. And the military is going to leak and complain. They so botched the Iraq War that they simply do not have the resources to fight another war, even a supposedly surgical air war, because anyone with half a brain can see that Iran can march into Iraq or Afghanistan easier than we can march into Iran. And they can't pretend this time that "we will be greeted as liberators" if we are bombing them for an act of agression against us. It is going to unite the Iranian people against us.

Cheney may have wet dreams about this, but I really don't think they can pull it off a second time, given their miserable failure with their first effort.

I understand what you are getting at in this thread:

1. Does the public still trust BushCo?
2. Might we invade Iran for more or less political reasons, as did Iraq?

What I believe you miss are the bigger rationales. What if we didn't invade Iraq b/c of true national security concerns, but b/c the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us of simply need an enemy in the post Cold War era?

All through the 90's, I consistently remarked to friends how Crazy Ivan had been replaced as the enemy, in action movies, by the stereoptypically insane Ahmed.

The M-I complex has been preserved for at least another generation. Bush and his cronies have made unkown profits from the 200-300 Billion dollar slsush fund. I wouldn't expect anymore insane wars in the near future.

I think this Iran War brohaha is essentially pure tinfoil, for a variety of reasons.

1) no troops.

2) no international support - Britain won't be onside. And without Britain, Bush gets no one else.

3) much more American public skepticism. Remember, the Iraq War had over 60% support in early 2003. The memory of 9/11 was much fresher, too.

4) the fact that Iraq is 60% Shi'ite and the only thing holding the thing together there is the idea that US isn't actively working to harm Shi'ite interests. To say, the least, even airstrikes could cause massive upheaval in Iraq. Sistani, Jaafari, Aziz Hakim have deep and longstanding ties with Iran. Read a little bit more about Shi'ite Islam. In some ways, the Shi'ite connection is much more important than the national border between the two countries. In addition, the current regime is signing all kinds of economic and miltiary agreements with Iran. Finally, a good segment of the Kurdish regime is pro-Iran, too. Indeed, the section of Iraq that is anti-Iran is also the current insurgency.

5) Yes, I know there have been contingency plans released about an Iran war. But there are contingency plans for invading all kinds of places.

6) Iran has a serious army and is a much larger country. The regime also has a good degree more popular legitimacy/support than Saddam Hussein had within Iraq.

7) Contrary to some of the above posters, I do think there is much less consensus inside the neocon/GOP community on the advisability of invading Iran than there was on Iraq. I think that inside the Bush white house and its fellow travellers, the decision to invade Iraq was pretty much unanimous. This is much less so this time out. There are people like Michael Ledeen, but there are also people like Rueul Marc Grecht, too.

Ben P

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