Well, it seems we are truly slouching – stumbling drunkenly, actually – toward war with Iran. While I've hemmed and hawed on the subject, it seems at this point that Team Bush will, sometime before the fall (and possibly as soon as the summer), attack Iran. It appears as inevitable as the coming of spring or the raising of the federal debt limit.So what will it look like you ask?
The war, if it comes, will not be fought because Iran is trying to create a euro-denominated spot and futures market for oil. Nor will it come because Iran is allegedly pursuing nuclear weapons, though that will be the excuse given at forums in New York, in salons across Europe, and at angry, hectoring press conferences here in Mordor-on-the-Potomac. No, the real reason the United States will wage war on Iran is because the Bush Jong Il régime will decide the only way to save face and withdraw from Iraq with some "dignity" in fact is to bomb Iran.
I don’t expect many US troops to actually cross Iranian borders. In fact, the attack on Iran may be part of a general evacuation of American troops from Iraq, part of the "Iraqization" process and how Team Bush "helps" the Iraqi military cope with the civil war. The goal will not be to unseat the Iranian government. It won’t even be to really eradicate Iran’s nuclear program. It will simply be to show the world that the US of A is still strong, still mighty, still matters, that no one f**ks with the United States of America, that we can still beat up on people who make us mad. That various American administrations have to try to keep "teaching" that lesson time and again to the world at large pretty well means it isn’t really true and that most everyone in the world who isn’t an American (along with a few Americans) knows this.Laos and Cambodia redux?
After all, do truly strong and confident people – or communities of people – need to go around beating up on others all the time?
But I’m fairly convinced that, for political reasons, an attack on Iran will be for the Bush people what the invasions of Laos and Cambodia were for the Nixon people – an expansion of the war as political eyewash to cover the defeat and justify a withdrawal. It will still be a murderous, foolish and pointless expansion, but it will be in aid of a general retreat, and not part of any "new phase" of "The Long War." The whole point of the never-ending war on whatever to begin with was to create and sustain permanent Republican rule, and it has more or less blown up in Karl Rove’s and George W. Bush’s faces. (I’m all for stuff blowing up in George W. Bush’s face... Where is our Claus von Stauffenberg when we need him?) I think the rank-and-file GOP recognize a loss when they see it, and are maybe fearing for their political futures. But nationalism and militarism, in this context, are Republican problems at least back to the 1950s and possibly all the way back to the 1890s (and maybe even the 1850s and 1860s). Republicans have never learned to square the circle of their mistrust of government power to set minimum wages and hand out groceries to the poor with their confused mishmash of love of country, love of executive power and love of the military (and whatever war it is waging at the time). In the era of the Cold War and beyond, American nationalism and militarism became a kind of mystical religion for the GOP. However, like any form of idolatry, it offers peace and comfort for the soul but fails utterly to deliver, while the molech at the center of all its demonic practices – the executive presidency – angrily demands more young victims, more burnt offerings, and more treasure to feed its insatiable appetite. As pointless as the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been, I don’t expect the GOP faith in their idol to change much, though dreams of world conquest and management will likely be tempered, at least for a while. (That’s my hope, anyway.)Well isn't it good to know you have something to look forward to.