In a characteristically perceptive Op-Ed in this morning's Washington Post, Dahlia Lithwick makes the point that Bush's extremist actions – such as Jose Padilla's detention, the Guantanamo abuses, and omnipotence-declaring signing statements – have no real objective except one: "The object is a larger one: expanding executive power, for its own sake."The danger and the road to Armageddon.
For that reason, the weaker and more besieged the administration feels, the more compelled they will feel to make a showing of their power. Lashing out in response to feelings of weakness is a temptation most human beings have, but it is more than a mere temptation for George Bush. It is one of the predominant dynamics that drives his behavior.So what will the Bush/Cheney cabal do? Attack Iran of course even though most realize this will bring on Armageddon in the Middle East if not the entire world. There are a couple of must read posts over at The Left Coaster. The first is by Retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner who tells us the Pieces in Place for Escalation.
His party suffered historic losses in the 2006 midterm elections as a result of profound dissatisfaction with his presidency and with his war, and his reaction was to escalate the war, despite (really, because of) the extreme unpopularity of that option. And as Iraq rapidly unraveled, he issued orders that pose a high risk of the conflict engulfing Iran. When he feels weak and restrained, that is when he acts most extremely.
Bush officials and their followers talk incessantly about things like power, weakness, domination, humiliation. Their objectives – both foreign and domestic – are always to show their enemies that they are stronger and more powerful and the enemies are weaker and thus must submit ("shock and awe"). It is a twisted world view but it dominates their thinking (and that is how our country has been governed for the last six years, which is what accounts for our current predicament). As John Dean demonstrated, a perception of one's weakness and the resulting fears it inspires are almost always what drive people to seek out empowering authoritarian movements and the group-based comforts of moral certitude.
The most dangerous George Bush is one who feels weak, powerless and under attack. Those perceptions are intolerable for him and I doubt there are many limits, if there are any, on what he would be willing to do in order to restore a feeling of power and to rid himself of the sensations of his own weakness and defeat.
The pieces are moving. They’ll be in place by the end of February. The United States will be able to escalate military operations against Iran.In a second piece Steve Soto explains how in what looks like the lead up to the Iraq invasion Cheney Starts The Drumbeats On Iran.
The second carrier strike group leaves the U.S. west coast on Tuesday. It will be joined by naval mine clearing assets from both the United States and the UK. Patriot missile defense systems have also been ordered to deploy to the Gulf.
Maybe as a guard against North Korea seeing operations focused on Iran as a chance to be aggressive, a squadron of F-117 stealth fighters has just been deployed to Korea.
This has to be called escalation. We have to remind ourselves, just as Iran is supporting groups inside Iraq, the United States is supporting groups inside Iran. Just as Iran has special operations troops operating inside Iraq, we’ve read the United States has special operations troops operating inside Iran.
The White House keeps saying there are no plans to attack Iran. Obviously, the facts suggest otherwise. Equally as clear, the Iranians will read what the Administration is doing not what it is saying.
It is possible the White House strategy is just implementing a strategy to put pressure on Iran on a number of fronts, and this will never amount to anything. On the other hand, if the White House is on a path to strike Iran, we’ll see a few more steps unfold.
As a follow up to Sam’s fine, initial piece below, David Sanger of the NYT pens an analysis in Monday’s paper that reflects how the Bush Administration seemingly is replaying the Iraq run-up with Iran now.Steve also points out that one of the wingnuts that got us into the Iraq debacle, Kenneth M. Pollack, is uneasy about an Iran Armageddon.
And then note the insanity from Shooter, and Sanger’s zinger commentary.On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney argued that America’s actions were intended to protect allies in the Persian Gulf — though it is far from clear that Iran’s Sunni Arab neighbors have signed on to the strategy. “If you go and talk with the gulf states or if you talk with the Saudis or if you talk about the Israelis or the Jordanians, the entire region is worried,” Mr. Cheney said on “Fox News Sunday.” He described how the Iranians “sit astride the Straits of Hormuz” and its oil-shipping channels, how they support Hamas and Hezbollah.Yes, the rhetoric is the same, and Cheney as acting as the administration’s chief cheerleader and misinformer-in-chief again as if the last four years of catastrophe in Iraq hadn’t happened.
“So the threat that Iran represents is growing,” he said, in words reminiscent of how he once built a case against Mr. Hussein. “It’s multidimensional, and it is, in fact, of concern to everybody in the region.”
Insane men who insanely lust for power are the most dangerous when they feel threatened. Dick Cheney has spent his entire life dreaming of an imperial presidency and now that it is within his grasp he will stop at nothing. That includes bringing on Armageddon.