First, LI sends happy birthday wishes to IT. Long may she herd the cats of theory! Long may she operate as a provocateur in the Oxbridgian garden party of philosophy!
Second, in order to get your omni-depressent buzz on, do go to the debate on Iran being hosted at the Brittanica site. The hawks are out in force, saying the same dismally stupid things they always say, advocating the usual death and destruction, from which of course they expect to be spared themselves. The debate is called Target Iran? Which has a very nice, blind as a bat sound to it. I do wonder if it would cause a bit of a scandal to have, say, a debate entitled Target America, in which various Al qaeda members and others debated whether to take down certain pieces of American infrastructure with maximum casualties? But of course, the moral asymmetry here reaches deep down into the language of this war enabling culture.
What to do about this huge, everpresent problem? Is it possible to make America a normal country, or are we doomed to be lead by the seediest, the greediest, and the stupidest into the valley of the shadow of death? There is a wolfish Freikorps tone to the militant warmongers that is all the more ridiculous in that none of them have actually served in the military. It is proxy Naziism – a GI Joe doll version of it. It doesn’t even have the good taste of being a reaction to violence on the front – the only violence the warmongers have ever faced is a queasy stomach after too many fried foods at the AEI banquet. Judging by the insufferable tone alone, I would say we are close to a war with Iran. But judging by what is actually happening, I don’t think we are. Gates, according to the British newspaper, the Telegraph, has taken over the caretaker job of keeping our lunatic Vice President at bay. That we are hedged about and protected from the worst by an old appartchik from the Cold War is cause for grimness in itself. Or rather, protected by Gates and by the unwinnable war that has bogged the American military down in Iraq – one war blocking the other.
Such a state of affairs can’t last. To prevent war with Iran, the only real hedge is to recognize Iran. The only real hedge is to establish economic relations with Iran. Which is also the only way to have any say in what happens in Iran – for only when, say, an Iranian president speaks at a U.S. university can you protest said Iranian president speaking at a U.S. university. This should not be hard to figure out: U.S. foreign policy that simply bars contact and freezes relations with a country hardly ever works. However, once those relations are in place, it is excellent to have outraged people in the U.S. protesting to have contact barred and relations frozen. Grass roots threats to an existing set of relationships can work.
Oh, and I should link to this Foreign Policy blog post, which admiringly cites Wayne White:
Wayne White, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute who was, among other things, principal Iraq analyst at the State Department's highly respected Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2003-2005. Most of his post is a fairly straightforward synopsis of the state of play. But here's an interesting nugget:
“If the U.S. attacks Iran, for either reason, it would most likely do so during the days of maximum darkness in order to capitalize on its significant advantage in night warfare. That period begins around now and ends next March. The following winter, the president would be in office for only a portion of that militarily advantageous period, and also would have to consider the awkwardness of ordering an attack during an election campaign or in the period between the election and when he leaves office on January 20, 2009.
Unless last month's IAEA "work plan" with Iran (aimed at clearing up some matters by November) shows real progress, offering genuine hope that the diplomatic logjam over nuclear enrichment can be broken, this December through March could be the first period during which U.S. military action against Iran becomes a real possibility. Because of the military considerations noted earlier, roughly the same period would be the most likely timing for a fairly robust and mainly aerial assault against IRGC targets inside Iran.”
This is a blast from the past! Reminiscent of 2002, when numbers of warmongering, highly testosteroned bloggers were eagerly planning the invasion of Iraq. Would we use the new military Y weapon – specs would then be brought out – or would we invade with our Black “C” Calvary from the North. One of the funniest of the rightwing bloggers, Steve Van Beste, made quite a name for himself by spinning fantasy scenarios that were just like those of some sub b action movie. This kind of thing really moves the starch heavy white American male to emotional heights even beyond the latest viagra pak upload. It is technical, so it gives one hours of tech doll playing fun – a boy’s own play war game – yet detached enough that one isn’t involved with the messy evisceration of people oneself. Leave that to the guy who, twenty years from now, will be shaking with the vibrations of mass murders past while holding a cardboard sign up, begging for money.
Notice the cool lingo of the scenario setting too, the oh so maleish“days of maximum darkness” – doesn’t it remind you of that movie where the Navy Seals defeated the Russians after putting on their nighttime concealment makeup? And the “fairly robust” – it just bursts with the stategery of nincompoops. It is so Bush era.
Kurt Tucholsky nearly went crazy in the face of this kind of headless militarist mindset in Weimar Germany. We face the same thing in this country, but there are some advantages held by those who prefer peace to thuggery, mass murder, and imaginary blood baths. The country, for one thing, is tired of its Disney vacation in hell, with action soldiers. And of course the six hundred billion (with the cost really mounting to a trillion and a half) for the Iraq war is starting to weigh even on the spirits of the stay at home mass murder cheerleader section. Thus, the rightwingosphere just can’t seem to get up the same Nuremberg spirit that accompanied the rush to war in 2002. The rah rahing is now more in anger that, generally, nobody else is singing along.
But one should always be cautious. Precious specimens like this Wayne White person are actually on the public payroll, instead of tucked into middle management jobs at dog food factories. And that is tragic.
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads