“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

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The LOL era and the Iran war rollout

Sometimes, LI thinks we should brag about our foreign policy prescience. Before the invasion of Iraq, we foretold the insurgency, and the expense – although, admittedly, we underestimated the latter. Similarly, since 2004, we have been predicting that … there would be no war between the U.S. and Iran. Although in 2004, we considered it possible that the U.S. would bomb Iran, much as Reagan bombed Libya – a sole sortee, for advertising purposes only – by 2005 it was pretty clear this wasn’t going to happen.

The reason why ties into the domestic reasons for invading Iraq, which should never be forgotten. Bush, on 9/11, was, by all rights, a washed up president. Not only had he been elevated to office in the most bizarre coup since Rutherford Hayes agreed to abandon African Americans and cede the Civil War to the South in 1876, but he had obviously and spectacularly failed to protect the country, and was subject to embarrassing panic attacks. It only got worse as his Defense Department did what it could to help Osama bin Laden escape into Pakistan, practically buying him and his entourage a one way ticket. At the same time, Bush had managed to take the amount of money accumulated from the regressive FICA tax since 1985 and distribute it almost completely to the wealthiest people in the U.S. – a two trillion dollar gift to the upper one percentile. In return for which, the wealthiest staged a nice collapsing bubble as the stock market, which had boomed due to a tissue of fraudulent accounting practices and unregulated flows of hedge money, came back into line with reality.

What was needed was a war like Bush’s Daddy’s war, so the war they wanted when they came in was ginned up a little earlier than I image they were planning – given their overt grossness, I imagine Rove had planned the war for December, 2003, so they could have the victory march sometime in spring and enjoy the spike in the Prez’s popularity. Daddy Warbucks Bush had, after all, not benefited from his war.

Well, they succeeded in getting the second term, and of course it blew up in their faces, since this is a bunch that has never had a more than third rate idea. What they weren’t counting on was the fact that their war, which they wanted to be a little thing, a model war for a bunch of others, turned out to be an extensive, expensive, and ultimately wildly unpopular thing. And while certain aspects of it have, admittedly, succeeded – the price of oil, for instance, is now firmly stationed at three times the price of oil during the Clinton administration, a source of quiet pride to the Petro-Gun Club, Bush’s true milieu – still, there was a small political problem with squeezing the Red State Muzhik for more of his currency. If there is one thing that muzhik likes, it is a big, gas guzzling truck upon which one can affix one’s Bush Cheney sticker. But if the price at the pump shoots up to, say, four dollars a gallon, even the core of Bush believers would begin to melt. The thing that doomed Carter was not his ‘weakness’, as per the right, but the price of things – which are equivalent to Virgil’s the tears of things – they are the sacred signs by which we organize our rituals.

I have thought, for a long time, that this, and this only, was the real restraint on the sweet toothed crowd at the White House. Still, I think the attack on Iran has been a lure for the Bush people. Since we know that they have had the NIE estimate for a year, we can guess that it was repressed in order that the Cheneyites might have their say. The papers have gone along for the ride, with the Post making egregious references to Iran in its reports on Iraq, never missing a chance to blame Iran for IED deaths, and of course never mentioning the role Saudi Arabia played in making sure the Sunni insurgents were armed and manned and out there killing the Yankees, pour encourager les autres. Also, the ride up to ninety nine dollars per barrel was too good to miss. If Exxon doesn’t vote Bush a lifetime sinecure when he finally stumbles out of the white house, well, it will just show a shocking decline in gratitude in the corporate world.

So things have worked out happily enough for the scoundrels who rule us. The Petro Gun club needs, as we creep towards actually appeasement, just like Chamberlain back in 1938, to keep the noise machine going. I was happy to see that the Washington Post pitched in with one of their exemplary editorials, in which one half truth is added to another as part of a proof that half truths add up to big lies: and so of course they read the NIE report as saying that Iran is going to be arming missiles with nuclear tips and firing off like drunk gremlins any day now. More significant, however, is the Kagan op ed piece sending up a white flag. What happens now is anybody’s guess. I suppose the law of incompetence eventually had to strike at the one thing the Bushies do best: the war rollout.

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