Friday, May 25, 2007

Will Cheney Attack Iran?

Neverending game of speculation:

There is a race currently underway between different flanks of the administration to determine the future course of US-Iran policy.

On one flank are the diplomats, and on the other is Vice President Cheney's team and acolytes -- who populate quite a wide swath throughout the American national security bureaucracy.

The Pentagon and the intelligence establishment are providing support to add muscle and nuance to the diplomatic effort led by Condi Rice, her deputy John Negroponte, Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, and Legal Adviser John Bellinger. The support that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and CIA Director Michael Hayden are providing Rice's efforts are a complete, 180 degree contrast to the dysfunction that characterized relations between these institutions before the recent reshuffle of top personnel....

This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an "end run strategy" around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument.

The thinking on Cheney's team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran's nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise missiles (i.e., not ballistic missiles).

Militarism in Israel is practically out of control, as it is in the US, but, especially after the Lebanon debacle, one has to wonder whether even the Israelis would be up for this craziness.
This strategy would sidestep controversies over bomber aircraft and overflight rights over other Middle East nations and could be expected to trigger a sufficient Iranian counter-strike against US forces in the Gulf -- which just became significantly larger -- as to compel Bush to forgo the diplomatic track that the administration realists are advocating and engage in another war.

Commenters chip in:

I'm not sure what to think. I've believed Cheney & Co. were determined to attack Iran for a long time. I expected it last October, and again this spring. They probably still do want to attack Iran, but the forces arrayed against them are organised and growing.

First, China has demonstrated that it could knock out all our military navigation and communication satellites in a number of hours. Ever since January you might have noticed that admirals and generals are a lot less keen on a war. Our ships would be blind sitting ducks. Our most advanced weapons systems would be useless.

Second, Saudi Arabia has got all stroppy and started cutting deals behind our backs in the Middle East, with China, with India and with Europe. Bush's buddies in Saudi now say that their marriage to America is Catholic - so no divorce - but because they are Muslim they can take another, younger wife - China. 75 percent of Gulf oil exports go to Asia.

Third, Europe has gotten real confusing for Bush. He doesn't know any of the new players. He hates what he does know about Gordon Brown, who will replace Blair within weeks. He can't count on anyone white to give him cover of legitmacy this time around.

Fourth, Russia is much more powerful and agile now than it was five years ago. Five years ago Russia watched us storm into Iraq and did nothing. Russia will allow us to storm into Iran, and then they will do to us what we did to them in Afghanistan. Now that they know it was Robert Gates who suckered them into the briar patch and then financed and armed Al Qaeda to destroy the Soviet military, they will be keen to return the favour.

Fifth, Iran has been more reasonable and very effective at diplomacy in the region and in Asia and Europe lately. That and it has the best value-for-money military on the planet (about $91 per capita), having prepared for defensive operations ever since we instigated Saddam's invasion of Khuzestan (90 percent of Iran's oil reserves). The proxy war in Lebanon last year was meant to prove the model for massive attacks on civilian infrastructure to destabilise response, and then combined air superiority with limited ground occupation to hold Khuzestan. It failed there and will fail in Iran. We won't hold Khuzestan long enough or peacefully enough to get any oil out, no matter how many millions of cluster bombs we drop on the surrounding mountains.

If the USA attacks Iran it will not only be the end of US hegemony in the world, it will probably be the end of the US as free and wealthy nation. I would expect economic collapse, dictatorship and civil war within 10 years. With the Bushies thrown off their game plan of one party rule by rigged voting machines, a politicised Justice Department and crony courts, few Republicans have the stomach for the aggressive march toward dictatorship that an open grab for power requires. Most GOP officials are inclined to skulk in the darkness and start plotting again rather than press ahead with the full PNAC plan for global domination.

There's a rumour going around Washington that Cheney has been a client of the notorious DC Madam:

"Apparently, there are rumors coming out of Washington that Vice President Dick Cheney, when he was the CEO of Halliburton, used to go visit prostitutes. This could explain why one girl was paid two billion dollars. I mean, I was thinking about this and Cheney ... I mean, going to a prostitute, that's ... I mean, I can't believe a good-looking guy like that would ever have to pay for sex, you know what I'm saying?"

Wonkette explained why its staffers were "underwhelmed by this rumor."

"Because even if it’s a fact, which it probably is, there’s no way it would have any impact on Cheney’s 'career,'" Wonkette continued. "This is a draft-dodging half-human war criminal [whose ratings are in the toilet where they started from] with a pregnant lesbian daughter who tells senators to fuck themselves and shoots his own friends in the face. Ordering an outcall hooker is positively innocent compared to the well-known things Cheney does every day."


"The White House must either shut Cheney and his team down . . . or expect some to begin to think that Bush has no control over his Vice President."

Gee, what would give them THAT idea?

Fortunately, while Bush doesn't control Cheney, Cheney doesn't control the Pentagon any more through his fellow Sith Lord, Donald Rumfeld.

If Gates is on board with the realist strategy -- and he practicaly defines the type -- then Cheney would appear to be checkmated. The Vice President's office has no constitutional authority whatsoever over any of the cabinet departments. Sure, he can continue to plot with the AEI and tie the NSC up in knots. But he can't start a war, not without the Dauphin's signature. And, with luck, Condi and company are in a position to keep that from happening.

The fatuous and sycophantic Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer chips into the debate with the following:
the Prime Minister of Australia's decision on American soil immediately after September 11th ... invoked our defense alliance with the United States in effect to declare war on the terrorists that had attacked our friend and our ally.

So we invaded Iraq? It was Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda that attacked America on 9/11, not Saddam Hussein and Iraq. It's hard to find the words to express enough contempt for policy and public statements that are such transparent lies and manipulations. It's a time of lying, and a time of crimes, open and in your face, grinding on and on until these people are finally called to account. Downer again:

We believe that purposeful, determined, committed American leadership is equally indispensable to the peace and prosperity of the entire world. For us in Australia, these judgments are clear. There is a moral clarity about them. We fundamentally believe that the United States is a force for good in the world.

The attack on Iraq was an unprovoked act of aggression ('the supreme crime of aggressive war') accompanied by 'state-sponsored lies reminiscent of the worst regimes of the 20th Century'. It has destroyed the country in an incredible way, killing 650,000 people (heading towards one million) and creating four million refugees. And this is called 'good'.

But imperialism aint what it used to be. Last time we invaded a Muslim middle east nation 8,000 Australians were killed in the space of a few months, when the population was much smaller than it is now. Howard and Downer know that the public wouldn't stand for anything like such casualties today. In fact, the 'troops' are protected from harm, suffering virtually nil casualties, and are nothing more than a photo opportunity and political prop for a Prime Minister and a Government that loves the idea of a 'war leader'. A war hero without the deaths and casualties - you have to admit the 'tricky' John 'W' Howard has got one over Bush and Blair here.

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