Saturday, May 26, 2007

no more slam dunks

this week's news leak that bush has secretly signed

a "nonlethal presidential finding" [?!? 1] that puts into motion a cia plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of iran’s currency and international financial transactions.

... has the blogoshpere once again atwitter (as leaks about iran typically incite every few weeks) that all-out war with iran is just around the corner. even as the same article cautions that while

"vice president cheney helped to lead the side favoring a military strike," said former cia official riedel, "but i think they have come to the conclusion that a military strike has more downsides than upsides."

... many still see this as one more step down the road to armageddon:

"i think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the united states supporting anti-iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within iran," said vali nasr, adjunct senior fellow for mideast studies at the council on foreign relations.

"and this covert action is now being escalated by the new u.s. directive, and that can very quickly lead to iranian retaliation and a cycle of escalation can follow," nasr said.

i've already touched on some of the reasons why war with iran will not be forthcoming, such as an increasingly hostile (to the neocons) political climate:

"... the trash talk in a street altercation escalates in proportion to the expanding distance between the two protagonists.... it's when the fist fight has been avoided (or tabled) and they're putting distance between each other that the taunting becomes louder and more florid....

... they're waging rhetorical escalation because de-escalation is the unacknowledged order of the day, and there's nothing they can do about it."
james wolcott, 9/2/06

an increasingly recalcitrant military:

"with the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, i offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't — or don't have the opportunity to — speak. enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the constitution. the distinction is important ..."
— marine lieutenant general greg newbold, retired, 4/9/06

[admiral william] fallon’s refusal to support a further naval buildup in the gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. a source who met privately with fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted fallon as saying that an attack on iran "will not happen on my watch".

asked how he could be sure, the source says, fallon replied, "you know what choices i have. i’m a professional." fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, "there are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box."

and a more robust opponent:

... unlike iraq, iran boasts the capability of striking back at its attacker, both with and without warning. its long shadow across the straits of hormuz and its purported international network of sleeper cells have been thoroughly dissected in other publications, so suffice it here to say that most americans would prefer that iran's boasts remain untested.

but there is an overarching dimension to this ongoing melodrama that i haven't yet made crystal clear.

war with iran won't be a "slam dunk".

remember, when the white house and its neocon enablers first seduced america into abetting its invasion of iraq, the primary pitch they made that john q. public found so enticing was that "regime change" would be easy:

"i believe demolishing hussein's military power and liberating iraq would be a cakewalk. let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) it was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps."
— reagan arms control director ken adelman, 2/13/02

"five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."
— defense secretary donald rumsfeld, 11/15/02

"a slam-dunk case."
— cia director george tenet, 12/12/02

"we will win this conflict. we will win it easily."
— sen. john mccain, 1/22/03

"i think it will go relatively quickly, ... [in] weeks rather than months."
— vice president dick cheney, 3/16/03

"major combat operations in iraq have ended."
— president george bush, 5/1/03

and cheap:

"iraq, unlike afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the iraqi people. and so there are a variety of means that iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction."
— white house spokesman ari fleischer, 2/18/03

"the oil revenues of iraq could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years ... we're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
— deputy defense secretary paul wolfowitz, 3/27/03

"in terms of the american taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is it for the us. the rest of the rebuilding of iraq will be done by other countries and iraqi oil revenues ... the american part of this will be 1.7 billion. we have no plans for any further-on funding for this."
— usaid director andrew natsios, 4/23/03

and we'd all be heroes:

"if we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, i think we will do very well and our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
michael leeden, american enterprise institute, 10/29/01

"i think that the people of iraq would welcome the u.s. force as liberators; they would not see us as oppressors, by any means."
— vice president dick cheney, 9/9/02

"think of the faces in afghanistan when the people were liberated, when they moved out in the streets and they started singing and flying kites and women went to school and people were able to function and other countries were able to start interacting with them. that's what would happen in iraq."
— defense secretary donald rumsfeld, 9/13/02

"the iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. like the people of france in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator. they know that america will not come as a conqueror."
— deputy defense secretary paul wolfowitz, 3/11/03

"as i told the president on january 10th, i think they will be greeted with sweets and flowers in the first months and simply have very, very little doubts that that is the case. this is a remarkable situation in which the population of a country that's about to have a war waged over its head positively wants the war while all kinds of other countries don't for one reason or another. that should tell us a lot about this war and about the future [inaudible] which i think is desufficiently emphasized."
— iraqi exile kanan makiya, 3/17/03

"i think when the people of basra no longer feel the threat of that regime, you are going to see an explosion of joy and relief."
— deputy defense secretary paul wolfowitz, 3/24/03

explosions, paul? most certainly, and to this very day. joy and relief? well .. not so much.

the collapse of the occupation and the clearly-forseen civil war unleashed amid the criminal lack of contingency planning for the invasion's aftermath painfully dramatized the dangers of huffing one's own propaganda, particularly propaganda laced with dubious intel cherry-picked and stove-piped from neocon hustlers and iraqi beat artists.

while it's tempting to believe (as many do) that a group of people so horribly misguided must be certifiably insane (and therefore capable of any utter lunacy the most ill-informed paranoiac can dream up), the iraq debacle only proves them to be self-deluding, greedy and morally bankrupt, even evil — but not insane.

because only an insane person launches a war that they don't believe they can easily win, and it was as true for adolf hitler before he invaded poland as it is for george bush before he invaded iraq.

and iran will be no cakewalk.

because thanks to an imploding middle east, a newly-combative congress, a collapsing military and increasingly resistant commanders, a disgusted electorate, a bursting budget, a resurgent taliban and a hezbollah-chastized israel, the war-mongers in washington — and the too-willing public — got a cruelly-needed splash of cold and bitter reality, and right in the kisser.

and while pride childishly demands that they continue rattling their tin swords, in the maddeningly elusive hope that they'll sucker iran into a "gotcha" moment and get them to finally cry "uncle" to prove once and for all america's total pwnage before they slink off into the pages of infamy, the war-mongers know too well that their cynical dream of *cough* "spreading peace and democracy" *cough* across the middle east has just gone up in smoke:

"we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
george orwell, 1946

1 wtf ... ?!? is this supposed to be bush-speak for "no drive-bys"? are presidential "findings" ordinarily "lethal"? and just how many of these "findings" have left bush's desk anyway? there just isn't any end to this crew's thuggery ...

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