Monday, October 01, 2007

When Bush pulls the trigger, remember who helped load the gun

As despicable as the lopsided vote on Lieberman-Kyl seemed last week, it seems altogether ominous now.

Though much was made of how the first paragraph of the amendment was “watered down” (it originally stated that US forces were to “combat, contain, and roll back” Iranian forces allegedly destabilizing Iraq, but this was seen as a too-thinly-veiled thumbs up to send troops over the border, so it was changed to the cumbersome “it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies,” which is, frankly, comedic and not much better), it is the second paragraph that truly stands as a senatorial love letter to Dick Cheney.

After L+K gets done pandering to the fiction that there is some hegemonic transnational Islamic threat to the existence of the United States/Israel™, it sets about to “approve the listing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran as a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’”

As stupid as it sounds to lump a sovereign nation’s largest military force in with the various designated non-state antagonists in the GWOT™, when read in tandem with the latest revelations by reporter Seymour Hersh, the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment is the perfect method for Bush/Cheney madness.

Writing in the October 6 issue of The New Yorker, Hersh explains that White House warriors, seeing limited traction for their original reason for war with Iran—that being to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon—have shifted the strategic rationale to counter-insurgency. Under the new “plan,” US and British forces would conduct “surgical air strikes” against Revolutionary Guard headquarters and training camps, while American special forces would work inside Iran to disable antiaircraft weapons and Iranian command and control.

A few points:

  • Moving goals posts—changing the rationale for war from destroying weapons of mass destruction to counter-insurgency to part of the GWOT—whoever heard of such a thing???

  • If surgical strikes with special forces behind the lines sounds a bit like war to you, that’s because it is war. As even a first term President John Kennedy realized before the October 1963 missile crisis, there is no such thing as a surgical air strike. Even today, aerial bombing is far from a precise tactic—collateral damage deaths of innocents have been manifold during Iraqi and Afghani raids—and few battlefield objectives can be accomplished with airpower alone. Air strikes will not completely immobilize Iranian forces, and they will likely provoke more of the behavior that Bush/Cheney and Lieberman-Kyl label as destabilizing influences—they are not the final battle, but, more likely (and intentionally) a prelude to a broader war.

  • And, most importantly, by declaring Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization—right here, right now—Congress has given Bush and Cheney all the “authority” that they need to attack them. . . anywhere. . . even inside Iran.

    According to Hersh, that’s exactly what they plan to do.

Make no mistake, as much as some senators, oh, say, like Hillary Clinton, want to argue that this resolution “gives us options to impose sanctions,” it is, in cold, clear fact, all that the current inhabitants of the White House need to start their next war. . . and claim that they have a congressional blessing—and the blessing of a Democrat running for president—to do so.

Bush may pull the trigger on a new round of bloodshed, but several Democrats—Sens. Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, most notably—helped load the gun.

(And a PS to Sen. Barack Obama: Don’t think that skipping the vote on Lieberman-Kyl while making noise about how you would have voted against it lets you off the hook—it doesn’t. If convenient absence is your idea of leadership, then I suggest you lead yourself right off of the national stage.)

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)

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