Iraq is Just a Comma

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Bush Administration, Iraq War, Middle East, War on Terror

When the final history is written on Iraq, it will look just like a comma.

– George W. Bush

You can hear it among the troops. The following email is from the political humor site BartCop, with the not-very-funny title We Are Going To Hit Iran…Bigtime:

[Update from maha: Per commenter PB, this was crossposted on Daily Kos and then taken down after its authenticity was questioned. I don't know about its authenticity, but I confirmed that it was taken off DK. Read with a big grain of salt.]

I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this. Her answer was really amazing…

She started in the Marines and after 8 years her term was up… She…successfully changed from the Marines to the Navy. Her role is still aligned with the Marines since she generally is assigned to liaison with the Marine units deploying off her carrier group.

Like most Marines and former Marines, she is largely apolitical. The fact is, most Marines are trigger pullers and most trigger pullers couldn’t care less who the President is. They simply want to be the tip of the sword when it comes to defending the country. She voted once in her life and otherwise was always in some forward post on the water during election season.

Something is wrong with the Navy and the Marines in her view. Always ready to go in harms way, Marines rarely ever question unless it’s a matter of tactics or honor. But something seems awry. Junior and senior officers are starting to grumble, roll their eyes in the hallways. The strain of deployments is beginning to hit every jot and tittle of the Marines and it’s beginning to seep into the daily conversation of Marines and Naval officers in command decision.

"I know this will sound crazy coming from a Naval officer", she said. "But we’re all just waiting for this administration to end. Things that happen at the senior officer level seem more and more to happen outside of the purview of XOs and other officers who typically have a say-so in daily combat and flight operations. Today, orders just come down from the mountaintop and there’s no questioning. In fact, there is no discussing it. I have seen more than one senior commander disappear and then three weeks later we find out that he has been replaced. That’s really weird. It’s also really weird because everyone who has disappeared has questioned whether or not we should be staging a massive attack on Iran."

"We’re not stupid. Most of the members of the fleet read well enough to know what is going on world-wise. We also realize that anyone who has any doubts is in danger of having a long military career yanked out from under them. Keep in mind that most of the people I serve with are happy to be a part of the global war on terror. It’s just that the touch points are what we see since we are the ones out here who are supposedly implementing this grand strategy. But when you liaison with administration officials who don’t know that Iranians don’t speak Arabic and have no idea what Iranians live like, then you start having second thoughts about whether these Administration officials are even competent."

I asked her about the attack, how limited and so forth.

"I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets. I believe that no American will know when it happens until after it happens. And the consequences… whatever the consequences… they will have to be lived with. Something inside me tells me to tell it anyway."

I asked her why she was suddenly so cynical.

"I have become cynical only recently. I also don’t believe anyone will be able to stop this. Bush has become something of an Emperor. He will give the command, and cruise missiles will fly and aircraft will fly and people will die, and yet few of us here are really able to cobble together a great explanation of why this is a good idea….

"That’s what’s missing. A real sense of purpose. What’s missing is the answer to what the hell are we doing out here threatening this country with all this power? Last night in the galley, an ensign asked what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can’t build a nuke. I mean the table got EF Hutton quiet. Not so much because the man was asking a question that was off culture. But that he was asking a good question. In fact, the discussion actually followed afterwards topside where someone in our group had to smoke a cigarette. The discussion was intelligent but also in lowered voices. It’s like we aren’t allowed to ask the questions that we always ask before combat. It’s almost as if the average seaman or soldier is doing all the policy work."

She had to hang up. She left by telling me that she believes the attack is a done deal. "It’s only a matter of time before their orders come and they will be sent to station and told to go to Red Alert. She said they were already practicing traps, FARP and FAST." (Trapping is the act of catching the tension wires when landing on the carrier, FARP is Fleet Air Combat Maneuvering Readiness Program- practice dogfighting- and FAST is Fleet Air Superiority Training).

She seemed lost. The first time in my life I have ever heard her sound off rhythm, or unsure of why she is doing something. She knows that there is something rotten in the Naval Command and she, like many of her associates are just hoping that the election brings in someone new, some new situation, or something.

"Yes. We’re gong to hit Iran, bigtime. Whatever political discussions that are going on is window dressing and perhaps even a red herring. I see what’s going on below deck here in the hangars and weapons bays. And I have a sick feeling about how it’s all going to turn out."

You can hear it among the intelligentsia. From Chris Floyd’s Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock: Countdown to Midnight in Persia:

…Juan Cole points us to the story by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, who reported on the study by two respected British academics on the likely course of the coming war. According to Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, former Director of the British American Security Information Council, the war preparations now being made by the Bush Administration bespeak something far beyond a quick punitive strike on Iranian Guards positions or lightning raid on Iran’s nuclear power facilities. Instead, what the Bush-Cheney junta envision is the complete destruction of the Iranian state in an aerial blitzkrieg aimed at up to 10,000 targets inside Iran.

The goal, says Plesch and Butcher, is to:

"destroy Iran’s WMD [capabilities], nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order…Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact. US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours. US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice."

Chris continues:

The assault will most likely be made with conventional weapons, the authors say, as the political and environmental effects of a nuclear strike on Iran would not be worth the limited military value of such an attack. After all, the Bushists want to control Iran and milk it dry after they destroy the regime and slaughter a vast number of innocent people. Halliburton and Exxon wouldn’t be able to move right in and start gobbling up loot in a radiated land.

This is what is coming. This is what the Bushists will be selling to us soon. (Glenn Greenwald has a useful roundup of the growing madness here.) One sees comments here and there to the effect that "the American people will never accept this," that "Bush can’t get away with this kind of thing after Iraq," or that "this isn’t 2002, with everyone still raw and dazed after 9/11," etc., etc. But such declarations are pipe-dreams, foolish hopes. As we have pointed out here many times, Bush and Cheney are not interested in obtaining the "consent of the governed" for their militarist agenda — nor do they need it.

Congress has already given its overwhelming approval to the specious reasons for war that Bush and his minions have advanced. The corporate media is doing its part again too…..

Earlier this summer, I highlighted Milton Mayer’s They Thought They Were Free, which details how Nazism slowly took over Germany in the 30s and 40s. It came up so slowly that the masses of people simply adapted, and life went on. We Americans have been going through something very similar under Bush. All of us have been watching our country, as we knew it, slowly slip away.

There comes a point in this process where a discontinuity appears, where it becomes unmistakably clear to everyone that Things Have Irreversibly Changed and There is No Going Back. For Nazi Germany, this point of no return probably happened when it invaded Poland, and the Allies declared war. Attacking Iran, if it happens as described, IMO will be this point of no return for America. It will unleash unprecedented consequences both at home and abroad. Bush will be proven correct: Iraq was just a comma, a stop on the way to what they were really after.

Countdown to Midnight in Persia concludes:

But let us bear witness to the truth while we can still speak the truth: This is murder. And all those who do not speak out against it — and against all those in high places who do nothing to stop it — are fully complicit in this abomination. No excuses, no mitigation, not this time. Speak out — or be damned with the criminals who thrive on your silence.

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17 Comments

  1. Swami  •  Sep 5, 2007 @5:59 pm

    There certainly is a lot of chatter recently about attacking Iran. The thought of it is insane, but with Bush at the helm, nothing can be dismissed as insane. I read where the 8 soldiers killed today in Iraq were killed as a result of Iranian EFP’s. Gen. Odierno has been excessively vocal in blaming Iran for the deaths of American troops…seems he’s eager to expand the conflict or else create a justification for his failure in Iraq.

  2. cebm  •  Sep 5, 2007 @6:22 pm

    I read IOZ, Chris Fields and Arthur Silber last night. I was depressed about this Iran crap beforehand, after this, which I already thought myself, well, here comes martial law. What are we to do? Maybe the only small thing we can do is to just keep saying no. Ha, that is hilarious in a horrible way. Ah well, what’s on the tube tonight ? Maybe I’ll watch V for Victory and wish.

  3. cebm  •  Sep 5, 2007 @6:33 pm

    Sorry, I mean V for Vendetta. Was that Freudian?

  4. maha  •  Sep 5, 2007 @7:01 pm

    Related to this — see this perspective from British Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle :

    Of course, there are others equally responsible, and their time will come, especially President Bush and his vice-president, the sinister Dick Cheney, along with their familiar Tony Blair. Yet this American duo have another 16 months in office. Who knows what further havoc they can wreak in their myopic approach to international relations? If strong information from Washington is to be believed, they have an advanced plan for a “shock and awe” attack on 1,200 military targets in Iran.

    Such an attack, aided and abetted by their Israeli satrapy, is entirely credible. Not only does it fit in with American determination to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, it is also consistent with the personal world-view of the dynamic duo in charge of the United States administration. Their approach says: “Don’t mess with us!” whereby the United States has been metamorphosed into the flawed judgment of these two inadequate men.

    Similarly, the idea of “payback” is intrinsic to their thinking. Thus, as former American ally Saddam needed to be paid back for the first Gulf war and an attempt on the life of the first president Bush, Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs are to be held to account for the seizure of American hostages in 1979, and the subsequent American humiliation.

    Less and less do we hear the arguments about Iran funding terrorists. As far as the west is concerned, they have never been in the same league as Gadafy, now our friend, or the favoured Saudis. The Iranians’ principal crime is to fund their co-religionists in Hizbullah, upsetting the Israelis and their Washington apologists. Iran has certainly never tolerated al-Qaida. Indeed, they helped the west in the clampdown on the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, and have been publicly acknowledged by the Iraqi government as supportive and helpful in the efforts to stabilise that tragic place.

    All the more peculiar, then, that as North Korea becomes America’s new friend, and as America’s old friend Pakistan threatens to collapse into the first Islamic fundamentalist nuclear power, Sheriff Bush and his deputy should be gunning for Iran.

    I want very much to believe they won’t do this, but we can’t exactly trust Bushie good judgment, can we?

  5. cherish  •  Sep 5, 2007 @8:27 pm

    So, um, if all this info is winging around the web …

    … how could the Iranian military NOT be prepared to fight back at a nanosecond’s notice?

    How could Shia Iraqi troops, police, and civilians NOT be making choices about how to deal with US troops and KBR employees in their midst?

    Assigning invincible superpowers to Bushco is a sort of reverse arrogance – a willful helplessness that projects the same helplessness onto the rest of the world.

    Uh-huh.

  6. moonbat  •  Sep 5, 2007 @9:07 pm

    Assigning invincible superpowers to Bushco is a sort of reverse arrogance – a willful helplessness that projects the same helplessness onto the rest of the world.

    The only ones who believe in BushCo’s invincible superpowers are the wingnuts who discount the points you’ve made, about Iranians, Shias etc fighting back. Authoritarian followers project their own awe of authority onto others, and believe that the Iranians and Shias will simply melt in the face of American greatness. Given that Bush believes he’s on a mission from God, he probably feels the same way too.

    I’m a lot more interested in probabilities, in what is likely to occur given the dynamics already in motion. Sadly, I don’t see much that’s likely to stop this attack plan. This doesn’t make BushCo invincible, it just recognizes that for a variety of reasons, these plans for attacking Iran have the momentum at this time.

  7. Doug Hughes  •  Sep 5, 2007 @9:35 pm

    If he does, will we impeach?

  8. erinyes  •  Sep 5, 2007 @9:45 pm

    One missing part of the puzzle is Saudi Arabia. According to many reports, the Saudi royal family actively supported the Wahabbi movements in Pakistan and Afghanistan, thereby ( supposedly) spawning the world wide Jihadist movement. Also reported, is that the majority of the “Al Qaida in Iraq” members killed or captured in Iraq are Saudi Nationals. If this is true, one would tend to think that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, would be in Bush’s cross hairs.

    But that would be inductive, critical thinking….
    Something the current administration does not believe in, like how it was critical to take out Saddam, when it was (supposedly) Usama Bin Laden that struck on 9/11.

    This whole thing is quite deeper and wider than we are lead to believe. I hope I live long enough to learn the truth and to see the crooks and liars and murders brought to justice

  9. D.R. Marvel  •  Sep 5, 2007 @9:56 pm

    Erin sez: “This whole thing is quite deeper and wider than we are lead to believe. I hope I live long enough to learn the truth and to see the crooks and liars and murders brought to justice.”

    That’s what I was sayin’ in ’74…

    ATSIJ: Rots’a Ruck…

  10. Swami  •  Sep 6, 2007 @12:50 am

    When the final history is written on Bush, it will look just like a shit stain on the pages of American history

    - Swami

  11. paul  •  Sep 6, 2007 @6:27 am

    Ummm, Mr Bush has a few mental problems, he’s also a Skull and Bones man, Socialist (COMMO) Fabian (creeping socialist) if I were an American I’d be looking to impeach the guy before he starts ww 111 !!!! Why would anyone in there right mind want to start www 111 in which tens of millions if not hundreds millions of inocent peope are going to die ? This coming war will make ww 11 look like a school yard brawl. All coment put lightly.

  12. KingGeorgeTheTenth  •  Sep 6, 2007 @10:09 am

    The thing that struck me about that account was the fact we are using aircraft carriers, also known as “big ass floating targets”. When Iran retaliates the carrier will be the first thing in Iran’s line of sight. It doesn’t take a genius to imagine Bush’s reaction once they have taken out one of our aircraft carriers – he would send in the nukes. We are talking nuclear bombs on a scale not seen before, the repercussions of which are quite difficult to predict.

  13. moonbat  •  Sep 6, 2007 @11:11 am

    ..we are using aircraft carriers, also known as “big ass floating targets”. When Iran retaliates the carrier will be the first thing in Iran’s line of sight.

    Plus, I understand the Iranians have supersonic missiles (via the Chinese, I forget their name) specifically designed to sink carriers.

    Widening the war, including some major casualties like this, will be the “new Pearl Harbor” the neocons have lusted for all this time. Every rightie has been craving this, which would serve (in their minds) as a justification for their position. Nevermind that we started it.

  14. Dave  •  Sep 6, 2007 @12:02 pm

    Where the hell are the other world leaders? Why isn’t Russia and China and India and France and Germany and … flying over here to tell Shrub that they’ll join in a Grand Alliance against the US if they attack?

    All we can do is comment on a blog, call our (powerless or unwilling to listen) congressman, maybe rally in the streets … and The Creature will pay no mind at all. I would think that NATO et. al. would have a louder voice.

  15. PB  •  Sep 6, 2007 @2:41 pm

    That first large excerpt, which also appeared on dailykos has been taken down, apparently it was a hoax.

  16. John Breland  •  Oct 10, 2007 @2:07 pm

    “an ensign asked what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can’t build a nuke.”
    ….
    …..
    I’m speechless. How does one respond to such inane stupidity? Maybe like this: if Billy Bob Ahmadinejad says he wants to shoot me, and I know he’s trying to get a gun, I’m going to stop him from getting a gun. And if he gets it, I’m going to blow it out of his hands with my own bigger gun. That’s called self defense. Survival instinct. Standing up for one’s self and one’s friends. Honor. But of course, this ensign and most of the posters on this blog wouldn’t know anything about those concepts, I guess. They’re too immersed in a valueless, nihilistic culture in which nothing is worth living for, much less fighting or dieing for.

  17. John Breland  •  Oct 10, 2007 @2:07 pm

    “an ensign asked what right do we have to tell a sovereign nation that they can’t build a nuke.”
    ….
    …..
    I’m speechless. How does one respond to such inane stupidity? Maybe like this: if Billy Bob Ahmadinejad says he wants to shoot me, and I know he’s trying to get a gun, I’m going to stop him from getting a gun. And if he gets it, I’m going to blow it out of his hands with my own bigger gun. That’s called self defense. Survival instinct. Standing up for one’s self and one’s friends. Honor. But of course, this ensign and most of the posters on this blog wouldn’t know anything about those concepts, I guess. They’re too immersed in a valueless, nihilistic culture in which nothing is worth living for, much less fighting or dying for.

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