The Tar Baby

The story thus far — a multinational diplomatic effort to resolve the Iran nuclear standoff, explained yesterday in this post, is still underway. Time is critical — the situation must be diffused before Tehran gets a bomb or Washington drops bombs.

As it’s unlikely Tehran has sufficient weapons-grade uranium to do much nuclear mischief right now, the latter outcome is the more immediate threat.

Simon Tisdall explains in today’s Guardian:

George Bush’s explanation of his volte-face over a proposed Iran-India gas pipeline project appeared slightly disingenuous. “Our beef with Iran is not the pipeline,” the US president said on Saturday after withdrawing previous objections and giving the go-ahead to Washington’s new friends in Delhi. “Our beef with Iran is the fact that they want to develop a nuclear weapon.”

But US fears about Iranian nukes, discussed in Vienna yesterday, are hardly the whole story. Washington is compiling a dossier of grievances against Tehran similar in scope and seriousness to the pre-war charge-sheet against Iraq. Other complaints include Iranian meddling in Iraq, support for Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon, and human rights abuses.

Our meddling in Iraq and human rights abuses are an entirely different matter, of course.

Mr Bush regularly urges Iranians to seize the “freedom they seek and deserve”. In Tehran’s ministries, that sounds like a call for regime change. He has ignored past Iranian offers of talks and tightened US economic sanctions.

Official Washington’s quickening drumbeat of hostility is beginning to recall political offensives against Libya’s Muammar Gadafy, Panama’s Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, which all ended in violence. Rightwing American media are urging action, deeming Iran “an intolerable threat” that is the “central crisis of the Bush presidency”. [emphasis added]

Lord, how many central crises can one administration stand?

Yesterday’s ABC News report that Iran is making roadside bombs known as IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices, which begs the question — how are they “improvised” if they are being manufactured?) and shipping them to Iraq for use against Americans has the righties worked up into a nice lather. The old war, with Iraq, just wasn’t much fun any more. But here is the promise of a bright, shiny new war to play with!

It’s “a casus belli, if we want it,” says Captain Ed.

“Gee, how convenient is that?” asks John Aravosis. “Suddenly after 3 years we conveniently find ‘evidence’ of Iran arming the Iraqi insurgents, only a mere weeks after Bush starts laying the groundwork for attacking Iran.”

An odd part of this story is that for now it remains an ABC exclusive; I haven’t found independent corroboration. This suggests a plant. (Or, it also could suggest stupidity — see Newshog for evidence it’s an old story that ABC has confused for a new story.) On the other hand, ABC quotes Richard Clarke as finding the evidence credible. So let’s assume for a moment it’s true.

The ABC report doesn’t make clear exactly which Iraqis the bombs are going to. Righties assume the bombs are going to “terrorists” which is a possibility. Or they might be going to insurgents. Or Shia militias. Or all of the above. What the righties never stop to consider is that Iran’s importing of bombs into Iraq is a consequence of our invasion of Iraq. In other words, we created the conditions that brought this about.

The moral is, he who lets slip the dogs of war is likely to get bit.

I see the Bushies and their hard-right base continuing to fight the Middle East tar baby until they get the desired outcome (can anyone explain what that is?) or until the keys to the war machine are wrestled from their hands. One can only imagine the unintended consequences of a U.S. bombing of Iran. Unfortunately, Bushies are famously imagination-challenged. Will we have to listen to Condi say, “No one could have anticipated we would start World War III”?

22 thoughts on “The Tar Baby

  1. Of course the Iranians could be shipping roadside bombs into Iraq, but it takes more than spotting manufacturing signatures to reach this conclusion – even if Richard Clarke thinks it’s an inescapable conclusion. You have to ask, why? What would they hope to accomplish?

    If the insurgency started winding down, coalition troops started withdrawing and a Shia-dominated government started to consolidate power, Iran’s influence in Iraq, far from diminishing, would only increase. So why impede a political process that’s already working in Iran’s favor by shipping bombs into Iraq? (And, for that matter, why arm Sunni insurgents who detest Iranians!?)

    On the other hand, the US clearly has a motive for portraying Iran as a belligerent right now. Domestic and international opinion is being primed on the necessity to get tough and put a stop to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Perceptions of the threat that Iran poses will obviously be hardened if there is evidence that they are arming Iraqi insurgents. (more…)

  2. The desired outcome, of course, is the continuity of the permanent state of war, which, in turn permits a permanent relaxation of the ability to reason (and to recognize that the Bill of Rights are being shredded in front of us) which, in turn, most importantly, permits continued election of Republicans to Congress and the White House, who in turn, can continue to protect us from the threat that either (1) doesn’t exist, or (2) if it does, is created or at least worsened by their actions. Too much pressure is building to get out of Iraq (or at least scale down to levels that are, shall we say, less profitable. Hence, we need another market… Iran will do nicely.

    Said Republicans will continue spending profligately on war materiel and service contracts (though not on the actual human beings in uniform), borrowing from China and Japan to do so, putting yet further pressure to cut social programs (Heaven help us we should raise taxes back to those horrible Clinton-era levels.).

    It’s a wonderful virtuous cycle if your name happens to be Bechtel, Halliburton, Dynegy, General Electric, Carlyle, or of course, or Bush (especially Marvin or Neil).

  3. The US needs to get used to being told to piss off. Better start listening and talking with instead telling and talking to.

  4. Pretty scary looking at our foreign policy right now. I wouldn’t count out the possibility of Boosh going into Iran(Gonzales dutifuly explaining he was given the power by congress to do everything but raise the dead) but I don’t think anyone would be behind this the way the majority was brainwashed into accepting the Iraq war.

  5. I can’t say I am more afraid of Iran having the bomb than I am of the USA, Israel, India, Pakistan and all the others. Insanity knows no nationality or boarders.

    Does the administration not want build new nuclear weapons? Surly they would not if they are not willing to use them. The Iraniens would have good reason to want them too.. Still it is insane.

  6. Foreign policy part 2.
    We all get caught up in reality(WE live there, some don’t seem to)that it’s easy to forget that boosh is a tool of God. Maybe there is no thought to the future aside from bringing on Armeggedon…Now THERES a legacy that can top his old man….

  7. Attack Attack Attack. The sooner the better. The next presidential election is over two and a half years away. Maybe bush can get his ass kicked by going into Iran before suspending the constitution and staying on as presdent past his highly anticipated retirement date.
    Sometimes you gotta bottom out before you find a better way.

  8. Did you see the article on Salon today about Iranian bloggers? Given how oppressive the regime is, it seems unlikely that a grass roots movement could overtake the current Iranian government or even affect any real change, but it’s interesting to contemplate. Naturally, it’s all moot should Bush decide to invade; I think we can guess how things will turn out then.

    And again, how stupid are we supposed to be? If there’s no strong threat of Iran getting weapons-grade uranium, then there will be no nukes in the short term. What does Bush stand to gain from an invasion of Iran?

  9. Amen to #2, the talking dog. The war machine will be pumping denser fog, fear, and distraction to allow unconscionable Repubs to legislatively steal as much as possible before the ’06 elections, which they know they deserve to and therefore expect to lose.

  10. “He who lets slip the dogs of war is likely to get bit.” I’m embroidering that on something.

  11. The political class in Washington (including Democrats like Biden and Clinton) are tripping over each other in their sprint to the AIPAC platform to assure the Israeli’s that we’ll do whatever it takes to deal with Iran. We have the best politicians that money can buy. Whores. That’s what they are.

  12. As a hypothetical, imagine a player has an unraceable deadbar pull from the 2 bar, short and intermediate pulls and a spray.

    Will even a tight zone be able to make shooting the pull series not worth it?

  13. Sorry, wrong forum. I’m also a competitive foosball player and was posting on a thread regarding clearing, passing, and shooting from the goal.

  14. I could see they were going to invade Iraq, and talk about impotent anger while watching things progress.

    But I can’t see them hitting Iran. Not with a civil war in Iraq, too few troops, and the certainty that Iran is going to agitate successfully in Iraq.

    I’ve thought for awhile that Israel is going to do whatever bombing needs to be done, on a wink and nod deal with the U.S. On the other hand, that might be even worse. Who does the Arab world hate most, us or Israel?

  15. “When a particular problem is intractable, enlarge it.” — Donald Rumsfeld

    Most people attribute the collosal failure known as ‘the situation in Iraq’ to incompetence. Maybe so, but when you look at the skill and intelligence behind seizing power in the US, manipulating public opinion, stealing the commons, and generally destroying democracy at home and abroad, incompetence doesn’t come to mind. Not even with Katrina (though letting that video out was a big goober.) Malevolence, yes. Insanity, yes. Incompetence, no.

    Iraq isn’t a failure. It’s a success, only it hasn’t caught on as well as they’d like: a larger Middle Eastern conflict has been the desired ‘state’ all along. You must tear down the old world order before building a new one, knock the pieces off the Grand Chessboard before starting a new game with your rules… Especially now, since Iraq has become intractable (by design, I suspect). A wider conflict hasn’t come quickly enough for this administration in spite of all they’ve tried to do to provoke it. Incursions into Syria? Didn’t provoke them enough. Keep trying. Eventually, Syria or Iran will lash out or quit ‘being reasonable.’ Then we’ll pounce and scream SEE?!?!? We told you this menace had to be dealt with!!

    I may be giving the Bush administration too much credit, but either way – competent or not – they do seem hell-bent to attack Iran and/or Syria and/or goad one of them into giving the US an excuse to do something it has every intention of doing anyways.

  16. Michael Miller, #19…thanks…..some writings like yours offer a specific lens….and the wider picture comes into focus…

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