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."
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.