Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 30, 2007

The Campaign Against Iran

The product role out of the War on Iran is gaining speed. At Juan Cole's group blog Professor Rubin says a friend told him about a recent talk:

They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."

The campaign will not jump start after Labor Day, it has already begun. It makes four points:

  • Iran is building nuclear weapons
  • Iran is killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq by arming the resistance
  • Iran is a threat to Israel
  • An attack on Iran is militarily possible and will achieve a regime change

All four are demonstrably false, but that will not matter.

Bush's recent speech to the American Legion and the accompanying 'fact sheet' include the first three of the above points. The last point will be made by some neocons. A few days ago Raw Story peddled a British study that claims a 'successful' strategic bombing campaign against Iran is possible. "Baloney" says Col. Lang. He adds:

The current IO campaign against Iran makes it seem more and more plausible that such an onslaught will be attempted.

Via Jim Lobe we learn:

On the heels of President George W. Bush’s latest threats against Iran for its “murderous activities” in Iraq, the Weekly Standard has obligingly published a 30-page report by Kimberly Kagan, spouse of Surge co-architect and American Enterprise Institute (AEI) fellow Frederick Kagan and director of an entity called The Institute for the Study of War, entitled “Iran’s Proxy War Against the United States and the Iraqi Government”.

In another post Lobe reports:

Just four days after the American Enterprise Institute will launch its September 6 “All or Nothing” campaign to save the Surge, it will debut “Freedom Scholar” Michael Ledeen’s forthcoming book, “The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots’ Quest for Destruction” (St. Martin’s Press), a rehash of neo-con arguments for “regime change” – by military force, if necessary – in Tehran.

And another part of the campaign is announced:

“This October 22-26, I am declaring Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” declared David Horowitz Tuesday in a friendly interview on www.FrontpageMag.com, one of Horowitz’s many front groups. “I will hold demonstrations and protests, teach-ins and sit-ins on more than 100 college campuses. Our theme will be the Oppression of Women in Islam and the threat posed by the Islamic crusade against the West.”

After a few month of such coordinated drumbeat, late this year or early next year, most of the public will be convinced that an attack is inevitable. The Democrats in Congress are either already convinced or have stopped to fight against it.

The only hope we might have is that parts of the Pentagon will somehow sabotage this new war. There is already some mutiny about the continuation of the 'surge'. The Army and Marines folks will be against an Iran campaign. The evangelical Air Force will support it if only to show off the  'value' of its useless toys. But even the unlikely event of a few generals leaving in protest will not make a difference.

Another unlikely hope is that the main stream media will refuse to be the echo chamber for this campaign, fact check the accusations against Iran and point out that these are wrong. They could also report that the idea of a winable air campaign is lunatic. Fat chance that they will do so. War sells.

Russia and China could probably prevent an attack. But why should they. They will stop a war justifying UN resolution and then stand by to see their biggest competitor tearing himself down in another unwinable 'preemptive' war.

Still the real big loser will again not be the U.S., but the Iranian people.

Posted by b on August 30, 2007 at 13:41 UTC | Permalink

Comments

For me (in Europe these days), Sarkozy's endorsement is the big signal. I'm feeling unwell.

Posted by: alabama | Aug 30 2007 15:02 utc | 1

crap! Mr. B, can u delete my email address -- the "@, etc." part (don't need any more spam), and then this note. much appreciated.

Posted by: manonfyre | Aug 30 2007 15:23 utc | 2

@manonfyre - I can not edit the information in the name/email/link field that , so I deleted your comment which displayed your email address after copying the content.
This was your comment:
---
definitely time to roll out Michael Ledeen

Posted by: b | Aug 30 2007 15:30 utc | 3

IAEA: Iranian cooperation significant

The U.N. nuclear agency said Thursday that Iran was producing less nuclear fuel than expected and praised Tehran for "a significant step forward" in explaining past atomic actions that have raised suspicions.
...
As expected, the report also confirmed that, while Iran continued to expand its uranium enrichment program, it was doing so much more slowly than expected, and had produced only negligible amounts of nuclear fuel that was far below the level usable for nuclear warheads.

One of the U.N. officials also noted that construction of the plutonium-producing reactor at the city of Arak had slowed in recent months.

He said that "design difficulties, getting equipment, materials and components, and fuel technology, plus perhaps some political considerations," could be causing the delay.

The allusion to "political considerations" appeared linked to reports that Iranian officials might be considering stopping construction of the Arak reactor in another sign of good will calculated to blunt the threat of new U.N. sanctions.

Citing unidentified Iranian sources, Jane's Defense Weekly earlier this week said some members of Iran's Supreme National Security Council were pushing for such a move.

That — along with the months-long slowdown in enrichment activity, plus significant Iranian readiness to cooperate with the IAEA investigation — could combine to stymie the U.S.-led push for new U.N. penalties, diplomats said.

The Iranians have problems with enrichment. They only had imported ball bearings for some 2000 centrifuges. Those are running now, but it seems to be the limit. They also had problems producing clean Uranium hexafluorid and are probably using up a limited amount they had purchased from China. It simply takes time to learn how to do this stuff.

The heavy water reactor in Arak also turns out difficult to build without help. It is of much more concern than uranium enrichment. I never understood why the U.S. makes so much wind about the second while the first is certainly more important if one wants a bomb.

Anyway - good arguments against another U.N. resolution.

Posted by: b | Aug 30 2007 15:40 utc | 4

b,

This might roll out pretty quick. STRATCOM will want as much tactical surprise as it can get. Col. Gardner has been saying that the plan would require 3 carrier groups and there are going to be 2 of them drilling with India in Malabar 07 off of Sri Lanka right as the 9/11 Iraq reporting starts. That's 2 days sailing to the Gulf of Oman with the Enterprise already on station. Where's the gravy in a long PR campaign? This isn't gonna ever be popular and Congress has already signed on with the Lieberman resolution in the Senate (97-0) and the Lantos bill declaring the IRGC to be terrorists in the House (323 votes for it). The study that Larisa A. pointed to in her Raw Story piece had this operation down as Global Strike, meaning it could run with 12 hours notice. Petreaus points the finger and 2 days late, badda-boom.

Posted by: John Shreffler | Aug 30 2007 15:42 utc | 5

@John - yes, possible but it would be atypical. The Republicans want to have at least their hard core folks on their side to justify this and if possible more people. There needs to be some justification for the step at the next election.

A nice little 'terror attack' or some 'niger letters' would certainly help ...

Posted by: b | Aug 30 2007 15:50 utc | 6


the only way Iran (aka the Persian hornets nest) gets attacked by USA is if its "fixed" so neither side escalates. Just a thought.

otherwise, its highly unlikely.

september will come & go on the regular.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 30 2007 16:45 utc | 7

If what you say is true, then I cannot even begin to describe the degree of hypocrisy and cynicism with which we must see the U.S. proposal for a US-sponsored peace conference on the Middle East (ie, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) this coming November. Was that set into motion knowing full well that by November the Middle East will be in ashes? To pay a little lip service, offer a little false hope, until such time as oops, we are all forced to go to war again?

Well at least Ehud Barak was somewhat honest about the true intentions.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 30 2007 17:12 utc | 8

my position now is this. they are as mad as meataxes. they will do it. welcome to hell

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 30 2007 17:16 utc | 9

b@6,

I don't think either Cheney or Bush is thinking of the next election, which is always/already lost.(As in tidal wave.) So badly lost that this is a bit like the Schweizerhalle fire back in the late 80's: once the other Swiss companies realized that the Rhine was terminal from the toxins from the fire at one toxic dump, all of 'em dumped every last bit of their toxic waste. Besides, Cheney/Bush can't run again and this is their historical legacy. I read somewhere today they want 30% and they have that already, I expect. Keep in mind these two are crazy when you try to be rational.

Posted by: John Shreffler | Aug 30 2007 17:45 utc | 10

It can be refreshing and informative to come at these topics bass-ackwards.

What happens if we don't smite Iran?

1. The US leaves Iraq and Afghanistan, within the decade, with no further progress toward oil hegemony than it enjoys now,

2. The US, having bet its economic future on winning these (and other) resource wars, fades as an economic giant, and shrinks its role as World Policeman,

3. The US, as it loses the high-flying ability to print limitless dollars for foreigners to buy, becomes an internally harsh, reactionary society riddled with class division and dissent, ruled by draconian debt servicing schedules in the public and personal spheres,

4. Iran continues to grow into the regional Arab hegemon, becoming the voice of the restive Shia in surrounding Arab countries, destabilizing them,

5. Iran gets Da Bomb in a decade, forcing other Arab nations to do the same,

6. Iran and Israel settle in for the long haul, dedicating their nation's best people, products, and efforts to "containing" the other's dominance of the Middle East,

7. American never gets to elbow Russia out of the Caspian Basin, and forfeits all that natural gas and oil to them,

8. Russia, India and China become the de facto financiers and overlords of the oil-bearing nations of the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

Now, with all that bad news and back tracking for Americans to do in the coming decade

if they don't take out Iran and then go for the Caspian Basin militarily,

is it any surprise that Hillary Clinton is talking about getting ready for "the new war" or that no Democratic opposition to war on Iran is forthcoming?

Nah.

War is the health of the American economy. There is no politician on either side of the aisle, except Kucinich, who is willing to stand up and tell the American people how very thoroughly screwed the pooch is at this point.

Posted by: Antifa | Aug 30 2007 17:54 utc | 11

The Rapture Index

The Rapture Index is by no means meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture.

You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we're moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.

Rapture Index of 100 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 100 to 130: Moderate prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 130 to 160: Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 160: Fasten your seat belts

Click HERE to see where the Index stands today.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 30 2007 17:59 utc | 12

TV Evangelicist John Hagee Wants War with Iran, and He Wants It Now

I wouldn't go near this stuff if I didn't think that Our Leader wasn't at some level taken in by it.

...Hagee is not just another goofy eccentric on TBN. He has political clout and regularly meets with influential national politicians. If you’ve ever watched him on TV, he clearly basks in this fact and drops little hints about his discussions with people in governmental authority and other positions of power. For years Hagee has hosted "A Night to Honor" Israel and is founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel. Their goals span beyond supporting Israel, but also implementing a one-sided and radical approach to the Arab-Israeli problems in the Middle East. There is no nuance to their policy prescriptions and ironically (or perhaps not so ironically) the agenda of Hagee and his group would actually make matters much worse in the Middle East.

And he has more than a few fans out there. He has not been afraid to remind his church and television audience, repeatedly over the years, that there are "millions in America and around the world watching this program right now." Whatever the number really is, what is clear is that Hagee is reaching many people and has a networking system that spans into the rich and powerful, some of whom are making national foreign policy decisions.

If left up to Hagee, there would be a military strike against Iran today. Since last summer, Hagee has been practically foaming at the mouth for a new war with Iran. Why? Because he thinks it is the rest of the world’s job to fight Israel’s wars and because he thinks such a showdown is a piece of the puzzle in regards to Bible prophecy. To Hagee, there is no middle ground on this issue. God told Abraham he would "bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you" (Gen. 12:3). That means if YOU aren’t on board with wars that might be in Israel’s interest, but not in the United States’, then YOU will be cursed by God. At least according to Hagee.

To see just how bellicose, belligerent, and militaristic Hagee has come, just watch his speech at the AIPAC Washington conference. Behind his thundering prose and love for the Jewish people is a militaristic and even fanatical mindset that is hoping and praying for the world to fall apart. After all, Jesus can’t come back unless it does, but all is well since Christians before the "rapture" will escape the worst of it.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 30 2007 18:06 utc | 13

"Still the real big loser will again not be the U.S., but the Iranian people."

I don't think so. The Iranian people would suffer horribly, of course, but it would result in pretty much a world war against the US. I think this would be an enormous American defeat, big enough to even bring down the federal government.

Not since the end of WWII has the US fought a real war, against a nation with tanks, and artillery, and a real navy, and a real air force, and lots of missiles, and all other types of weapons. Not to mention allies that will help them. Since then it has been twice defeated by nations (Vietnam and Iraq) that have not much more than soldiers armed with rifles. And the US military is in much worse shape than when it invaded Vietnam or Iraq. No, there's no way they could win. What a disaster this would be.

Posted by: mikep | Aug 30 2007 18:09 utc | 14

Christians United for Israel - Video of July 16 Convention

Not to be missed.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 30 2007 18:13 utc | 15

Sorry if my 3 posts appear to be off topic, but they are not meant to be. They relate to an important force that potentially drives the thinking of the President with respect to hitting Iran. So that what appears to an average observer to be an insane move is suddenly "understandable" in this Worldview. Or WorldEndingview, perhaps I should say.

Posted by: Bea | Aug 30 2007 18:16 utc | 16

There is no politician on either side of the aisle, except Kucinich,

did you here how abc nixed him from the debate coverage? he also won the online poll so they pulled it and put in another which he handily won again. cut him out of the photo. its disgraceful. i think i am going to vote for him.

Posted by: annie | Aug 30 2007 18:18 utc | 17

I think this would be an enormous American defeat, big enough to even bring down the federal government.

as long as the war isn't being fought on our shores we aren't the ones suffering, at least that is the way i see it. loosing your government? what about blood and guts all over the friggin place. america getting pounded overseas is still taking place where the 'collateral damage isn't ours. everybody knows the corporate cronies consider our military personel totally expendable.

what do we have to look forward to? a random terror attack here and there? the day we are being nuked, invaded, all military age men rounded up and shot or imprisoned, people lining the borders fleeing their homes w/the clothes on their backs, then i will believe americas suffering could be comparable to the victims in countries we assault.

Posted by: annie | Aug 30 2007 18:25 utc | 18

@Antifa - most/all of those outcomes are coming whether we attack Iran or not.

only difference is the number of war crimes we commit and civilians we murder on the way down.

Posted by: ran | Aug 30 2007 19:02 utc | 19

"...i think i am going to vote for him."

Yes!

Posted by: beq | Aug 30 2007 20:21 utc | 20

we are on the way to being so overwhelmingly fucked - this will make the geopolitics after the second world war look simple. i don't think there is a historical period where the elites & their puppets have been so motherfucking stupid

perhaps a king leopold of belgium, a raving mad young winston churchill - the infitismally stupid truman & the utterly cretinous marcos & pinochet were mere midgets in the madness department. why - in america there are think tanks full of these stupid motherfuckers masturbating wildly in the hope of a new war where their young can be slaughtered on foreign fields & return home in bits & pieces

they will attack iran because they are too fucklng stupid to understand even the crudest conception of diplomacy

what is their principal error - is that they think the force of arms will be decisif but in fact as someone has noted - these motherfuckers will face a defeat that will make the german tankmen of the waffen ss at kursk blush

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 30 2007 20:33 utc | 21

Setting aside for one moment the fact that Dubya is as smart as pile of dogshit and his offsider Cheney is as low as a snake's belly, because to have caused the chaos that they have already managed on this planet, they must have a couple of sharp types around them, I am going to apply normal rational analysis to this 'attack on Iran' stuff.

It keeps coming back to one issue. Which is most likely to achieve the most for those creeps in the next 14 months? Cranking up the pinkos peaceniks into a state of distraction by feinting attacks on Iran, or actually attacking Iran with bombs and shit.

The first option has everyone running around sounding like some mad conspiracy theorist or world -ender continually announcing the date the end is nigh. It began with assurances that the neo-cons had planned an attack on Iran by late 2006 that came and passed and then it was Spring 2007 April or May I forget which but if anyone wants to check through MoA posts they will find a date that all this was gonna begin. Now we have what is it? September 11 2007? That may have been the one last year too I don't know I never pay too much attention to it myself.

Fine run around in circles like chooks with their heads cut off if you must, but understand that while you do you are are being distracted from murders, bombing assassinations and rapes which are actually being committed by the amerikan military, committed right now not notionally at some future date. And secondly you are winnowing away whatever good will middle amerika had towards the peeps who got it right on Iraq. Instead of being really angry at what is happening in Iraq, people are going to be relieved that Iran 'didn't happen'. After the third or fourth instance of this everyone associated with the race to be the first with the worst news will be left with the credibility of a defrocked televangelist.

An attack comes down to the same thing. That is bombing the bejeezus outta the nuclear facility is a difficult ask and even if it did succeed in blowing the thing up what else would have been achieved? It certainly won't destabilise the administration in Iran, it will consolidate support for the leadership.

Going further and bombing more things/people will make that more so. And amerika still won't have control of the hydrocarbons. And then they still have to worry about what little trick the Iranians have for payback. When amerika spitefully blew Iran Air Flight 655 outta the sky on July 3, 1988, the Iranians didn't fuck around they set up a near perfect plan to get one back and on December 21, 1988 blew Pan Am flight 93 out of existence over Lockerbie Scotland. near perfect because not only did they get their own back, they got reparation money from the Iran Air flight and saw Iranian nemesis Col Qaddafi cop the blame. Because of alleged "geo-political" security. ie Iran supported the action against Iraq in Kuwait, Libya didn't.

These guys don't fuck around Lockerbie took 3 months to put together, three months from scratch to operational perfection. Even if it is just an air raid on the nuclear facility, they will demand payback in spades. Amerika is far more vulnerable in the ME than Iran is, although they may not even worry about the conventional wisdom of not attacking domestic US targets.

If amerika kills civilians in some half assed lesson in amerikan supremacy and Iran responds in kind by wasting a mob of civilians in downtown Toledo or whatever, there won't be the same huddle up in sympathy from the rest of the world there was after 911. The rest of the world will say "Tough shit mate. Have you learned your lesson." And then it would begin in earnest.

Yep Initially the bulk of the action would be in the ME with amerikan forces at the end of long and inconstant supply lines, getting harassed by irregular forces attacking those supply lines in most of the nations used as staging depots. The troops in Iraq would be cut off and cut up quickly and no one nearby is going to be happy to be the staging point for a ground attack on Iran.

A mess where both sides would lose a lot but amerika the most of all. Does anyone really think Cheney's corporate capitalist masters would see any upside to that? The scenario of amerika without it's hydrocarbon hegemony which Antifa painted up thread is bad but this would be worse. Remember the idea of alla these corporations being loyal amerikan vassals is also a bit of a furphy. 40% of the the Fortune 500 corporations have non US born CEO's. Corporate loyalty is to the corporation not to any political construct like a nation state. Corporations like small manageable wars where they can sell stuff to both sides, big unmanageable ones such as an Iran/amerika stoush are bad for business. If no one thinks Cheney hasn't been told that by these blokes they should probably pull their head outta their ass, but hey that's just my opinion.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 30 2007 21:45 utc | 22

I agree that the PTB have told Cheney that an attack is not on. They will be listening to the military experts, unlike the administration.

My take is that all this attack posturing is about the admin hoping to get a better political deal from Iran, one that won't make a US withdrawal from Baghdad make Saigon look orderly.

Stratfor:

In any case, the United States appears to be using the same pressure tactics against the Iranians to force Tehran into a political settlement over Iraq. With the September congressional hearings approaching, the Bush administration is under great pressure to demonstrate at home that the troop surge has been effective and that the United States still has a fighting chance of gluing Iraq back together. Bush is still championing the "stay the course" strategy, and can only do so by convincing Tehran that the United States has more leverage than Iran thinks and that it is in Iran's best interests to deal with the administration now rather than expect the unexpected with a new administration.

But Iran has already "moved on" and is attempting to negotiate directly with Saudi Arabia and Turkey; probably having tacit approval from Russia and China.

Stratfor:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Aug. 28 that U.S. power in Iraq is rapidly being destroyed. Then he said that Iran, with the help of regional friends and the Iraqi nation, is ready to fill the vacuum. Ahmadinejad specifically reached out to Saudi Arabia, saying the Saudis and Iranians could collaborate in managing Iraq.

Stratfor's 'least bad option' (and I believe they listen to the spooks and military) is that the US immediately and rapidly withdraw to Kuwait, converting it into a sort of desert Okinawa, and "safeguard" (ie. hold hostage) the remainder of the Arabian peninsula from there. They argue that this is the only positive cost/benefit option that is actually within US capabilities at this point.

Of course, as noted above, rationality and competence are not this administration's strong suit.

Posted by: PeeDee | Aug 30 2007 22:44 utc | 23

I suppose what it all comes down to is: "What would Murdoch/Buffet/Gates/etc do?" By which I mean that if the PTB really wanted to they could withdraw the media support from Bush in 48 hours and insert a temporary spine into the conveniently located orifices in various Senators and Congresspeople. Are they already so fabulously wealthy, or already so hedged offshore, or still so loyal to Israel, that the damage to the USD and US nation is irrelevant to them at this point? Tune in next week...

Posted by: PeeDee | Aug 30 2007 22:52 utc | 24

no - a 'deal' would take some comprehension of circumstance & concept. this corrupt administration possesses no such comprehension. however, it possesses in its pockets like loose change military men who have holes in their head

no. they'll go to war

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 30 2007 23:02 utc | 25

sorry if someone alreay posted this but i think this could be big news. not only for iraq, but in terms of iran.

Allawi Gets a Baathist Endorsement

The spokesman, known only as Abu Hala, said the Baath leadership under Saddam's deputy, Izzat al-Douri, were "more than willing to work with Allawi, because we see him as a nationalist and Iraqi patriot, and not a sectarian figure." He said the party didn't agree with all of Allawi's policies when he headed a transitional Iraqi government in 2004, but "we have no doubt that he would represent the interests of Iraq, not of Shi'ites or Sunnis or any other group.

.....the American politicians Allawi is courting will likely find it uncomfortable to be on the same side as Saddam's old party.

"

no shit sherlock.

you know who the baathist hate more than the americans? iran. the enemy of my enemy and all that. hold onto your hats

Posted by: annie | Aug 31 2007 2:14 utc | 26

What about all those Russian scientists working in Iran? Should we just ignore them?

Posted by: Sam | Aug 31 2007 5:16 utc | 27

demonstratively should be, b, demonstrably

Posted by: jcairo | Aug 31 2007 8:09 utc | 28

I think everyone and everyone's grandmother knows the Bush Administration is desperate, desperate enough for one final roll of the dice, be it merely to spite the Mullahs or in the hope that shuffling the Mideast deck will produce a last minute miracle for the Neocons.

This is why I consider a U.S. attack eminently possible.

However, the result, as others have intimated above, will be the final nail in the U.S. imperialistic coffin, and its global popularity will answer the question "How low can you go?" It will take as long for Americans to recover from this one as it has taken for Germans to recover from WWII (at least as far as Jewish reparations-seekers are concerned).

As an Iranian, I am deeply humbled by the efforts made by Americans on this thread to highlight the dangerous hypocrisy of their Government. My own Government is a piece of shit, but in all honesty it's not even a fraction as dangerous to regional or world peace as is "God's Own Country", the alleged "Land of the Free", or whatever. Thank you all for pressing home the message.

Posted by: Parviz | Aug 31 2007 9:54 utc | 29

Impeach Now.

Posted by: hopping madbunny | Aug 31 2007 10:31 utc | 30

but debs is correct to remind us of the ongoing slaughter being carried out by u s forces in iraq & the dark farces they call trials against the mass murders of haditha & abu ghraib

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 31 2007 12:05 utc | 31

but debs is correct to remind us of the ongoing slaughter being carried out by u s forces in iraq & the dark farces they call trials against the mass murders of haditha & abu ghraib

INDEED...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 31 2007 12:33 utc | 32

It's interesting to compare Bush's speech with Ahmadinejad's - and more specifically, the tone, demeanour and body language. Ahmadinejad was calm, relaxed, in apparent good humour, and felt no need to get all strident and shouty; Bush, pissed-off and tense, was trying really, really hard to convince us that he's serious. He was a lot more relaxed in his speeches in the 2002-2003 period prior to the Iraq war - after all, he had the luxury of knowing that it was all systems go for that one; this time, I'd say that he's overcompensating in the rhetoric and the noise level as he knows that it's not happening, but he's not willing to lose face by actually committing to some serious diplomacy.

It's been interesting to watch the ever-decreasing importance of the nuclear issue in the propaganda - which has now switched over to the competition for political influence in Baghdad.

Judging by the progress at the IAEA ( and I would guess the Larijani-Solana track also), there is actually a very strong possibility that the IAEA is going to absolve Iran in the next few months and resolve the issues. The short-term impact is that there will be no chance of any additional UNSC resolution in September - the Chinese and the Russians will simply point to the IAEA and say that this needs to be played out before the issue comes back to the council. To be fair, the US State Department understands this and has been energetically pursuing a campaign of threatening to sanction its allies for their commercial and trade relations with Iran.

Given that the nuclear track is going to collapse as a rationale for military action, a second track has to be used to provide a credible route to muscular action - ie Iranian support for the insurgents and the possibility of "hot pursuit" or attacking "terror training camps". This all sounds good, but it's actually quite tough to operationalise - the Iranian military isn't going back and forth over the border, so there's nothing to pursue, hotly or otherwise, and taking action over the border is liable to leave a trail of dead American bodies or, even worse, live prisoners who'll be facing terrorism charges.

The Bush administration's problem is that the Iranians are simply not that easy to intimidate, have plenty of cards to play and have time on their side; the window for military options is very, very restricted and also quite fragile - ie January to May of 2008, and that depends, in some measure, on the severity of the Northern Hemisphere winter. Anyone who thinks that the administration will be able to launch an attack in the Nov to January interregnum without the consent of 44 and his/her transition team is fooling themselves.

On a side note, it strikes me that selectively quoting Sarkozy isn't helpful - my reading of his statement was that a nuclear-armed Iran was a catastrophe, as was a war with Iran to prevent such an eventuality, and that diplomacy has to work; it strikes me as a long way from enthusiastically endorsing war.

DiD: I'm not sure that Qadafi could be described as an Iranian "nemesis"; along with Vietnam, China and Syria, Libya was one of the few nations that Iran could count on during the 1980-88 war.

Posted by: dan | Aug 31 2007 14:53 utc | 33

Antifa, the long term decline of America is already in the works. Little signs abound: Washington DC Metro's spontaneous fires shutting it down for two nights last week, a 50% increase in electricity rates; doubling of the price of gasoline; the decline in housing prices; the Ninth Ward in New Orleans and the collapse of US health system.

The Bush Administration, if it followed its on inclinations, would the throw of dice and bomb Iran. It even would use nuclear weapons. But, there are counter forces. Sane persons are still left at the Pentagon and Wall Street. After the first bomb falls, 12% of OPEC production will be taken off the world market. The global economy will freeze. The American Entertainment and High Tech Industries will immediately collapse.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, save your billions, reign in the White House now.

Posted by: Jim S | Aug 31 2007 15:23 utc | 34

In answer to your parting questions:

Whilst Russia is probably unenthusiastic about the prospect of a war on their Southern border, they would make out like bandits for the duration. Whilst there's probably nothing that they can actually do to prevent a war, it's worth bearing in mind that the inevitable enriching and further empowering of Russia is going to give Cheney heart failure...again.

China, on the other hand, can probably do an Eisenhower on the US - whatever happens, a war is going to hurt China economically, either through catastrophic rises in oil prices or through dumping their dollars and killing the US economy.

Posted by: dan | Aug 31 2007 15:32 utc | 35

good points over here, too.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 31 2007 15:34 utc | 36

The president is now asking for $50 BILLION for Iraq on top of the $147 BILLION already requesed for Iraq that was all on top of the $460 BILLION DoD FY request. The $50 Bil is the down payment (all debt for today's kids to pay back in 20 years) for their attack on Iran. Bush will then pass the whole mess onto the next team that will take the blame for the horrible outcomes.

Once they snooker the congress in September with the senseless surge report debate they will be over the critical funding hurdle.

They can then just start going against Iran with a massive air attack for 30-days at any point since they have a $200 BILLION already approved. There will not be any act of congress required - they already HAVE that with that symbolic vote from last year. The War Powers Act won't even trigger before the bombs run out. All they need is a pretext.
Also: Note how Gen Petaraas is giving interviews to Murdoch's Aussie newspapers (avoids the domestic propaganda laws) that will get 'quoted' by winger-pundits here (neat trick).

Posted by: DC | Aug 31 2007 19:13 utc | 37

an old murdoch trick

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 31 2007 20:49 utc | 38

Old Rupe's been doing a lot more than plastering pictures of Petraeus and the screw up's across the Oz media. A coupla weeks ago, the bloke most likely to be Prime Minister at the end of the year Kevin Rudd, who has been campaigning on the promise of bringing the troops out of Iraq, featured in an interesting story in the Oz fishwraps.
Two years ago, Rudd had been in New York for a U.N. conference of some kind spent a night on the turps with a couple of other Australians. Warren Snowden or "Wazza", Labor member for the Northern Territory, a bloke I have had considerable dealings with on a personal and political level and who would be up for exactly something like this was one of the other members of the party. The 'blokes' ended up at a NY equivalent of the Bada Bing! complete with poledancers, strippers and the usual sleazy accoutrements. I can't believe the ALP has still got blokes who think such places are a 'good night on the tear'. We had a local scandal in the NT about this back in the 80's, Wazza was on the fringes of that but not implicated, you would think he may have learned something.

Mostly this time it doesn't matter with the voters, the story was put about to portray Rudd as a hypocrite , since he claims to be a god bothering family man but the outcome of this has been to persuade 'ockers' he's basically 'normal'. The effect of keeping women out of the Federal ALP is also keeping the ALP in the 1950's.

That wasn't what Murdoch had hoped however. Why Murdoch? Well the third member of this mens group was Col Allan the editor of the New York Post. Given that there was only three of them - Wazza and Rudd are pols, so they aren't gonna boast about their little boys own adventure, that leaves Allen as the source.
He is one of Rupe's favourite bum boys and the story was saved for years, saved up for a time when Rudd was considered to be vulnerable, that is when the ALP was believed to be coming off the boil electorally.

The plan didn't work, and ALP support is firming up as much because of the dirty tricks as in spite of them.

It's no real big thing though Rudd is no Whitlam who wouldn't have ended up that hole 50 years ago let alone now, so the change of government will bring the troops home just as it did in 1972, but there won't be a similar attempt to 'buy back the farm' ie regain control of Australia's natural resources. Whitlam didn't cop a bullet to the brainpan but he did come close. The constitutional rape that was used to get rid of Whitlam wouldn't work twice, the next ALP prime minister to try anything too drastic would end up like Chris Moltisanti.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 31 2007 21:05 utc | 39

both ray mcgovern & paul craig roberts think that war on iran is in preparation

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 31 2007 21:35 utc | 40

Well I am off to a holiday in Dubai next week, and a visit to Kish Island (b, german engineers there) hope my holiday isn't fucked up by Cheney et al.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Aug 31 2007 22:24 utc | 41

Please, say it ain't Joe.

As Gonzales rides off into the sunset, the significant questions are who will take his place and how that choice will facilitate Bush’s occupation of Iraq and attack on Iran.

One name that’s been floated for Bush’s third attorney general is Joe Lieberman, the “independent” senator from Connecticut. Lieberman, who advocates the use of military force against Iran, was the only person Bush quoted in his August 28 speech to the American Legion.
...

Similarly, Lieberman would ensure the Justice Department mounts a vigorous defense of a war of aggression against Iran. And Bush would get a two-fer: Connecticut’s Republican governor would appoint a Republican to fill Lieberman’s seat, returning control of the Senate to the GOP. A Republican-controlled Senate would direct the agenda, thereby furthering the Bush/Cheney plan.

Posted by: catlady | Sep 3 2007 4:20 utc | 42

Please don't give them any ideas, catlady!

Although I do have cats myself. Thankfully they are more interested in birds than U.S.A. politics.

But if they were they would probably ask, as they do of our visitors, "Will it feed me?"

Posted by: jonku | Sep 3 2007 8:21 utc | 43

DC, regarding your comment "The president is now asking for $50 BILLION for Iraq on top of the $147 BILLION already requesed for Iraq that was all on top of the $460 BILLION DoD FY request. The $50 Bil is the down payment (all debt for today's kids to pay back in 20 years) for their attack on Iran. Bush will then pass the whole mess onto the

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has repeatedly declared the total cost of the Iraq war alone will be $ 2 TRILLION. Now, by extrapolation you should add another $ 10 trillion if the U.S. attacks Iran, which is armed to the teeth for just such an eventuality.

Posted by: Parviz | Sep 3 2007 12:38 utc | 44

Parvis@40,

theres been some talk recently of a "lite" strike againt IRG training camps.

Would a "lite" strike likely be followed by a "lite" response or do you think major escalations will follow any strike ?

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 3 2007 14:35 utc | 45

jony_b_cool,
I personally believe even a 'lite' strike would represent the death knell of any peace efforts between the U.S.A and Iran. However, to answer your question, I don't think there would be an open, direct military reaction by Iran but increased support for anti-U.S./Israeli forces in the region (Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Pakistan). In effect, Bush's claim that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It would get REALLY ugly for U.S. forces, because a 'lite' strike would needlessly provoke and strengthen the Qods Brigade, and the Revolutionary Guards, who have both been held in check until now. In fact, the Head of the Revolutionary Guards was dismissed last week for having delivered a speech that the Religious Leader (Khamenei)considered too belligerent. So it would be REALLY stupid for Bush to approve any kind of strike at this stage (which is why he will probably do so).

Posted by: Parviz | Sep 3 2007 15:42 utc | 46

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