Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Did Bush Just Declare War On Iran?

Larisa Alexandrovna:
I was so startled by the President's speech that I sent word to various sources of mine asking them if I was losing my mind or if the President had just declared war on Iran. The response was that I was indeed reacting appropriately, meaning, it appears the President has indeed declared war on Iran.
That's my emphasis and here's how he did it.

George Bush:
The murderers and beheaders are not the true face of Islam; they are the face of evil. They seek to exploit religion as a path to power and a means to dominate the Middle East. The violent Islamic radicalism that inspires them has two main strains. One is Sunni extremism, embodied by al Qaida and its terrorist allies. Their organization advances a vision that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women, and children in the pursuit of political power. We saw this vision in the brutal rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, where women were publicly whipped, men were beaten for missing prayer meetings, and young girls could not go to school.

These extremists hope to impose that same dark vision across the Middle East by raising up a violent and radical caliphate that spans from Spain to Indonesia. So they kill fellow Muslims in places like Algeria and Jordan and Egypt and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to undermine their governments. And they kill Americans because they know we stand in their way. And that is why they attacked U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, and killed sailors aboard the USS Cole in 2001 [sic]. And that is why they killed nearly 3,000 people on 9/11. And that is why they plot to attack us again. And that is why we must stay in the fight until the fight is won.

The other strain of radicalism in the Middle East is Shia extremism, supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region. It is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran backs Hezbollah who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon. Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, and target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories. Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops. Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime. And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late.

Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people. Members of the Qods Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are supplying extremist groups with funding and weapons, including sophisticated IEDs. And with the assistance of Hezbollah, they've provided training for these violent forces inside of Iraq. Recently, coalition forces seized 240-millimeter rockets that had been manufactured in Iran this year and that had been provided to Iraqi extremist groups by Iranian agents. The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased in the last few months -- despite pledges by Iran to help stabilize the security situation in Iraq.

Some say Iran's leaders are not aware of what members of their own regime are doing. Others say Iran's leaders are actively seeking to provoke the West. Either way, they cannot escape responsibility for aiding attacks against coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis. The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops. I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities.
Needless to say, much of Bush's case against Iran is either false or at least unproven -- not to mention hypocritical. He and his administration have presented no credible evidence to support any of their claims; what else is new? So much else in this text is familiar as well. Bush he speaks -- as Presidents always do -- as if America can do no wrong. He acts as if American soldiers occupying foreign soil under false pretenses do not constitute legitimate targets. He hopes we will forget that the USA has brought more weapons, more instability, and more death to Iraq than the Iranians have even been accused of, never mind what's actually been proven against them.

Bush says Iran threatens a nuclear holocaust. Why? Because they appear to be this far away from developing nuclear power? They don't have any nuclear weapons. They're not even close to being able to produce one. Their fundamentalist leadership has declared nuclear weapons contrary to the will of Allah. So they may be entirely serious about wanting nuclear technology for purely peaceful purposes. On the other hand, what if they're lying? What if they did develop a nuclear weapon? Would that really be the end of the world?

In other words, would the Iranians suddenly launch a nuclear weapon, just because they had one? Surely the Iranian regime -- despicable though it may be -- has some self-preservation instinct. Surely they know their main enemy in the region could retaliate with overwhelming force. And would. Gladly.

Of course the president didn't bother to mention any of that. And he was so busy talking about nuclear holocaust, he didn't even have time to mention that American depleted uranium has already made huge areas of the Middle East uninhabitable forever!

This is all of a piece, and we've heard it all before. The government calls it "public diplomacy". Some call it "propaganda". I prefer the term "manure". Others may prefer an easier-to-spell synonym. But it all smells the same.

Is there any possible way this mad rush to war can be stopped?

Larisa hasn't given up hope:
If military men of honor do not follow orders, it can be stopped.
So neither will I. But an unprovoked attack on Iran has looked inevitable for almost a year. So the hope is thin at this point -- one or two molecules thick at the most, as my science adviser would say.

It's still there, but we're this close.

And if there's war with Iran, can domestic terror and martial law be far behind?


For much more detailed analysis, please see these posts at Larisa's blog:


Larry Johnson's fantastic analysis

OMG, Part 2