October 10, 2006


Does Bush Think War with Iran Is Preordained? (Chris Hedges, October 10, 2006, Truthdig)

The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. The ships will be in place to strike Iran by the end of the month. It may be a bluff. It may be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power. But I doubt it.

War with Iran -- a war that would unleash an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East -- is probable by the end of the Bush administration. It could begin in as little as three weeks. This administration, claiming to be anointed by a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, defined three states at the start of its reign as "the Axis of Evil." They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea, which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran. Those who do not take this apocalyptic rhetoric seriously have ignored the twisted pathology of men like Elliott Abrams, who helped orchestrate the disastrous and illegal contra war in Nicaragua, and who now handles the Middle East for the National Security Council. He knew nothing about Central America. He knows nothing about the Middle East. He sees the world through the childish, binary lens of good and evil, us and them, the forces of darkness and the forces of light. And it is this strange, twilight mentality that now grips most of the civilian planners who are barreling us towards a crisis of epic proportions.

These men advocate a doctrine of permanent war, a doctrine which, as William R. Polk points out, is a slight corruption of Leon Trotsky's doctrine of permanent revolution. These two revolutionary doctrines serve the same function, to intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents, to create permanent instability and fear and to silence domestic critics who challenge leaders in a time of national crisis. It works. The citizens of the United States, slowly being stripped of their civil liberties, are being herded sheep-like, once again, over a cliff.

But this war will be different. It will be catastrophic. It will usher in the apocalyptic nightmares spun out in the dark, fantastic visions of the Christian right. And there are those around the president who see this vision as preordained by God; indeed, the president himself may hold such a vision.

A few serious points in the midst of this fever dream: first, we need to do North Korea exactly because folks like Mr. Hedges and Kim Jong-il think nukes make them invulnerable; second, war with Iran needn't be inevitable to be welcome; three, note the classic liberal intellectual contempt for us sheep?; last, say what you will about the neocons, but it's sort of strange to think that they'd welcome the Second Coming.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2006 8:23 AM

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had a few thousand nukes. Ronald Reagan deemed them "touchable" in ways that drew much the same horror in much of the same language from people much like Mr. Hedges. But the U.S.S.R., as North Korea will in time, now rests on the ash heap of history.

And, yes, the Contra war in Nicaragua was a disaster ... for the Communists.

Posted by: JonSK at October 10, 2006 9:05 AM

Wow! JonSK beat me to it--you have to quick on the draw around here.

You can never say that massive retaliation is "unthinkable." The notion that North Korea is now "untouchable" because it may have exploded a nuke is absurd. North Korea is to be deterred as the FORMER SOVIET UNION had been deterred. The adversary must believe that the fate of a country which attacks the United State is the fate of the Amalekites without the sin of Saul.*

Telling the enemy that we are compassing the sin of Saul is inviting the use of nuclear terror against us.
*1 Sam. 15:1-35 You want ordained, I'll give you ordained. The sin of Saul was letting some of the domestic nimals live after the enemy city had been taken.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 10, 2006 9:50 AM

Chris Hedges is genuinely worried that, in spite of his best efforts, Iran might not be given the opportunity to acquire the Bomb.

Which for a person of Hedges's exquisite sense of rightness would be terribly unfair.

One hopes that Chris Hedges will write many more articles and make give plenty of lectures between now and election day.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at October 10, 2006 10:18 AM

So, to do the moral thing is to surcumb to a twisted pathology?

Posted by: lebeaux at October 10, 2006 12:11 PM


Posted by: ic at October 10, 2006 2:07 PM


Doesn't that comment belong in the veil thread?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2006 2:43 PM