Don’t you love the smell of bipartisanship in the morning? It smells like … it smells like burning flesh, or victory. After all, those two smell pretty much the same, don’t they? Now that the American people have spoken, or at least a small percentage of them have spoken because it was a mid-term election with predictably low turnout, power players in the Republican leadership are in Ottawa dropping clues for Mr. Obama. If he wants to win their favor and cooperation, then all he has to do is attack Iran.
Last week, David Broder opined that if Obama wants to sail to reelection he only need start a war. That’s real political strategy there, people, never mind dealing with serious problems in the US; the trick is to incite an irrational fear and hatred in the American people. Get ‘em all riled up for some vicarious killing and they’ll follow you anywhere. Some call it the “Bush doctrine.” Oh, hey, now don’t get Mr. Broder wrong: “I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.”
Lindsay Graham agrees, to a point, and he too would just love to see Barack Hussein Obama be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history. Of course he would, loyal opposition and all that. So to that end, Sen. Graham took the opportunity afforded by his trip to Ottawa to outline his favored, possible future for the US in regards to Iran.
The oft suggested “surgical strike” on Iranian nuclear facilities is not enough in Graham’s mind. “Instead of a surgical strike on their nuclear infrastructure, I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies. And that’s a different military scenario. It’s not a ground invasion but it certainly destroys the ability of the regime to strike back.”
Come on, Senator Graham, why not a full ground invasion. What are you afraid of? Losing…again? I’ll bet that if all the great warrior-chiefs populating the hallways of the Hart Office Building saddled up their steeds and went off to fight for the glory of the United States, mom, apple pie and Christendom those dirty Persians would beg for mercy…and neo-liberal economics and goofy interpretations of the Bible.
What the President really thinks about Iran is still a mystery. He talks a soothing, diplomatic talk but his minions make warlike suggestions too. So far, he’s sacrificed most of what he promised to do on the altar of bipartisanship. Maybe he’s willing to sacrifice Iran on that altar too.
The catch is one that Graham is either ignoring or too dim-witted to see. There is no way that air strikes alone will “really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war.” They will degrade it significantly, but not to the point where Iran could not seriously foul up oil shipments through the Persian Gulf. They certainly wouldn’t be able to stop Iran from doing what it can to foul American plans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether broad air strikes would push Hezbollah towards fighting Israel is questionable, but given that Graham is being backed by Israeli politicians chomping at the bit to have the IDF get its ass kicked again you never know. And i’m sure that Graham has contemplated the long-term repercussions of quite possibly uniting Sunni and Shia Muslims against the United States. Just like he’s thought long and hard about how Russia and China would respond to an attack. It’s not like we need the Chinese to loan us the money to do it, or like we need the Russians for supplying the war in Afghanistan.
Ah, never mind…he might well have. After all, what we really need is a full-blown clash of religious civilizations if we ever expect Jesus to come back.
One thing is clear: the pressure for military action against Iran will grow over the course of the next two years. Perhaps Obama will resist it, but that probably doesn’t even matter. Like Clinton set the stage for Bush’s bungling into Iraq, we’ll be bombing Iran at some point in the near future. Don’t be surprised, it’s what all failing empires do. We have to lash out. What else do we have left?