The Bush Quartet


The war maestro’s magnum opus requires two more wars.

As a country founded on the principle of majority rule, most of us have yet to accept that a small cabal of extremists infiltrated and wrested control of our government. Despite Bush & Co.’s violations of our trust, we remain incapable of believing they’d commit an act as “befuddling,” according to the title of the incomparable Gareth Porter’s latest article, as attack Iran.

To most of us, Iran is a thunder most distant. Besides, it’s apparent to the public that we’re too over-extended in not only Iraq, but Afghanistan, to address any threat it poses. Nevertheless, Porter, the rare journalist who turns the dryness of news writing into an asset rather than a disadvantage, reports in “Washington’s befuddling line on Iran“:

“As US and Iranian diplomats met in Baghdad on Tuesday [July 24] for a second round of talks on Iraq, the domestic US political climate appeared decidedly more supportive of an aggressive US posture toward Iran than existed just a few months ago, reflecting the apparent triumph of the Bush administration’s narrative on Iran’s role in Iraq.”

Droll of Porter to dignify their senseless scheme by calling it a “narrative.” He continues:

“Symptomatic of the toughening attitude in the US Congress toward Iran was the 97-0 vote in the Senate last week for. . . [Senator Lieberman’s resolution demanding that] the government of Iran ‘take immediate action’ to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents.”

When, in fact, according to Porter, “Iran‘s strategic interests in Iraq are far more compatible with those of the United States than those of the Sunni regimes in the region with which the US has aligned itself.”

You’ve got to hand it to Bush & Co. They never met an opportunity to misread another nation’s intentions that they didn’t like. Meanwhile, they might think of all their adventurism in the Middle East as one big war. Remember GWOT, the Global War on Terrorism? But to the rest of us, along with Afghanistan and Iraq, attacking Iran is not opening a new front — it’s a third war.

Worse, another new war is only the half of it. Turns out they’re planning a fourth war, one that will likely leapfrog over Iran. On the same day that Asia Times Online posted Porter’s piece, it also ran an article entitled “Bring ’em on: Militants in Pakistan await US” by another one of its stalwarts, Syed Saleem Shahzad. He writes:

“Since President General Pervez Musharraf sent in the troops against the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad this month to root out militants, Pakistan has sent thousands of troops to the tribal areas. . . resulting in the death of scores of military personnel.

“The United States has seized the opportunity to threaten its own military action on Pakistani soil against militant targets, which Washington says includes al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.”

If most Americans are only dimly aware we’re serious about our plans to attack Iran, they’re oblivious to what the administration has in store for Pakistan. Sure, they might be happy to hear that, under the guise of NATO, we’re finally going after bin Laden. It’s just that, the only way our air strikes can be called surgical is because of the procedures their unintended victims require. Nor can Shahzad resist raining on the administration’s parade.

“If troops going into the mosque could inflame the tribal areas,” he writes, “imagine the reaction foreign troops in the tribal areas could provoke [against Musharraf].”

How about “an extremist backlash of momentous proportions”? In other words, chances are that our efforts to root out Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan‘s badlands will culminate in a coup against our man in Islamabad.

Thus does the maestro of war seek to put the finishing touches on his magnus opus, the Bush Quartet. Americans, meanwhile, shrink from its strident Wagnerian strains and cover their ears in hopes the next president will sing a simpler song.

14 replies »

  1. As you say, we’re too overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan to handle Iran. Iran isn’t Iraq (or even Pakistan) – they’re a bona fide power in the region, one that is at least as powerful as Iraq was in 1991. Taking on Iran with anything shy of nukes is almost a guaranteed failure – without instituting a draft and shifting to a war-time economy.

    Pakistan is a little easier in one sense – the military would probably be “on our side” as it were. And I’m actually undecided on this one, because I was for the invasion of Afghanistan, and the Taliban and al-Qaeda are in the tribal regions of Pakistan. Invading Pakistan’s tribal regions makes sense in that it’s actually going after our immediate enemies, but I have serious misgivings that we could pull it off given the fact that we are overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan already.

  2. I see your point about Pakistan. Just remember, NATO and/or US incursions into that country, even in its frontier regions, could result in an uprising that would overthrow Musharraf. (Cause the militants would blame him for allowing in the infidels.)

    It’s doubtful NATO or the US could put enough Taliban and Al Qaeda out of action to save Musharraf.

    Then, theoretically, Islamist extremists would be in power in Pakistan. Could you imagine them with nukes at their disposal?

  3. The United States, as we know it today, began as a Federalist oligarchy. Despite currently popular mythology, it was NOT founded on majority rule. The founders were terrified of democracy.

  4. Russ,

    The president has a deadline — his constitutionally mandated removal from office about 18 months from. Magnify your reasoning by the degree to which that deadline, as it nears, increases the pressure to fix everything all at once.

    Folly will ensue.

    Great piece. Thanks for taking the time to write it so well.

  5. Thanks, Three Bells, there’s some truth to what you say.

    Dr. Denny, re: “the deadline, as it nears, increases the pressure to fix everything all at once.”

    Cheney shouldn’t have gotten a new battery in his defibrillator. If he lives long, there will be that much more time for indictments to catch up with him for what he’s done — and what he can’t wait, as you say, to do before he leaves office.

    Incidentally, there’s an illuminating piece in The Washington Post today by Walter Mondale on Cheney and the office of vice president.


    Finally, huge new development in Pakistan since I posted this piece:

    “President Musharraf of Pakistan proposed an unprecedented power-sharing deal with his most bitter rival yesterday in a attempt to save his political career.

    “General Musharraf held secret talks with Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi to discuss an agreement that could allow her to return to Pakistan after years in exile.

    “Under the agreement the military leader would be granted another five-year term as president, while Ms Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan, would be allowed to return in September to contest parliamentary elections, exonerated .”


  6. Please inform me where I err in my assessment of the Federalists and their phobias.

  7. Russ,

    Again, I think you’re doing the country a disservice by claiming we’re not aware of how serious Bush’s plans for Iran are. In fact, that saber-rattling is actually one of the principal factors driving his approval rating to Nixonian depths. People see what a tragic catastrophe the Iraq occupation is, and how we’ve placated a nation that is hosting the guy who masterminded the 9/11 attacks. And they no longer trust these fools to guide us in matters of state.

    Your analytic eye is awesome and you’ve summed up this issue well, but you need to give your fellow countrymen more credit.

  8. One way or the other Iran has to be dealt with. It is highly unlikely that the US (or Israel) will launch a war against Iran. There is just too much at risk: Iran can hit back through increased support for Hezbollah or Hamas, they can further destabilise Iraq (believe it or not, it could get worse), plus the act – whether it works or not – leaves the US stranded in the Middle East. I don’t think Bush is that dumb, but – doubtless – you know your president better than I do.

    The Economist has a full report (out last week) on Iran that makes for heady reading. Iran has a population bulge that puts some 60% of their population under the age of 25. Most graduates are unemployed and getting nowhere. The religious policies have resulted in a stunted state controlled by intolerant leaders completely out of touch, not just with their own people, but also cause and effect.

    As The Economist sadly remarks, “I pray to God that I will never know about economics,” President Ahmadinejad once said when questioned about apparent contradictions in his economic policy. The Lord appears to have answered his prayer.
    Iran’s entire economy is on a precipice, yet they continue to invest pall-mall for nuclear arms.

    A nuclear Iran will result in a regional arms race. The best thing that could happen for the world is that oil is replaced by other energy substitutes. That is unlikely to happen any time soon.

    Goldman Sachs is predicting oil will reach US$95 per barrel by the end of the year. Expect more political and economic volatility.

  9. “As a country founded on the principle of majority rule”
    which country you are talking about??
    USA is a REPRESENTATIVE democracy

  10. Why can’t we put the Bush moronigarchy and the Ahmadinejad stupidocracy together on a slow boat to Antarctica, with all their rabid supporters, so Americans and Iranians can live together in peace?

    /hrm… i shouldn’t post while stoned

  11. Whythawk: Thanks for pointing me to Economist article. I will read it shortly.

    Martin: My faith in the public has been renewed by it disillusionment with Bush. Still, even in Manhattan where I work,nobody talks about US plans to attack Iran. The public can barely deal with Iraq, if at all.

    Actually, Iranians are the same way. See my springtime article in Truthout: “Iran on the Brink: What’s It Like Waiting Around to Be Bombed?” http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/032607L.shtml

  12. Iraq, Stay or Leave?
    If the Iraqi’s stopped all fighting, formed an exemplary democratic national government and bid all American troops to leave Iraq this would be a great victory to ‘progressives’ and liberals. They would offer money and services to restore Iraq to health while all the while grinning madly that peace and prosperity had been the result of America’s intervention in Iraq.
    Meanwhile Bush, Cheney, the neocons and their oil company allies would have a fit. As I have previously written, I have seen Dick Cheney smile that Al Qaida is now in Iraq. It suits his interests to a tee. Instability in the Midddle East is a power goal and an economic goal for those in office today. A rush to bomb Iran before leaving office is cogent policy and tactically urgent for this group.
    The Democrats should take their case directly to the American voters with a bi-partisan touring panel. The message would be that the Iraqi’s are not our enemy. The message should include the Iraq Parliment’s agreement and blessing that withdrawal is the mutually sanest course to reduce violence.
    Retired Generals who know full well that there is nothing to win in Iraq should join the touring panel to explain to the voters that a policy of leaving is more likely to be a policy of winning than what is constituted by a policy of staying.
    Both serving and retired Generals know that there is nothing to “win” in Iraq except for our departure sooner or later. The military brass know that attacking Iran will cripple the military and to some degree leave America defenseless. It’s time that the armed forces stop serving as mercenaries for a Cheney led economic policy which actively promotes Mid East instability as its corner stone.
    Leaving Iraq is the natural and ultimate goal.
    Our staying provides political ammo for the Al Qaida misfits we led into the country. Our leaving cripples these thugs’ political message and motivation.
    Eighty plus per cent of the Iraqis want the U.S. to leave.
    And we stay why?
    Cheney and his cohorts lie when they say we stay to win. They lie when they say the Jihadis will any more follow us home than they attempt to do so at present. They lie that our nationalism should want us to stay when leaving is the only defensible long term plan. They entice and invoke a following by propaganda calls to follow the Red, White and Blue while corruptly wishing our occupation and control to continue ad infinitum.
    America’s best interest are served by leaving.
    Get er done, Congress.
    Get er done, voters!

    Labels: Cheney, depraved indifference, Iraq, liar liar liar, mercenaries, middle east, withdrawal