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Over There, Yet Again, Yet Again, Yet Again...

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  • Over There, Yet Again, Yet Again, Yet Again...

    Here's a piece sent to me today by a friend of Dan Plesch.
    Let's hope he's wrong...


    Comment

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    How Bush would gain from war with Iran

    The US has the capability and reasons for an assault - and it is hard to see Britain uninvolved

    Dan Plesch
    Monday August 15, 2005
    The Guardian

    President Bush has reminded us that he is prepared to take military action to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. On Israeli television this weekend, he declared that "all options are on the table" if Tehran doesn't comply with international demands.
    In private his officials deride EU and UN diplomacy with Iran. US officials have been preparing pre-emptive war since Bush marked Iran out as a member of the "axis of evil" back in 2002. Once again, this war is likely to have British support.


    Article continues

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A plausible spin could be that America and Britain must act where the international community has failed, and that their action is the responsible alternative to an Israeli attack. The conventional wisdom is that, even if diplomacy fails, the US is so bogged down in Iraq that it could not take on Iran. However, this misunderstands the capabilities and intentions of the Bush administration.
    America's devastating air power is not committed in Iraq. Just 120 B52, B1 and B2 bombers could hit 5,000 targets in a single mission. Thousands of other warplanes and missiles are available. The army and marines are heavily committed in Iraq, but enough forces could be found to secure coastal oilfields and to conduct raids into Iran.

    A US attack is unlikely to be confined to the suspected WMD locations or to involve a ground invasion to occupy the country. The strikes would probably be intended to destroy military, political and (oil excepted) economic infrastructure. A disabled Iran could be further paralysed by civil war. Tehran alleges US support for separatists in the large Azeri population of the north-west, and fighting is increasing in Iranian Kurdistan.

    The possible negative consequences of an attack on Iran are well known: an increase in terrorism; a Shia rising in Iraq; Hizbullah and Iranian attacks on Israel; attacks on oil facilities along the Gulf and a recession caused by rising oil prices. Advocates of war argue that if Iran is allowed to go nuclear then each of these threats to US and Israeli interests becomes far greater. In this logic, any negative consequence becomes a further reason to attack now - with Iran disabled all these threats can, it is argued, be reduced.

    Iraq is proving an electoral liability. This is a threat to the Bush team's intention to retain power for the next decade - perhaps, as the author Bob Woodward says, with President Cheney at the helm. War with Iran next spring can enable them to win the mid-term elections and retain control of the Republican party, now in partial rebellion over Iraq.

    The rise in oil prices and subsequent recession are reasons some doubt that an attack would take place. However, Iran's supplies are destined for China - perceived as the US's main long-term rival. And the Bush team are experienced enough to remember that Ronald Reagan rode out the recession of the early 1980s on a wave of rhetoric about "evil empire".

    Even if the US went ahead, runs the argument, Britain would not be involved as Tony Blair would not want a rerun of the Iraq controversy. But British forces are already in the area: they border Iran around Basra, and will soon lead the Nato force on Iran's Afghan frontier. The British island of Diego Garcia is a critical US base.

    It is hard to see Britain uninvolved in US actions. The prime minister is clearly of a mind to no more countenance Iran's WMD than he did Iraq's. In Iran's case the evidence is more substantial. The Iranians do have a nuclear energy programme and have lied about it. In any event, Blair is probably aware that the US is unlikely to supply him with the prized successor to the Trident submarine if Britain refuses to continue to pay the blood sacrifice of standing with the US. Tory votes might provide sufficient "national unity" to see off Labour dissenters.

    New approaches are needed to head off such a dismal scenario. The problem on WMD is that Blair and Bush are doing too little, not too much. Why pick on Iran rather than India, Pakistan, Israel or Egypt - not to mention the west's weapons? In the era of Gorbachev and Reagan, political will created treaties that still successfully control many types of WMD. Revived, they would provide the basis for global controls. Iran must not be dealt with in isolation.

    As the Iran debate unfolds, we will no doubt again hear about the joint intelligence committee. We should follow the advice of a former head of the committee, Sir Paul Lever, to remove US intelligence officials from around the JIC table, where they normally sit. Only in this way, argues Lever, can the British take a considered view themselves.

    We need to be clear that our MPs have no mandate to support an attack on Iran. During the election campaign, the government dismissed any suggestion that Iran might be attacked as ridiculous scaremongering. If Blair has told Bush that Britain will prevent Iran's nuclear weapons "come what may", we need to be equally clear that nothing short of an election would provide the mandate for an attack.

    آ· Dan Plesch is the author of The Beauty Queen's Guide to World Peace, about which he is speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival

    [email protected]

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


  • #2
    As the article says, the US administration have been itching to take on Iran for a long time. All they need is a good excuse and they may now have it. If this does come to pass then it shows that the West has sadly learned nothing from the mess in Iraq.
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

    Comment


    • #3
      Actually, my guess is that Bush will be gone before push comes to shove and that the interests he represents will not have the same power. I also guess that the US military and the US public will not tolerate more loss of life in pursuit of an abstraction (i.e. that Iran MIGHT attack someone with nukes). The best defence against nukes remains the nukes we (including Israel) have already. My guess is that the countries who want nukes (with the exception of N. Korea, which is a truly mad state) want them so they can stop others from nuking THEM. A better balance of power might be achieved by proliferation. It certainly helped keep the peace between the West and Russia for many years! I suspect the next US president is likely to win on a more isolationist ticket. Never thought I'd support isolationism.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        ... Never thought I'd support isolationism.
        "Better isolationist than interventionist!" Mmm, doesn't have quite the same ring as "Better Red than dead!" :roll:

        Ciao,
        Ant

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
          Actually, my guess is that Bush will be gone before push comes to shove and that the interests he represents will not have the same power. I also guess that the US military and the US public will not tolerate more loss of life in pursuit of an abstraction (i.e. that Iran MIGHT attack someone with nukes).
          I'd like to think so, but who really knows? :?
          'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

          Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

          Comment


          • #6
            As in your actual Old Europe (as opposed to DR's idea of it) it took a while between wars for people to get up the interest in having another one until, eventually, people seemed to have it in their heads at last that war was rarely the answer to political problems. Nobody believed that Hitler really 'wanted' war. Which was why nobody else was ready for him. With nukes, of course, the chances of stand off are rather better. I would have thought that George W. Bush, who supported the Concealed Handgun law in Texas, would have understood this, since the logic is that an armed citizen creates a peaceful society. Actually (against all liberal expectations) that's what happened (to a degree) in Texas. So if we assume that all states are already nuclear states, nobody is likely to go to war... :)

            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

            Comment


            • #7
              I think I'll build a fallout shelter and get a copy of 'Dr. Strangelove.'

              ''Gentlemen, we CANNOT ALLOW A MINESHAFT GAP!!!''
              Madness is always the best armor against Reality

              Comment


              • #8
                Anyone remember Alfred Bester's ending to Tiger! Tiger! (aka The Stars My Destination) ? I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it, but I happen to believe what Gully Foyle believed. Pure American democratic thinking of a kind we see too little of, these days.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                  Actually, my guess is that Bush will be gone before push comes to shove and that the interests he represents will not have the same power.
                  I think this commentary says alot:

                  http://fbc.binghamton.edu/commentr.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even though it appears we are indeed on the brink of moving on Iran, I highly doubt it will happen. As Mike said, I don't think the US Military or Public will tolerate it. Besides the point that the Bush administration (in my opinion) wouldn't be able to handle the added strain of a third active theatre of operations (Afghanistan and Iraq being the first two) there is the matter of manpower. At some point it would be required to send occupation forces in order to stem the tide of terrorism that unrestricted aerial bombardment would create and that manpower simply doesn't exist anymore. Whatever some commentators may say about Bush attempting to ride the same "Evil Empire" wave that Reagan did in the eighties, the fact of the matter is that the threat is justifiably real enough to satisfy many Americans. Bush has attempted to use that argument since 2002 with the "Axis of Evil" and every year sees less people in support of it.

                    Personally, I agree with Mike that the best deterant to the use of nuclear arms is the existance of our own. I've made the same point many times in different arguments. All one has to do is look at the number of deaths caused anually by war throughout history to see that the presence of nuclear weapons has actually decresed these deaths. There was a steady climb for the last thousand years or so until it peaked in 1945...after which it dropped dramatically to something like a million deaths per year and it has remain more-or-less steady since.

                    I guess it will be interesting to see what actually happens though.
                    "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                    --Thomas a Kempis

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And here's another good piece from the NYT --


                      Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 5:09 PM
                      Subject: FW: Left Behind




                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      August 17, 2005
                      Left Behind
                      By THOMAS LYNCH
                      Moveen, Ireland

                      LIKE President Bush, I enjoy clearing brush in August. We both like quittance of the suit and tie, freedom from duty and detail and to breathe deeply the insouciant air of summer.

                      He makes for his ranch in Crawford, Tex., a town with no bars and five churches. I come to my holdings near Carrigaholt, here in County Clare, where there are six bars and one church and the house my great-grandfather left more than a century ago for a better life in America.

                      Of course, we have our differences - the president and I. He flies on Air Force One with an entourage. I fly steerage with hopes for an aisle seat. His ranch runs to 1,600 acres. My cottage sits on something less than two. He fishes for bass stocked in his private lake. I fish for mackerel in the North Atlantic. He keeps cattle and horses. I have a pair of piebald asses - Charles and Camilla I call them, after the sweethearts on the neighboring island.

                      I suppose we're just trying to reconnect with our roots and home places - Mr. Bush and I. He identifies as a Texan in the John Wayne sense as I do with the Irish in the Barry Fitzgerald sense. And we're both in our 50's, white, male, Christian and American with all the perks. We both went into our fathers' businesses: he does leadership of the free world; I do mostly local funerals. Neither of us went to Vietnam, and we both quit drink for all of the usual reasons. I imagine we both pray for our children to outlive us and that we have the usual performance anxieties.

                      The president works out a couple of hours a day. I go for long walks by the sea. We occupy that fraction of a fraction of the planet's inhabitants for whom keeping body and soul together - shelter, safety, food and drink - is not the immediate, everyday concern. We count ourselves among the blessed and elect who struggle with the troubles of surfeit rather than shortfall.

                      So why do I sense we are from different planets?

                      "The same but different" my late and ancient cousin Nora Lynch used to say, confronted by such mysteries and verities.

                      Out of Ireland have we come.

                      Great hatred, little room,

                      Maimed us at the start.

                      I carry from my mother's womb

                      A fanatic heart.

                      It was in August 1931 when W. B. Yeats wrote "Remorse for Intemperate Speech," which includes this remarkable stanza. Yeats had witnessed the birthing of a new Irish nation through insurgency and civil war. He had served as a Free State senator, and, after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, was the country's public man of letters. An Anglo-Irishman who had ditched high-church Christianity in favor of swamis and Theosophists and his wife's dabblings in the occult, he was torn between the right-wing politics of between-wars Europe and the romantic, mythic past of Ireland.

                      His poem confesses and laments that reason and breeding, imagination and good intentions are nonetheless trumped by the contagion of hatred and by the human propensity toward extreme and unquestioning enthusiasm for a cause - whatever cause. It is what links enemies, what makes terrorists "martyrs" and "patriots" among their own - the fanatic heart beating in the breast of every true believer.

                      Yeats' remorse was real, and well it should have been. The century he wrote this poem in became the bloodiest in the history of our species. Wars and ethnic cleansings, holocausts and atom bombings - each an exercise in the god-awful formula by which the smaller the world becomes, by technologies of travel and communications, the more amplified our hatreds and the more lethal our weaponries become. Great hatred, little room, indeed.

                      So far this century proceeds apace: famines and genocides, invasions, occupations and suicide bombers. Humankind goes on burning the bridges in front and behind us without apology, our own worst enemies, God help us all.

                      And maybe this is the part I find most distancing about my president, not his fanatic heart - the unassailable sense he projects that God is on his side - we all have that. But that he seems to lack anything like real remorse, here in the third August of Iraq, in the fourth August of Afghanistan, in the fifth August of his presidency - for all of the intemperate speech, for the weapons of mass destruction that were not there, the "Mission Accomplished" that really wasn't, for the funerals he will not attend, the mothers of the dead he will not speak to, the bodies of the dead we are not allowed to see and all of the soldiers and civilians whose lives have been irretrievably lost or irreparably changed by his (and our) "Bring it On" bravado in a world made more perilous by such pronouncements.

                      Surely we must all bear our share of guilt and deep regret, some sadness at the idea that here we are, another August into our existence, and whether we arrived by way of evolution or intelligent design or the hand of God working over the void, no history can record that we've progressed beyond our hateful, warring and fanatical ways.

                      We may be irreversibly committed to play out the saga of Iraq. But each of us, we humans, if we are to look our own kind in the eye, should at least be willing to say we're sorry, that all over our smaller and more lethal planet, whatever the causes, we're still killing our own kind - the same but different - but our own kind nonetheless. Even on vacation we oughtn't hide from that.

                      Thomas Lynch, a funeral director, is the author of"The Undertaking" and "Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans."

                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Exactly, Everking. In short, we already have a deterrent against any attempt by Iran to begin nuclear strategies. Well, of course, we also had a deterrent against Iraq, but we know the neocons were wanting to start a war with Iraq even before Bush got into power and way before 9/11.

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, there were many reasons to go into Iraq; some given the public, many not; some valid, many not. The root of it was (I believe) the simple desire of those you refer to as the neocons to dig that thorn from their past out and leave it by the roadside to rot. It was their malconceived apology to the world for not finishing what was started in 1991. At least on some level of their consciousness that's what it was. Still, malconceived nevertheless.
                          "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                          --Thomas a Kempis

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I love the Lynch article.

                            I think the first part of it points to why he was re-elected and is so often forgiven for his failures, when they aren't completely ignored. The "we have a lot in common" idea, when accepted uncritically, makes him a regular guy who happens to be the unofficial leader of the free world.

                            Now, of course, when exposed to the harsh light of day, people realize he's no everyday guy. However, people seem to like the idea of him being that way, and seem to work ridiculously hard to hold on to that fiction.
                            :? :? :x :oops:

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And here's something from the Onion... :)

                              > EVANGELICAL SCIENTISTS REFUTE GRAVITY WITH NEW "INTELLIGENT FALLING" > THEORY
                              >
                              > KANSAS CITY, KS-As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public > schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose > Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical > Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held > "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new > theory of Intelligent Falling.
                              >
                              > "Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, > but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them > down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied > Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.
                              >
                              > Burdett added: "Gravity-which is taught to our children as a law-is > founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force > between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac > Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a > force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of > course, he is alluding to a higher power."
                              >
                              > Read the article at : http://www.humanistsnps.com/Article.asp?AID=416

                              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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