Four more years

This article may qualify as the most disturbing I’ve read about what we’re in for under the newly inaugurated Bush. Scary as hell, and required reading. (Read what Perlstein has to say, for example, about “No Child Left Behind.” Jesus.)

The Discussion: 17 Comments

Dammit, every time you link to one of my articles and I find my way hear that beautiful background makes me want to order from my favorite Chinese restaurant. And I can’t afford naught but Raman noodles…


January 20, 2005 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

Great article, Rick.

It’s now crystal-clear that Bush’s vision of America in which almost everyone is poor, pious, stupid, and scared.

January 21, 2005 @ 4:55 am | Comment

Do you live in this world or in a parallel one?

January 21, 2005 @ 5:34 am | Comment

In my world, the U.S. is ruled by people who want to dismantle public education, who believe that the highest purpose of goevernment is to maximize corporate profits, who want to outsource all non-essential government functions to religious organizations, and who rely on constant fear-mongering to achieve their aims.

In other words: they want us stupid, poor, pious, and scared.

What world do you live in?

January 21, 2005 @ 6:24 am | Comment

In a world in which enemy is not U.S. president but terrorists, tyrants and their apologists. Sorry that it isn’t yours.

Ah, for sure. Yesterday speech was a great one. Every liberal mind should acknowledge it with a little intellectual honesty. But…

Have a nice day.

January 21, 2005 @ 6:47 am | Comment

Odd, then, that the President should choose to prepare America for the challenges ahead by rendering its people (or at least most of them) poor, pious, stupid, and scared.

Of course, if the next four years turn out to be a golden age of prosperity, reason, brilliance, and strength, I will gladly acknowledge the fact.

But if not, at least you won’t be able to say you weren’t warned.

See you in 2009.

January 21, 2005 @ 8:13 am | Comment

In your parallel world? No, thanks.

January 21, 2005 @ 9:10 am | Comment

RBC, 48 percent of American voters live in this “parallel world” — are we all deranged? If you look honestly at No Child Left Behind and the carnage in Iraq and the “tax reform” that will hoist all the burden on the working classes while those living off their investments get a free ride — if you can look at all these things and see great leadership, wisdom and fairness, then I’m afraid it’s you who reside in the parallel world.

January 21, 2005 @ 9:19 am | Comment

If you look at many other fundamental issues and don’t see great leadership, wisdom and fairness, then I’m sure it’s you who reside in the parallel world.

You would have enthusiastically greeted yesterday speech in Kerry’s mouth. It wasn’t Bush, it was America. If you don’t recognize it, I think the problem is yours.

My last comment, thank you.

January 21, 2005 @ 9:34 am | Comment

RBC, I’m not at all sure where you’re coming from. I never said a word about Bush’s speech. Anyway, I can safely say I see absolutley no great leadership from Bush. He has wrecked our economy, killed our soldiers, gotten us into an unwinnable and agonizing war, ruined (or at last threatened to ruin) our education system, gave huge breaks to rich cronies, reduced civil liberties, nominated a pro-torture attorney general, is trying to gut Social Security, has presided over a nation of reduced health care coverage and lower wages and an economy solely designed to benefit the business owner, and to hell with the working people. And he’s never made a mistake! No great leader has trouble recounting their errors – it’s a sign of wisdom and maturity. We all got to see our great leader at his very finest on that day no one forgets, as New York City burned and our fearless leader sat dumbstruck and helpless, clutching his copy of My Pet Goat. He’s all yours.

January 21, 2005 @ 10:42 am | Comment

It’s fairly obvious that RBC didn’t read the Perlstein article. If he had, he’d realize that the Busheviks’ ultimate goal is to dismantle the mechanisms that convert corporate profits into general prosperity. That, after all, is what the “ownership society” is all about.

If the Party is allowed to fully implement its Five-Year Plan, within a decade or two the U.S. will resemble Putin’s Russia: a vast, crumbling nation of desperately struggling people led by a small clique of billionaires and force-fed a constant diet of nationalist propaganda by a compliant press.

January 21, 2005 @ 3:31 pm | Comment

And it can all be justified and made acceptable by an ongoing “war on terror” that can never be won and that has no stated parameters for success.

January 21, 2005 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

Reading this article by Rick Perlstein, reporting on Bush’s inauguration, only makes me even more convinced that the world now depends on the current Iraqi resistance to score a significant political victory over the Bush regime.

As Perlstein quite rightly observes, Bush’s National Security Strategy is “tautological narcissism”. It’s also outright scary and extremely dangerous for the rest of the world.

Bush’s Strategy document phrase, that “the best defense is a good offense,” along with its assertion that, as Perlstein writes, “whatever the United States does to preserve its interest is always already ‘peaceful,’ should have us all very, very worried. “Unity in Purpose, Energy in Action”, as more than one commentator has noted, says Perlstein, strikes a strong “resemblance to slogans of fascist movements throughout history.”

And I have been arguing all along that the Bush regime is inherently fascist.

What comes next? This is the question that Perlstein asks. And it is the question that we all should be asking ourselves right now. It is the question that I have already raised elsewhere on this website, in my original polemic where I argued that, unless the Bush regime suffers a political defeat at the hands of the Iraqi resistance, then Iran and or Syria will be next.

It seems as though my fears are well-founded

“The administration’s reluctance to recognise the Iraqi resistance as largely homegrown pushes it to exaggerate the role of foreign terrorists, to blame anti-American feeling on meddlers from abroad,” writes Perlstein, “which spells expansion of the conflict into Syria and Iran, according to Thomas Powers in The New York Review of Books.” A “radical map change,” he convincingly speculates, this American encirclement of the world’s productive oil resources could unify all our present allies against us in a conflict that “might last fifty years.”

How right Thomas Powers is! He is indeed spot on. In The Independent last week there appeared an article addressing this very issue. As Rupert Cornwell writes: “The diplomatic uproar over an attack on Iran would eclipse the Iraq controversy. If the US went into Iran, it would do so virtually alone, with not even the semblance of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ that unseated Saddam. Even Britain would be missing. Instead Israel – the one country that could never go to war with Iraq – might be America’s only ally, inflicting yet more damage, were that possible, to the standing of the US in the Islamic world.”

And listen to what Cheney has now said: “Israel might decide to act first.” With his encouragement, of course!

Iran though, is quantitatively and qualitatively in a different league. As a potential foe, Iran is on a different scale to Iraq, that’s for sure. It is nearly three times as populous and its potential for mischief-making is unrivalled. Unlike Iraq, it could block the Straits of Hormuz, passage for 40 per cent of the world’s traded oil. Iran is a Shia country, with close ties to, and potentially disruptive influence on, the Shia majority in Iraq.”

But what it truly disturbing is that the warning signs are now aligned, as the stars in the heavens portending a great event.

There are stirrings in Congress and intensified contacts with exile groups from the Middle Eastern country in question. Once more, President George W. Bush is warning that he has not ruled out the use of force to make sure that a regime linked to terrorism does not acquire weapons of mass destruction.

As the world’s mainstream newspapers all reported last week, Cheney, thought to be the main architect of the present Iraqi invasion and occupation, has identified Iran as the next possible target. In today’s Sydney Morning Herald for example, it is reported that “The US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has labelled Iran a top threat to world peace, and warned Israel ‘might well decide to act first’ to eliminate any nuclear threat from Tehran.”

“You look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list,” Mr Cheney said in a television interview aired on Thursday, the day George Bush was sworn in for a second term as President.

The Guardian and The Independent both, last week, also reported on the allegations made recently by Seymour Hersh, in the latest edition of the New Yorker. Hersh, who was the journalist who first broke the Abu Ghraib torture photos scandal, reported that the Bush administration “has been conducting reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer… The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, [nuclear, chemical and missile sites] that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids.” Once again, we see a complete disrespect and disregard for the sovereignty of other nations.

Washington refuses to fully deny these allegations, and so this, together with Cheney’s recent ramblings, as I have already said, should be enough to send the alarm bells ringing.

Back in mid 2002, all these EXACT same things were happening as Washington was preparing to demolish Saddam Hussein. This time however, the sights of the Bush regime are trained elsewhere, on Iran. All the familiar precursors of “regime change” are now visible. The Pentagon is working with an Iranian exile group based in Iraq. In the US, exiles are forming organisations of their own, most notably the ADI or “Alliance for Democracy in Iran”, which wants the Iranian people to hold a referendum to restore the monarchy, overthrown in 1979, under the former Shah’s son, Reva Pahlavi (a resident of Washington’s Virginia suburbs).

For Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon’s pre-war poster boy for Iraqi “democracy”, read Kamal Azari, president of the ADI. On Capitol Hill, conservative Republicans are pushing an Iran Freedom and Support Act, shades of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act.

The military attack itself would pose daunting problems. True, US forces are now based in Afghanistan and Iraq. But its military is overstretched and the 150,000 troops in Iraq (a third of them reservists and National Guard) are tied down by the insurgency. If attacked, Iran would pull every lever to cause trouble in Iraq, and redouble its support for terrorist groups.

There is a second option, of smaller strikes from the air or commando raids aimed specifically at suspected nuclear sites and/or key military installations. This seems to be what Cheney is hinting at when he warns that Israel might strike first, to nock out Iran’s nuclear facilities. The implication is that Tel Aviv is ready to go ahead on its own, with (or perhaps even without) the tacit blessing of the US. But I think it highly unlikely that Israel would dare do such a thing without first securing US diplomatic backing.

But even a smaller-scale attack is riddled with difficulties. Iran’s nuclear sites are scattered and, by all accounts, well protected. This would be no repeat of 1981, when Israeli jets destroyed Saddam’s reactor at Ozirak, setting back his nuclear ambitions by a decade. And would the humiliation of an attack, large-scale or small, really make the Iranian population rise up, as the neo-cons believe, to overthrow the detested mullahs? That calculation bids fair to join the long list of US misjudgments over Iran – from the coup that overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh, the nationalist prime minister, in 1953 and the failure to foresee the overthrow of the Shah in 1979.

The lessons of Iraq, including the debacle over non-existent WMD and the rush to embrace Chalabi, display the limits of US understanding of that country. Why should Iran be any different? If the post-war occupation and the absence of an “exit strategy” have been disasters in Iraq, they will be surely be double disasters in Iran.

And this brings me back to my original point – that it is thanks largely to the Iraqi resistance, that Washington’s war architects are now at least reluctant to launch a full scale invasion and occupation of Iran and or Syria.

“Only wimps stop at Baghdad,” was the boast of the neo-conservatives in their hour of greatest glory, as US forces swept Saddam from power in their masturbatory military campaign. Why be content with Baghdad, they argued. Why not carry the “torch of freedom and democracy” across the border to Tehran, that other founder member of Mr Bush’s “axis of evil”, toppling another allegedly “dangerous and repressive” regime.

Well, they must all be thinking twice about doing so now, in the light of the Iraqi resistance.

There are indications that Bush may have grasped this reality, but there are others in his administration who are far more radical and dangerous: Cheney, Wolfowitz and Feith have all kept their jobs. Let us all hope that their recent warnings to strike against Iran turn out to be no more than bluff.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

January 22, 2005 @ 4:15 am | Comment

In the Iran-Iraq War, no side won despite Iran’s population advantage. Iran is weaker today than it was at that time, and most of its citizens are alienated from its government. Iran, which promotes terrorism and which seeks nuclear weapons, is a problem that will have to be dealt with. I hope that a peaceful way of dealing with that problem can be found.

January 22, 2005 @ 8:53 am | Comment

Ron, you are quite right. Unfortunately, as they really are a threat, we should have focused on them and not Iraq. And even so, we should have applied the pressure after our mission in Afghanistan was nearer to completion. Funny, how every decision we made was totally wrong, and yet people see Bush as a great leader and visionary. It’s a true phenomenon.

January 22, 2005 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Since you mentioned our organization recently, I would like to provide you with our new web site address and our news service with a team of reporters in Iran which officially starts its activities by end of this month.



Alliance For Democracy In Iran
1000 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington DC 20036

Tel 202-861-2222 Ext.254
Fax 202-861-2299

January 22, 2005 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

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