Sunday, September 16, 2007



Bush is the most distrusted and most hated lame duck "president" in the history of American politics. There may well be a movement after Jan. 19, 2009 to have his presidency declared illegitimate. There are already t-shirts. Why he thinks anyone anywhere cares that he wants to keep the U.S. engaged in fighting in Iraq after his much-anticipated departure from the national scene is just bizarre hubris. And that goes for his cronies and lackeys too. Today Robert Gates, the Bush Regime Defense Secretary, after doing a mini-striptease a few days ago about how more troops could be brought home "soon" than even BetrayUs claimed he was writing into his plan, said he foresees a protracted stay for American troops. Is he consulting Hillary? I bet if she said that publicly we'd be looking at a President Edwards or President Obama-- or if they follow her on this-- a President Richardson come 2009. He also said he would ask Bush to veto Jim Webb's legislation to give American troops reasonable rest periods before redeployment to Iraq.
Two days after saying he hoped American forces in Iraq might be reduced to 100,000 by the end of next year, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today that American troops were likely to remain in that country for a “protracted period.”

He also said he would recommend a presidential veto if Congress passes a Democratic proposal to limit the time troops can spend in Iraq.

...Democrats, forcefully rejecting President Bush’s new plan for a gradual troop drawdown as tantamount to an “endless” occupation of Iraq, are preparing this week to advance a new, constraining proposal. It would force the Bush administration to give individual soldiers more time away from the battlefield.

But Mr. Gates said the proposal, while “well-intentioned,” would leave the Pentagon with “extremely difficult” problems in managing its forces.

I guess that's at least part of the idea. A similar bill already passed in the House and is two votes shy of passing in the Senate-- meaning shutting off Miss McConnell's filibuster. Republicans considering voting for it this time, who didn't last time Webb tried, are Voinovich (OH), Murkowski (AK), Specter (PA), and Dole (NC). Gates also said that the U.S. "could deal with Iranian interference in Iraq without attacking into Iran." Has he mentioned this to Bush and Cheney?

According to today's Sunday Telegraph Bush is going beyond saber rattling. Cheney is as determined as ever to attack Iran and Bush feels he has nothing to lose and might even regain a few percentage points of popularity, maybe even bringing him all the way up to a 30% approval rating.
Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq-- arming and training militants-- would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.

A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.

Under the theory - which is gaining credence in Washington security circles - US action would provoke a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and even its armed forces.

Senior officials believe Mr Bush's inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.
The intelligence source said: "No one outside that tight circle knows what is going to happen." But he said that within the CIA "many if not most officials believe that diplomacy is failing" and that "top Pentagon brass believes the same."

He said: "A strike will probably follow a gradual escalation. Over the next few weeks and months the US will build tensions and evidence around Iranian activities in Iraq."

Although Cheney is all gung ho for testing out "bunker busting" nuclear bombs on Iran, the man who is likely to play a major role in the geopolitical strategy in the Hillary Administration, General We Clark, has a distinctly non-Cheney point of view. Cheney, who dodged the draft, and studiously and imperiously avoided the military, pulls his decisions out of his ass. Clark has many years as a frontline general to have formed his opinions. He shared his ideas about The Next War with readers of today's Washington Post.
...he next war is always looming, and so is the urgent question of whether the U.S. military can adapt in time to win it.

Today, the most likely next conflict will be with Iran, a radical state that America has tried to isolate for almost 30 years and that now threatens to further destabilize the Middle East through its expansionist aims, backing of terrorist proxies such as the Lebanese group Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, and far-reaching support for radical Shiite militias in Iraq. As Iran seems to draw closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, almost every U.S. leader -- and would-be president -- has said that it simply won't be permitted to reach that goal.

Think another war can't happen? Think again. Unchastened by the Iraq fiasco, hawks in Vice President Cheney's office have been pushing the use of force. It isn't hard to foresee the range of military options that policymakers face.

...if it's clear how a war with Iran would start, it's far less clear how it would end. How might Iran strike back? Would it unleash Hezbollah cells across Europe and the Middle East, or perhaps even inside the United States? Would Tehran goad Iraq's Shiites to rise up against their U.S. occupiers? And what would we do with Iran after the bombs stopped falling? We certainly could not occupy the nation with the limited ground forces we have left. So what would it be: Iran as a chastened, more tractable government? As a chaotic failed state? Or as a hardened and embittered foe?

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