I'm afraid you're not going to like the answer. The only folks in our government who can decide not to go to war are the same folks who can decide to start one. And there's no longer a functioning fourth estate that can check their power. As with the run up to Iraq, the neocons have the media in their pocket.
Wednesday morning, I listened to Mary Matlin on Imus rattle off the Bush administration talking points on Iran. Imus didn't mention that Matlin had been a member of Dick Cheney's White House Iraq Group that helped sell Operation Iraqi Fumble to the public.
Shortly after Imus, MSNBC brought on commentator Armstrong Williams, who rattled off the Bush administration talking points in Iran. MSNBC's pretty talking head didn't mention that Armstrong Williams is the guy who secretly took money from the Department of Education to promote Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative.
Not long after that, MSNBC's Nora Neocon interviewed Suzy Somebody from the State Department. While Susie Somebody rattled off the Bush administration talking points on Iran, the picture shifted between Susie Somebody and her Colgate smile and a tape of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad giving his speech of September 19th to the UN. But MSNBC didn't interrupt Susie Somebody's from State's sound bites to air anything Ahmadinejad actually said. Instead, they ran a banner below his image that read "Axis of Evil Leader Speaks."
There's no question--the mainstream media is once again letting itself be co-opted into selling yet another useless, unjustified and counterproductive war to the American people.
At happy hour later in the day, I sat in a corner and listened to a crowd of good old boys rattle off the same old right wing talking points I've been listening to good old boys rattle off since I was a kid in the 60s. And what was the biggest topic of this broken record conversation? How the "liberal media" was making everything sound worse than it is, how we're not hearing "enough good news" from Iraq, glub, glub, glub, glub, glub.
The Rovewellian right has so completely corrupted the information environment that it's next to impossible to know what to believe any more. It's useless to try to trace all the ways in which they've done it--they've been working at it since they first started blaming Walter Cronkite for losing the war in Vietnam.
The Big Brother Broadcast--the coordinated electronic media circus that encompasses talk radio and Fox News--has a lot of big money behind it and is here to stay. The rest of the big media, by and large commercial enterprises, are struggling to recapture audience share by giving bandwidth to the voices from talk radio, Fox News, the conservative print outlets, and neoconservative think tankers.
Another shocker (for me) from MSNBC on Wednesday:
It was one of those all too familiar left/right lip locks in the middle of what is supposed to be a "news" segment: Ricky Right and Larry Left going back and forth on whether it was okay for the IRS to be threatening to revoke a church's tax exempt status because the church's pastor had condemned the war in Iraq during a sermon. That, Ricky argued, consisted of political speech.
I won't grace the discussion with a summary of it, but I'll tell you what didn't come up the whole time. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Catholic bishops actively campaigned against John Kerry for his stance on abortion legislation and the IRS didn't say boo about it. That should have been Larry Left's first talking point, but he never once brought it up. You have to wonder if MSNBC hasn't taken to Fox News's practice of hunting up the dumbest liberals on the planet to participate in these fair and balanced "debates." After all, the rabid right doesn’t tune in to see a real discussion of the issues. They want to see the liberal get his sissified rump whipped.
The information deck is so stacked in favor of convincing the pubic to support a war with Iran that there's very little chance of beating the house. There is no Walter Cronkite. The only folks who can keep us from pulling the trigger are Dick Cheney and his gunslingers.
And whom do you think can keep the Cheney gang in check? Congress? Guess again.
You can bet rials to donuts that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales already has the ducks in line for another executive preemptive deterrence war. In fact, those ducks were lined up well before young Mister Bush took office.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 essentially gives the President a free hand to commit forces to combat for 90 days before Congress can step in and stop him.
The War Powers Resolution was designed to check presidential ability to conduct prolonged conflicts without permission from Congress. Ironically, in our present context, it gives Mister Bush permission to unleash the dogs on Iran without so much as a by-your-leave from anybody.
Conceivably, Congress could call an emergency session and repeal the War Powers Resolution. But they won't. And even if they did, 'Berto would write a legal opinion that says the repeal meant there were no longer any restrictions on Bush's authority to use military force whatsoever.
So at the end of the day, the decision on Iran rests in the "moral clarity" of one Richard B. Cheney, and we already know which way his compass points.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.