Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who Can Stop a War with Iran?

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.

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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.

And yet…

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.

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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.

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Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.

7 comments:

  1. John Shreffler5:30 PM

    Commander,

    This shit is gettng scary. You had the Time, Inc. piece exactly right--it was a shameless piece of sh*t and a sell job. I was living in Switzerland up to 2003 and came home to house hunt on Mar. 1st that year. Wow was I shook up by the war hysteria. Like a bunch of crackheads, except ABC News was the one pushing the dope every morning. A real war dance. Now we're at it again. Raw Story has piece just up about branches and sequals planning. The reporter says they have a plan that they're working off of at the JCS Staff.

    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Pentagon_moves_to_secondstage_planning_for_0921.html

    Also says that the nukes are still on the table. Help us all, someone.

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  2. Terrific post, both this and the one about the Time story.

    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-- In addition to the news media, there's stuff like this:

    Ready, set, go: People just need to think more positively about the idea of nuclear war, and Jericho aims to help them do just that. It's a "high-concept" TV soap featuring a plucky small town with a biblical name surviving nuclear catastrophe while the big cities apparently burn in hellfire and disappear. In the words of executive producer Jon Turteltaub, "A nuclear bomb is not as bad as everybody thinks." Yeah, right. (Although the nuke in last night's pilot did have a certain seductive beauty, a nuclear mushroom blooming silently like a magic flower on the horizon of a distant, dark and doomy dreamscape.)

    Our future, cleaned up (a lot)?

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  3. Bonnie10:15 PM

    This is so scary, getting older is a plus. I won't live to see the worst--I hope.

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  4. Anonymous5:53 AM

    But why a war against Iran?

    Allright, to destroy nuclear facilities, but then, why not some targeted bombings with "smart weapons"?

    A full war against Iran has no sense. Iran is a huge country, nothing to do with Iraq.
    Iran still has military capacities, nothing to do with Iraq in 2003.
    The USA are already committed in too much military adventures to be able to invade and occupy Iran.

    The answer to this question (Who Can Stop a War with Iran?) could be Hugo Chavez...A good reason for the USA to attack the whole country of Iran could be to destroy and make useless its oil facilities. China rely for a huge part in Iran's oil, and would be left stranded by such destructions. Russia and Venzuela would then be the only countries ready to sell oil to China.

    From my point of view, the real reason behind a war against Iran would be that the real target will be China.

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  5. All,

    Thanks for the reads and the excellent comments.

    I'm working on a piece for the weekend or early next week to sum up what I think is going on so far, but as anonymous suggests, the real reason to target Iran is to kneecap China.

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  6. It's just more business as usual from the Halliburton-Cheney Group. Iraq, hostile takeover.

    An attack on Iran, it's just more of the same: taking strategic advantage before China can.

    Forget about Iran getting nuclear weapons. All that's just a scary Halloween costume designed to keep us frightened children peeing our pants right on cue.

    And it's been awhile since we saw a beheading video released. Wouldn't surprise me if we see something like that hit the news before long, the better to crank up the anti-Islamic-extremist meter a bit higher.

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  7. Anonymous2:18 PM

    That is a very interesting article,
    I am an Canadian-Iranian citizen and I have lived most of my life in Canada. I have one question for the American government? What are they thinking? How can they just plan a war with another country, just because they want to? I mean does no one in the country (United States) sees how they are being used by their government to give in to their ideas. Does no one see the facts? Does no one read history? Or maybe people are not educated enough to know these stuff? I mean most people here learn from TV and as it is said from the post the TV is filled with corrupt information. It drives me crazy, you turn on the TV they reiterate constantly how Israel is standing up against the terrorist guerilla, Hezbollah but they don’t talk about the Israel and Phalangists’ massacre at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. They killed 3500 civilians, mostly women and children and as a result Hezbollah was created to defends innocent Muslim Lebanese people from being killed.

    What’s the difference between Hezbollah and Israel’s former Haganah (if you don’t know who Haganah they were the underground Israeli militia before establishment of Israel who were involved in terrorist acts to further their cause, hence establishment of Israel but please go read about it)

    I am not saying what Hezbolah doing is right but think about it what the American people would do if they didn’t have any army and their country was invaded by another country, they would standup in any way using any tool. What would any country do? Think about it.

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