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September 11, 2007


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Noel Maurer


Please unpack those bags.

As the leader of the rabid left around here, I'll pre-empt others of less credible ideological credentials and say that, judging from this article, you should never read the Canadian again.

There is no sign of war, and there is no one in the Administration who will gain from war.

Evidence? "An American naval buildup in the eastern Mediterranean has begun." That's just ... ah ... what's the phrase? Contrary to fact.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is in the Gulf, giving the U.S. one lone carrier within striking distance of Iran, down from two for most of the year and far off the three needed to support a strike.

The U.S.S. Nimitz is heading to the Indian Ocean to participate in exercises with the Indian navy. Kitty Hawk and Reagan are tooling around near Japan. Vinson, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Eisenhower, Truman, Stennis, and Washington are in the U.S. Of those, only Truman stands ready to sail.

So what naval buildup are they talking about?

Nor are there signs of Reserve air-defense call-ups for deployment to the Gulf states. Maybe the Army no longer needs the reservists, or maybe they've already deployed all that they need, but both seem unlikely.

So much for signs of war. What about who gains? Is there a motive for war?

No. The Bush Administration has been driven by political calculation, plutocracy, administrative incompetence, and laziness. The latter two argue against war for obvious reasons, so let's consider the first two.

Political calculation? War would only hurt the GOP. There is no incumbent to rally around, and the administration is widely distrusted. There is nothing like the pervasive atmosphere of knee-jerk patriotism and rampant paranoia that defined life in the United States during 2002 and early 2003.

Worse yet, war would immediately cause two bad things to happen. First, U.S. casualties in Iraq will spike when the Iranians take the brakes off their Shia allies. Regardless of the actual military situation, that will look like defeat back home. (See Offensive, Tet.)

Second, oil prices will go through the roof. If the World War 2 1/2 atmosphere of 2001-03 was still here, I'd say that economic suffering could help the Administration ... but that aura of "We’re at War!" is long gone. More importantly, this administration has hitched itself to war-without-sacrifice rather than war fever as conventionally understood. They’ve set themselves up so that an economic blow will also seem like a defeat.

Cheney is indeed crazy, but it takes only a cursory glance at the news about personnel shake-ups at the White House to see that his influence is at a low ebb.

What about the plutocrats? Well, most of them are less-than-thrilled about high oil prices. In addition, none of them want the Democrats to win and take away their tax postponements -- and they know that war would only help the Democrats' chances. As for taking over the oil ... uh, how are we supposed to seize the oil by air raids conducted mostly from the continental United States?

Anyway, anyone who talks about "stealing oil" as a motive for this Administration’s actions is an idiot, and I'm being kind. Why do I say that? Because a truly Machiavellian administration could have easily gotten (more) control over the region's oil. Oh, the CPA tried, but it was half-hearted, because nobody cared enough about anything.

In summation, Claudia, there is no sign of war with Iran, the U.S. probably can't win a war with Iran, and neither the Administration nor the plutocratic interests that it represents would gain from a war with Iran.

Therefore, I predict that there will be no war with Iran.

Please, unpack those bags.


Some expressions, like "the Zionist lobby" and "the world's longest illegal occupation" make me doubt its neutrality.

But that doesn't mean that it's wrong about Iran.

Noel Maurer

True, Bogdan. The arguments that I gave are the reasons why it is wrong about Iran.

Randy McDonald

I don't know whether The Canadian is a reliable news source (is it?)

I haven't heard of it before, for whatever it's worth. The left-wing Rabble and the Babble discussion forums are the places that I know of, FWIW.


I wish I could believe you, Noel.


I was a bit facetious about the go-bags and the fuel, to be honest.

The go-bags are always ready (we live in an Earthquake zone after all), as well as the document folder with all our original documents (which, I decided, I should rather deposit at a bank in a more stable area of the world). And I try to keep our car tank at least half full for the same reason. It doesn't hurt, in any case.


I'm all too much reminded of the time before the Iraq attack. The way the (US) press took it for granted that WMD existed -- and the way the (US) press now assumes "nuclear ambitions". Seen from the outside, it looks like intentional propaganda (is there such a thing as unintentional propaganda?).

That's just one thing that gives me an eery feeling. I would love to be wrong, I really would. I don't see a military or political advantage myself. But this administration has proven to be so evil, so erratic, so darn bad in every way, I'm not applying my own standards to their actions.

I'm not going to be all hysterical. But I'm not all that optimistic either.

Bruce Munro

Two questions:

1. You admit Cheney is nuts. How sane is Bush?

2. If the Decider decides we'd better "take out Iran's nuclear capabilities", who will tell him to take a long walk off a short pier?

Personally, I suspect we'll manage to make it through the next year without a war with Iran: I don't think even George will start bombing without being able to gin up some public support. But one should never bet too heavily against the triumph of stupidity.


Noel Maurer

That's true, Bruce, but I'm not betting that the president isn't stupid. I'm betting that he's self-interested, a characteristic that the president has shown in spades.

Claudia, the atmosphere here is nothing --- and I am tempted to capitalize "nothing" --- like 2002-03.

After six years, I no longer find this administration unpredictable. It makes decisions based on a combination of short-term political advantage and the crass plutocratic benefits to the wealthiest people in the country. It is also unreceptive to outside information and loth to change its assumptions. That means that once you've got a handle on the information that the administration is getting, you can predict its actions pretty damn well.

Which is why I'm on record here predicting that there will be no war with Iran.

Jussi Jalonen

Agreement with Noel here. "Evil" and "erratic" don't equate "suicidal", and that's pretty much what a war against Iran would amount to for the resident administration in the White House.

Incidentally, I myself wouldn't waste such words as "evil" on the current United States leadership. Stupidity isn't malevolence, and these people want to believe in their own goodness - a diametrically opposed quality to true evil, and also a characteristic trait for any American administration.

Me, I've lately started to regard the resident executive in the White House increasingly as a hapless victim of circumstances. Critical future biographies may yet be extremely charitable to him - hey, there's lots of culpability to spread around and far more odious characters to point at.

For true, self-indulging evil that does not even attempt to hide behind any moral veil, well, there are better examples of such cases among the politicians of our time. Vladimir Putin, for example. Or, as usual, the leadership of the Finnish Social Democratic Party.


J. J.

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