So I was giving some thought the other day as to just how long it would be before we invaded another country. After all, the mainstream is now more in agreement with us that Iraq is a total fiasco; Bush’s approval ratings are floating consistently at 1 in 3; the war on terror is still a hot item, but seems less likely to promote overseas adventuring as it did the last two times.
Adding all of those factors up, I’m thinking February is probably when we’re going to start putting new enemies in the crosshairs. Maybe March.
Jeff, what the hell’s in your coffee? How can you think that? Americans are too tired of war to support another one.
Nah. You’re being too kind to Americans. Americans are tired of losing. Give them a spiffy new enemy to attack — and to conveniently push the bad news about Iraq off the front pages, as Iraq did to Afghanistan — and they’ll line right back up again with the flag-waving and “they can’t do that to us” rhetoric.
Who exactly do you have in mind here?
Iran, of course. We can’t go to North Korea — it’s too far and not central to our political spectrum, no matter what kind of weapons systems they might have. Besides, Pyongyang can completely pave over Seoul; I think that might be an effective secondary deterrent to trying anything.
Sure, but the Iranians can do the same to Israel.
At the cost of intensifying any conflict into something similar to World War III. Something like that would bring both the Europeans and the Coalition of Jew-Hating Nations on board in a big way. And once that happens, all hell breaks loose. Israel has nukes and would definitely use them if it felt it were a matter of national survival. We have nukes and we’ve said we’d use them if we felt like it.
You don’t think Bush wants to start World War III, do you?
No — but I wouldn’t put him past wanting to win World War III. Look at the thinking that went into the Iraq invasion; the goal there was to remake the Middle East in the neoconservative image. Now that the tactic has been proved wrong in their first choice of target, I think there’s interest in finding a new way to implement their overall and not-yet-discredited strategy (in their minds), by putting more nations in play.
What are you smoking? How can you think that Bush would still be thinking of attacking Iran, with everything that’s happened?
You need to read more Seymour Hersh. Frighteningly often, the sources he quotes are talking about operational plans for Iran, not just theoretical war-gaming.
You think the American people would stand for that?
The American people, so far, have stood for torture of the innocent, not caring much about civilian body counts, and any number of other atrocities in the name of protecting ourselves. Sure. I think the next war would go down smoothly with just a little bit of that Karl Rove lubrication.
What about Congress?
What about Congress? This is the main reason I’m thinking next February; last time we did this, it was in a similar time frame after midterm elections. Let’s review the three possibilities for early 2007:
1) Status quo of Republican control is maintained. GOP declares universal mandate of heaven while Democrats act like a eunuch who was somehow castrated thrice. Bush can do what he wants.
2) Split control of Congress. Democrats are still learning how to find their ass with both hands (and are already publicly squabbling over 2008); Bush can do what he wants while the Republican attack machine from the rest of Congress and the Fox media keep them on the defensive.
3) Democrats control Congress. Bush does what he wants, continues on his “to hell with Congress” path, goes to war on executive order, and dares Congress to attempt to stop his war legislatively. Any questions who’ll win that fight in the land of the free and the home of the fear-stricken?
But option 3 is fantasyland anyway. At best, it’ll be split, and what I’m expecting is that the Democrats will be rocked back on the defensive around September (possibly by anti-Iranian bellicosity), and Congress stays largely the same it is now.
We have far too much of our military tied up already; we’re stretched too thin to attack someone else.
You forget, we have nukes.
You have clearly gone insane.
Really? Let me remind you — how many other times in the past six years have we said, “Bush would never do that, that’s going too far, it’s unimaginable, the people wouldn’t stand for it”? Shall I make a list? Now ask yourself — do people really think that using nuclear weapons is an act of unmitigated evil, or just opening up the holiest can of American whoop-ass we’ve got?
Sure, a year or two later, when the world’s media are saturated with pictures of the Tehran Glass Fields, I’d expect to see universal repudiation of what he’d done. But that doesn’t stop him in the first place. It doesn’t prevent the army of apologists to allow it to occur — much as our originally being right about the end results in Iraq didn’t stop that from happening. And frankly, I’ve been let down too often by counting on Americans repudiating their government to think that much of anything will provoke them.
Man, that’s awfully cynical.
Okay, I’ll ask you three questions:
1) Why did George Bush invade Iraq, and how does he think he’s going to improve upon that situation in the two years he has left?
2) Do you believe the Bush administration is adverse to warfare to accomplish its goals? What political or mental process would internally dissuade the Bush administration from going to war if they made that decision?
3) If they did go forward with those plans, what political forces outside the administration would stop them?
So, yeah. I’m thinking March.