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The Bush Quartet

07.31.2007 03:33 | DISPATCHES

The war maestro's magnum opus requires two more wars.

As a country founded on the principle of majority rule, most of us have yet to accept that a small cabal of extremists infiltrated and wrested control of our government. Despite Bush & Co.'s violations of our trust, we remain incapable of believing they'd commit an act as "befuddling," according to the title of the incomparable Gareth Porter's latest article, as attack Iran.

To most of us, Iran is a thunder most distant. Besides, it's apparent to the public that we're too over-extended in not only Iraq, but Afghanistan, to address any threat it poses. Nevertheless, Porter, the rare journalist who turns the dryness of news writing into an asset rather than a disadvantage, reports in "Washington's befuddling line on Iran":

"As US and Iranian diplomats met in Baghdad on Tuesday [July 24] for a second round of talks on Iraq, the domestic US political climate appeared decidedly more supportive of an aggressive US posture toward Iran than existed just a few months ago, reflecting the apparent triumph of the Bush administration's narrative on Iran's role in Iraq."

Droll of Porter to dignify their senseless scheme by calling it a "narrative." He continues:

"Symptomatic of the toughening attitude in the US Congress toward Iran was the 97-0 vote in the Senate last week for. . . [Senator Lieberman's resolution demanding that] the government of Iran 'take immediate action' to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents."

When, in fact, according to Porter, "Iran's strategic interests in Iraq are far more compatible with those of the United States than those of the Sunni regimes in the region with which the US has aligned itself."

You've got to hand it to Bush & Co. They never met an opportunity to misread another nation's intentions that they didn't like.

Meanwhile, they might think of all their adventurism in the Middle East as one big war. Remember GWOT, the Global War on Terrorism? But to the rest of us, along with Afghanistan and Iraq, attacking Iran is not opening a new front -- it's a third war.

Worse, another new war is only the half of it. Turns out they're planning a fourth war, one that will likely leapfrog over Iran. On the same day that Asia Times Online posted Porter's piece, it also ran an article entitled "Bring 'em on: Militants in Pakistan await US" by another one of its stalwarts, Syed Saleem Shahzad. He writes:

"Since President General Pervez Musharraf sent in the troops against the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad this month to root out militants, Pakistan has sent thousands of troops to the tribal areas. . . resulting in the death of scores of military personnel.

"The United States has seized the opportunity to threaten its own military action on Pakistani soil against militant targets, which Washington says includes al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden."

If most Americans are only dimly aware we're serious about our plans to attack Iran, they're oblivious to what the administration has in store for Pakistan. Sure, they might be happy to hear that, under the guise of NATO, we're finally going after bin Laden. It's just that, the only way our air strikes can be called surgical is because of the procedures their unintended victims require.

Nor can Shahzad resist raining on the administration's parade. "If troops going into the mosque could inflame the tribal areas," he writes, "imagine the reaction foreign troops in the tribal areas could provoke [against Musharraf]." How about "an extremist backlash of momentous proportions"?

In other words, chances are that our efforts to root out Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan's badlands will culminate in a coup against our man in Islamabad.

Thus does the maestro of war seek to put the finishing touches on his magnus opus, the Bush Quartet. Americans, meanwhile, shrink from its strident Wagnerian strains and cover their ears in hopes the next president will sing a simpler song.


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