Belaboring the Obvious

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The War President...

... is annoyed.

The BBC reports today new veiled threats by Condoleezza Rice over Iran's nuclear program, and although not real news, the BBC story simply shows that the Bushies aren't slowing down or giving up in their quest to ratchet up the rhetoric, to prompt Iran to do the same, thus generating a context for war. All this talk may eventually devolve to the following flawed and fractured syllogism: "Since the war President has said that Iran must do as the United States says or face consequences, and because Iran has not, the United States must preemptively strike Iran."

Otherwise, the President who, to date, has been completely unable to admit a mistake or change his mind might be forced to do one of those two things, which, in the logic of this bubble-enclosed White House, would be an unacceptable outcome.

It was for precisely this reason that the writers of the Constitution specifically gave the decision to go to war to Congress, not a President. Over the preceding sixty years, Congress has progressively pared down their own power in this regard in order to avoid responsibility for war and to minimize the political damage which might accrue in defying a President intent on war. Blurring that line has enabled presidents to act in ways contrary to the mandate of the Constitution.

Even so, as Glenn Greenwald has made clear here, this President doesn't care for any restrictions, Constitutional or otherwise, and whatever may evolve in Congress regarding a resolution for war against Iran or against such a war, Bush will proceed as he determines, regardless.

I suspect that much of the belligerance toward Iran is the neo-con equivalent of sour grapes. The CIA and MI6 had wrenched Iran from the hands of budding democracy advocates there in 1953, and successfully created a puppet state benefitting the oil companies of the US and the UK. Neither country gave a second thought at the time to the generational consequences of their actions. The Shah's divergence of the country's oil wealth into his pop-star existence, family cronyism and internal security to prevent his deposition helped fuel the poverty which was, ultimately, his downfall. The Ayatollah Khomeini's messages from his exile suggested to the poor of Iran that Sharia law, and an Islamic republic, would right those economic wrongs they endured under the Shah.

While that has not been the case (protracted war with Iraq and US-led sanctions have depleted Iranian coffers), enough Iranian people continue to believe it to be true that any present-day scolding from the US is always going to be seen in Iran as motivated by the self-interest of US oil companies, with the continued impoverishment of the Iranian people the result.

The irony, of course, is that the US and the CIA gave no thought to those generational consequences--they had installed a monarchical ruler who placed his own wealth and security foremost, and his hated SAVAK had tried its best to destroy all threats to his throne--including the democratic movement which neo-cons now say is so necessary in Iran today.

It is this thoroughly short-sighted lack of awareness of unintended consequences which moves the White House neo-cons to demand Iran effectively give up their sovereignty to the US. It's a hopeless ambition, and is fraught with future difficulties, domestically and internationally. The prospect of an Iranian oil bourse and its effect on US currency reserves held around the world may be one of a number of underlying reasons for US bellicosity, but it will not be the bottom-line reason for an attack on Iran. The root reason for an attack on Iran will be that the war President cannot tolerate having his will challenged and his judgment examined.

If Congress embarks on such an examination, he will ignore that body if it fails to agree with him. Congress has, in fact, studiously avoided acknowledging that Bush and his cohorts have already engaged, technically, in acts of war against Iran (if Seymour Hersh's reporting is accurate) by violating Iran's air space and sending military units into Iran surreptitiously.

The Constitution provides the means to remove a President deliberately exceeding his Constitutional authority. The current Congress simply won't take that action, out of partisan considerations, even though there's an immense body of evidence showing that Bush has usurped power largely by fiat.

We will have to live with the results of one-party rule for a while longer. One of those results will likely be a large-scale air attack on Iran, with attendant unforeseen consequences.

(image © The Estate of Diane Arbus)


Post a Comment

<< Home