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July 10, 2008

New Tomdispatch


Reality Bites Back
Why the U.S. Won't Attack Iran

By Tom Engelhardt

It's been on the minds of antiwar activists and war critics since 2003. And little wonder. If you don't remember the pre-invasion of Iraq neocon quip, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran..." -- then take notice. Even before American troops entered Iraq, knocking off Iran was already "Regime Change: The Sequel." It was always on the Bush agenda and, for a faction of the administration led by Vice President Cheney, it evidently still is.

Add to that a series of provocative statements by President Bush, the Vice President, and other top U.S. officials and former officials. Take Cheney's daughter Elizabeth, who recently sent this verbal message to the Iranians: "[D]espite what you may be hearing from Congress, despite what you may be hearing from others in the administration who might be saying force isn't on the table... we're serious." Asked about an Israeli strike on Iran, she said: "I certainly don't think that we should do anything but support them." Similarly, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton suggested that the Bush administration might launch an Iranian air assault in its last, post-election weeks in office.

Consider as well the evident relish with which the President and other top administration officials regularly refuse to take "all options" off that proverbial "table" (at which no one bothers to sit down to talk). Throw into the mix semi-official threats, warnings, and hair-raising leaks from Israeli officials and intelligence types about Iran's progress in producing a nuclear weapon and what Israel might do about it. Then there were those recent reports on a "major" Israeli "military exercise" in the Mediterranean that seemed to prefigure a future air assault on Iran. ("Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military's capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran's nuclear program.")

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at July 10, 2008 09:09 AM

IMPEACHMENT WOULD END ALL TALK OF ATTACKING IRAN. Call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100 and DEMAND IMPEACHMENT. Call often, spread it around.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at July 10, 2008 04:32 PM

I'm sorry, but the folks at the top of the food chain give a flying fuck about the American economy — why, exactly?

Seems to me that oil passing $200 a barrel will be no bad thing for BigOil and its governing party. More profits, more drilling, what's not to like? Should keep the party going for awhile longer.

And, after all, what's a few dead Iranians?

Posted by: Mike at July 11, 2008 07:32 AM

As Mike said, I don't think higher oil prices are going to defer an attack. Some people see opportunity is wildly expensive oil prices, and those folks seem to be running the show.

Finally, from the article, this kind of statement really pisses me off:

"Throw in as well various threats from Iranian officials in response to the possibility of a U.S. or Israeli attack on their nuclear facilities"

Responding to a threat isn't a threat itself. It's called "defense". And it's perfectly legitimate.

There's a difference in the reality based world Tom.

Posted by: jimbo at July 11, 2008 10:49 AM

If wars are the more imminent the more silly and absurd their justifications are, then something is going to happen very soon:

"An Iran stripped of nuclear ability will allow the Middle East to become more moderate; it will enable the West to uphold its values and perpetuate its way of life for a long time to come."

Posted by: two to the fighting eighth power at July 11, 2008 02:15 PM

I agree with everyone here. This is a little disappointing from Tom. Just a collection of bad things that will happen when the war is launched. Doesn't that fit in with the iron fist theory thingy ? [Don't remember the name, but I remember it was discussed right here]

You know, where an individual inside the system doesn't care for the system to explode as long as his place inside of it is fine. Bush and Cheney will still be out of trouble after the war is launched. They'll still be absolutely fine, even if oil reaches several hundred dollars per barrel. And there's even talk of declaring the martial law.

Why would Bush and Cheney launch an attack on Iran ? Indeed. Incomprehensible.

Posted by: littlehorn at July 12, 2008 10:19 AM

Just think of everything the administration could do if chaos followed an attack on Iran. Martial law, as already stated, cancelled and/or manipulated elections, eradication of social security and Medicare, ID cards, surveillance. What's not to like, if you're Cheney?

Posted by: Susan of Texas at July 12, 2008 10:58 AM

Iron Law of Institutions, littlehorn.

Unless attacking Iran makes Bush's shrivelled little dick falls off, he will do it. He doesn't care if you die. He doesn't care if we all die. He fucking hates us. Where the FUCK has Tom been?

Posted by: No One of Consequence at July 12, 2008 08:02 PM