But this may well be more about the United States than about Iran. President Bush's polls are at record lows. Republicans face a brutal off-year election. Karl Rove has pledged to make the war on terror a partisan issue in the fall. It surely isn't an accident that the White House is turning up the heat on Iran now, just as it did against Iraq in the run-up to the 2002 elections.In the early eighties, the cavalier way some Reagan officials talked about the use of nuclear weapons spurred an enormous outcry and a powerful anti-nuke movement. Now some of the same people are serving in this administration, a quarter-century older and no wiser. But these days the response to the idea of an American first strike with tactical nukes seems mostly to be weary resignation. That’s spooky.
The White House preparations are ominous. Bush has said that an Iranian bomb is unacceptable. In dispatching troops to reconnoiter in Iran and airplanes to mock bombing runs, the White House is putting Iran and the world on notice: We're ready to strike if Iran goes on with its program. Despite reservations from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh reports, the White House is contemplating the first use of nuclear weapons to ''take out'' the underground Iranian facilities that may be part of the weapons program.
Is it conceivable that a president who sees himself on a divine mission has learned nothing from the debacle in Iraq? Remember the bit about being greeted as ''liberators'' in Iraq? Now, according to an anonymous contractor in Hersh's story, the White House is said to believe that the bombing will turn the people against the mullahs who run the government. That will counter the experience of every bombing effort since the invention of the airplane.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
"Stop Bush before he attacks Iran"
Jesse Jackson comments in the Chicago Sun-Times about the Seymour Hersh story and the administration's bellicosity. Politics as usual? Divine mission? Or both, combined with a failure to learn from experience?