Friday, September 22, 2006


Rove and Bush's "October Surprise": Invading Iran

If you're wondering what political moves Bush and Rove have planned to pump up Bush's and the GOP's ratings before the November elections, now we know they'll be using the "scare-'em-into-circling-the-wagons" method -- as Bush plans to invade Iran around October 21:

As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have issued orders for a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1. As Time writes in its cover story, "What Would War Look Like?," evidence of the forward deployment of minesweepers and word that the chief of naval operations had asked for a reworking of old plans for mining Iranian harbors "suggest that a much discussed--but until now largely theoretical--prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran." According to Lieut. Mike Kafka, a spokesman at the headquarters of the Second Fleet, based in Norfolk, Virginia, the Eisenhower Strike Group, bristling with Tomahawk cruise missiles, has received recent orders to depart the United States in a little over a week. Other official sources in the public affairs office of the Navy Department at the Pentagon confirm that this powerful armada is scheduled to arrive off the coast of Iran on or around October 21. [...] So what is the White House planning? On Monday President Bush addressed the UN General Assembly at its opening session, and while studiously avoiding even physically meeting Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was also addressing the body, he offered a two-pronged message. Bush told the "people of Iran" that "we're working toward a diplomatic solution to this crisis" and that he looked forward "to the day when you can live in freedom." But he also warned that Iran's leaders were using the nation's resources "to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons." Given the President's assertion that the nation is fighting a "global war on terror" and that he is Commander in Chief of that "war," his prominent linking of the Iran regime with terror has to be seen as a deliberate effort to claim his right to carry the fight there. Bush has repeatedly insisted that the 2001 Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force that preceded the invasion of Afghanistan was also an authorization for an unending "war on terror." Even as Bush was making not-so-veiled threats at the UN, his former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, a sharp critic of any unilateral US attack on Iran, was in Norfolk, not far from the Eisenhower, advocating further diplomatic efforts to deal with Iran's nuclear program--itself tantalizing evidence of the policy struggle over whether to go to war, and that those favoring an attack may be winning that struggle. "I think the plan's been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran," says Gardiner. "It's a terrible idea, it's against US law and it's against international law, but I think they've decided to do it." Gardiner says that while the United States has the capability to hit those sites with its cruise missiles, "the Iranians have many more options than we do: They can activate Hezbollah; they can organize riots all over the Islamic world, including Pakistan, which could bring down the Musharraf government, putting nuclear weapons into terrorist hands; they can encourage the Shia militias in Iraq to attack US troops; they can blow up oil pipelines and shut the Persian Gulf." Most of the major oil-producing states in the Middle East have substantial Shiite populations, which has long been a concern of their own Sunni leaders and of Washington policy-makers, given the sometimes close connection of Shiite populations to Iran's religious rulers.
The reason we're hearing about this now instead of on October 21 is because Rumsfeld hasn't got rid of enough of the competent people at the Pentagon yet. As both the Nation and Time stories indicate, the top brass are doing everything they can think of to stop this from happening, and are hoping that the whole thing can be derailed if the news is leaked before the Eisenhower's armada is scheduled to set off on October 1. Thanks go to The Nation's Dave Lindorff for posting excerpts online over at DailyKos. UPDATE: Dave Lindorff, posting over at DailyKos, has this to say about why Bush wants to do this -- and why he doesn't care that it will wreck our military AND the economy AND our troops in Iraq AND our standing in the rest of the world (emphases mine):
bush doesn't care about the economy (107+ / 0-) Look at today's New York Times. I've heard that Bush's internal polling is saying the Democrats are going to take the House easily, and that means investigations, impeachment, and maybe even a trial for crimes like the spying, the Plame case and war crimes. He and Cheney fear this, so they need to take a drastic step in hopes of beating back a Democratic tide. the answer is a casualty-free (American, that is) cruise missile attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Of course Iran will retaliate in ways that will cause economic collapse, of course oil will go to $150 a barrel (that actually is money in the bank for most of Bush's friends!), of course in the end it will be a disaster for the U.S., for the U.S. military, and for the Republican Party, but it staves off Bush's crisis for two more years, and that's all he cares about. Dave Lindorff by dlindorff on Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 06:49:31 PM PD

Here's a more balance analysis:
Of course neocon pundits like the Asia-Times-cited David Ignatius (who has spent the past three years telling anyone who will listen that Iraq's Not That Bad, Really even as the situation turns increasingly ugly and deadly) are saying that Bush is just trying to scare the Iranians into giving up their centrifuges.

Just like the neocons all pretended in the fall of 2002 that Bush and the PNAC Platoon really didn't want to go to war with Iraq, but would do so only as a last resort -- when in fact the truth is that Bush and his PNAC Platoon friends had planned to invade Iraq long before Bush entered the White House in 2001.
Okay, PW. If you're so convinced (a state of mind that I'm finding isn't uncharacteristic with you) that President Bush is planning at Oct 21st invasion of Iran, are you willing to put a C-note on it?

That's easy money for me.

I'd suggest a gentleperson's bet.

We have reason to believe that the US is already conducting LIC against Iran. The US is moving assets up to the area.

But that's about all the hard data. Is this two-track diplomacy, gunboats in parallel with black ships? It's impossible to tell. Even on the eve of a military strike, it could be called back.

So, there's no basis for a real bet, especially not one with a date attached to it. It's a matter of intuition, of trusting some sources over others.

The October Surprise could as easily be arresting bin Laden or some other politically-motivated show of toughness.

But I'll say one thing. Betting against PW is not easy money. It's some of the hardest coin to win there is.
Actually, nothing would make me happier than to lose this bet, if for no other reason than that exposing the existence of the plan should make it very difficult to be carried out. It's one thing to do a surprise missile (and possible ground) assault on Iran in order to gain a quick, "cheap" (in the short term), ratings-juicing (also in the short term) military victory a few weeks before the November elections. It's another thing when everyone knows about the planned attack and why it's being done.
I've read how the neocons have been leaning on Bush to "do" something in Iran. They sure have ratcheted up the rhetoric. And there was all that talk about how the Israeli hostilities was a proxy war.

Maybe they're sabre rattling, maybe they're feeding red meat to rile up their base. But it's a sure thing they're trying the same tactics that they used with Iraq. The only teensy bright spot is that more people are being vocally against it. Although, that is no deterrant to Bush.

I can't imagine they'd do something before the election though. With the anti-war sentiment so high now I'd think people would rush to vote them out.

But maybe that's just hopeful thinking on my part.
"I can't imagine they'd do something before the election though. With the anti-war sentiment so high now I'd think people would rush to vote them out."

But the last time Bush started a war with somebody, anybody, his approval rating shot from "dropping below 50%" (it was 49% in the Harris Poll in early September) to 90%. The Busheviks make decisions based on "this is what we want" without reference to reality. They'll expect the country to "rally round the flag" when the war begins, same as for the Iraq War. They'll see no political reason to refrain from invading Iran.
You may be right MEC. But I think it is possible that it could backfire on them this time. Unless, there was another terrorist attack in America. And I've actually seen posts by some righties saying something like 'they hate to say it but maybe it'll take another terrorist attack in America to wake those lefties up.' Pretty astounding they'd even say something like that.
Bush will do what ever he has planned in his simple mind. Whether he says so or not, you can consider that "God hath spoken." No one, but not one will change this President's mind. If he does it will be the sorriest action he has ever committed--one that will cost all Americans dearly. He does not care about the citizens of the United States, he does not care about the troops in or out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now all that he cares about is saving his sweet little A.. from a prospective impeachment should the Dems gain control of both houses of Congress.
I hope for the sake of America that
the Democrats royally defeat the Republicans in this election.
So that's a no? You and your friends are going to expose the plan and prevent it.?

Spectator, there's a time to realize you're being ignored, and for good reason.

This is it.
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