I thought it appropriate to put the headline in caps because I am convinced a preemptive strike against Iran may be in the works. Foreign Policy magazine carries this piece by Joseph Cirincione that argues senior officials are considering just such an option. Further, James Fallows argues in the new Atlantic Monthly that an airstrike on Iran would be, in the opinion of sober minded military experts, the worst possible option we could exercise. And then, of course, there's the new article by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, claiming that the Bush Administration is determined to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons capacity by direct attack--including the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary.
This borders on madness, in my opinion. A nuclear attack on a Muslim country that produces 4,000,000 barrels of oil a day to eliminate a threat that is at least five, maybe ten years away from emerging while we are bogged down in another preposterous war, is as close to insane as anything I've heard a U.S. government propose or threaten. In the face of this, I say:
The American people have got to say NO.
The leaders of the military have got to say NO.
The leaders of Congress have got to say NO. (They won't--the Republicans are too crazy and the Democrats are too afraid of looking "weak".)
Why is Bush contemplating doing this? I found this comment by a poster (nandrews) on the Washington Monthly blog today to be insightful:
I'm afraid we're up against something that hasn't changed -- this man's insecurities, and how he copes with them. For all his people skills and political talents, he's always been over his head since he left Texas and he's always known it.
Why him? What had he ever really done to prepare for this job, to gain the stature for it? He surrounds himself with sycophants because he doesn't like what he sees in other people's eyes when they look at him.
He justifies his holding the office by doing bold and brash things that he knows other presidents wouldn't do. He's not himself that much of an ideologue, but under these circumstances, radical ideology gives him what he needs. Perversely, being criticized, to the degree he already expects it, merely reinforces his wall against self-doubt. The more people object, the more they try to clue him in about the real-world consequences of the course he has set, the more it vindicates his own sense of himself.
I'm afraid this explain a lot of what he's done -- reckless tax cuts, the "war on terror," going for broke on Iraq, going for broke on Social Security. I'm afraid it explains how he goes about it, never admitting error, never having an honest give-and-take exchange in public, always grasping for unconstrained power, always waging war on people who stand in his way or don't follow the party line. He's persuaded himself and his flacks that he's the one man who can save the country in its hour of peril -- because he needs to think that. That's how he is.
If it were some other president, I wouldn't worry too much about Seymour Hersh's third-hand mind readings. But I'm afraid this one rings true. What to do? It's useless to try to persuade him he's wrong about something, and even if it's possible to win Congress back, he seems set on acting unilaterally. He seems ever more like a hijacker, rather than a leader -- he won't give up the wheel, and he's not going to change course. Because he's trapped in his own mind, we're all trapped on board.
Spread the word, folks. We've got to stop this madness before it destroys us.