Thursday, January 11, 2007


Commander Codpiece was talking tough about Iran and Syria last night. And now this:

Josh Marshall:
I'm getting some hints that this raid on the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq may be part of something much bigger. Is there a classified presidential directive to the CIA and DOD to take down Syrian and Iranian operations inside Iraq, even so far as operations into Iranian and Syrian territory? And is the aim here to provoke a conflict with one or the other of these states? To provoke an attack from Iran perhaps? The plan from the neocons was always to build the chaos outwards. Never too late, I guess. Watch this. Something's up.
Bush's affect was completely flat last night. I think he's now just letting all this unfold around him, secure in the belief that God is on his side and he will be bailed out by history no matter what happens in the short term, just as his Daddy's friends always bailed him out of everything he did before he became president. (With all the blathering about character in the two Bush elections, the media gave this guy such a pass for his obvious, lifelong character flaws and we are paying the price for it now.)

It occurs to me as I read that breathless acount from Peters that we shouldn't underestimate the pull of war addiction as a motivator either. As I pictured the wingnuts and the media getting all hot and bothered over air strikes and naval battles, I could see that they and Bush and Cheney might just need a fix that only a bright shiny new war can provide. This is the problem with wars in which individuals make no sacrifices and suffer no personal consequences. They get off on the rush and don't have to pay the price. That's not good.

I think they are going for it.

Glenn Greenwald:
More importantly, a war with Iran can happen in many ways other than by some grand announcement by the President that he wants to start a war, followed by a debate in Congress as to whether such a war should be authorized. That is the least likely way for such a confrontation to occur.

We have 140,000 troops (soon to be 20,000 more) sitting in a country that borders Iran and where Iran is operating, with an announced military build-up in the Persian Gulf imminent, increased war rhetoric from all sides, the beginning of actual skirmishes already, a reduction (if not elimination) on the existing constraints with which our military operates in Iraq, and a declaration by the President that Iran is our enemy in the current war.

That makes unplanned -- or seemingly unplanned -- confrontations highly likely, whether through miscalculation, miscommunication, misperception, or affirmative deceit. Whatever else is true, given the stakes involved -- the unimaginable, impossible-to-overstate stakes -- and the fact that we are unquestionably moving forward on this confrontational path quite deliberately, this issue is receiving nowhere near the attention in our political discussions and media reports that it so urgently demands.

For all the pious talk about the need to be "seriously concerned" and give "thoughtful consideration" to what will happen if we leave Iraq, there is a very compelling -- and neglected -- need to ponder what will happen if we stay and if we escalate. And the need for "serious concern" and "thoughtful consideration" extends to consequences not just in Iraq but beyond.

UPDATE: For those who think that the threat of military confrontation with Iran isn't a serious one, here is a BBC report from this morning:
US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six members of staff.

The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

The US military would only confirm the detention of six people around Irbil.

The raid comes amid high Iran-US tension. The US accuses Iran of helping to fuel violence in Iraq and seeking nuclear arms. Iran denies both charges.

Tehran counters that US military involvement in the Middle East endangers the whole region. . . .

One Iranian news agency with a correspondent in Irbil says five US helicopters were used to land troops on the roof of the Iranian consulate.

It reports that a number of vehicles cordoned off the streets around the building, while US soldiers warned the occupants in three different languages that they should surrender or be killed.
This is the most serious action yet. Isn't it a definitive act of war for one country to storm the consulate of another, threaten to kill them if they do not surrender, and then detain six consulate officers?


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