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  Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock: Countdown to Midnight in Persia
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COMMENTARY:

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock: Countdown to Midnight in Persia

by Chris Floyd
Unless the Bushists institute a draft, it is inconceivable that any kind of mass protest movement strong enough to derail the coming war will arise from among the somnolent American people.
Thursday, 30 August 2007—Day after day, almost hour by hour, fresh confirmation comes of the impending American attack on Iran. Yet the same surreal malaise that hung over public affairs before the war of aggression against Iraq has descended again. Everyone knows the war is coming and nothing will stop it, but the strange, ludicrous shadow play of sham “debate” goes on, as if there were some kind of political or diplomatic maneuver out there that could deflect the Bush-Cheney junta from its long-chosen course. But nothing will stop them, just as nothing-not even 10 million people in the streets around the world, the largest protest in human history-stopped them from the rape of Iraq. It's what they want to do—and they will do it.

The latest confirmation arrives from Juan Cole's new spin-off blog, “Global Affairs,” where Barnett Rubin writes:
Today I received a message from a friend who has excellent connections in Washington and whose information has often been prescient. According to this report, as in 2002, the rollout will start after Labor Day, with a big kickoff on September 11. My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way:
They [the source's institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”
Of course I cannot verify this report. But besides all the other pieces of information about this circulating, I heard last week from a former U.S. government contractor. According to this friend, someone in the Department of Defense called, asking for cost estimates for a model for reconstruction in Asia. The former contractor finally concluded that the model was intended for Iran. This anecdote is also inconclusive, but it is consistent with the depth of planning that went into the reconstruction effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I have no inside connections anywhere, but I do have a couple of friends who do. And one of them reported last week that one of his friends—with good sources among the Establishment, including the White House—also confirms that the attack on Iran is a done deal, “just a matter of time.” Awaiting, no doubt, that post-Labor Day “rollout of product.”

Cole also points us to the story by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, who reported on the study by two respected British academics on the likely course of the coming war. According to Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, former Director of the British American Security Information Council, the war preparations now being made by the Bush Administration bespeak something far beyond a quick punitive strike on Iranian Guards positions or lightning raid on Iran's nuclear power facilities. Instead, what the Bush-Cheney junta envision is the complete destruction of the Iranian state in an aerial blitzkrieg aimed at up to 10,000 targets inside Iran.

The goal, says Plesch and Butcher, is to:

“destroy Iran's WMD [capabilities], nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order . . . Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact. US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours. US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.

Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.

The assault will most likely be made with conventional weapons, the authors say, as the political and environmental effects of a nuclear strike on Iran would not be worth the limited military value of such an attack. After all, the Bushists want to control Iran and milk it dry after they destroy the regime and slaughter a vast number of innocent people. Halliburton and Exxon wouldn't be able to move right in and start gobbling up loot in a radiated land.

This is what is coming. This is what the Bushists will be selling to us soon. (Glenn Greenwald has a useful roundup of the growing madness here.) One sees comments here and there to the effect that “the American people will never accept this,” that “Bush can't get away with this kind of thing after Iraq,” or that “this isn't 2002, with everyone still raw and dazed after 9/11,” etc., etc. But such declarations are pipe-dreams, foolish hopes. As we have pointed out here many times, Bush and Cheney are not interested in obtaining the “consent of the governed” for their militarist agenda—nor do they need it.

Congress has already given its overwhelming approval to the specious reasons for war that Bush and his minions have advanced. The corporate media is doing its part again too; for example, the media's flagship, the New York Times, has been “stovepiping” warmongering spin straight from the White House and Pentagon onto its front pages—exactly as it did in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and even using the same reporter, Michael Gordon, who with his co-writer Judith Miller was reponsible for the dissemination of so many useful lies. The same system that fed the engines of aggressive war in 2002-03—reporter gets spin from Bushists, paper prints spin, Bushists then cite the report as “confirmation” of the lies they themselves concocted—is in operation now.

Unless the Bushists institute a draft, it is inconceivable that any kind of mass protest movement strong enough to derail the coming war will arise from among the somnolent American people. The majority of Americans will grudgingly accept the war—if they do not openly support it—as long as it does not directly and immediately affect them. Only a ground invasion, with conscript troops, would spread the direct pain throughout American society. That's why the aggression will be based on air and naval power (along with the secret armies and death squads and mercenaries of America's covert forces.) The destruction of countless thousands of innocent people—and the vital infrastructure to support the lives of millions more—will simply be a dazzling light show on the nation's TV screens, complete with glitzy graphics and dramatic music.

But let us bear witness to the truth while we can still speak the truth: this is murder. And all those who do not speak out against it—and against all those in high places who do nothing to stop it—are fully complicit in this abomination. No excuses, no mitigation, not this time. Speak out—or be damned with the criminals who thrive on your silence.


photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd is an American journalist and the Editor and co-founder of the Atlantic Free Press. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column originally appeared on Chris Floyd's site, and is republished here with the permission of the author.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on August 30, 2007.
 

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