By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
"They're about taking out the entire Iranian military."
spine-chiller comes from Alexis Debat, excitingly
identified as "director of terrorism and national security" at the
Predicting imminent war on Iran has been one of the top two items in Cassandra's repertoire for a couple of years now, rivaled only by global warming as a sure-fire way to sell newspapers and boost website hits.
Debat was re-roasting that well-scorched chestnut, the "Shock and Awe" strategy, whereby-back in March of 2003-the U.S. Air Force proposed to reduce Iraq's entire military to smoldering ruins. In the event, "Shock and Awe" was a resounding failure, like all such pledges by Air Force commanders to destroy the enemy's military since the birth of aerial bombardments nearly a century ago. Such failures have never stopped the US Air Force from trying once again, and there are no doubt vivid attack plans now circulating the government.
Will it come to pass? In his memoirs, I Claud (which I'm happy to say CounterPunch Books/AK Press will be republishing next spring,) my father offers a useful recipe on this matter of prediction.
One morning, as we at
length relaxed at breakfast by a brazier on the terrace of the Café du Dôme, he [Robert Dell, the diplomatic correspondent of the
"That would be nice."
"Well then, all you have to do is to read all the continental papers available every morning, take lunch with one or more of Europe's leading politicians or diplomats, make up your mind what is the vilest action that, in the circumstances, the French, British, Italian or German government could undertake, and then, in the leisure of the afternoon, sit down at your typewriter and write a dispatch announcing that that is just what they are going to do. You can't miss. Your news will be denied two hours after it is published and confirmed after twenty four."
So, whether in 24 hours or 24 days or at some point before the end of his term, we should predict Bush will send the bombers on their way to Teheran to destroy the usual targets--power stations and kindred civilian infrastructure, hospitals, maybe a few bomb shelters crammed with women and children.
But will it really come to pass?
Despite the unending
stream of stories across the mont
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
know the Iraq War has almost broken the US Army. Wouldn't they adamantly oppose
the notion of an attack on
The other side of the
ledger isn't hard to fill in either. The oil companies like a crisis that sends
up the price of their commodity. The Chinese are a prudent lot and don't want
to rock the world economy. Politically, both they and
Amid the disaster of
their Middle Eastern strategy Bush and his advisors may hype themselves into
one last desperate throw, emboldened by the fact that the selling of the surge
has been a success even though all the Democrats need to do is cite the UN,
which says the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has gone from 50,000 to
60,000 a month. Or quote Associated Press which counted 1,809 Iraqi civilians
killed in August, compared with 1,760 in July. The Sunni split in Anbar province is not one likely to be replicated in
Weigh it all up, and
you'd be foolish to bet that an attack on
Yes, I was quite sceptical. Less so over the years.
They're desperate. Everything they touch is in ruins. They're even in danger of
losing control over Middle Eastern oil -- to
circumstances, they're unpredictable. They might go for broke, and hope they
can salvage something from the wreckage. If they do bomb, I suspect it will be
accompanied by a ground assault in Khuzestan, near the Gulf, where the oil is
(and an Arab population -- there already is an Ahwazi
liberation front, probably organized by the CIA, which the
The peace movement had better pull itself together, remembering that should the bombs start to fall on Tehran, most of the Democrats in Congress will be on their feet, cheering.