Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Manchurian candidate and the silicon dis-aliyah

David Seaton's News Links
It is very tempting to think that there is ideology or some doctrine involved in Bush's approach to Iran... Or even insanity.

H.D.S. Greenway in the article below thinks Bush has "renounced reality". I only agree partially. I think Bush long ago renounced a lot of people's versions of reality, but has never renounced for a minute his own.

Here is an idea that fits what facts we know and also fulfills the conditions of Ockham's Razor, (basically, keep it simple). What if the Israeli right wing though their legendary intelligence resources simply "had the goods" on Bush? I don't mean drunken driving or sniffing coke, I mean something that would affect the family's business interests or land some of them (Poppy?) in jail... some real skeleton in the closet. Something a lot worse than having a lot of absurd poor people think you were a lousy president.

As I pointed out in a previous post, the Israeli high tech economy depends on people who could get a job anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. Even if Iran had only one or two atomic bombs to Israel's one or two hundred it might make a third of Israel's scientists and engineers nervous enough to leave for San Francisco in the event of a rise in tensions in the Middle East. If Saudi Arabia and Egypt decide they need the bomb too, there could be a rush for the door... a silicon dis-aliyah and economic collapse.

In this scenario, Bush would have as little choice in the matter as Laurence Harvey did in "The Manchurian Candidate": they pull his string and watch him do his thing.

If he does trash Iran he will have guaranteed the undying support of the neocons and their publicists for all time. He lost the rest of us, irretrievably, long ago. This way he will keep his "legacy" safe and his linen won't get washed. An easy decision.

I have no idea at all if this is really the case, but following Ockham I find it easier to believe this little theory of mine than thinking that Bush is getting messages from God or of imagining him actually having any belief system at all, outside of selfishness. DS

H.D.S. Greenway: Renunciation of reality - Boston Globe

Abstract: With carrier battle groups crowding the Persian Gulf, and with the Bush administration beating the battle drum to a degree not heard since the buildup to the Iraq war, one can only conclude that either this is a demonstration of coercive diplomacy par excellence, or that the United States is going to attack Iran.(...) Optimists argue that Bush will not bomb Iran's nuclear facilities because they are so spread out that an air strike would only temporarily delay an Iranian bomb, and that we do not have the troops to contemplate a ground invasion. Still others point out that although Iran's theocracy is becoming increasingly unpopular -- especially among the young -- military strike would instantly harden public opinion against the United States and delay the day when mullah influence begins to dissipate. Realists who know the Middle East argue that an attack on Iran would have untold consequences that would damage the United States even more than the occupation of Iraq has done. I heard one of America's foremost experts on Iran, Columbia's Gary Sick, say on National Public Radio that he didn't think war was on the way because he didn't believe that the White House had completely "renounced reality." And there you have the nub of the question. Pessimists argue that the hallmark of the Bush presidency is the renunciation of reality.(...) Pessimists will also remember that when the Iranians offered the administration an olive branch, saying they would curtail their activities with Hezbollah and Hamas and cooperate in Iraq, the White House was unprepared even to discuss it. Colin Powell told Newsweek that he favored restarting talks with Iran, which had been very helpful to the US in Afghanistan, but that "there was reluctance on the part of the president to do that." Powell thought Bush wasn't prepared to talk to a regime he didn't think should be in power. The administration's position has been: We don't talk to evil, and to do so would be a betrayal of the Iran's huddled masses longing to be free. Perhaps the Bush administration still thinks regime change is the answer, that a military strike would topple the rotten Tehran regime like the proverbial house of cards. Pessimists can just hear Cheney arguing that he and Bush have only two years left to do the Lord's work before they are followed by weaklings and cowards, whether they be Republican or Democrat. READ IT ALL


Anonymous said...

Ole Guillermo of Occam left me a different blade: I vividly remember General Jorge L. Galtieri, who ran an increasingly unpopular military junta with a history of extraordinarily rendering citizens of Argentina into the Atlantic from a few thousand meters' altitude.

When the people began to clamor for a return to normalcy, and presumably an accounting of what had gone on while the nation was goose-stepping, he decided to pick a fight with a foreign nation. This despite the fact that on his visit to Washington prior to the invasion, a General, perhaps Vernon Walters, told him that to start a war would be sheer folly, because Margaret Thatcher was not a politician to be trifled with. The more or less exact words were that he'd seen her let Irish prisoners starve themselves to death, and if she was willing to let the Irish do this to themselves, the odds of her being more conciliatory vis a vis the swarthier Argentinians were infinitesimally small.

Our vaunted decider already had the last Congress grant him an amnesty for any acts of torture he (may have) ordered, even though the Constitution explicitly bans ex post facto laws.

Desperate men resort to desperate deeds, and to arrive at the simplest possible explanation, one need not invoke a people who were good friends with the Persians - think of Queen Esther - centuries before Julius Caesar first spied the cliffs of Dover, and proceeded to subjugate Guillermo's native land.

In my opinion, the only way out of this imbroglio is to have the Congress insist that the President and Vice-President be examined by a panel of forensic psychiatrists.

Anonymous said...

Nice theory, however, its not simple enough. I think that Bush is not one bit concerned about Israel, only in as much as zionists and fanatical former neo-cons are his only friends.
As for Iran, Bush's position has been to blow much smoke and has taken very few steps to actually do anything.
Knowing that the minor IAEA safety violations that already got Iran the right amount punishment (the weak sanctions) Bush knows that no nation will vote for worse sanctions.
The current 'demand' by the IAEA for Iran to shut down its reactors is not a binding resolution (as far as I know), but even if it were, Russia will not vote for a resolution threatening violence.
And if Bush acts unilaterally, then Iran can too, and they have one ace in the hole, Iraq.
Iran have done nothing actually wrong, as far as anyone can tell. Thats just the fact.

So we have Bush who is devoid of rational friends and badly in need of a reality check, and no doubt like all the other late stage career politicans is inebriated with doctors injections and the like.

Bush always wanted to have a 'successful' Presidency, he never got one. Granted 9-11 is the fault of his emergence as a megalomaniac but many of these laws were drafted and waiting long before he decided to ignore the intelligence on the UBL danger.

So many attacks on freedoms have come its headspinning just trying to remember them. Bush is responsible for that. The reason is because its just easier to fearmonger and ignore reality; to demand legal changes when a change in policy would be the right choice.

But we live in a society where we laugh at those who throw their hands up and say "I'm sorry I got it wrong". Perhaps this should be the first area to change in America before the rest. Lets make easier to backtrack and to change policy; then perhaps so many good people would not be forced into the insanity of eternal polarities of 'right versus wrong'.

RLaing said...

The emotional side of me would sure like to believe that there are some things so depraved or awful that the human animal will simply shrink from doing them, but the rational side of me (the one that can read) says 'Sorry, but no.'

The Bushies have the means and they have the opportunity for war with Iran. If they have motive as well, and political motives abound, then the crime will very likely go forward--what is to stop it?

The Democrats? Puh-lease. They're too busy polishing their own anti-Iranian credentials, pushing an 'Airline Passenger's Bill of Rights' or whatever, and debating toothless resolutions to have time for a little thing like stopping Bush from expanding the war. I doubt very much that they want to.

The Military? The politicians will simply replace the officers who think it's madness with ones who'll do as they're told--no shortage of them.

The People? They haven't had real political power for years now. The sound and fury of American Democracy simply makes it hard for them to see that this institution no longer responds to the controls. Should they ever notice that, as a few have, and reach for the power of the angry mob instead, they'll quickly discover I think that they already live in a police state.

The consequences? Well, the crime has to be committed before any of those will be felt, and who will feel them? Not George Bush and his well-to-do friends, that much I think is certain.

The only open question to my mind is: nukes, or not?

So far, nuclear weapons have only been used the one time, against an already beaten enemy, on defenseless civilians, and in the context of only one country in the world having them. Pretty safe, at least for those with the firecrackers.

The big difference they've made since then is that war can no longer indefinitely escalate without serious risks of extinction, and in fact wars have steadily shrunk in scale since then. Myself, I think this is rather a good thing, but there are those among America's strategical thinkers who are disinclined to that view. For a long time, they've been bothered by the paradox of such a potent weapon rendering them less able to use force, and have sought ways around this (to them) unfortunate situation.

So the question before us is this: can there be such a thing as a limited nuclear war?

I very much want to be wrong, but this hateful voice keeps whispering in my ear that the monkey is about to let his curiousity get the better of him.