Cheney lives, and he wants more war. According to former CIA officer Phil Giraldi, Cheney remains hard at work fomenting some kind of attack or even war with Iran — and beyond that, he and George W. Bush don’t believe their own CIA’s latest intelligence assessment on Iran, indicating, in short that when it comes to Iran, we have little to fear but fear itself.
It may not matter what George W. Bush believes, or thinks. He defers to Dick on national security matters. But Dick Cheney is apparently determined to make his mark before the election of the next American president, who, if Ron Paul, will immediately work to end our foreign policy fiascos, and if it is one of the remaining Democratic contenders, will slowly and more slowly, hesitantly and more hesitantly, try to begin to withdraw from the Bush wars.
Any new president is bad news for Cheney, who operates without legal, political or moral constraints, and wishes to continue to fight everyone he can in the Middle East and beyond. But the world community and hometown America won’t stomach the selling of yet another unnecessary war in the Middle East so soon. War by accident, to quote a phrase used by Phil Giraldi in his Antiwar.com interview on January 24th, seems to be Cheney’s preferred pathway towards destruction in Iran.
Our government in Washington, D.C. has a serious appetite, and a million dead Iraqis and thousands more dead Afghanis cannot quench it.
This appetite cannot be for democracy, as neither Afghanistan nor Iraq exist in any condition resembling democracy, and Iran already has a working democracy, with multiple constraints on executive power through a complex balance of political and religious governmental systems. It can’t be an appetite for revenge — because as George W. Bush famously said years ago, he isn’t that worried about Bin Laden, and we long ago set up our own Unocal-friendly puppet in Kabul, presumably eliminating any need for revenge against the Taliban for 9/11. As we all know, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; even the President has admitted this. And we’ve already hanged our errant former ally Saddam Hussein, ostensibly closing that case.
Surely, it is not an appetite for either justice or national security. The reasons given for the ongoing wars — namely that Afghanistan’s government and later Iraq posed a threat to us directly — was always laughable. That superficial reason upon which "everyone could agree" today seems ancient history. Yet still we find echoes of this lifeless rationale in the administration’s public and private statements on Iran, most recently in the latest "state of the union" address, and in recent Bush and Rice harangues to our remaining Middle Eastern allies.
So what is it all about? What other appetites consume our nation? What other hunger seizes our Congress? What does Cheney and the American Enterprise Institute crave? Why does Washington threaten countries like Iraq, Iran, and behave despicably towards non-threatening small countries like Russia and Venezuela? Why do we obsess about Turkey and worry about Saudi Arabia? Why do we subsidize both rich and poor nuclear-capable states in the Middle East, while occupying and harassing poor non-nuclear states?
I certainly don’t know the answers. But the New Testament offers an explanation worth considering, with "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Saddam Hussein may have sealed his death warrant in November 2000, when he announced Iraq would cease oil sales in dollars and deal exclusively in euros. It was a business decision, as Saddam sold most Iraqi oil to EU countries; yet it must have been satisfying for the bombed out and politically castrated Hussein to show his contempt for the almighty dollar. Iran — even as we collaborate with and oblige Iranian-influenced Shia leaders in Iraq, trying at one point to emplace an Iranian-influenced Shia leader named Chalabi as next Iraqi dictator — has endured Washington’s shrillest complaints concurrent with Iran’s intentions and actions to leave the dollar for other world currencies.
Turkey is in the news today, because the highest levels of the Bush administration casually committed treason in revealing nuclear intelligence secrets to the Turkish government, for both fun and profit. Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, instead of being called into the White House to share what she knows about spies and security leaks that endanger American lives during a "war on terror," was instead judicially gagged by this administration from speaking to anyone about anything she knows.
But Turkey should also be in the news today as a launching pad for more U.S.-desired war, and as a recent target of American anger for its material support of financial transactions by the dollar-rejecting Iranian government.
Why does the Bush-Cheney administration, with a congressional chorus in full-throated cheer, threaten oil producers Venezuela and Russia? And come to think of it, what happened to communications cables in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf last week?
Cheney apparently hopes for an accidental war, an engineered provocation that would rise above the level of Borat on a radio, and so avoid public complaint about lame duck crazies and murder most foul. But to think that any of the wars of the Bush administration have been accidental would be naïve. The new network of U.S. military bases — intended from the beginning to be permanent — has been no accident. The timing of verbal and physical attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and possibly in the future, Iran, were not and will not be accidental. Instead, these wars are the result of a clear vision on the part of the Washington, D.C. establishment — facilitated by popular neoconservative rhetoric on democracy, global values, evil axes, and the defense of Israel.
This vision — remarkably crass and ridiculous even as it is compelling and dangerous — is that the dollar, and Washington’s ability to keep printing it without anyone noticing the inflation, the lack of faith, and the criminality of it all, must be supported by the rest of the world.
World faith in the dollar no longer rests on substantive reality, but on an illusion that most of the world’s inhabitants, and all of its bankers, now see through. Unfortunately, it is an illusion that the Washington establishment, secretly applauding the Bush/Cheney crusade against uppity oil producers, intends to enforce militarily.
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.