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The Senate's Blank Check for War on Iran

by Chris Floyd

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As you may know – unless you rely on the corporate media for your news, of course – yesterday the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: a 97-0 vote to give George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.

The bipartisan Senate resolution – the brainchild (or rather the bilechild) of Fightin' Joe Lieberman – affirmed as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq. The Senators appear to have relied heavily on the recent New York Times story by Michael Gordon that stovepiped unchallenged Pentagon spin directly onto the paper's front page. As Firedoglake points out, John McCain cited the heavily criticized story on the Senate floor as he cast his vote.

It goes without saying that all of this is a nightmarish replay of the run-up to the war of aggression against Iraq: The NYT funneling false flag stories from Bush insiders. Warmongers citing the NYT stories as "proof" justifying any and all action to "defend the Homeland." Credulous and craven Democratic politicians swallowing the Bush line hook and sinker.

To be sure, stout-hearted Dem tribunes like Dick Durbin insisted that their support for declaring that Iran is "committing acts of war" against the United States should not be taken as an "authorization of military action." This is shaky-knees mendacity at its finest. Having officially affirmed that Iran is waging war on American forces, how, pray tell, can you then deny the president when he asks (if he asks) for authorization to "defend our troops"? Answer: you can't. And you know it.

This vote is the clearest signal yet that there will be no real opposition to a Bush Administration attack on Iran. This is yet another blank check from these slavish, ignorant goons; Bush can cash it anytime. This is, in fact, the post-surge "Plan B" that's been mooted lately in the Beltway. As you recall, there was much throwing about of brains on the subject of reviving the "Iraq Study Group" plan when the "surge" (or to call it by its right name, the "punitive escalation") inevitably fails. Bush put the kibosh on that this week ("Him not gonna do nothin' that Daddy's friends tell him to do! Him a big boy, him the decider!"), but that doesn't mean there isn't a fall-back position – or rather, a spring-forward position: an attack on Iran, to rally the nation behind the "war leader" and reshuffle the deck in Iraq.

Of course, the United States is already at war with Iran. We are directing covert ops and terrorist attacks inside Iran, with the help of groups that our own government has declared terrorist renegades. We are kidnapping Iranian officials in Iraq and holding them hostage. We have a bristling naval armada on Iran's doorstep, put there for the express purpose of threatening Tehran with military action. The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly passed measures calling for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And now the U.S. Senate has unanimously declared that Iran is waging war on America, and has given official notice that this will not be tolerated. It is only a very small step to move from this war in all but name to the full monty of an overt military assault.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: there is madness at work here. There is no other word for it. As I noted a few years ago:

Homo sapiens is the only species that dreams of its own total demise. Our brief history of conscious thought is replete with vivid scenarios of the end of life on earth....Religion has produced most of these – giddy, voluptuous nightmares of universal extinction, usually by fire, at divine order. A favored remnant is always saved in such tales, of course, but only after being transformed into some different, higher order of being. The gross human body – that bleeding, fouling, endlessly replicating sack of earth – is gleefully consigned to eternal oblivion.

It seems that some ineradicable nihilism pervades us, like a virus, now dormant, now flaring: something in us that wants to die, to be done with the long, overhanging doom of mortality – and to take the world with us. Our grandiose visions of the future seem to hide, at their core, a secret, desperate anxiety about the profound meaninglessness of existence – an anxiety that often disguises itself in elaborate fantasies of the afterlife, in dreams of "dominance" for one's "own kind" (nation, tribe, faith, race, ideology, etc.), or in the eroticizing of death, war and destruction.

Instincts for preservation, sentiments of affection, the drive for pleasure – from the most basic bodily urges to the most sublime creations and apprehensions of the intellect – act as counterweights to this dark virus, of course. They provide for most of us, most of the time, enough fragments of meaning – or at least sufficient distraction – to get on with things, without too much resort to world-engulfing visions or the extremes of nihilistic anxiety.

On the individual level, the calibration of these competing impulses can be intricate, subtle, ever-shifting, because the individual mind is so complex and all-encompassing, yet also so enclosed, so unlockably private as well: an infinitely supple tool for managing the conflicts and contradictions of reality. But on the broader level – species, nation, group – human consciousness is, of necessity, a far more blunt and brutal instrument.

There, our brain-fevers and anxieties rage more virulently, lacking the counterweights of individual feeling and the quick, intimate responsiveness of the private mind. In the group-mind, the fantasies that root in the muddy fear of meaninglessness can emerge full-blown. Thought and discourse are reduced to broad strokes, slogans, codes and incantations, with little correspondence to reality. Awareness of this tendency can mitigate some of its effects; but the group-mind's fundamental falsity and irreality almost invariably infects the thoughts and actions of group leaders – and eventually many of the group members as well.

Thus we can sometimes say, not entirely metaphorically, that nations "go mad," hurtling themselves toward ruin, embracing self-destruction, lusting for violence and death, sick with nihilism – although this sickness is always painted in the colors of patriotic fervor or religious zeal, or both…

Now draw these dangerous streams together, and you have a portrait of the blunt and brutal group-mind at work in the leadership of the world's most powerful nation. The folly, fantasy and death-fetish of the Bush Regime – long evident to anyone who cared to see – were finally "revealed" in the mainstream media recently by the quasi-official Establishment oracle, Bob Woodward. His latest insider portrait, Plan of Attack, offers – in the usual, easily-gummed pabulum form – a few tastes of the bitter truth behind the Regime's mad, ruinous war crime in Iraq.

The corrosive nihilism at the heart of the enterprise ate through the gaudily-painted surface most tellingly in a single anecdote. Woodward asks George W. Bush how he thinks history will regard his adventure in Iraq. Bush, gazing out the window, shrugs and waves the question away. "History, we don't know," he says. "We'll all be dead." No fine, faith-filled talk here about God and Jesus and the immortal soul responsible for its actions throughout all eternity – the kind of zealous patter Bush favors in public statements. This was just the cold, rotten, meaningless core of his grand vision: "We'll all be dead." So who cares? Aprθs moi, le deluge.

Who would have thought the floodwaters of this death vision would have risen so high again so soon? Yet here they are again, beating against the gates.

UPDATE: Jonathan Schwarz points out that all of the Senate's Democratic candidates for president voted for Lieberman's Iran War amendment: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and Joe Biden. Just in case you were expecting a saner foreign policy after the 2008 election.

UPDATE II: Meanwhile, George Milhouse Bush wants to make one thing perfectly clear: even in the highly unlikely (if not totally impossible) event that the Senate grows a rudimentary spine and tries to place the slightest obstacle in the way of a military attack on Iran, the Commander Guy will peremptorily veto it and instigate the mass murder anyway.

Spencer Ackerman at TPM Cafe found this gem of arrogant defiance in "a little-noticed letter from the White House to Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee." The main subject of the letter was a similar vow to veto any restrictions on Bush's ability to continue his war crime in Iraq. The passage concerning Iran might seem redundant now, after the Senate's vote on Lieberman's "Persia delenda est!" measure, which puts a gun in Bush's hand and screams for him to pull the trigger, but the President is obviously taking no chances.

July 14, 2007

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Ron Paul: U.S. In "Great Danger" Of Staged Terror

posted Friday, 13 July 2007

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Congressman & presidential candidate warns of economic collapse precipitated by bombing of Iran

Paul Joseph Watson

Prison Planet

Friday, July 13, 2007

Presidential candidate Ron Paul says the U.S. is in "great danger" of a staged terror attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation while also warning that a major collapse of the American economy is on the horizon and could be precipitated by the bombing of Iran and the closure of the Persian Gulf.

Speaking to The Alex Jones Show, the Texas Congressman was asked his opinion on Cindy Sheehan's recent comments that the U.S. is in danger of a staged terror attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation that will validate the Neo-Con agenda and lead to the implementation of the infrastructure of martial law that Bush recently signed into law via executive order, as well as public pronouncements from prominent officials that the West needs terrorism to save a doomed foreign policy.

"I think we're in great danger of it," responded the Congressman, "We're in danger in many ways, the attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that's in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense."

"Every day we're in worse shape and right now there's an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that's gone wrong in Iraq and we're quite concerned that the attack will be on Iran and that will jeopardize so many more of our troops, so I would say that we're in much greater danger than we even were four or five years ago," asserted Paul.

The presidential candidate expressed his despair that the situation in Iraq will not change until there is a total collapse of the American economy.

"There's no way we can afford what we're doing, whether it's domestic spending or the international spending and very few people talk about the real cost of this economically speaking....this is unsustainable and it will be a threat to our dollar," said Paul, adding that the onset of the meltdown could be sparked by the bombing of Iran and the closure of the Persian Gulf.

The Congressman added that the collapse was in its early stages with the major indication being a reduction in the living standard of middle class Americans but that "one single major world event" could change things overnight and precipitate a major downturn.

Paul added that there had "not been a national discussion on monetary policy in many many years" and the increasingly bleak outlook for the U.S. economy was also bringing more attention to the solutions the Congressman has proposed for reducing the burden of the mammoth national deficit.

Paul said that national and world events, especially the degrading situation in Iraq, were attracting support for his presidential campaign due to his resolute position on embracing a non-interventionist foreign policy.

The Congressman concluded by surmising that record lows in approval ratings for Bush, Cheney and Congress showed that, "The American people are alive and well and disgusted yet they haven't had good alternatives....it's justifiable, they are looking for true answers and options and quite frankly I think that's probably one of the reasons why our campaign is growing by leaps and bounds right now."

Click here to listen to the MP3 of the interview with Ron Paul.

Russia's suspension of arms treaty disappoints US, NATO

Russia Herald

Sunday 15th July, 2007

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Beijing, July 15 (Xinhua) The US, NATO and several European states have expressed disappointment over Russia's suspension of its participation in the treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE).

'We're disappointed Russia has suspended its participation for now,' White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Saturday.

'But we'll continue to have discussions with them (Russia) in the coming months on the best way to proceed in this area... That is in the interest of all parties involved and provides for security in Europe,' he said.

President Vladimir Putin Saturday signed a decree suspending Russia's participation in the CFE due to 'extraordinary circumstances... that affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures'.

The CFE, signed by 22 states in Paris on Nov 19, 1990, represented an agreement between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries. It was aimed at establishing a balance in Europe by cutting weapons of conventional armed forces.

Russia had threatened several times to withdraw from the CFE when it was at odds with the US over Washington plans to install a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.

NATO spokesman James Appathurai told Brussels-based media that the Russian decision is 'a disappointing move, a step backwards' as 'NATO considers this treaty to be an important foundation of European security and stability'.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed 'great concern' over Russia's pullout of the treaty.

Steinmeier, who was in Lithuania for a visit, said the CFE was a central element in the international architecture of disarmament. 'That is why we obviously regard Moscow's announcement with great concern.

'In the next few days we will see what concrete measures will be taken because of this announcement,' he said, adding that he hoped Russia would go no further than suspend the treaty.

Russia's Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Estonia, believe that Moscow's decision directly threatens the security of the NATO and Baltic countries. They hoped the decision would not trigger a new round of arms race.

The Czech Republic said it saw no 'factual grounds' for the Kremlin to take such a step.

'The treaty is one of the cornerstones of European security and withdrawing from it can mean a threat to European security,' said Zuzana Opletalova, the Czech foreign ministry spokeswoman.

Romania also expressed 'disappointment' over the Russian withdrawal from the treaty.

Beow Related

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Jul 15 2007 1:29PM

Gorbachev supports CFE suspension as well thought-out move

MOSCOW. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sees the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty as an indispensable instrument, but he says President Vladimir Putin's decision to suspend the treaty's application was justified.

"The CFE treaty is important for the continent and we signed it in 1990 for this reason. It was a very difficult but important step we made as we were trying to lay the groundwork for building a new Europe," Gorbachev told Interfax on Sunday.

"But it would be absolutely illogical for Russia to be the only state to abide by the treaty and for the others not to even ratify it," he said.

"The proposed plan to base elements of the U.S. national missile defense in Eastern Europe added poignancy to the issue. So in this context, Russia's rights are being apparently defied, while the partners are acting the way partners never do," Gorbachev said.

"Therefore, the Russian president's move was absolutely logical, not emotional," he said.

"What actually matters now is that we want to save this treaty and to keep the principle of equality. The president's decision is a strongly worded insistent proposal, intended for a constructive dialogue and for implementing the treaty," Gorbachev said.

"Of course, all the parties need a treaty adapted to the new situation when the Soviet Union no longer exists and some of the former Soviet republics have become NATO members. What the parties must do now is to hold discussions and talks, and to implement the agreements reached, Gorbachev said.

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