War Drums: On to Iran?
Author Norman Solomon offered little comfort when visiting Austin
When author Norman Solomon passed through Austin last week (with his new book, Made Love, Got War, and his film, War Made Easy), he was asked how likely it is that the U.S. will openly attack Iran in the next year. Solomon, who has spent his life writing on such matters, couldn't offer much comfort. "I would be quite surprised," he answered, "if the Bush administration does not attack Iran." Seymour Hersh has reported that covert U.S. military action within Iran is already taking place and war-planning against Iran has proceeded for some time. The latest iteration, according to Hersh, is aimed at bombing not only Iran's nuclear-enrichment program but reportedly the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The omens continue to accumulate. The administration recently imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran, and Bush invoked Armageddon last week, recounting in a press conference that he had told world leaders, "If you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." Vice President Dick Cheney was characteristically more explicit and more unilateral: "We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." The rhetoric echoes the 2002-03 period that preceded the "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq.
War skeptics point out that the situation is not the same as 2002: This is an unpopular, lame-duck U.S. regime, and the likely disastrous consequences of an attack on Iran – a broader regional conflict, an impossibly overstretched U.S. military, potential worldwide attacks against U.S. targets – should be obvious even to neoconservative war hawks. But that group of hard-right administration advisers continues to publicly promote a full-scale attack on Iran, and the entire official U.S. political spectrum – from Bush himself to the three major Democratic presidential candidates – has indicated a willingness to endorse an attack.
The countervailing forces, at least politically, appear weak. Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, in his new book, Target Iran, sums it up: "There's nothing Iran can do that will satisfy the Bush administration, because the policy at the end of the day is not about nonproliferation, it's not about disarmament. It's about regime change. And all the Bush administration wants to do is to create the conditions that support their ultimate objective of military intervention."