Friday, August 04, 2006

The Widening Gyre

I'm usually in sync with Billmon, but I think he's, well, I think he needs a hug:
People tell me I shouldn't get hung up on this because, you know, if the Dems get in they'll make sure the seniors get their Social Security checks a little faster -- or they'll keep the Supreme Court out of the hands of legal madmen or do something about global climate change or save the whales or whatever else it is that's supposed to make the Democratic Party infinitely preferable to the Republicans.

It's not that I discount these differences entirely -- although they're easily oversold. But compared to the fate that awaits the republic, and the world, if the United States deliberately starts a war with Iran, those other considerations start to look pretty insignificant. I mean, we're talking about World War III here, fought by people who want to use tactical nuclear weapons. I'm supposed to put that out of my mind because the Dems might be a little bit more generous about funding the VA budget??? I'm sorry, but that's fucking nuts....

But I think we've run out of time. Events -- from 9/11 on -- have moved too fast and pushed us too far towards the clash of civilizations that most sane people dread but the neocons desperately want. The Dems are now just the cadet branch of the War Party. While the party nomenklatura is finally, after three blood years, making dovish noises about the Iraq fiasco, I think their loyalty to Israel will almost certainly snap them back into line during the coming "debate" over war with Iran.
Billmon's whole post is about the likely fallout from the impending US withdrawal from Iraq. Predictably, the likely results are grim, with the chance of Iran basically having free reign from the Persian shores of the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. That, of course, is what happens when you knock out the Sunni linchpin in the area.

By the 2008 elections, the question of Iraq policy could very well be which party - Republican or Democrat - will dig up Saddam's body and put it back in power soonest.

Anyway, the wider point Billmon is making is about the US government's bipartisan hawkery when it comes to Israel. Even Dean - during the primaries in 2004 - was happy to support Israel's attacks on Syria. (Remember that? Good times!) In short, with the US relationship with Israel looking more and more like the German relationship with Austria-Hungary, there's more than enough reason to be worried.

Do I, therefore, share Billmon's cynicism? Not really. The Democrats and Republicans make a good show of suporting Israel - and they're happy to sell the weapons, so long as Israel does the heavy lifting - but even I can't imagine the US actually getting out of Iraq only to go right back in to Lebanon/Syria/Iran/Whereveristan.

Billmon seems to think it will be an easy sell to convince the American people that Israel's interests are America's, and I'm not so sure. Not without a lot of groundwork, anyway. Iraq worked, in part, because the American people had been exposed to more than a decade of propaganda about how Saddam was the next Hitler. Most people still can't say the names Nasralllah or Ahemdinejad, much less figure out why exactly they need to be destroyed.

Now, before I get too far out on a limb, I should reiterate my belief that, so long as Bush is in power, you'll never lose a lot of money gambling on the evil of the White House. But it's possible that, with control of at least one of the houses of Congress going to the Dems in the fall, the Americans can restore a bit of justice (if not sanity) to their politics come November.

It's not a lot of hope, but it really is all we have, isn't it?

1 comment:

bigcitylib said...

I doubt his theory about an imminent invasion of Iran/Syria. But we're all entitled to a few bad posts.