By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers
In the hour of the wolf, we progressive activists are sometimes visited by nightmarish political scenarios. No doubt, dear reader, you have your own scary visitations. Here are ten of mine:
1. MOVING CLOSER TO IRAN WAR
That some major false-flag terrorist attack, perhaps arranged by our own black-op agencies, will be unloosed in an American city — maybe a dirty nuke, or some virulent toxin, or a bomb — and the planted “evidence” will seem to lead back to Iran. CheneyBush, perhaps in coordination with Israel, will finally get their wished-for aerial assault on that country.
An attack on Iran could happen very soon. The buildup of U.S. forces in the region has proceeced apace in the past few months; naval preparations ( http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070327/62697703.html ), according to Russian intelligence, are much the same as just prior to CheneyBush’s “shock&awe” attack on Iraq five years ago. The Saudis seem to be preparing for possible nuclear fallout from an attack on Iran’s reactors. ( http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1463/135 ) Not a good sign.
The result of a U.S. attack on Iran would be a catastrophic rise in violence in the Greater Middle East, more hatred of America around the world, the dollar heading into the toilet, various holders of billions of U.S. notes calling them in, a possible anti-U.S. economic embargo of essential resources, the economy in ruins, America a pariah in international affairs.
2. ABOVE & BEYOND THE LAW
That there won’t be an inauguration of a new president because Bush, following some major incident (perhaps the false-flag operation noted above or something similar), will declare martial law and rule by decree. Which, not incidentally, is pretty close to what he’s doing right now with his signing statements and executive orders and his refusal to obey decisions of the courts and Congress’ subpoenas requiring testimony and documents.
Under the cockamamie “unitary executive” theory, and hiding behind his supposed wartime powers that assert that Bush can do anything he wishes as long as he says it’s done as “commander-in-chief” during “wartime,” Bush has effectively put himself above and beyond the law. The only hope for saving what remains of our democratic institutions lies in impeachment, a rebellion in Congress and among the populace, a united Supreme Court ruling against him, a refusal by the military to fire on protesting civilians, or a sweeping, massive Democratic victory in November. Probably most or all of these at the same time will be required.
If none of these stop-gaps work during CheneyBush’s residency in the White House, it could be incarceration in FEMA camps for all manner of protesters and resisters.
3. A THIRD TERM FOR BUSH
That Hillary Clinton’s destructive campaign (praising McCain as fit to be “commander-in-chief” while constantly demeaning Obama as unfit to rule and unable to win the general election) will effectively result in Bush being elected to a third term. That is, John McCain would win.
McCain would be aided in this by Ralph Nader, who as a “spoiler” once again would be financially supported by the Republicans, as happened in 2000 and 2004.
4. PILFERING AT THE POLLS
That the November 2008 election, assuming we actually have one, will be stolen yet again by the GOP in enough key states to guarantee a Republican presidential victory through a combination of manipulated vote totals by the private, GOP-leaning companies that tabulate the ballots, and by the host of dirty tricks that by now the Rove-ian forces have down to a T, such as:
Culling the voting rolls of hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters in minority precincts; robo-calling registered Dem voters again and again and again, supposedly by Dem candidates, to irritate those called into not voting for that candidate; telling poor voters that if they have any unpaid traffic tickets, they are liable for arrest at their voting precinct; distributing leaflets in minority communities that voting this year will be on a Wednesday; etc. etc. (All of these, and more, were vote-suppression techniques utilized by the GOP in 2004 and 2006.)
5. DELUSIONAL THINKING IN IRAQ
That the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be unable to stop CheneyBush from escalating the Iraq fighting yet again, getting the U.S. even more deeply enmeshed in that country’s civil war, and making it even more difficult for a new administration to extricate America from that immoral, multi-trillion-dollar sinkhole.
Bush remains lodged somewhere in cloud-cuckoo land, bragging about how the current explosion of violence throughout Iraq is a sign of the “success” of his policies. The only reasons the violence slowed a bit post-“surge” was that Muqtada al-Sadr told his militia forces to stand down and the U.S. paid off Sunni insurgents not to attack U.S. troops. Now that the battles are being resumed, the violence spikes will continue to rise.
CheneyBush, desperate for something that looks positive in Iraq, may have leaned on Maliki to launch a major offensive against the al-Sadr militias, or maybe it was the other way around, with Maliki using the U.S. troops as shields as he attacked his major political foes. But, whoever initiated the offense, it was way premature, as the Maliki forces are not there yet, and may never be. (There have been significant defections to the militias by forces supposedly loyal to the central government.)
This is the same mistake made by the American forces moving into Iraq five years ago — that it would all be over quickly. We “underestimated their capabilities,” said an Iraqi government official. Sound familiar?
6. LOCATING THE BODIES FOR MORE WAR
That given this recent turn of events, the effect of the Iraq government offensive is to put American and British forces in the middle between warring Shi’ite factions. I don’t think the American public, or the Pentagon chiefs, will support having U.S. troops in such an untenable position for any length of time.
Sadr, after his forces humiliated Maliki by stalemating him on the ground, has now called off his troops, but the militant cleric has made his point: He can bring rack and ruin to the Iraq cental government whenever he wants, and there’s not much Maliki can do about it.
And Sadr may want to release his militia force again before the American election in November, which is precisely what the CheneyBush Administration fears as another large Sadrist attack would once again demonstrate the total ineffectiveness of U.S. policy in Iraq.
The big winner ( http://www.juancole.com/2008/03/iran-brokers-call-for-ceasefire-bush.html ) in all this, of course, is Shi’ite Iran. It stepped in and helped separate Iraq’s two warring Shi’ite factions. Lots of egg on lots of Iraqi and U.S. faces.
Already, Bush has indicated there will be no draw-down of U.S. forces this Spring. Eventually, there may have to be yet another “surge” force dispatched to Iraq, just to “temporarily stabilize” the situation. Can you spell (and smell) V-I-E-T-N-A-M and Q-U-A-G-M-I-R-E?
And from where would the military, already stretched dangerously thin in the Greater Middle East and around the globe, put their hands on 30,000 more bodies? The Reserves and National Guard and in-country troops about to be “stop-lossed” yet again are close to the point of rebellion. As much as CheneyBush do not wish to go there (because of the likelihood of a mammoth opposition to the war in the American middle class), one can feel a draft in the room.
7. NOBODY DID ANYTHING WRONG
That Bush will issue blanket presidential pardons to Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, David Addington, and Himself for all crimes they “may have committed” during their tenure in the Administration.
Once again, nobody in the higher echelons is ever accountable in the CheneyBush royal court. It must have been the pesky dog that ate everybody’s homework.
8. A DEPLETED WORLD LARDER
That the trend of various countries in the world running short of essential commodities will result in even more horrendous resource-wars between and inside nations over potable and irrigation water, oil, wheat, rice, and so on. Starvation, dehydration, not even rice to feed Asia, not enough grains with which to make pasta and bread in Europe, not enough oil to run cars and machinery, etc. etc.
Another worldwide Great Depression, aided by an unfolding collapse of the U.S. economy.
9. DENIAL ON A GLOBAL SCALE
That even with the ocean waters rising as a result of global warming and the consequent faster melting of glaciers and ice shelves, with the consequent disastrous effects on climate-change, the Republicans will continue to downplay what they see in front of their eyes. Given that state of denial means that the GOP will wind up doing nothing about global warming; instead, they will continue to blame Bill Clinton, abortion providers, and the “homosexual agenda.” (“Let’s see, today I’m going to get my hair done, get married to my partner, and then take my hair dryer and go melt some glaciers.”)
10. CHENEY, THANK YOO
That Dick Cheney will be named chairman of John McCain’s vice-presidential selection committee. And that John Yoo will be nominated by McCain for the next open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
This is where we are after nearly eight years of CheneyBush rule: The scariest thing about most of these nightmare visions is that, based on CheneyBush’s documented record of outrageous and illegal and reckless governance, the above scenarios sound almost normal these days. Which means they could easily happen.
All the more reason why we must redouble our oppositional energies: organize, organize, organize; resist, resist, resist. #
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at univerisities in California and Washington, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for two decades, and currenty serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). For comment: email@example.com .
First published by The Crisis Papers and Democratic Underground 4/1/08.
Copyright 2008 by Bernard Weiner.