Thursday, January 18, 2007

May Cooler (and Smarter and More Courageous) Heads Prevail

Days after the U.S. dispatched a second set of battle ships to the Middle East, the BBC reports on efforts underway in Congress to force President Bush to seek its approval should he pursue an attack on Iran. If the resolution did manage to pass both the House and Senate it would hardly guarantee a more clear-eyed policy. Remembering my favorite bogus Power Point presentation a la Colin Powell in early 2003, I would never underestimate the ability of something of far less substance to effect events of great material impact. But I find the possibility of a resolution a little heartening in any case.

Elsewhere, FP's blog notes the obvious potential parallel of current U.S. rumblings in the direction of Iran with the Gulf of Tonkin farce that got the U.S. mired in Vietnam. The only thing I really take issue with in the FP bit is Mike Boyer's suggestion that a Tonkin-esque instigation to justify an attack against Iran seems far-fetched. If the original trumped up Gulf of Tonkin incident and the aforementioned Power Point tell us anything, it's that all those seemingly far-fetched wacko notions are disproportionately effective at starting these sorts of things.

Finally, I was surprised back in October that the American press did not make more noise about Daniel Ellsberg's (pictured with Mrs. E, above) call in Harpers for insider Bush admin wonks to do earlier for Iran what he tried to do for Vietnam by leaking the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg encouraged wonks like himself to reveal the administration's secret plans (perhaps now less and less secret on a day-by-day basis) to attack Iran. You'd think the Times and the Wa. Post, the financial beneficiaries of Ellsberg's risk (not to mention beneficiaries of that little old Supreme Court case involving prior restraint) would love to get their hands on such documents. It would at least sell papers, if not protect the national interests that might be served by preventing another nasty and immoral war.

P.S. Meanwhile, as the U.S. bemoans Iran’s nuclear ambitions, likely years from fruition, bigger and brawnier China surprises the world by getting its ballistic satellite-destroying missles off in space right now.

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