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As Long as We Remember...

June 9, 2008

Dangerous Days

Steven R. Berryman

The anecdotal evidence has been building for many months. Now two top men are forced from positions of power in the United States Air Force for convenient reasons. Is our target Iran?


Was it really a “wake up call” to the air branch of our military over sloppy handling of Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM) nukes in a wayward B-52, or were Chief of Staff Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne resisting a rush to war?


The latter statement is impossible to substantiate due to the obvious secrecy involved in the process of a ramp-up towards a pre-emptive war of choice. Advanced publicity would surely arouse a pushback of monumental proportions.


The Bushism for this is “preventative war.”


One element to hit the press recently is a report that the Bush Administration has a clearly demarcated internal rift over a war policy on Iran: President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney are pushing a strike. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the State Department’s Condoleezza Rice are holding it all at bay with the voice of reality.


Working against the reality of common sense is the Bush legacy. Quite frankly, our president has nothing to lose and everything to gain via a new war. Should the legacy book be written today, it would be an embarrassment.


A war with Iran could be used as a propaganda device to rekindle convenient patriotism, which has always allowed the Bush boat to rise.


In popular management theory we call it “If it ain’t broke, break it.” Meaning: It’s such a mess now, we might as well just toss everything up into the sky and start over again – policy wise in this case – in the off chance that the eventual reformation of the broken parts may be better than what we had before.


At Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, we have been stockpiling munitions for years now. Most probably, we are also negotiating with Turkey over air-space rules, and the use of Incirlik Air Base. Aircraft carrier battle groups continue to meander about in secrecy.


Look for an overlap in battle group movements as a signal that action may be near. This happens when the formation to be replaced remains on station.


It’s been an inter-service ego problem for some years now. Our Air Force is a branch without an active mission. Ballistic missiles don’t get much exercise without a conflict. Pilots lose the edge without a conflict to concentrate the senses.


The Army and Marine Corp have been having their day to earn their swagger in Afghanistan and then Iraq. Navy Seals and the Coast Guard have had their interdictions. Our Air Force flies cargo and in-flight refueling hauls. This fuels the jealousy, however unfortunate a conflict could be.


And how does an economic downturn play into my speculative scenario? Forget not that World War II has been largely credited for pulling us out of the Great Depression more than any other make-work program or alphabet soup organization.


Cranking up the military-industrial-complex is a tried and true method to pump our failing and ailing production base. History is quite instructive about this.


Also, as the malaise of hot summer hits, as does the depression of the stock market, CNN and Fox on cable can be expected to have a field day with a first strike. We will be ripe for the watching and the diversion.


And aren’t we tired of “cap and trade” and Hillary v. Barack?


The theater of “scud stud” and jeopardized journalists will be back in vogue and omnipresent, pretending not to enjoy the circumstances as careers are made.


The case for bombing has been in the information machine for years now. Are the Israelis pulling the strings, or are we encouraging them to encourage us to battle?


The case gets made that if Israel preemptively attacks Iran, the Mid-East balance could be upset enough to facilitate a holy war. Then Israel threatens to hit solo if we don’t, forcing our hand.


But just how willingly?


Don’t forget the British lobbying efforts to obligate us to war in 1939. This has been conveniently left out of many histories.


And the Iranians themselves? The people are said to love Americans, much more than the average occupants of the region. They enjoy our movies, blue jeans, and way of life.


It’s their leadership that affords our opportunity to aggress.


The Iranian system enjoys the virtual opposite of our doctrine of “separation of church and state.” Islam and government are forever commingled. The edge goes to the Mullahs, by the way. We – as “Great Satan” – make a wonderful straw target for their rhetoric.


What about the imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran? The obfuscation of the real state of affairs regarding this – as perpetrated by our war machine as well as the ever-schizophrenic International Atomic Energy Agency – may never be known, as the dust settles. Quite literally!


And should we attempt a surgical strike on select facilities, would the retaliation be contained necessarily in any way? If not, a nation of 70 million could only be fended off by our own tactical nukes, losing us any moral grounds whatsoever.


This 1963 revisited is certainly of our own making, a blast-from-the-past. I hope not, as we can certainly live without more dangerous days.


Is this risk worthwhile to salvage a presidential legacy? May common sense prevail?


Perhaps we have not ever gotten over the 444 days. A Nations Ego can be a terrible thing…


…when we allow it.


Yellow Cab
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