September 19, 2006

I Play Chicken with the Train

Good stuff on the continuing game of chicken between the US and Iran from Fred Kaplan:

I have no idea who Duffy's sources are, but there are at least two possibilities: The Bush administration really is gearing up for war, and some dissenting officers want to sound the alarm and rouse opposition. Or the administration wants to make the Iranians think an attack is brewing in order to pressure them into a diplomatic solution.

another possibility is that the administrations just wants to give some cover to the drive to war. I'm feeling pessimistic enough to think that they just want war and the rest of it is noise. More Kaplan:

There is a danger to playing this game. Once you switch on a plan to mobilize for war, it's hard to switch it off or, at the very least, it's easy to let it keep flowing.

This is the real problem. Bush can deploy the military forces to attack Iran while saying that the actual order to attack hasn't been given, diplomacy still has a chance, etc. But once those forces are out there it becomes a matter of national and even dumber, personal pride. We don't want to back down. The same thing happened in Iraq. Once we had 100,000 on the Iraq border, all the pro-war voices began how we couldn't just leave them there and we couldn't back down, we would look week and wimpy. Everone just assumes the war was coming and gave up asking if it was a good idea, if it was justified. It wasn't a good idea or justified.

So the goal for the war-mongers is get the forces in the field and the rest just falls into place.

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