All Along the Watchtower: The Firestorm of New War is Almost Upon Us

Outside in the distance, a wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching; the wind began to howl.
-- Bob Dylan

When wise man Robert Parry worries, we worry too. According to Parry, who exposed some of the earliest tentacles of the Iran-Contra octopus and has gone on to score scoop after scoo
p on the depradations of the Bush Faction (Poppy and Junior branches), his military and intelligence sources say that the Bush plans for an attack on Iran (mostly likely in conjunction with Israel) are accelerating at break-neck speed, and could be launched as soon as this month.

And, as Parry notes, while all this is going on, the Senate is still dithering over an absolutely toothless, spineless, worthless, non-binding expression of its "displeasure" at Bush's murderous "su
rge" plan in Iraq. These mighty sentinels of our liberties, these "co-equals in the governance of the United States," have -- as any sentient being could have foreseen -- caved in once again to the radical militarist fringe group that has seized control of the Executive Branch, and rams through its sinister program of loot and dominion without any more pretense about the "consent of the governed." Although poll after poll shows that the Bush gang is one of the most unpopular administrations in American history, that almost two-thirds of the public now oppose the Iraq War, still the Democratic leaders in Congress quail and quiver before the tinpot, dimbulb tyrant. They have the legitimate power and the legal right -- and the popular support -- to end the bloody war crime in Iraq right now, if they had the courage of the American people's convictions.

But they don't. As they have demonstrated over and over and over again, in every situation, in the minority and the majorities they had in 2001-2002 and again in 2007, they are, with very few exceptions, pathetic cowards. Oh, they will talk tough, they will bluster, they will pose, they will preen, but when the deal goes down, they fold.

The Democrats cannot even bring themselves to stand up against a criminal war that has been clearly rejected by the American people, a war bringing nothing but ruin, dishonor and ever-increasing danger to the United States. If they will not act in these entirely favorable circumstances, who in their right mind can expect them to oppose the coming war with Iran -- especially, as we have noted here over and over, the Democrats have been even more bellicose in their warmongering rhetoric about Iran than the Bush gang? (Although that is now changing as the Bushists, having quietly made their logistical preparations, throw the switch on the PR campaign for war).

These are dark days, and they are about to get darker. Yet in this desperate hour, we are led by nothing but fools and cranks and cowards, on every side, as the riders -- the pale riders -- are approaching.

(Excerpts from Parry after the jump)
Iran Clock is Ticking (
Excerpts: While congressional Democrats test how far they should go in challenging George W. Bush’s war powers, the time may be running out to stop Bush from ordering a major escalation of the Middle East conflict by attacking Iran. Military and intelligence sources continue to tell me that preparations are advancing for a war with Iran starting possibly as early as mid-to-late February. The sources offer some differences of opinion over whether Bush might cite a provocation from Iran or whether Israel will take the lead in launching air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But there is growing alarm among military and intelligence experts that Bush already has decided to attack and simply is waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region – and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home.

One well-informed U.S. military source called me in a fury after consulting with Pentagon associates and discovering how far along the war preparations are. He said the plans call for extensive aerial attacks on Iran, including use of powerful bunker-busting ordnance. Another source with a pipeline into Israeli thinking said the Iran war plan has expanded over the past several weeks. Earlier thinking had been that Israeli warplanes would hit Iranian nuclear targets with U.S. forces in reserve in case of Iranian retaliation, but now the strategy anticipates a major U.S. military follow-up to an Israeli attack, the source said. Both sources used the same word “crazy” in describing the plan to expand the war to Iran...

So, facing slim odds in Iraq, Bush is tempted by the allure of escalation, a chance to blame the Iranians for his Iraq failure and to punish them with air strikes. He might see that as a way to buy time, a chance to rally his pro-war supporters and a strategy for enhancing his presidential legacy. But the consequences both internationally and domestically – from possible disruption of oil supplies to potential retaliation from Islamic terrorists – could be devastating.

Yet, there is a sense of futility among many in Washington who doubt they can do anything to stop Bush. So far, the Democratic-controlled Congress has lagged behind the curve, debating how to phrase a non-binding resolution of disapproval about Bush’s “surge” of 21,500 troops in Iraq, while Bush may be opening an entirely new front in Iran.

According to intelligence sources, Bush’s Iran strategy is expected to let the Israelis take a lead role in attacking Iran's nuclear facilities in order to defuse Democratic opposition and let the U.S. intervention be sold as defensive, a case of a vulnerable ally protecting itself from a future nuclear threat.

Once American air and naval forces are committed to a new conflict, the Democrats will find it politically difficult to interfere at least in the near future, the thinking goes. A violent reaction from the Islamic world would further polarize the American population and let Bush paint war critics as cowardly, disloyal or pro-terrorist...

On Jan. 10, the night of Bush’s national address on the Iraq War, NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert made a striking observation about a pre-speech briefing that Bush and other senior administration officials gave to news executives.

“There’s a strong sense in the upper echelons of the White House that Iran is going to surface relatively quickly as a major issue in the country and the world in a very acute way – and a prediction that in 2008 candidates of both parties will have as a fundamental campaign promise or premise a policy to deal with Iran and not let it go nuclear,” Russert said. “That’s how significant Iran was today.”

So, Bush and his top advisers not only signaled their expectation of a “very acute” development with Iran but that the Iranian issue would come to dominate Campaign 2008 with candidates forced to spell out plans for containing this enemy state.