Ducks in a Row: Congress, Media Clamber on Board the War Train to Persia


Jon Schwarz, citing Carah Ong at Iran Nuclear Watch, reports that the Senate vote on the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment -- essentially, a pre-emptive approval of any military action that the Bush Regime wants to take against Iran -- could be voted on as soon as Tuesday. According to Ong, one of the complete non-entities who are currently shaming the state of Tennessee in the Senate -- the feckless frat-geezer Lamar Alexander -- has asked to tie his name to the bill as well.

As Jon noted last week -- when he was one of the first, and few, people to ring the alarm bell about this noxious belch of belligerence:

It's a "Sense of the Senate" resolution, which means it has no legal force, but as the Congressional Research Service will tell you, "foreign governments pay close attention to [such resolutions] as evidence of shifts in U.S. foreign policy priorities." ...Here are the most important paragraphs:

(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.

If something like this passes both the House and Senate, I think Bush could legitimately argue that between it, the War Powers Act and the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations to Use Military Force, he has all the authority he needs to attack Iran.

Ong says that Kyl is willing to smear a bit of lipstick on the war hog by adding language indicating that the bill -- which, as we've just seen, explicitly supports the use of "military instruments" against Iran -- is not an actual, formal authorization for bloodshed. No, it's just a friendly signal to the White House that any such action will be A-OK with the U.S. Senate. As such, the measure is actually redundant; as we noted here in July, this same gaggle of Capitoline geese have already voted -- unanimously, 97-0 -- to affirm "as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq," as we said then. And then, as now, we saw these august statesmen proffering meaningless assurances that their vote for war was not really a vote for, er, war:

To be sure, stout-hearted Dem tribunes like Dick Durbin insisted that their support for declaring that Iran is "committing acts of war" against the United States should not be taken as an "authorization of military action." This is shaky-knees mendacity at its finest. Having officially affirmed that Iran is waging war on American forces, how, pray tell, can you then deny the president when he asks (if he asks) for authorization to "defend our troops?" Answer: you can't. And you know it.

The Lieberman-Kyl-Non-Entity Amendment is just one  aspect of the acceleration toward war now unfolding before our eyes. Indeed, perhaps the strongest confirmation that our Terror War machine will soon begin devouring the lives of innocent Iranians is not any saber-rattling by Beltway officials, but the astonishing interview that Scott Pelley of the "liberal" network CBS conducted with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on "60 Minutes." As Glenn Greenwald points out, Pelley trotted out Bush Regime war propaganda as if it were unquestioned Gospel truth. And he wasn't shy about it at all:

PELLEY: Mr. President, you say that the two nations are very close to one another, but it is an established fact now that Iranian bombs and Iranian know-how are killing Americans in Iraq. You have American blood on your hands...There's no doubt about that anymore.

Greenwald continues:

Almost every word out of Pelley's mouth was a faithful recitation of the accusations made by the Bush White House. Ahmadinejad obviously does not watch much American news because he seemed genuinely surprised that someone he thought was a reporter was doing nothing other than reciting the script of the government. Apparently, among the American press now, it is unchallengably true that the Iranian Government has the Blood of American Soliders on its hands and is a "terrorist state."

More than the stories about Dick Cheney's hard-on to kill Persians -- by proxy, of course; Cheney never has and never will put the husk of lard that houses his greed-shrivelled brain in harm's way;other men, and women, and children, must die for his agenda -- the Pelley interview is the one of the clearest indications yet that the war is coming and nothing will stop it. Here we see that the "conventional wisdom" of the American Establishment -- as always, faithfully reflected by the witless hacks of the "serious" corporate media -- has now accepted the sinister narrative that the Bush Regime has concocted to justify another war. Congress, as we've seen, is already on board. The major media players -- the New York Times, CBS, CNN, etc. -- have signed up. And neither Congress nor the corporate media would be pushing, spinning and cajoling for war with such gusto if their owners in the American elite were not also ready to lock and load.

Some believe that, in the end, Bush won't pull the trigger on Iran, that he will be stopped, or at least dissuaded, by recalcitrant military brass unwilling to see their overstretched, crumbling forces broken completely in a major new conflict. But I think these are false hopes. As we have seen over the years, the Bush Regime ruthlessly purges officers who question the Leader's maniacal agenda or stand up too strongly for the honor and well-being of their troops. And the planned attack on Iran will be mostly a matter of airpower and naval-based missiles: remote killing by generals and admirals who love their glitzy, high-tech toys and want to give them the kind of unbridled work-out they've been denied since the early days of the Iraq invasion. (All that daily, workhorse dumping of a few bombs and missiles on Iraqi civilian areas here and there just doesn't provide the same kind of thrill.)

At any rate, I suppose you could email or call your senator and demand that he or she vote against the Kyl-Lieberman-Nobody Amendment -- if you believe that senators who have consistently ignored the mandate they were given by tens of millions of Americans in the last election will suddenly be swayed by a few thousand angry constituents. Then again, you might want to do it just to bear witness, just to let them know that somebody out there sees them for the moral cowards and accomplices to murder that they have become.

UPDATE: Jon Schwarz has details on how to bear that witness to the poltroons here. As Jon says, it's probably hopeless, but why not go down fighting?