Goodbye to All That: Silber's Last Word on the War Against Iran

Arthur Silber has said his last word on the impending war with Iran -- and a mighty blast it is too, summing up almost a year and a half of bell-clanging witness to America's inexorable sleepwalk toward another monstrous conflict. (A sleepwalk that's now breaking into a headlong gallop.) Arthur rightly despairs of finding any way to stop this war crime now -- especially given the fact that the Democrats have "already approved the critical rationales for an attack." As Arthur notes:

The Senate approved -- by a vote of 97 to nothing -- an amendment that accuses Iran of committing acts of war against the United States. Thus, if we were to attack to Iran, we would purportedly only be acting defensively, and in response to what Iran has already done. This amendment, based entirely on unproven, propagandistic, intentionally warmongering allegations, was pushed in large part by Lieberman. Democrats (and progressive bloggers) may condemn the former Democrat all they wish: the fact remains that every Democratic Senator who voted on this measure voted for it. When the wider war begins, they will have no serious basis on which to object. In a similar manner, the House approved a resolution -- by a vote of 411 to 2...And that, as they say, is the ball game. [For more, see Down in the Flood.]

He goes on to add this salient point:

The Democrats don't object and they completely fail to mount serious opposition to our inevitable course toward widening war and an attack on Iran, not because they are cowards, not because they're afraid of being portrayed as "weak" in the fight against terrorism, and not because of any of the other excuses that are regularly offered by their defenders. They don't object because -- they don't object. That is: they agree -- they agree that the United States is the "indispensable" nation, that we have the "right" to tell every other country how it is "permitted" to act, that we must pursue a policy of aggressive interventionism supported by an empire of military bases. They agree about all of it; moreover, in most critical respects, they devised these policies in the first instance, and they implemented and defended them more vigorously and more consistently than Republicans, with the exception of the criminal now residing in the White House.

They agree. Try to wrap your head around it. Try to absorb the indisputable fact, which has been proven over and over and over again in the last century, and particularly in the last 60 years.

He also makes mincemeat of the argument advanced by some progressives (such as Digby, whose stance Arthur disputes with respect and courtesy) that a U.S. attack on Iran would spark massive opposition to the Bush Regime, putting impeachment and "all strategies of opposition" back on the table:

This is, I submit, utterly fantastic...the aftermath of an attack on Iran and what would almost certainly be a rapidly widening war would wipe every other issue out of existence.......As I note from time to time, it is not only the case that our entire governing class has learned nothing from the Iraq debacle: not a single part of the mechanisms by which the elites continue their rule has altered in any significant degree. That is certainly true of the mainstream media, which continue to dutifully convey whatever arguments and whatever "facts" the government wishes to be disseminated. The public is already convinced that Iran represents "the new Hitler," and the latest incarnation of "Ultimate Evil," even though they may have some generalized resistance to further war. But that would quickly be overcome, and all the major press organs will happily see to it that it is. Which brings me to the second point:

Second, one of the standard objections to the likelihood of an attack on Iran is that it will put American troops in Iraq in grave peril. If you make that objection, I have only one thing to say to you: Wake the hell up. Of course it will put American troops in Iraq in grave peril. A great many of them will probably be killed. But -- and please try as earnestly as you can to get this -- the administration is counting on exactly that happening....Imagine that 500, or a thousand, or even several thousand, American soldiers are killed in a single engagement, or over several days or a week. What do you think would happen?

The administration would immediately blame "Iranian interference" and "Iranian meddling." They do that now. Every major media outlet would repeat the charge; almost no one would question it. Pictures of the slaughtered Americans would be played on television 24 hours a day. The outrage would grow by the minute. Within a day, and probably within hours, certain parties would be calling for nuclear weapons to be dropped on Tehran. Almost everyone would be baying for blood, and for the blood of Iran in particular.

No one, and certainly no prominent politician, would dare to remind Americans that we have no right to be in Iraq in the first place. They won't say that now. Who would point it out after 800 Americans have been killed? And what Democrat would dare to oppose the tide, especially with a presidential election looming? Not one. Everyone with a national voice would be demanding the destruction of the current regime in Iran. No one would oppose such a course.

And Congress would begin impeachment proceedings in this atmosphere? Please tell me you're kidding.

For months, Arthur has done what very few of us writing about Iran ever do: offer specific, concrete, positive steps that could be taken to head off this disaster. He has called on -- and called out -- the major "liberal" bloggers, exhorting them to take up the cause, to mobilize their mass readerships on this overwhelmingly urgent issue. But now, says Silber:

It is too late. The kind of educational campaign I recommended as essential might have had a chance six months ago; it has no chance at all today, even if someone were prepared to undertake it -- and no one is....So we proceed on our path to a still worse and deepening nightmare. Our destination was set a long time ago. The intention to provoke a wider war has been announced repeatedly. No one believed it could happen, or wanted to believe it could happen. Such resistance and denial are common before all catastrophes of this kind. The warning signs are all around us and have been for years. Almost no one paid attention. No one acted to prevent what was obviously coming.

And still, no one will act to prevent it. So I see no point in documenting the further steps on this route to hell, for the same reason I avoid a certain kind of horror film: it is the contemplation of cruelty, murder, barbarism and sadism for their own sake.

These excerpts do an injustice to Arthur's detailed and nuanced piece (which is copiously supplied with links to more than a dozen major pieces he has written on the coming war with Iran, and its deeper roots in American history and human folly). You should read the whole thing.

P.S. And while you're at it, read this post: Of Abortion, and Women as the Ultimate Source of Evil. This is one of the best essays on the subject that I have ever read. And it is a great example of kind of thing that we will continue to see from Arthur as he turns away from the unfolding obscenity of a new war to other subjects.