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Friday, January 12, 2007


the brink of insanity

in the aftermath of the president's speech outlining the plans for an escalation of the war in iraq, the commentariat has been abuzz. not a few have noted particularly the confluence of events about to be recorded here.

on this sunday past, the sunday times of london noted that, according to several israeli military sources, the israeli air force is training for a limited nuclear strike against iranian technical facilities that they believe make up the core of iran's nuclear enrichment program.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

this is a continuation of the militaristic madness that has taken hold of the political far right in the west, previously expressed in vice-president cheney's own nuclear planning, since september 11. the terrible events of that day have since become license for the blackest impulses of fear-driven annihilationists -- that is, those who believe the annihilation of either "us" or "them" to be both imminent and unavoidable -- to be manifested as real policy behind western governments. "them", once being al-qaeda, then the taliban of afghanistan, then the iraq of saddam hussein, has now confusedly and irrationally metamorphosed into a bevy of possible spectres and phantoms -- the sunnis of iraq and syria and (more quietly) saudi arabia, as well as the persians of iran, as well as the resurgent taliban, as well as cold war favorites russia. the paranoia of the annihilationists has metastasized, and they seem to see nothing but possible enemies now.

other events appear to raise the conditional probability of such a disaster. the president's recent reordering of the top brass of the military seems potentially designed to remove anyone opposed to the regionalization of the war -- the yes men installed in 2003 to pave a dissent-free path into iraq have been replaced with new yes men for a new path.

bush further outlined in his address that he has sent a second carrier battle group into the persian gulf -- which has become crowded with american military hardware -- as well as patriot anti-missile systems. to this writer, it makes exceedingly little sense to deploy anti-missile systems into the current environment -- the only missile strikes in iraq today are being fired from american planes and ships. it does, however, begin to make sense if the american administration and military expect counterstrikes from an outside power, ostensibly in response to provocation.

UPDATE: steve clemons relays flynt leverett -- the groundwork is being laid for military operations in iran. indeed, the gossip in washington is that the orders have been sent.

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