Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

10.22 Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

10.23 Five graphs that explain the EU 2030 energy and climate deal

10.22 Doctors Without Borders Hits Ebola Breaking Point

10.22 Ebola virus: how it spreads and what it does to you – video

10.22 WHO aims for Ebola serum in weeks and vaccine tests in Africa by January

10.22 What If America Had Canada's Healthcare System? [7:25 video, charts]

10.21 Boston University study finds possible link between traumatic brain injuries and domestic violence

10.21 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery

10.20 The Ebola Wars

10.20 Amazon deforestation picking up pace, satellite data reveals

10.20 Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola

10.19 The Ebola crisis: Much worse to come [map graphic]

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

10.20 Megarich Plaintiffs, Legally Adrift

10.18 How Oil and Gas Leases for Fracking Rip Off Homeowners

10.18 Stand-your-ground gun laws 'benefit whites more than blacks', experts say

US Politics, Policy & Culture

10.23 The Era of Political Disruption

10.23 Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington

10.23 Amid Shootings, Chicago Police Department Upholds Culture of Impunity

10.23 Chris Christie Pay-To-Play Probe Of Charlie Baker Takes Center Stage In Massachusetts Gubernatorial Debate

10.22 Yes, it's true: Police only shot four people (and nobody died) in all of England the past two years

10.22 The Best Investigative Reporting on Campaign Finance Since 2012

10.21 Warren Makes the Case

10.21 Texas Just Won the Right to Disenfranchise 600,000 People. It's Not the First Time. [A disgraceful history]

10.21 Yes, Mass Shootings Are Occurring More Often [graphs]

10.21 The Bottom 90 Percent: No Better Off Today Than in 1986

10.21 Can Homeless People Move Into Baltimore's Abandoned Houses?

10.21 Chart: Values of Homes Owned by African Americans Take Outsized Hit Compared to Those Owned by Whites

10.21 You might be a politician if ... you tried to defund Ebola research, only to campaign on Ebola fear

High Crimes?

10.22 White House Chief Of Staff Negotiating Redaction Of CIA Torture Report

10.22 Fred Branfman, exposer of America’s secret war in Laos, died on September 24th, aged 72

10.22 US ordered to explain withholding of Iraq and Afghanistan torture photos

Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.20 The Feds Just Approved a New GMO Corn. Here's Why I'm Not Rejoicing

10.20 EPA: Those Bee-Killing Pesticides? They're Actually Pretty Useless

10.17 Chris Christie: New Jersey Bill Challenges Governor's Subsidies To GOP Donors

10.17 Matt Stoller: Why We Need to Break Up Amazon – and How to Do It

International

10.23 Thousands in Iran Protest Acid Attacks on Women

10.23 Death in the Sahara: An Ill-Fated Attempt to Reach Fortress Europe

10.23 Battle for Kobani: As the World Watches, Turkey Looks Away

10.23 Eve of Election: A Fractured Ukraine, United in Uncertainty

10.23 George Soros: Russia poses existential threat to Europe

10.23 Oil slump leaves Russia even weaker than decaying Soviet Union

10.22 World War III: It's Here And Energy Is Largely Behind It

10.22 Sweden bathes in echoes of cold war drama as submarine hunt continues

10.22 Daily Life in the Shadow of ISIS

10.21 Afghan opium poppy yield hits all-time high

10.20 The Mission

10.20 Deadly Ukraine Crash: German Intelligence Claims Pro-Russian Separatists Downed MH17

10.20 Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as US air-drops arms

10.19 Full Show: Keeping Faith in Democracy [25:20 video]

10.19 The tech innovators of the Victorian age

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Down in the Flood: The Senate's Blank Check for War on Iran
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

Down in the Flood: The Senate's Blank Check for War on Iran

by Chris Floyd
pic of flood waters
On July 11th the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: this 97-0 vote—including Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and Joe Biden—gave George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.
Thursday, 12 July 2007—As you may know -- unless you rely on the corporate media for your news, of course -- yesterday the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: a 97-0 vote to give George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.

The bipartisan Senate resolution – the brainchild (or rather the bilechild) of Fightin' Joe Lieberman – affirmed as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq. The Senators appear to have relied heavily on the recent New York Times story by Michael Gordon that stovepiped unchallenged Pentagon spin directly onto the paper's front page. As Firedoglake points out, John McCain cited the heavily criticized story on the Senate floor as he cast his vote.

It goes without saying that all of this is a nightmarish replay of the run-up to the war of aggression against Iraq: The NYT funneling false flag stories from Bush insiders. Warmongers citing the NYT stories as "proof" justifying any and all action to "defend the Homeland." Credulous and craven Democratic politicians swallowing the Bush line hook and sinker.

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.

This vote is the clearest signal yet that there will be no real opposition to a Bush Administration attack on Iran. This is yet another blank check from these slavish, ignorant goons; Bush can cash it anytime. This is, in fact, the post-surge "Plan B" that's been mooted lately in the Beltway. As you recall, there was much throwing about of brains on the subject of reviving the "Iraq Study Group" plan when the "surge" (or to call it by its right name, the "punitive escalation") inevitably fails. Bush put the kibosh on that this week ("Him not gonna do nothin' that Daddy's friends tell him to do! Him a big boy, him the decider!"), but that doesn't mean there isn't a fall-back position – or rather, a spring-forward position: an attack on Iran, to rally the nation behind the "war leader" and reshuffle the deck in Iraq.

Of course, the United States is already at war with Iran. We are directing covert ops and terrorist attacks inside Iran, with the help of groups that our own government has declared terrorist renegades. We are kidnapping Iranian officials in Iraq and holding them hostage. We have a bristling naval armada on Iran's doorstep, put there for the express purpose of threatening Tehran with military action. The U.S. Congress has overwhelmingly passed measures calling for the overthrow of the Iranian government. And now the U.S. Senate has unanimously declared that Iran is waging war on America, and has given official notice that this will not be tolerated. It is only a very small step to move from this war in all but name to the full monty of an overt military assault.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: there is madness at work here. There is no other word for it. As I noted a few years ago:
Homo sapiens is the only species that dreams of its own total demise. Our brief history of conscious thought is replete with vivid scenarios of the end of life on earth....Religion has produced most of these -- giddy, voluptuous nightmares of universal extinction, usually by fire, at divine order. A favored remnant is always saved in such tales, of course, but only after being transformed into some different, higher order of being. The gross human body -- that bleeding, fouling, endlessly replicating sack of earth -- is gleefully consigned to eternal oblivion.

It seems that some ineradicable nihilism pervades us, like a virus, now dormant, now flaring: something in us that wants to die, to be done with the long, overhanging doom of mortality -- and to take the world with us. Our grandiose visions of the future seem to hide, at their core, a secret, desperate anxiety about the profound meaninglessness of existence -- an anxiety that often disguises itself in elaborate fantasies of the afterlife, in dreams of "dominance" for one's "own kind" (nation, tribe, faith, race, ideology, etc.), or in the eroticizing of death, war and destruction.

Instincts for preservation, sentiments of affection, the drive for pleasure -- from the most basic bodily urges to the most sublime creations and apprehensions of the intellect -- act as counterweights to this dark virus, of course. They provide for most of us, most of the time, enough fragments of meaning -- or at least sufficient distraction -- to get on with things, without too much resort to world-engulfing visions or the extremes of nihilistic anxiety.

On the individual level, the calibration of these competing impulses can be intricate, subtle, ever-shifting, because the individual mind is so complex and all-encompassing, yet also so enclosed, so unlockably private as well: an infinitely supple tool for managing the conflicts and contradictions of reality. But on the broader level -- species, nation, group -- human consciousness is, of necessity, a far more blunt and brutal instrument.

There, our brain-fevers and anxieties rage more virulently, lacking the counterweights of individual feeling and the quick, intimate responsiveness of the private mind. In the group-mind, the fantasies that root in the muddy fear of meaninglessness can emerge full-blown. Thought and discourse are reduced to broad strokes, slogans, codes and incantations, with little correspondence to reality. Awareness of this tendency can mitigate some of its effects; but the group-mind's fundamental falsity and irreality almost invariably infects the thoughts and actions of group leaders -- and eventually many of the group members as well.

Thus we can sometimes say, not entirely metaphorically, that nations "go mad," hurtling themselves toward ruin, embracing self-destruction, lusting for violence and death, sick with nihilism -- although this sickness is always painted in the colors of patriotic fervor or religious zeal, or both...

Now draw these dangerous streams together, and you have a portrait of the blunt and brutal group-mind at work in the leadership of the world's most powerful nation. The folly, fantasy and death-fetish of the Bush Regime -- long evident to anyone who cared to see -- were finally "revealed" in the mainstream media recently by the quasi-official Establishment oracle, Bob Woodward. His latest insider portrait, Plan of Attack, offers -- in the usual, easily-gummed pabulum form -- a few tastes of the bitter truth behind the Regime's mad, ruinous war crime in Iraq.

The corrosive nihilism at the heart of the enterprise ate through the gaudily-painted surface most tellingly in a single anecdote. Woodward asks George W. Bush how he thinks history will regard his adventure in Iraq. Bush, gazing out the window, shrugs and waves the question away. "History, we don't know," he says. "We'll all be dead." No fine, faith-filled talk here about God and Jesus and the immortal soul responsible for its actions throughout all eternity -- the kind of zealous patter Bush favors in public statements. This was just the cold, rotten, meaningless core of his grand vision: "We'll all be dead." So who cares? Après moi, le deluge.
Who would have thought the floodwaters of this death vision would have risen so high again so soon? Yet here they are again, beating against the gates.

UPDATE: Jonathan Schwarz points out that all of the Senate's Democratic candidates for president voted for Lieberman's Iran War amendment: Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and Joe Biden. Just in case you were expecting a saner foreign policy after the 2008 election.

UPDATE II: Meanwhile, George Milhouse Bush wants to make one thing perfectly clear: even in the highly unlikely (if not totally impossible) event that the Senate grows a rudimentary spine and tries to place the slightest obstacle in the way of a military attack on Iran, the Commander Guy will peremptorily veto it and instigate the mass murder anyway.

Spencer Ackerman at TPM Cafe found this gem of arrogant defiance in "a little-noticed letter from the White House to Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee." The main subject of the letter was a similar vow to veto any restrictions on Bush's ability to continue his war crime in Iraq. The passsage concerning Iran might seem redundant now, after the Senate's vote on Lieberman's "Persia delenda est!" measure, which puts a gun in Bush's hand and screams for him to pull the trigger, but the President is obviously taking no chances.
photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd is an American journalist and the Editor and co-founder of the Atlantic Free Press. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column originally appeared on Chris Floyd's site, and is republished here with the permission of the author.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on July 13, 2007.
 


Public Service Ads: