I'll grant that the cynicism of starting yet a third war when the first two he instigated are both still going on (and badly at that for American forces), and especially of doing it on the eve of a national election, is simply staggering. These guys don't just wrap themselves in the flag; they lie down on the flag stiffly, have someone role them up tight, and then try to hide inside it.
I'll grant too that from a political perspective this is a disaster, since a quick air assault by US cruise missiles against Iranian nuclear targets would probably be wildly popular among the yahoo set in America, who would not look past the initial glorious victory to Iran's obvious response, which predictably will be to unleash the Shi'ia militias in Iraq against American troops.
That's the downside: Two more years of bloody warfare, one-party government and no impeachment of a criminal president.
But there is a real silver lining. Indeed it may far outweigh the bad news of an Iran War.
That is the impact of an Iran War on the looming crisis of global warming.
So far, we know that man-made greenhouse gases, mostly from power plants and automobiles, and mostly from the United States, followed by Europe, China and India, are melting the polar icecaps and heating the oceans, with predictably dire consequences for climate and even for life on earth.
The ruling elite doesn't care about this stuff. They just want wealth and power and can't see beyond their noses. Besides, with all their wealth, they figure (like the Roman elite before them) thay'll just buy their way of what ever mess they've made. General Motors and Ford aren't going to make fuel-efficient cars when consumers are willing to pay top dollar for gas-guzzling SUVs, and consumers aren't going to stop buying those cars. Nor will they stop buying giant unheatable houses which they will then massively overheat and overcool, until the rising ocean is lapping at their doorsteps.
The only thing that will make this energy besotted society stop its march to self-destruction, and destruction of most of the species living on Earth, is significantly higher prices for energy.
Yet governments, and the US government in particular, are loath to let energy prices rise, much less actively make fuel more expensive by deliberate policy, for fear of a citizen backlash. As a result, there has been little or nothing done about cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and the earth just keeps getting warmer.
That's where war with Iran comes in.
By some accounts, if the U.S. pops off a bunch of missiles at Iran, and ignites another major war in the Middle East, the result will be the effective shutdown not just of Iran, the world's second biggest producer of oil, but probably also of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, by far the largest oil producer in the world. This is because, as many military strategists have pointed out, Iran's responwse vwill be to incite the Shites who live in countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to go after American interests-and there is no bigger American interest than oil. Wells and pipelines are infinitely easier to destroy than to protect.
Some analysts are projecting that oil prices could shoot past $150/barrel to as high as $200/barrel if an American-Iranian War breaks out in the Gulf. That might even be conservative thinking.
At such prices, Americans would surely start car-pooling, and might even take up bicycling (which would also solve the nation's obesity epidemic). SUVs, trucks and vans would quickly end up in scrapyards, or mouldering in back yards. Air conditioners would vanish and home insulation would become a hot item, along with long underwear, sweaters and wool socks.
An added benefit of war with Iran is that it would so drain the U.S. treasury that either the dollar would collapse, taking the U.S. economy along with it, as the government was forced to crank up interest rates, or else taxes would be raised to such a level as to crush consumer spending, with the same end result. Either way, the U.S. economy would end up in the tank-further reducing energy demand.
I certainly have no desire to see anyone killed, American or Iranian, and consider that any attack on Iran by the U.S, besides being stupid, would be a war crime-a so-called "Crime Against Peace" under the Nuremburg Charter. That said, while Bush should be impeached, dragged before the Senate, removed from office and then indicted for war crimes if he launches yet another unprovoked war of aggression, at least we'll have the satisfaction of seeing a significant slowdown in global warming.
Maybe then, with that brief respite, and with Bush and the Republican Congress mercifully out of the way, we can start figuring out how to live at peace, not just with one another, but with the earth itself.