Suddenly one worries if the madness that is being spouted by Kristol and Co is actually being listened to....I've got bad news for Kel: the direction of the message is not from Kristol to the White House. Kristol is one of their messengers.
It may not be entirely true that the regime change in Iran message is a message that came from the White House to Kristol directly. In fact, there need not have been a message at all. We're seeing in Kristol more of a "groupthink" condition rather than any directed talking points, though those surely were worked out somewhere in the veep's office for the benefit of the media campaign. Kristol may have even helped "tighten them up."
No, Bill Kristol need not be listened to by anyone in the White House for them to already know the call. Kristol may have adopted some legitimate airs recently, which came from his criticisms of Bush's operation in Iraq, and some might see this as a sign that Kristol is in some way "objective" in his latest more-war pronouncements. But Kristol is hardly obejctive and his criticisms simply came from being pissed that Rumsfeld had hopelessly screwed up "the plan." He didn't have any qualms about the quality of the idea behind what has turned into an abject failure and a horrifying reality for the Iraqis who daily suffer death and destitution. But despite the atrocious failure of a giant misstep, Kristol, Krauthammer and other of the war mongers are now calling for the start of the next big, smart-bomb stride of the great experiment in "benovolent global hegemony." But what is most pronounced about the execution of "the plan" is its certain lack of benevolence. And hegemony appears to be nowhere in sight.
I have been rather suspicious about this latest escalation of the aggressions with Israel; the timing of the conflagration is amazingly opportune, Israel's response utterly inexplicable on its face. But the face is just that, a facade. Within minutes of the Israeli response and Hezbollah's counterattacks, Iran was being labelled as the true instigator of this latest outburst, despite the obvious fact that Iran has no actual reason to desire such conflict. It may be entirely the case that, as Chomsky has pointed out, Hezbollah had simply acted to draw down Israel's attention on the Gaza strip, if only temporarily. This is hardly a complicated tactic and one which Iran need not necessarily have approved. Indeed, it seems likely that Tehran would fully understand just what would result from any Israeli-Hezbollah conflict: another neo-con assault, this time with rhetoric that the conflict was not even about Israel or Hezbollah, but one that was to be seen as a proxy war between the US and Iran, the first step on the road to military strikes on Iranian infrastructure.
Indeed, it is known that Cheney was not happy with Condi Rice's heavy push for diplomacy with Iran, a push that was actually looking like it might produce some positive, i.e. non-military, outcome. This, of course, was nothing Cheney wanted, he and Rumsfeld having already decided that a bombing campaign was the only viable "solution." Rice's diplomatic effort thwarted a months-long disinformation campaign that comprised not only phoney intelligence about Iranian "nuclear weapons," but also a short effort that was trying to claim Tehran was supplying insurgents in Iraq with IED materials. No actual evidence of an Iranian weapons program has ever been found and the Tehran/IED claims quickly faded when Chair of the Joint Chiefs, General Pace, had to admit that there was no evidence for this either. Nonetheless, a diplomatic solution would not be acceptable to the likes of Cheney, Kristol, et al., and now fresher, more violent and visceral evidence of Iranian bad faith -- Hezbollah rockets landing on Israel -- is being used as the latest catalyst by which the next phase of the PNAC plan might be realised.
Of course, further suspicion regarding the provenance of this conflict, or rather, the overwhelming Israeli response to what has not historically been such a grave crime, is evinced by another front, this one domestic and political. It was voiced by Newt Gingrich, among others, who saw the newest Middle East conflict as a shot in the arm for poll-droping Republicans come this November. As ugly as that politciking is and will no doubt become, the GOP once again revels in the prospect of stumping about yet more war and how those mealy-mouthed Democrats don't seem to like it very much; the only plank they see as their ticket to preserving majorities in the House and Senate. Certainly, Republicans do not see good governance as something worth campaigning for, their record adequately demonstrating no such ability or desire.
There has been one notable feature during this intense period of conflict: Dick Cheney's absence during all of it. Apparently, Cheney has been off humping for campaign cash and employing the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in just the way Gingrich had been advocating. Indeed, Cheney is once again telling America that, as far as he's concerned, this is going to be one damn long war. And there is nothing anyone can do about it, so keep on voting Republican:
Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday pointed to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah as fresh evidence of the ongoing battle against terrorism that underscores the need to keep President Bush's Republican allies in control of Congress.The GOP electoral strategy, writ large.
"This conflict is a long way from over," Cheney said at a fundraising appearance for a GOP congressional candidate. "It's going to be a battle that will last for a very long time. It is absolutely essential that we stay the course."
I would very much like to believe that the American public have grown tired of the endless fear-mongering of Republicans, but I am not at all sure that that has happened, despite the objectively worsening conditions in many regions of the globe. Five years of the Bush administration tossing kerosene on global hot spots is being used to reinforce GOP domestic campaign strategies; that they are the ones who must handle these dangerously aroused hot spots, ones either created or abetted by them. Certainly fear is easier to conjure when there is actual fighting going on somewhere, especially when it involves Israel and it's Arab and Persian foes. But the American public must wake up to the obvious fact that, under Bush and Cheney's tutelage, war has been foisted upon world at the behest of this adminstration. The attack on Iraq has done nothing but bring things to a boil, yet now we see the likes of Bill Kristol and other public, pro-war PNAC figures telling America that Iraq is not enough, that Iran now must yield to the military might of the United States and the demands of the Bush adminstration.
I've often wonder what the neo-cons would have done, what new campaign might have been launched against Tehran had the Iranians actually said, ok, we'll stop the nuclear enrichment. With the Israeli conflict pushing the escalation potential off the scale, and claims that Iran is ultimately responsible, it would seem that question has now been answered.