Parker Brothers' Politics
I googled "Is Iran next?" and got 66,200 hits, and only two for "Why is Iran next?" That seemed odd to me, because the second question seems almost as important as the first, particularly since the answer to the first is almost certainly "Hell Yes."
There are a number of good answers to the question why, and likely only a few of them have anything to do with whatever the floating casus belli will finally prove to be.
Geopolitically, Iran will be next because the real target is elsewhere, and too strong to strike directly. The real target in the neoconservatives' sites is China, and always has been. The game is encirclement, and it's purpose, the frustration of the Project for the New Chinese Century.
I enjoyed playing Risk as much as any other socially-awkward adolescent, but I was never so malajusted as to play the game by myself and call myself King of the World. Not only did the neocons never outgrow it, but they believe they have the run of the board all to themselves. PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" is a study in hubris, which presumes Washington to be the only actor of consequence on its Parker Brothers' map of the world. Other nations and prospective power blocks are regarded as little more than stationary pieces to be picked off in turn. Having been a boy with at least one foot in the reality-based community of Risk players, I could have told them that's not how the game works.
Whatever your game, you increase your chances of winning by anticipating your opponent's moves. Regardless of what position of strength you start from, this becomes critically important if you happen to make virtually the entire world your adversary.
The neocon strategists have seen their carefully laid and desperate plan fly apart almost since its implimentation began. Or rather, that's what they would see, if only they could. But since they don't have eyes to see, it's full-speed ahead with another roll of the dice.
Iran is next because of what it means to China. Particularly, that Iran is its primary source of petroleum and natural gas. But China is playing a smart game. While Washington ramps up for another war of choice, China snaps up strategic resources in formerly secure US client states such as Canada and Venezuela, and forges a military partnership with Russia. (I hope the news that Russia and China will be conducting huge and unprecedented joint exercises later this year is causing sleepless nights in the White House, but I'm afraid I hear nothing but somnabulistic "bring it on!") And Russia and China pose much more than a military threat. Consider what the one-two punch these headlines from Saturday could mean to America's soft fiscal underbelly: "Russia ends de facto dollar peg and moves to align rouble with euro" and "China says it has plans to unhook currency from U.S. dollar." The US has bobbed to the top of its debts by the benefit of holding the world's reserve currency. Without it, it sinks.
This is why the neocons have been led by the vain hope that they could get all their moves in before America's rivals could react. It's the only way they could win their new American century. But it's too late. Strategically, the US finds itself in a situation somewhat akin to Imperial Japan's in early 1942: militarily dominant but resource-weak, which has led it to make some exceptionally dangerous choices. The die has been cast.
The situation is so obviously dire for the United States on so many fronts, it's hard to believe that some people who should know better, don't. And that some of them, for whatever purpose, aren't actually welcoming the coming calamity.
Who's encircling whom, anyway?
But Risk isn't the only game being played, poorly:
Unqualified US medics carried out amputations at Abu Ghraib
The report cited National Guard Captain Kelly Parrson... [who] told Time there were times when he and other non-physicians carried out amputations and other procedures on inmates that should have been performed by surgeons.
"I took off an ankle and a lower leg," he recalls. "There was no one else, and if it was death or amputation, you just had to do it."
This carries an echo of screams from Guantanamo Bay. Former British detainee Jamal al-Harith told The Mirror last Spring that unneccessary amputations were administered by camp doctors. ("All the men who had lost limbs complained they would chop them off high up and not bother to try to save as much as possible.")
"If it was death or amputation, you just had to do it." It's hard to argue with that, except he's not a doctor. Why should we trust his post facto claim that amputation meant life or death? That a Gitmo witness has already testified to prisoners' unneccessary amputations suggests at least the possibility of malicious intent behind the lack of qualified care in Abu Ghraib.
And someone at The New York Times ought to buy one of these:
In case you haven't yet seen this from FAIR, the Times killed a story the week before the election which identified Bush's infamous "debate hump" as "an electronic cueing device" because it could have changed the course of the election. Of course, choosing not to run it might have done the same. Not to mention, Bush's use of a cueing device. I suppose that could have changed the course of the election, too.
Except nothing really could have, could it? Because that wasn't really an election, was it?
If nothing else, the story serves as a good excuse to click right and save here for Paranoid Larry's latest song, "The President's Back."
Some sample lyrics:
It was another election I didn't trust
Too much going on behind the scenes
Fixin' whatever they had to adjust
Determined to win by any means
It's no good second guessing yesterday
But I've got a nagging question about the debate
What was that box on the president's back
I thought it was to help him remember his facts
Then I heard a spokesperson on Face to Face
Say he was receiving messages from Outer Space
And I'm glad they finally told it to us straight
But a couple of follow up questions would have been great
It's what a game of Mousetrap must sound like, from the mouse's perspective.