Friday, April 6, 2007
by Alenjandro Nadal
La Jornada (Translated from Spanish by Supriyo Chatterjee)
"The crisis of 15 British sailors captured by Iran has brought up close the matter of a possible attack by the United States on that country. Very few think it is a logical option for Washington. But wars almost never start with rational analysis. Miscalculations and malignancy are the most common ingredients in the motives for conflicts.
For the White House, the need to attack Iran becomes more urgent every day. The perception is that as the end of the Bush administration approaches, the window of opportunity for an offensive is closing. As such, although it is not very logical to think that a President of the United States could hand over to his successor a recently-started war, that is precisely what is bound to happen in the current situation in the prevailing delirium in the Oval Office. There is no doubt that all the rules have changed after September 11......
But here is where it is outside the focus of a good part of the international debate. Washington’s objective is not to invade and occupy Iran. The central purpose is to eliminate it as an obstacle to controlling the resources of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. And, to achieve that, it is not necessary to invade the country. It is enough to destroy its military capacity, aerial and naval, something that the armed forces of the United States and its few allies can achieve in some week of selective bombardment. We should not forget that Pentagon has been preparing for decades to keep the Strait of Hormuz open to naval movement (and the Europeans, in an emergency, are going to be thankful).
In reply, Iran can unleash a nightmare for the Americans in Iraq. But the sacrifice of additional tens of soldiers in Baghdad is not something that is going to stop the dream of the Bush-Cheney duo. Within a month, the casualty figures of American soldiers in Iraq will exceed 3,300 deaths. The daily average of American casualties is about 2.3 so far in the war. The White House will not feel obliged to retire its troops from Iraq if the figure crosses four or five dead soldiers each day. The American people can react in other ways but by then they will be faced with a fait accompli.
In the twisted logic of Cheney and Bush, chaos and more casualties is what is going to oblige the United States to remain in Iraq. For these two characters, the Europeans, reluctant or otherwise, will have to accept that it is better to control the hydrocarbon riches of Central Asia and the Caspian than to abandon the region in the middle of chaos. The rules have changed, and Bush-Cheney are not prepared to let the opportunity go."