|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Friday, January 20, 2006
That Nineteen-Fourteen Feeling
In his latest tape Osama bin Laden quotes the introduction to Rogue State by William Blum:
And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book "Rogue State," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."I can't find the quote in the online version of the book's introduction, but I do recall seeing it in print. I wonder if he's also read chapter 53 of Blum's Killing Hope, which documents in considerable detail how massively the US backed the mujahedin while they bled the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. But of course, he knows that already.
He must also know that if his threatened terrorist attack inside the US is carried out it will revive popular support for expanding or escalating the war, including a pre-emptive attack on Iran. According to the widely cited and still undenied Philip Geraldi article in The American Conservative, contingency plans have been prepared for just that. [Added, for the benefit of anyone determined not to understand: This doesn't mean I think bin Laden is acting as a covert agent of the US, or that an attack will somehow be staged, or anything like that.] A US attack on Iran may happen anyway, in which case all bets are off. I don't think, yet, that it would lead to an armed clash with Russia and/or China, but even short of that the consequences are incalculable. That doesn't mean it won't happen.
'There is a feeling of 1914 in the air,' Denis MacShane remarked the other day, about Iran. That feeling is of watching as the machinery grinds towards a war that future historians will look upon with horrified amazement. The Trotskyite-Benthamites of the decent left will no doubt whip out their moral calculators and demonstrate to each other's satisfaction a net gain in QALYs (Quality Adjusted Life Years, the unit used by the NHS in deciding when it's time to hang the NTBR (Not To Be Resuscitated) tag on your toe) from a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran. The rest of us may perhaps wish to anticipate the future historians while there is still time to prevent their books being written.