Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Minds Greatly Thinking Alike

Arthur Silber's writing is often disturbing and always gripping. On occasion, it's also familiar. This is one of these occasions:

one of the standard objections to the likelihood of an attack on Iran is that it will put American troops in Iraq in grave peril. If you make that objection, I have only one thing to say to you: Wake the hell up. Of course it will put American troops in Iraq in grave peril. A great many of them will probably be killed. But -- and please try as earnestly as you can to get this -- the administration is counting on exactly that happening. [Added, to clarify: this must be true, given the logic of the situation, at least implicitly. In individual cases, it might also be true explicitly, in the sense that a particular person is consciously aware of what must happen.] I'm sorry to be rude, but honest to God, how stupid are some of you? Imagine that 500, or a thousand, or even several thousand, American soldiers are killed in a single engagement, or over several days or a week. What do you think would happen?

The administration would immediately blame "Iranian interference" and "Iranian meddling." They do that now. Every major media outlet would repeat the charge; almost no one would question it. Pictures of the slaughtered Americans would be played on television 24 hours a day. The outrage would grow by the minute. Within a day, and probably within hours, certain parties would be calling for nuclear weapons to be dropped on Tehran. Almost everyone would be baying for blood, and for the blood of Iran in particular.

No one, and certainly no prominent politician, would dare to remind Americans that we have no right to be in Iraq in the first place. They won't say that now. Who would point it out after 800 Americans have been killed? And what Democrat would dare to oppose the tide, especially with a presidential election looming? Not one. Everyone with a national voice would be demanding the destruction of the current regime in Iran. No one would oppose such a course.
This had been part of my predictions on how the coming War in Iran was going to go down; that the United States would need to be "eased" into things. You start off with a (relatively) limited engagement, but one dangerous enough that it's likely that bright young American lads will come home in one of those flag-draped boxes. Once they do, you immediately shift the focus away from why they were placed in that position to begin with, to the inhuman monsters that did it to them. Once their Hatfields are seen killing your McCoys, what does it matter why they were there? The point is to get the bastards, every way possible.

That, organically and naturally, opens the door to the real conflict that was intended in the first place.

You don't even need to deliberately provoke a response. None of this needs to be conscious and deliberate. None of this needs to be (or should be) anything other than the same kind of limited attack that you would expect in this sort of situation. What matters is how it's treated afterwards: about how your message machine sorts out white hats from black. You don't even need to "propagandize" for that. The media can be relied on to handle that all by itself.

James Wolcott highlighted both the quality of Silber's work and his dire personal situation. I cannot help him with the latter, though I'm very glad that so many people have; and all I can offer for the former is the blogroll link you can see to the right, and a promise to start paying much closer attention to a blogger I had unjustifiably overlooked.

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