Prepare for the Onslaught

Recently I’ve been posting less for various reasons — a family event, long-postponed non-political writing, and the need for R&R and time to think things over.

Another reason, though, is pessimism. To an extent I’ve been reluctant to say what I think because what I think is so depressing. Nonetheless, it has to be said.

In a recent New Yorker piece, Seymour Hersh has reported that the Bush administration plans to begin air attacks and covert actions against Iran this year, with the goal of toppling the Islamic regime. Bush himself has made it clear that he believes that the voters have given him a blank check, and that his critics (left, right, and center) are now irrelevant. I think that we can count on these attacks as a done deal. (The “Salvador option” we recently heard about might also still happen, though it might very well have just been a smokescreen. Even the Social Security reform he’s been talking about might just have been intended to distract us from his big international plans.)

These new attacks are presumably just the second stage in the multi-nation plan Wolfowitz spoke about right before the war. In other words, we can plan to be at war for five to twenty years.

The Army and Guard are already being pushed to the limit. Thus, there will have to be a draft. But in order for there to be a draft, anti-war groups and spokesmen will have to be marginalized and crushed. So those of us who are anti-war should prepare to be called traitors and cowards with an intensity that we haven’t seen so far. Ann Coulter is soon going to go completely mainstream.

As long as the wars are going reasonably well, they will be almost impossible to oppose. A lot of so-called moderates decided last November 2 to take another chance on Bush, and if they change their minds now it won’t make a damn bit of difference. A big chunk of the Democratic Party will try to curry favor by supporting the new wars, too, but that won’t do anyone any good either. The Democratic hawks won’t be able to bring the whole party with them — and anyway, why would the voters want to switch hawks in midstream? Bush is going to be in the driver’s seat for some time.

As soon as the Iran phase starts, all of our criticisms of what happened before will be forgotten (if they haven’t been already.) This is what Suskind’s source meant when he talked about “creating reality”. By using the power of the Commander in Chief to completely change the ball game, Bush is going to make a big chunk of recent political discussion permanently inoperative.

I always hated the complacency of the people who smirkingly bragged about being “reality-based”. They missed the point of what had been said. Democrats figure out what past reality was like, and assume that future reality will be pretty much the same. Republicans figure out how future reality will be different from past reality, and then ask themselves what they can do to change and exploit this new reality. And they win that way.

I don’t think that anyone in the Democratic Party (or the left blogosphere) is at all prepared for what’s coming next. What I see now is people doing and saying the things that they should have been doing and saying in 2000.

As for me, I’m getting ready to hear myself being called a traitor by more and more, louder and louder voices during the next several years.

And wondering how the Patriot Act will change things. And wondering whether I’ll be able to stay here. And wondering whether this is really my country at all any more.



Revised 8:30 AM PST Jan 18

P.S. Nobody seems as worried about this as I am. I’ve raised the issue at Yglesias and Drum’s sites — not everyone is as complacent as Matt and Kevin are, but I haven’t noticed a feeling of urgency anywhere except at the The Talking Dog. The specifics of Hersh’s piece aren’t the most important thing — they just confirm some conclusions that I think were already pretty reasonable without his piece.

Nobody really seems to be asking themself what the Bush people are getting ready to slam us with, now that their power is secure for another four years. In a way I can’t blame anyone, because my conclusions don’t lead to a plan of action or to any optimistic scenario. But in the face of the Bush onslaught which I expect, the slight tweaks of business-as-usual that Democrats are talking about seem really futile.