God bless the incomparable Bob Somerby and his Daily Howler. Just when I think nobody else is noticing that the media has ushered us into an elective war while discouraging any substantive debate, the Howler howls.
What do Admin insiders intend? Pundits have shown little interest in knowing. Nor have news divisions at papers like the Post dared to explore the larger aims which may lay behind our war policy. As David Broder did when Gore gave his speech... our major press organs have slumbered and snored as we’ve drifted into defining war. But what does the Bush Admin really intend?
Hey, that's a good question. Has anybody thought about this? I mean, aside from those who actually think that the Bush Administration's stated intentions are the Bush Administration's real intentions (hi kids!), does anybody out there have a clue as to what the overall game plan is here? Remaking the Middle East, no doubt. But what's the next big step?
The Howler points us to a story by Joshua Micah Marshall in the Washington Monthly:
Imagine it's six months from now. The Iraq war is over. After an initial burst of joy and gratitude at being liberated from Saddam's rule, the people of Iraq are watching, and waiting, and beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own. Hemmed in by budget deficits at home and limited financial assistance from allies, the Bush administration is talking again about tapping Iraq's oil reserves to offset some of the costs of the American presence--talk that is further inflaming the region. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that, prior to the war, Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through mosques, with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.