Something hugely catastrophic is going to happen soon. I know this the same way I know the Republicans will continue to blame gays and brown people for poverty and job outsourcing in this country. I know this the same way I know poor children will continue to go without medical coverage, and the government will carry on selling social programs to huge conglomerates until there is no public sphere and we're all owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Mostly, I know this because the Bush administration really, really, REALLY wants to go to war with Iran. And when our government wants something, they find a way to capitalize on disaster. See: 9/11, Katrina, etc.
I don't want to sound like a Loose Change basement-dweller. Horrible things happen every day, but that doesn't necessarily mean evil governmental overlords directly cause them. Aside from Salvador Allende-style coup d'états where the CIA is openly to blame, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, school shootings, and the obligatory general "shit" happen every day, and no one entity can entirely be held responsible.
Sure, as Ron Paul so bravely pointed out in the Republican debates, the American administration can accept partial blame for 9/11 because of its history of international diplomacy (or lake thereof), military presence in foreign lands, and arming of rebel groups with questionable scruples. However, I am not suggesting that the possibly retarded George W. Bush was the mastermind behind 9/11.
What I am suggesting is that these bad things that happen every day look like a smorgasbord of policy change to our government. There's a creampuff suicide bomber in Afghanistan, an open-face sandwich of missiles lining the Iran-Iraq border, and a light Natural Disaster creme tartar, to name only a handful. Whenever bad things happen, the policymakers and think tanks don't see loss of life. They see an opening - a moment of chaos - where they can rush in and make new rules.
This kind of opportunism has been articulately analyzed and discussed in books such as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. What I fear is that we will see another spin job like the one that followed 9/11 before the White House lawn splits open in 2009, and Cheney plunges back in the abyss of fire and shadow from whence he came.
Cheney wants war with Iran, and this administration has proven that it is not beyond capitalizing on the fears of the United States population in order to advance its own agenda.
An aware citizenry is the enemy of this nefarious strategy. The next time something big, awful, and ugly happens, remain calm and wait for the "shock doctors" to arrive. The Big One will be a bomb, a hurricane, a school shooting, or another 9/11. After the Big One, the doctors arrive in suits and talk about the need for more security, privatization of social programs, more military funding, and always war, war, war.
If we can remain calm, learn from our past mistakes, and think before immediately acting, we can avoid another quagmire like Iraq. If the majority of Americans had remained clam after 9/11, which admittedly takes Herculean amounts of composure, and examined the Bush administration claims logically, there's no way we would have let them go to war with Iraq. Let's look at the facts for the 8,297th time:
1. Most of the plane hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
2. It is believed the hijackers were members of Al-Qaeda
3. The figurehead of Al-Qaeda is Osama Bin Laden.
4. Osama, for a time, lived in Afghanistan.
Completely bypassing the fact that these hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens, and the fact that Saudi Arabia was, at best, unhelpful in the subsequent investigation, the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan. This, and I rarely say this about the government, sort of made sense. After all, we needed to find Osama.
Then, get this, the shock doctors claimed Saddam Hussein was involved with Al-Qaeda, had WMDs, and was going to kill us all. Holy crap! Everyone thought. We better let you do whatever you want to protect us, daddy! Er, we mean, Mr. Cheney.
When something awful happens like 9/11, we just want a big father figure to swoop down and hug us. Since God has been MIA since before the beginning of time, the next best thing is our government. Except, instead of hugging us, Cheney offered a big "Fuck You" and dropped us into the middle of an unwinnable war.
And now Cheney wants to do it again with Iran. He just needs a big enough disaster to scare us all into submission.
Journalists like Sey Hersh are trying to warn us that the "threat" of Iran is being wildly overstated by the Bush administration, and that their rhetoric sounds eerily like the talking points hammered into our subconscious pre-Iraq.
It is up to us to calmly analyze the Iran question throughout the remainder of the Bush legacy, and beyond, even during the Big One. We cannot allow ourselves to be blindly led into the next war.