The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings and headed off for the Persian Gulf region on Oct. 2, as I had predicted in a piece in The Nation magazine a few weeks back.
The Eisenhower strike force, according to my sources, is scheduled to arrive in the vicinity of Iran around October 21, at the same time as a second flotilla of minesweepers and other ships.
This build-up of naval power around the coast of Iran, according to some military sources, is in preparation for an air attack on Iran that would target not just Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, but its entire military command and control system.
While such an attack could be expected to unleash a wave of military violence all over Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and elsewhere against American forces and interests and against oil wells, pipelines and loading vacilities, as well as a mining of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, with a resulting skyrocketing of global oil prices, the real goal of this new war by the U.S. would be ensuring Republican control of the House and Senate.
It seems increasingly clear that the Republican Party is going to lose its grip on the House of Representatives, and that it may even lose control of the Senate, barring some dramatic October Surprise by the president. So far, the surprises have been working against Republicans, with the Foley sex scandal, the evidence that Abramoff's bribery reached right into the inner sanctum of the White House, and the deteriorating U.S. position in Iraq.
With the number of House seats reportedly "in play" now rising from 15 to 30 and now 50, President Bush is looking at the possibility of a blow out Nov. 7 that could see him facing a Democratic Congress bent on revenge for five six years of systematic abuse.
Bush has committed a long string of impeachable crimes against the Constitution, the Republic and the American people -- everything from lying to the Congress and the 9-11 Commission, obstructing an investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, abuse of power, violation of federal laws like the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, dereliction of duty and criminal negligence, and war crimes. He can expect a Democratic Congress to call him to account for at least some of these crimes, whatever House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may say today.
This means that the worse things look for Republican chances in November, the greater the likelihood that a desperate President Bush will order a disastrous attack on Iran -- one that would have the country enter into a third, even worse, war even as it is currently busy losing two others. But Bush and his gang of cronies don't care about initiating a disaster. They're focussed on the disaster that will hit them if they don't turn around the November election. Sacrificing the country or its young men and women in uniform, or the lives of innocent Iranians, is not a concern, any more than it was when Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq.
Clearly such a war would be an act of madness, and yet we know that the plans, already drawn up, are being updated and fine-tuned now by generals and admirals whose twisted sense of patriotism has them giving primary loyalty to a demented commander in chief instead of to the Constitutional and the people of the United States, to both of which they swore an oath to protect.
I hope I am wrong about all this, but the sailing of the Eisenhower, which had been pushed forward recently by about a month by the Pentagon for clearly political reasons, makes me think I'm right. A key will be what happens with the Enterprise carrier strike force, which has already been on station in the Arabian Sea for six months, where it has been launching air strikes against Afghanistan and Iraq targets. Ordinarily, such deployments last six months and then the carrier group returns to base for resupply and for R&R for the crew. If the Enterprise is held over for a longer deployment, after the arrival of the Eisenhower, we will know that something serious is planned.
What is deeply troubling here is the total silence on the part of the Democratic Party opposition. Not one Democrat in Congress, and as far as I know, not one Democratic candidate for Congress -- not even anti-war insurgent Ned Lamont in Connecticut -- has demanded an answer from Bush and the Pentagon for the obvious military buildup around Iran, or about published reports that the U.S. already has special forces in side Iran backing the terrorist organization MEK, and selecting targets for U.S. bombardment.
If and when the U.S. attacks Iran, leading to a predicable -- if temporary -- rallying around the flag by the American public, and to an upset win by incumbent Republican congressional candidates, Democrats will have only themselves to blame for the debacle.
But it will be the American people -- and especially the people of Iran -- who will be the victims of this treacherous deed and this treasonous failure of will.
Dave Lindorff is co-author with Barbara Olshansky of "The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office " (St. Martin's Press, June 2006). His work can be found at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/