03/30/05 "Aljazeera" - - Late last year, in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential election, I was contacted by someone close to the Bush administration about the situation in Iraq. There was a growing concern inside the Bush administration, this source said, about the direction the occupation was going.
The Bush administration was keen on achieving some semblance of stability in Iraq before June 2005, I was told. When I asked why that date, the source dropped the bombshell: because that was when the Pentagon was told to be prepared to launch a massive aerial attack against Iran, Iraq's neighbour to the east, in order to destroy the Iranian nuclear programme.
Why June 2005?, I asked. 'The Israelis are concerned that if the Iranians get their nuclear enrichment programme up and running, then there will be no way to stop the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. June 2005 is seen as the decisive date.'
To be clear, the source did not say that President Bush had approved plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, as has been widely reported. The President had reviewed plans being prepared by the Pentagon to have the military capability in place by June 2005 for such an attack, if the President ordered. But when Secretary of State Condi Rice told America's European allies in February 2005, in response to press reports about a pending June 2005 American attack against Iran, she said that 'the question [of a military strike] is simply not on the agenda at this point -- we have diplomatic means to do this.'
President Bush himself followed up on Rice's statement by stating that 'This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.' He quickly added, 'Having said that, all options are on the table.'
In short, both the President and the Secretary of State were being honest, and disingenuous, at the same time.
Truth to be told, there is no American military strike on the agenda; that is, until June 2005. It was curious that no one in the American media took it upon themselves to confront the President or his Secretary of State about the June 2005 date, or for that matter the October 2004 review by the President of military plans to attack Iran in June 2005.
The American media today is sleepwalking towards an American war with Iran with all of the incompetence and lack of integrity that it displayed during a similar path trodden during the buildup to our current war with Iraq.
Seymor Hersch is vindicated, methinks, although at what cost, if this shit does go down? And will our death wish Righties be satisfied with more American body bags? Stay tuned.
The Social Security Issue
As recent polls are showing (everyone from Gallup to ABC to Zogby), the American public has pretty much seen through the Shrubbery and disagreed with him/it that SS needs to be scrubbed and rebottled. The "Main Stream Media" is another matter. Why haven't they asked the appropriate questions? Hmm?
Personally, I think they're just stupid, but that's a whole blog in itself. In the meantime, here's a take on the issue from Neiman Watchdog, a CPA-type dude who lays it on the line.
Bear in mind that the Shrub represents the true dinosaurs, schlumpfing in their leather chairs at the club, cigars aglow, plotting the retaking of the world from the Great Unwashed. They hate and despise us and to them, We Are the Enemy. They still dream of the land and cash they could have had if the Enlightenment hadn't happened.
But members of the press, by and large, are still not getting at the real Social Security story, because they're not asking themselves the obvious follow-up question: What's the motive? If indeed the program isn't in trouble, and private accounts won't make things better − then why are Bush and associates so dead-set on transforming it?
Part of the answer is that letting individuals manage their own retirements is a key component of what Bush calls the "ownership society." That’s shorthand for a Republican and libertarian ideal in which taxes are low, government is small, and people supervise their own retirements and choose their own health insurance rather than depend on the government to do so...
Critics argue that Bush's vision of an ownership society would mainly benefit the wealthy and corporations – and would leave the poor, working poor and middle class in even worse shape. They believe there is great value in collective institutions, particularly when it comes to sharing risk and building a safety net for the unfortunate...
The other big motivating factor behind private accounts is that Bush and his associates understand that Social Security is full of liberal social engineering. Private accounts would undo a lot of it...
See all that social engineering at work? Bush and his associates surely see it. They see the government taking away their money and using it in ways beyond individuals' control – often to help other individuals who aren't sufficiently self-reliant. They see a system in which, with some notable exceptions, what you get is what you need. Finding that vaguely socialistic, they want to replace it with a system in which what you get is what you paid...