An incendiary comment by McCain adviser Charlie Black in a just-published Fortune interview states that (a) the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an “unfortunate event” but McCain’s “knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be Commander-in-Chief, and it helped us”; and (b) “so would another terrorist attack on U.S. soil…certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”
I suspect that righties like Black are talking about another shocking event in the wings because they’re picking up whiffs of an upcoming military confrontation between Israel and Iran sometime before the November election, and they’re looking to set the stage before it happens. Hardcore Cheney neocons would not only be okay with a military blowup in the Middle East sometime in the early to mid fall because they believe, as Black stated, it would help their side and their agenda. I’ll bet they’re also rooting for it. An Obama victory will obviously mean the end of a “window of opportunity” as far as a decisive strike against Iran is concerned, so it’s soon or never. The Israelis will make the first move, and that’ll be the flash point.
Consider the implications of the following three items:
(1) Last Saturday’s report in the Independent that Israel “has mounted a major long-range military air exercise — involving more than 100 F15 and F16 fighters — as a rehearsal for a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, American officials have indicated.”
(2) A recent article by New American Foundation’s Steve Clemons that included the following statement: “I’m not saying that war or conflict with Iran is imminent. In fact, I don’t think America, even under Bush, will strike Iran first — but I do think that there is an increasing chance of a trigger event driving a fast escalation of higher and higher consequence military options. This trigger could be a mistaken signal, a ship collision, an event engineered by the Israelis, or by the IRGC Al Quds force, or by some other splinter terrorist operation wanting to exploit regional tensions and the current fragility of affairs.”
(3) An op-ed written by former German foreign minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer on Friday, 5.30.08, in The Daily Star, a Lebanese newspaper, with this headline: “As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon.”
Here’s the nub of it:
“Anyone following the press in Israel during the [recent 60th anniversary of Israel] celebrations and listening closely to what was said in Jerusalem did not have to be a prophet to understand that matters are coming to a head. Consider the following:
“First, ‘stop the appeasement!’ is a demand raised across the political spectrum in Israel – and what is meant is the nuclear threat emanating from Iran.
“Second, while Israel celebrated, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted as saying that a life-and-death military confrontation was a distinct possibility.
“Third, the outgoing commander of the Israeli Air Force declared that the air force was capable of any mission, no matter how difficult, to protect the country’s security. The destruction of a Syrian nuclear facility last year, and the lack of any international reaction to it, were viewed as an example for the coming action against Iran.
“Fourth, the Israeli wish list for US arms deliveries, discussed with the American president, focused mainly on the improvement of the attack capabilities and precision of the Israeli Air Force.
“Fifth, diplomatic initiatives and UN sanctions when it comes to Iran are seen as hopelessly ineffective.
“And sixth, with the approaching end of the Bush presidency and uncertainty about his successor’s policy, the window of opportunity for Israeli action is seen as potentially closing.
“The last two factors carry special weight. While Israeli military intelligence is on record as saying that Iran is expected to cross the red line on the path to nuclear power between 2010 and 2015 at the earliest, the feeling in Israel is that the political window of opportunity to attack is now, during the last months of Bush’s presidency.”