A few weeks ago I posted about my dark certainty that this administration is absolutely determined to pick a fight with Iran for a variety of self-serving reasons. Is Iran having nukes a bad thing? That’s not the question I was trying to answer. The question I was trying to answer was, why would the administration get such a hard-on for bombing Iran? apostropher was kind enough to help ease me back into my seat with some soothing and reasoned words in opposition to my own. This made me feel much better. This afternoon, however, he pointed me to this from Laura Rozen of War & Piece, which is in turn a quote from the “Under the Radar” section of this American Progress bit:

IRAN — ANALYST SAYS SOME SENIOR U.S. OFFICIALS DETERMINED TO STRIKE IRAN: “For months, I have told interviewers that no senior political or military official was seriously considering a military attack on Iran,” Joseph Cirincione, director for non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment, writes in Foreign Policy magazine. “In the last few weeks, I have changed my view.” Cirincione says his shift was partly triggered by “colleagues with close ties to the Pentagon and the executive branch who have convinced me that some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran.”

So, uh… back to digging my shelter, I guess.

So here’s the question I still have: why? For this question, “nukes” is not an answer. A lot of nasty people have nukes but we are not invading them (everyone wave at North Korea at the same time, OK?). Well, OK, “nukes” is an answer only if we follow it with “as long as we know we can beat them and as long as we don’t think they can actually deliver the nukes yet,” so I guess “ethereal maybe-nukes” is an acceptable answer.

But, lots of people have those same ethereal maybe-nukes, from fantasies on up to actual programs, so I guess that’s not really an answer, either, it’s just an excuse. If it’s just an excuse, what is the real reason, the reason we need to cover for by coming up with an excuse?

For that answer, I can only hypothesize. Were it my job to come up with reasons to invade Iran and to ignore reasons not to invade Iran, I could come up with all sorts of ideas, potential results that might happen if everything went just right. These results would have all sorts of entries in the gleaming, potential “pros” column, things that would aid the administration’s aims in both foreign and domestic policy. These things are slimy and terrible to think about from my perspective, but I wouldn’t put them past the BushCo machine for a second: galvanizing the ultra-conservative religious base against foreign nonbelievers rather than continuing to rely on homophobia (a strategy already showing diminishing returns because there is only so far it can be taken), creating an artificial air of urgency to justify continued illegal surveillances, creating an artificial air of bipartisanship propped up by the usual cadre of easily flipped Democrats (now everyone turn the other direction and give Joe Lieberman the bird, ‘kay?), an excuse to pull most troops out of Iraq, an excuse to set up “temporary” (and by “temporary” they mean “permanent”) bases in Iraq, a ghost of a hope that with Iran in disarray that things will actually improve in Iraq (and possibly in Afghanistan), an excuse to demonstrate to the world that we will use our overwhelming force in any circumstance and that we just don’t give a fuck what anyone else says to us about it, an excuse to arrange a sort of 2nd Cold War with whoever stitches all these failed states we’re creating into one Muslim super-state, an excuse to go blow up a few more unpopular-at-home people in the name of American Empire, an excuse to have some fun with all that cash we spend on defense, all sorts of fucked up reasons to go around killing people.

I want the world to be a more peaceful place, and frankly I want America right at the very top of the heap, too, but I think that can just as easily be accomplished by talking as it can by shooting, so to me, all of these are absolutely terrible reasons to go to war. Still, it can’t really just be nukes, so my mind starts to wander into the realm of wondering why someone would want to go over there and these are what it spits out.

But, really, why? I know, I know, it starts to sound obsessive – and petulant, like a curious three year old – when it’s said over and over again. Still, that’s what we have to do. The Democratic leadership is stuck in response mode and petty sniping mode. As long as the Republicans control the debate, the only thing the Democrats are ever going to do, on the rare occasion they do something, is going to be to question the excuse. That’s never going to work. To take control of the debate, we have to figure out the real reasons and start exposing and questioning those openly.

So… why?