Over a decade of warmongering and only a couple of wars to show for it. "Let's go make war on Iran!" said Republican Dick Cheney in somewhat different words on one of those silly Sunday shows October 26th. This wasn't the first time Cheney had advocated for war on Iran. Or for torture. Or for assassination by drone. Or for any other war crime for which he is unlikely ever to be held accountable. But in all fairness to the former president, this time he really only implied that war on Iran was inevitable. Looking at the record, however, it's hard to find any war Cheney hasn't found "inevitable," even if he had to lie to get it started, as he did with Iraq. And Cheney's fondness for "inevitable" wars relies not merely on dishonesty, but more importantly, on personal detachment. Cheney has wanted all these wars to be inevitable for other people, not for anyone in his circle. That's the way it's been for Cheney since he copped out on the war of his generation, getting five deferments from Vietnam because he had "other priorities" that included cheering on the the warmakers who were sending more and more of other people's children to suffer and die in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, Cheney didn't call for attacking Iran with nuclear weapons the way Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson did a few days earlier at Yeshiva University. Cheney did not object to nuking Iran either. And he hasn't publicly disagreed with the octogenarian gambling mogul, so one suspects Cheney would be happy enough to see this particular smoking gun turn into a mushroom cloud. Is nuking the Iranian desert really a smart move? In fairness to Adelson, who heavily backed Newt Gingrich for president, he didn't call for nuking Tehran right off. He said the U.S. should drop a demo nuke in an Iranian desert and then say: if you don't drop your nuclear weapons development program, then we'll nuke Tehran. Either strike would be a war crime. But it's far from certain that Iran actually has a nuclear weapons development program. Those who say it is certain are lying, for whatever political purpose they think their lies may serve. The same might be said about those who claim it's certain that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons development program, people who have included the government of Iran and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as well as Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, at least according to the New York Times and Ha'aretz). The reality is that, outside of Iran, no one has any certainty what Iran's long term intentions are, never mind what they might be doing about those intentions at the moment. Too many people, especially people in assorted governments, have a vested interest in not believing that, even if it's true. They'd rather tale a chance on creating an untenable Catch-22 demand for Iran to drop a program it doesn't have, even if it means
another war. Iran is the right's favorite straw man, scapegoat, and imagined existential threat. And Iran, perversely, seems to delight in baiting its declared enemies to make those fears demonstrably real. This is like deja vu all over again, a replay of Saddam Hussein's self-defeating posturing in defense of his own nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. A whole history matters, not just one side of it.