What scares me less than President Pinocchio and the string of lies that launched us into Iraq and are keeping us there with no end in sight, and even less than the blustering of Fox News, aka The Ministry of Information setting the table for the bombing of Iran, is the prospect of another Republican president and the distinct possibility that this could happen.
Could be McCain, who seems to have a renewed taste for war, or at least the rhetorical appeal of running on that platform. Could be Benito Giuliani. That's not an Italian thing. It's a megalomania thing, 'cause when he tilts his head, juts out his jaw, and is shot at an up-angle, he's got that same power-mad look. One guy made the trains run on time, the other cleaned the hookers out of Times Square to make room for Planet Hollywood and Toys 'R' Us. He was nutty enough with the NYPD at his disposal, imagine how batshit he'd go with the entire U.S. military.
And even with the recent Republican implosion, one of them could still win. All it would take is another attack on U.S. soil. And that could happen because the Al Qaedas of the world don't seem to want a peaceful settlement to a geo-political crisis fueled by religious fervor that has been going on for over half a century. In their hysteria, they simply cry for the elimination if Israel. And that's not going to happen. And they have no other apparent political goals short of Armageddon and, in a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, may have the means to create it.
One messianic maniac with a bomb vest and a thirst for holy war can wreak enough havoc in another attack on U.S. soil to make sure the fight goes on. The war with Iraq was sold as a response to 9/11. It didn't matter that it was untrue. Enough people bought the lie based on national outrage and a desire for vengeance. And we can be sold again.
If the recent appearance by Petraeus in his soldier suit conducting his wag-the-dog-and-pony show, complete with death charts, and cheered on by partisan cries from the sidelines via football metaphors like “we're going on offense” and “we've got the ball and we're headed down the field” don't trigger mass demonstrations and cries for impeachment, and if a recent poll is true that one in three Americans still believe there was a Saddam/9-11 connection, then we remain intellectually and politically malleable. Just push the right buttons where and when it counts, and we'll respond. Or worse, we'll do nothing.
Another attack timed close enough to the election to allow for maximum outrage and cries for revenge could provide the GOP with all the campaign rhetoric it needs to cut another anemic Democratic ticket off at the knees. And if enough people in the right states fall for this misdirection, then we could be fighting for another 8 years. Unless a century after the last one, this really becomes the “war to end all wars.” It could happen. And that's what scares me.