Apocalypse Sooner Or Later? Bush, Iran, & the 'End-Times' Lobby
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 01:28:48 PM EST
In the December 2004 edition of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows asked Will Iran Be Next ? While much US media attention is currently trained on the festering Foley scandal and, more recently, on North Korea's recent nuclear test, a simmering undercurrent of reporting [ April 2006, Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker ] and commentary weighs possibilities of a preemptive US attack on Iran [ Sept 2006, David Lindorf, The Nation ] , to thwart that country's attempt to develop a nuclear arsenal. A US carrier group including minesweepers, en route to the Straits of Hormuz, is the immediate focus of much discussion [ Time Magazine ], and Chris Hedges, former Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York Times weighs in:
It may be a bluff.  It may be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power.  But I doubt it. War with Iran--a war that would unleash an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East--is probable by the end of the Bush administration.  It could begin in as little as three weeks.  This administration, claiming to be anointed by a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, defined three states at the start of its reign as "the Axis of Evil." They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea, which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran.
Is the Bush Administration intent on provoking the "End Times" via an attack on Iran ? That is impossible to know, and former US House Majority leader Dick Armey denied it in a 2002 BBC interview, but why would The Bush Administration court Pastor John Hagee's new apocalypse-lobby, CUFI [ "Christians United For Israel" link to Media Transparency article on CUFI and John Hagee by Bill Berkowitz ], and  -by extension- the "End Times" voters Hagee reaches ? Sara Posner muses, in The American Prospect : "Could it be that the central requirement for their breathlessly anticipated Armageddon -- that the United States confront Iran -- happens to dovetail so nicely with the neoconservative war agenda?"  

The fallout from the Foley scandal - with the rising possibility of major GOP losses in the upcoming November elections,  Israeli preparations [ Dec. 2005 STRATFOR analysis ] for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear capabilities, and the political influence of the American Christian right on the Bush Administration all may tend to provide incentive for a US attack on Iran sooner rather than later : and, recent Bush Administration meetings John Hagee's recently formed pro-Israel lobbying group, CUFI raise the spectre that a decision to attack Iran would be in part a result of CUFI lobbying efforts to bring about actual "Armageddon".

In an August 8, 2006 post in the Nation, Max Blumenthal reported on summer meetings between the Bush Administration and CUFI representatives  who pressured the administration to take a more confrontational approach towards Iran. CUFI founder Hagee, writes Sara Posner for the American Prospect, "welcomes the coming confrontation. He argues that a strike against Iran will cause Arab nations to unite under Russia's leadership, as outlined in chapters 38 and 39 of the Book of Ezekiel, leading to an "inferno [that] will explode across the Middle East, plunging the world toward Armageddon." " Hagee's scenario also predicts the nuclear destruction of the east and west coasts of the United States. Posner quotes Hagee : "I believe that the president of Iran fully intends there to be a nuclear holocaust. The only way he will be stopped will be by a pre-emptive military strike in Iran""

Christian premillenialist influence within the Bush Administration is not a new thing ( see "The Jesus Landing Pad", a 2004 Village Voice piece by Rick Perlstein, about the influence of apocalyptic Pentacostals on Bush Administration policy towards Israel ) but CUFI's ties to the Bush Administration and the Israeli right raise troubling questions given the harmonic resonance between Hagee's translation of his end-time beliefs into geopolitics and American neoconservative visions for regime change and a redrawing of the political landscape of the Mideast ( as outlined in documents such as  Rebuilding America's Defenses, A Clean Break )

Former US CIA analyst Ray McGovern predicted a US strike against Iran during the summer of 2006 rather than during the lead up to the November 2006 election - "My thinking is that for it to be October that would be so crass and so transparent that even this crowd would shy away from making it so obvious" - but has the recent sag in the political fortunes of GOP candidates, in the lead up to the November elections lowered Bush Administration inhibitions against a pre-election strike that could raise accusations of "wagging the dog" ?

One part of the answer to that question involves possible reactions of premillenialist Christian supporters to a Bush Administration strike on Iran : would that motivate End-Times voters to make it to the polls, on November 7, in greater numbers ? Or, would they choose to stay at home and await the end of days ?

Given the dramatic escalation of hostilities in the Mideast region ( and even around the world ) that such an American gambit could provoke, one would assume that in the event the US bombs Iran,  End-Timers and right-leaning Christians in general would tend to rally around George W. Bush and in the fallout ( both literal and figurative ) from US strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities - if predictions on expected retaliation by Iran, Hezzbollah, and other powers against the US and the west prove accurate, and if the ensuing chaos is anything close to the scale some expect -  Christian leaders such as John Hagee who are given to viewing current geopolitical events as predicting coming apocalypse might simply reconfigure their timelines and trumpet a long term US war against Islam  or an expansion of US military presence in the Mideast at the least,  as simply more evidence - held up before believers - for the validity of their eschatological schemas.

On the balance, US strikes on Iran would tend to provide an electoral boost for the GOP in November, and the ensuing conflicts - perhaps global in scale - could float the political fortunes of the GOP for years to come. We may soon find out. As a September 17, 2006 Time Magazine feature story by Michael Duffy observes:

from the State Department to the White House to the highest reaches of the military command, there is a growing sense that a showdown with Iran--over its suspected quest for nuclear weapons, its threats against Israel and its bid for dominance of the world's richest oil region--may be impossible to avoid

In concurrence, Sam Gardiner - a former US Air Force Colonel - states in a report available from The Century Foundation as a PDF file, that plans to strike Iran have been set in motion.



Related Talk To Action stories:

Dick Armey Denies Bush Administration Trying To Provoke "End Times" by Bruce Wilson

Israel, the US, and the Christian Right: The Menage a Trois From Hell by Max Blumenthal

Christian Zionism all juiced up by Esther Kaplan




Display:
Have you cross-posted it at Big Orange?  While many of the likely scenarios for a coming conflict with Iran have been covered at dKos, how it would play with Hagee and his constituency has barely been explored.

by Rusty Pipes on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 03:30:03 PM EST

Thanks. I may do that.

I put all my effort into pulling together a compendium of material and then ran out of steam a bit on the analysis. I may add to it. Mainly, I was trying to pull the issue out of the realm of wild eyed speculation - there are a number of sober, reasoned voices that forecast a US attack on Iran within the next 2 years, maybe even very soon. I certainly hope they are wrong. But, the Bush Administration harassment of Iran ( military incursions, overflights, etc. ) has helped polarize Iranian politics : it's mich easier top make a case for a preemptive attack against Iran to prevent that country from obtaining nuclear weapons when Iranian leaders declare the Holocaust to be a myth and then threaten the destruction of Israel. The Bush Adm. policies towards North Korea seem to have accomplished a similar outcome, and I'd call the approach on the part of the Bush Adm. "manufacturing a manichean environment".

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 03:40:30 PM EST


Sign the petition: http://www.dontattackiran.org/

Tell your Senator/Representative: Should the U.S. Attack Iran? (at Democrats.com)


by anomalous4 on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 10:57:20 PM EST



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