Another Gulf of Tonkin?

I saw a bumpersticker today, proudly proclaiming that the driver’s son was in the Army. Next to it was a sticker depicting the Statue of Liberty, holding a combat rifle high aloft, in place of the torch. How sad, I thought, that this person’s concept of liberty meant depriving others of it, for that is indeed the consistent history of this imperialistic country.

I’ve been reading David Halberstam’s The Powers That Be, and I read about how the CIA had provoked the Gulf of Tonkin incident with PT-boat attacks on North Vietnamese installations. And my thoughts returned to the current conflagration in the Middle East, with Israel warning Lebanese civilians to evacuate their homes, amid speculation of a massive ground invasion. And I remembered the reports I’ve seen repeatedly of military action already occurring in Iran, with U.S. forces probing for targets.

Will it be another Gulf of Tonkin? Will U.S. Special Forces provoke a retaliation that the Bush Administration will paint as an unprovoked attack? With midterm elections coming up, and the Republicans looking to possibly lose control of the House of Representatives, will there be an “October Surprise,” designed to fortify the Republican position?

I can’t rule it out. After all, we initiated a war with Iraq on false pretenses. Already overstretched on two fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush Administration should be smarter than to take on Iran. But the Bush Administration should have been smarter about a few things. It wasn’t, and the most dangerous country in the world has been ruled by the most reckless group of people in decades for over five years now.

If two wars aren’t enough to shore up the Republican position, perhaps a third will be the charm.

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