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Bombing Iran: Back on the Agenda?…As If It Were Ever Off..

May 6, 2008

Things are getting a bit out of hand once again.

First we had to hear how Hillary Clinton would `obliterate’ Iran to defend Israel and then defend such an indefensible and vote-groveling remark and so doing is blithely endorsing genocide. To `obliterate’ a nation is to destroy it, all of its people into the tinyest of pieces so that it could never be reconstructed. What else might it mean? That according to the United Nations Convention on Genocide is a form a genocide. It’s pretty difficult to commit a genocide – or consider it – that is not profoundly racist..

Although eliciting little media response nationally – this is the nation that some 29 years ago did have `nuke Iran’ graffiti from coast to coast – it did provoke a storm of protest abroad. So strange that here at home, Clinton could get away with such a profoundly chauvinist and deeply racist remark with so few challenges. Obama’s response was tepid enough, but at least he responded.

Then we have to listen to a rightwing militarist neo-con John Bolton, carted out of a brief refreshing obscurity to whip up pro-war sentiment and support for an attack.

In between there has been the following (a partial list)

– Petraeus’ and Crocker’s testimony before Congress trying to blame Iran for the failure of US policy – the occupation that is – of Iraq. You’d think it was Iran that invaded the country, destroyed its infrastructure, left as many as a million Iraqis dead and 4.5 million refugees both inside Iraq and in neighboring countries rather than the United States.

– Then there is Lieberman’s bill before the Senate to get the federal employee pension fund to divest from Iran’s energy sector

– Add to that the `re-evaluation of the Iran Intelligence Estimate’ suggesting that Iran does have something of a nuclear weapons program – this cheered in Israel and among AIPAC/ADL and wacko Christian fundamentalists types, all despite the fact that there is not a shread of independent evidence supporting the claim.

– Andrew Cockburn, one of the more perceptive British journalists, has revealed details of a secret order signed by President Bush for a multi-faceted attack on Iran

– Then there was another `incident’ in Persian Gulf in which a US warship claimed Iranian ships came too close..

– the reporting of Michael Gordon, the NY Times reporter who willingly spread so many lies about Iraq before the invasion seems to be doing more or less the same thing again, with once again, an apparent green light from the Times management.

– and then last but not least, the United States has at the moment, the largest naval arsenal in history currently stationed off the coast of Iran. There are also reports that special operations – destablization and intelligence – have been going on in Iran (and then denied) for several years

For some time, several friends and I have argued that the Bush Administration, despite some signs to the contrary, had not given up on attacking Iran and that `bringing it down’, or at least weakening Iran so that it could not possibly play a regional role for a long time into the future was still very much on the agenda. We have reasoned that the attack would come in the last months of the Bush Administration as a part of its unfinished political agenda to reshape the Middle East according to Washington’s dictates.

Most of the arguements against an attack come from what I would call a rationalist position, ie would `crazy’ for the US to attack Iran, that the US is already dangerously overextended militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, that who knows what the Iranian or regional response might be, that it would be a strategic blunder, etc. These are not irrelevant points, but they fail to take into consideration that this is the most ideological administration in US history and that with Bush and Cheney ideological considerations trump reason every time.

Also while the invasion and occupation of Iraq is considered a moral and humanitarian disaster illegal by international law, some fail to notice that while this is of course true, that the Bush Administration has accomplished most of its goals in Iraq. The oil might not be flowing as they wish nor has it been privatized as they hoped, but there is now a permanent US military presence in the country (those US bases are permanent and will not be dismantled for a long time), that a major energy-nationalist regime – the first to successfully nationalize its oil production facilities – has been `taught a lesson’, and that from Iraq the US can monitor and control the entire region.

There are a few voices that have predicted this attack would happen, that it was something close to inevitable, among them Scott Ritter the former weapons inspector in Iraq (who also argues that Iran never had a nuclear weapons program, not even before 2003). My old friend out in the Bay Area, Conn Hallinan wrote rather assertively that sometime before the end of his administration, Bush would attack Iran.

In addition Clinton’s remark suggests that if Bush does attack Iran, such a traversty will have bipartisan support. It’s not so much that the support for bombing Iran is that strong, it’s just that the opposition to an attack is weak enough for Bush to get away with it. That the public here in the USA – or elsewhere – is not particularly behind attacking Iran does not seem to matter much at the moment. Attempts to build a solid anti-Iranian front in the Middle East have not gone particularly well, but then the countries in the region – as well as the Europeans and Japanese do not seem intent on blocking the effort. Indeed, like the Democrats in Congress, the governments of these countries have played something akin ot a cravenly cowardly role on the subject.

Oh yes, and I cannot end this entry without adding the degree to which an attack on Iran has been supported by mainstream Jewish organization for the past four or five years. While there are other forces directing, pushing for an invasion (neo-cons, wacko fundamentalists, militarist types), Israel and AIPAC here in the USA get `A’s’ for effort. In some way they are in on the plans… the details to be revealed as they invariably will seep out.

I fear it’s going to be a hot summer filled with war in the Middle East. I don’t know if this can be stopped, but I can think of nothing better to do with my time than try.

Below are a few recent articles documenting the recent more active push towards war:

– Andrew Cockburn article in Counterpunch

– Times of London on-line report of `enhanced’ Iranian nuclear threat

– John Bolton’s latest `Bomb Iran Rant’

– LeRoy Moore’s article in the Colorado Daily: Will Bush Attack Iran

– Tom O’Donnell’s piece in Z-Magazine: Understanding The Washington Teheran Deals. (Excellent analysis of why attacking Iran might happen)

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