Sunday, June 22, 2008

War with Iran

With the inevitability of a train wreck, preparations for war with Iran are hurtling down the tracks at gathering speed. Israel has just conducted a significant military exercise to "warn" Iran against continuing with a offensive nuclear program that likely doesn't exist. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, is making apocalyptic predictions.

The claims of an offensive weapons program bear all of the hallmarks of yet another WMD fraud. They seem to be, in fact, a deliberately orchestrated series of lies. There is simply no proof that the Iranian program, actually begin in the 1950s with US assistance, is anything more than it claims to be--a means of providing the country with more electricity. Indeed, Iran has offered a number of guarantees in that respect. And even US intelligence sources appear to agree, if only by casting doubt on Iran's alleged offensive nuclear ambitions.

But when the US wants "regime change," it will do anything in its considerable power to obtain it, even first-strike nuclear attacks on non-nuclear nations. And count on Israel to play its usual catspaw role--not that everyone there or elsewhere is equally credulous or mendacious. Here's what The Economist has to say, for example:

Since Israel does not admit to having nuclear weapons, its detailed thinking on nuclear matters is rarely ventilated in public. But most of those Israeli experts willing to talk rate the chances of an Iranian nuclear attack as low. Despite Mr Ahmadinejad, most consider Iran to be a rational state actor susceptible to deterrence.

Speraking of "regime change," however, all the auguries point to a convincing win this Fall by Barack Obama. Where does he stand on Iran? Well, there's this 2007 statement; it sounds conciliatory on the surface, but demands that Iran "give up [its] nuclear ambitions." Then there's this. And this. And this 2004 statement, where he goes one better, and adds Pakistan to the target list. He's all over the map, in other words, and come this Fall he's likely to have a nuclear eraser in his hand.

Will the Republican administration saddle a Democratic Congress and President with yet another unwinnable war--and one that will turn the Middle East into a "ball of fire?" Or is "saddling" the right term, given those worrisome words of Senator "O-bomb-a?"

I'm an Obama supporter in a restricted field of candidates, as readers know, but I've also made the point that he's an American politician trapped in a box that no credible candidate can escape. Will he support the on-going US imperial project? You betcha. Political differences on this score are not about objectives, but about tactics and strategy. And even there, indications are that the differences are trifling. It's praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, just like it's always been.

Incessant US warmongering, in fact, is just part of the geopolitical environment, something we almost get used to and barely notice, like the ticking of a clock. But adding first-strike nuclear attacks to the mix has got my attention. If my place of repose weren't a waterbed, I'd be hiding under it about now.

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