Submitted by Jame E. Miller of Miller's Genuine Draft blog,
The rally for what could be World War III is in full swing.
In what amounts to a grotesque instance of outright pandering, Department of Defense head Leon Panetta recently spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference and assured the audience that “we will keep all options – including military action – on the table to prevent (Iran) from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” You know you live in a kleptocracy when one of the heads of the federal government openly appeases perhaps the most influential and financially flush lobbying groups in the country.
Panetta’s assurance confirmed what the majority of Americans have long feared- that their government stands ready and willing to involve itself in another war despite public opinion being in opposition of such an excursion.
If the Republican presidential primary has proven anything, besides the propensity for politicians to offer only vague pronouncements and crowd pleasing sound bites on complex issues, it’s that the bloodthirsty urges of the GOP are incapable of being quenched. For years, the neoconservatives who make up the Republican establishment have been pounding the war drums over Iran. About 33,000 American military deaths in Iraq and over 1 million Iraqi casualties have done nothing to dissuade the warmongering rhetoric of the candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul).
On the same day as Panetta’s address to AIPAC, presidential candidate Mitt Romney laid out a “comprehensive” plan to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in a Washington Post editorial. What does this “comprehensive” plan entail the reader may ask? Simple; just throw more money at a defense department already blowing through its coffers at a sum higher than the top 14 military spenders in the world combined. Armed with political theorist Frederic Bastiat’s invaluable concept of the “unseen,” one can only begin to imagine the technological breakthroughs and consumer satisfying goods such money could have been invested towards if not being pilfered into nation building, military contractor boondoggles, and supporting imperial aggression abroad.
While Romney is busy trumpeting the image of a towering, maniacal Iran on the precipice of waging world war, as syndicated columnist Eric Margolis points out, Iran’s military, in actuality, is quite weak and utilizes dated equipment.
The mainstay of Iran’s air force remains about 60 ancient US-built F-14 naval fighters, F-4 Phantom strike aircraft dating from the Vietnam era, and some old US F-5 trainers. Iran also has a grab bag of some 25 Soviet/Russian Mig-29’s, a similar number of capable SU-24 strike aircraft, and some 20 Chinese outdated F-7 fighters. The US-supplied aircraft all suffer from metal fatigue and are more of a danger to their hapless pilots than an enemy.
Romney is far from alone in his prodding Iran into war to stoke public fear and win the White House. GOP candidate hopefuls Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have long admitted their desire to launch a military strike over Iran’s pursuance of nuclear arms. The Trotskyite influence of placing the divinity of the state and its leaders on a moral pedestal is still a dominant feature of the neoconservative movement despite its supposed opposition to collectivism.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has continued to stress it’s preference for abstaining from a military strike despite its track record of continued interventionism abroad. Well known to any fair minded observer, the Obama presidency hasn’t been one of foreign peace as promised during the 2008 campaign but has embodied the same perpetual warfare that defined the Bush administration and virtually all presidencies dating back to the time of the Spanish-American War. From ousting Libya leader Muammar Gaddafi and bombing the country’s China-provided oil infrastructure to deploying troops in Africa to hunt down the leader of a rag tag militant group posing no threat to the U.s. and no bigger than a small Amish community, the devotion toward military imperialism remains alive and well within the White House. Unmanned drone strikes which have escalated under Obama’s leadership are thought to cause more civilian deaths than actually fulfilling their goal of killing terrorists. This includes at least 168 children. Last Friday, March 2, 2012, the Pentagon even admitted that U.S. forces are now operating and fighting within Yemen.
Since when was war declared on Yemen? When were the American people told their blood and treasure was being spilled in yet another country? None of these excursions were Constitutional but that slight conditionality has long seen been forgotten by the three branches of Leviathan.
In regards to Iran, the administration’s “diplomatic” approach of sanctioning is quite unfitting for a man once bestowed with the Nobel Peace Prize. Only in our world of Orwellian speak would sanctions, that is the barring of individuals to trade goods with other individuals in another country, not be considered an act of war. Starving a populace to induce change is no more humane than starving a dog so it will fight more aggressively when pitted head to head in a match with another canine. Sanctions are only exacerbating the pain of the Iranian people and “are turning into a form of collective punishment” according to Hooman Majd writing in the New York Times.
History has shown that countries backed into an economic corner, such as Japan after Franklin Roosevelt’s oil embargo, often react in an aggressive fashion to the presumed perpetrators. This is why Iran recently threatened to close the Straight of Hormuz, which almost 40% of the world’s oil passes through, after the threat of enhanced sanctions by Western nations. Given the fact that the U.S. has over 40 bases surrounding Iran, it doesn’t take a tie die wearing beatnik high on hallucinogenic drugs to see who really controls the power dynamic.
(Each star approximately represents a U.S. military base though the map may be slightly inaccurate due to changing policy)
With the administration now seeking to provide assistance to the opposition forces in Syria, intervention and war with Iran is only an eventuality at this point.
The worst part about this whole affair is the fact that there exists no proof that Iran is really pursuing nuclear weapons. After Panetta’s declaration that the U.S. will take military action against Iran, one wonders if the Defense Secretary simply forgot that he let slip last January on CBS’s Face the Nation that the country wasn’t pursuing nuclear arms. The same goes for the Israeli lobby which conveniently ignores the head of Massad, Israel’s intelligence service, admitting that Iran possessing a nuclear bomb would not pose an “existential threat.” It’s even more disingenuous that the likes of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Christians United for Israel continue to lobby for a U.S. lead war in lieu of only 19% of Israelis supporting a military attack. Israeli Prime Minister “Bibi” Netanyahu has no interest in the desire of the people he was elected to represent as he pushes for military assistance from the U.S. He is the typical politician obsessed with his own legacy of heroism even if it means the loss of his countrymen.
When it comes to warmongering and increasing the size and authority of the state, the opinion of the people matters little. This has always been the golden rule of statism. War with Iran is coming despite all opposition. The certainty that a nuclear Iran attacking an even more heavily armed Israel is the equivalent of mutual self destruction won’t stop the war propaganda. The election of Romney/Gingrich/Santorum or reelection of Obama will not bring a different result. If Ron Paul were to somehow reach the presidency, the pressure from war lobbyers would be overwhelming. As messianic as the Texas Congressmen is, being Chief Executive alone doesn’t guarantee the rest of the bureaucrats won’t pursue their own agendas.
As Jeffrey Tucker, editor and publisher of Laissez-Faire Books, writes
Nor is it the case that any of the elected officials have the power to do serious damage to this system. This goes for the president, too. They can often influence the way the state grows, but they can’t actually fundamentally threaten the apparatus itself. The longer they are in office, the less personal power they realize that they have. The reason is simple. The system is not structured to permit them to dismantle it, even if they wanted to. They are temporary managers of a ruling class, and the members of this class mostly scoff at these people, treating them like actors on a stage that the class itself owns.
The truth amounts to very little on the eve of war. Iraq and the lies surrounding weapons of mass destruction proved this lesson almost a decade ago. Unfortunately for the people of America, Israel, and Iran, the political class and power wielders of their respective governments refuse to learn. Their desire is for more authority and prestige; no matter how many bodies it costs.