The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

September 14, 2007

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 22:28:03 -0400
From: moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG
Subject: Left Margin: Let's Go Bomb Iran

Let's Go Bomb Iran

Left Margin

By Carl Bloice, BC Columnist

September 13, 2007, The Black Commentator


Last Friday, CNN's senior political analyst did at segment on
Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, observing that the
Republican Party wants the 2008 Presidential campaign to turn
on the question of terrorism. It makes sense given the
declining prospects for the party, worn down by endless
scandals and a tanking economy. The question is, how far is
the GOP prepared to go to change the subject? Noting the
stepped up agitation for launching a military attack on Iran,
one blogger noted the previous day, "This campaign is getting
scarier by the second." Especially as one of the former New
York mayor's foreign policy advisors is: "None other than Norm
Podhoretz, the longtime Commentary editor who recently
suggested that we'd be nuts not to immediately bomb Iran."

On Sept. 6th, the New York Sun predicted that this week the
Bush administration "will step up its diplomatic campaign
against Iran in an effort to thwart its quest for a nuclear
bomb, in anticipation of the coming meeting of the
International Atomic Energy Agency." It seems the
Administration's tactical problem in reviving up the campaign
for action against Teheran is how to head off action by the
Agency seeking to secure cooperation from the Iranians. IAEA
Director General Mohamed ElBaradei recently revealed that Iran
has agreed to cooperate in providing requested information on
its nuclear development program. He has suggested that the
Iranians should be given more time. ElBaradei told the New
York Times, "This is the first time Iran is ready to discuss
all the outstanding issues which triggered the crisis in
confidence." However, the U.S. State Department is planning a
full court press for a third resolution in the Security
Council, against Iran.

Sound familiar? How about the lead up to the invasion of Iraq,
which was quickly launched when Baghdad announced its
intention to allow UN inspectors in to search for nuclear
weapons that the Administration said existed and which we now
know didn't?

History sometimes repeats it self as a farce; in this case it
threatens a planetary catastrophe.

"World peace is at risk," said ElBaradei, because of "new
crazies who say, 'let's go and bomb Iran.'"

"The diplomatic problem on Iran awaiting the Bush
administration on Iran may lead to a military option," wrote
Eli Lake in the Sun. "President Bush has said repeatedly that
he neither rules in nor rules out a military attack on Iran's
known nuclear facilities, using the phrase 'all options are on
the table' when asked whether the Pentagon is planning to bomb
Iranian nuclear targets."

In May, Podhoretz wrote in Commentary, "I hope and pray that
President Bush will do it." The President himself said
recently that Iran has put the Middle East "under the shadow
of a nuclear holocaust" and predicted action against Iran
would come "before it is too late."

Never to be outdone when in comes to bellicosity, Sen. Joseph
Lieberman (I-Conn) chimed in, "If [the Iranians] don't play by
the rules, we've got to use our force, and to me, that would
include taking military action to stop them from doing what
they're doing."

Forget the idea that the neo-conservatives have been driven to
the sidelines or that the "realists" are now in charge of U.S.
foreign policy. The people who brought us the invasion and
occupation of Iraq are very much in position and working hard
on a new military conflict, this time with Iran. Elliott
Abrams, Podhoretz's son-in- law, is deputy national security
adviser to President George W. Bush. Another vocal advocate
for action against Iran, David Wurmser, is Vice-President Dick
Cheney's deputy assistant for national security affairs.

And don't wait for the major mass media in the U.S. to
adequately inform the public of the danger of a military
attack on Iran. Almost totally ignored on its pages and on the
airwaves was the Sept. 2nd report in the London Times that
"The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive air strikes
against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the
Iranians' military capability in three days, according to a
national security expert." According to the paper's
correspondent, Sarah Baxter, Alexis Debat, director of
terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, told a
recent public meeting of conservatives that the plan was not
for "pinprick strikes" against Iran's nuclear facilities.
"They're about taking out the entire Iranian military," he

The same day, another British newspaper, The Telegraph,
reported that the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation had
recent completed a "war game" stimulation of the effects of
attacking Iran.

One story that did attract some attention was the report that
the Israeli government did not goad the Bush Administration
into attacking Iraq in 2001, that in fact the Israelis saw it
as a diversion from what should be on the agenda: taking out
Iran. Word these days amongst the conservatives and their neo-
cousins is that Tel Aviv went along with the propaganda
campaign leading up to the war on Iraq on the assumption that
it was only a preliminary step. "The word among the neocon
family is Cheney believes Bush will stick to his pledge not to
leave office 16 months hence with Iran's nuclear facilities
unscathed," right wing columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave wrote in
June. On Aug. 8th, former CIA operative Robert Baer wrote in
Time magazine, "Officials I talk to in Washington vote for a
hit on [Iran] within the next six months."

Podhoretz wrote in Commentary,"Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be
understood if they are regarded as self- contained wars in
their own right. Instead, we have to see them as fronts or
theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a
protracted global struggle. The same thing is true of Iran ...
the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's
weapon of choice (and) a front in World War IV."

"It isn't the first time the Bush administration has fumed
over ElBaradei's actions," wrote Thomas Omestad in U.S. News
and World Report Sept. 7. "Before the Iraq war, he concluded
that he had no evidence to back the U.S. claim that Iraq had
reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. (ElBaradei's
conclusion was subsequently borne out by postwar
investigation.) The administration initially opposed his
renomination as director general of the IAEA, then relented."

Lake wrote in the Sun, "a Bush administration official, who
asked to remain anonymous, said the IAEA was in danger of
losing its status of being an honest broker in the Iran
nuclear standoff. 'We have committed to the diplomatic route
for four years now,' the official said. 'The last thing we
need is for the director of the IAEA himself to start
shielding Iran from diplomatic penalties.'"

Bob Kasten, another of Giuliani's "senior foreign policy team
members," who supported aiding the Indonesian military during
its violent occupation of East Timor, started the myth that
the UN Population Fund supports forced abortion, and argued
that countries should be stripped of aid if they do not vote
in lockstep with the U.S. in the UN General Assembly,
according to Steven C. Clemons on the website Washington Note.

"We speak to the rest of the globe in the language of
violence," Chris Hedges recently observed on the website
truthdig. "The proposed multibillion-dollar arms supply
package for the Persian Gulf countries is the newest form of
weapons-systems-as-message.  U.S. Undersecretary of State R.
Nicholas Burns was rather blunt about the deal. He told the
International Herald Tribune that the package 'says to the
Iranians and Syrians that the United States is the major power
in the Middle East and will continue to be and is not going

"The arrogant call for U.S. hegemony over the rest of the
globe is making enemies of a lot of people who might be
predisposed to support us, even in the Middle East," wrote
Hedges. "And it is terrifying those, such as the Iraqis,
Iranians and Syrians, whom we have demonized. Empathy and
knowledge, the qualities that make real communication
possible, have been discarded.  We use tough talk and big
weapons deals to communicate.  We spread fear, distrust and
violence.  And we expect missile systems to protect us."

Can the Administration get away with launching a new war in
the Middle East before the 2008 Presidential election in order
to influence its outcome or to fulfill a pledge made to its
neo-conservative backers before our war in Iraq?  There are a
lot of persuasive arguments being made why it can't. Among
them are the potential of Iran closing the Straits of Harmuz,
retaliatory attacks by Shiites in Iraq, a wave of violent
reactions across the region, and a worldwide increase in acts
of terror. All are possible; only the last one is a certainty.
The world will become a far more dangerous place for us all.

One thing is certain. Should the White House decide to take
such a dangerous step, it is unlikely, at this point, to be
constrained by domestic opposition. There is no widespread
sentiment for war against Iran. According to a March poll, 57%
of people in the U.S. believe Iran is a threat that can be
contained with diplomacy. 20% don't see Iran as an imminent
threat and only 15% support military action. However, there is
practically no opposition in Congress. A Democratic Party
majority, already too cowed to end the carnage in Iraq,
doesn't even want to talk about Iran. Earlier this year there
was talk about a resolution requiring the President to
"consult" with Congress before attacking Iran. The House
Democratic Party leadership dropped the idea.

"The neat little war with Iran, which few Democrats oppose,
has the potential to ignite a regional inferno," writes

And the Media (oh, the "liberal" media), so far, is AWOL.

[ Editorial Board member Carl Bloice is a
writer in San Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating
Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy
and Socialism and formerly worked for a healthcare union.]


Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

Submit via email:
Submit via the Web:
Frequently asked questions:
Account assistance:
Search the archives:

theory. the real. death.

Torture is senseless violence, born in fear. The purpose of it is to force
from one tongue, amid its screams and its vomiting up of blood, the secret
of _everything._ Senseless violence: whether the victim talks or whether
he dies under his agony, the secret that he cannot tell is always some-
where else and out of reach. It is the executioner who becomes Sisyphus.
If he puts _the question_ at all, he will have to continue forever.

Sartre (in the afterword to Henri Alleg, The Question, 1958)

Experiment solitary touching the impossibility of annihilation.

100. There is nothing more certain in nature than that it is impossible
for any body to be utterly annihilated; but that as it was the work of the
omnipotency of God to make somewhat of nothing, so it requireth the like
omnipotency to turn somewhat into nothing. And therefore it is well said
by an obscure writer of the sect of the chemists, that there is no such
way to effect the strange transmutations of bodies, as to endevour and
urge by all means the reducing of them to nothing. And herein is contained
also a great secret of preservation of bodies from change; for if you can
prohibit, that they neither turn into air, because no air cometh to them;
nor go into the bodies adjacent, because they are utterly heterogeneal;
nor make a round and circulation within themselves; they will never
change, though they be in their nature never so perishable or mutable.

from Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum or A Natural History, 1627

Generated by Mnemosyne 0.12.