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5559Justin Raimondo: War With Iran?

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  • World View
    May 7, 2006
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      War With Iran?
      It would mean the end of our Republic
      by Justin Raimondo
      http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8936


      Thank the gods for the U.S. government, and I mean that at all levels,
      local, state, and federal. What would we do without them watching out
      for us 24/7, preparing for whatever threats may come our way,
      including especially the Great 666 Threat, which is looming fast and
      furious:

      "With June 6, 2006, rapidly approaching, authorities in Colorado and
      elsewhere are carefully watching to see if that date – 6/6/06 – spurs
      demonstrations or violent activity. They are aware that 666 signifies
      the Mark of the Beast or the Antichrist to some organizations and
      believe June 6 is a date that could trigger problems. 'It's been a
      conscious question among some of our folks, so they've been on the
      lookout for something,' said Lance Clem, spokesman for the Colorado
      Department of Public Safety. 'But they haven't seen anything.'"

      Things are quiet in Mayberry, but don't let that fool you – you never
      know what demonic presence is lurking just around the next corner. And
      just in case, the Authorities are ready with enough firepower to blow
      that mean ol' Debbil away. Who or what is threatening to rise up and
      scare the bejesus out of us? According to the "experts," like Chip
      Ellis, of something called the Memorial Institute for the Prevention
      of Terrorism:

      "Since 1970, there have been 60 terrorist attacks on June 6, with just
      one in the U.S. … [Ellis] said he has seen nothing to indicate
      anything bad will happen June 6. If something does develop, Ellis does
      not believe it would necessarily involve neo-Nazi, white-supremacist
      types. Rather it could be 'anarchists and anti-globalists' who are
      tied into the counterculture and relish 'the chance to stick their
      thumb in the eye of the establishment,' he said."

      Those devilish anarchists and dedicated enemies of Starbucks will take
      any chance they can get to create disorder in the paradise-on-earth
      that is 21st century America. But the ones who have "666" tattooed on
      their forearms are just the beginning of our worries: the real
      problem, as far as the Bush administration is concerned, is overseas.
      This foreign devil has a name: he is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of
      Iran, who has just threatened (for the second or third time) to wipe
      Israel off the map, and is now barking his defiance at the West, which
      is determined to stop Tehran from reaching nuclear parity with Tel Aviv.

      The Israelis, as is well-known, have had nukes since the 1960s. Now
      the Iranians are seeking to level the nuclear playing field, and
      Israel's amen corner in the West is up in arms. "The Lobby," as
      Stephen Walt and John J. Mearsheimer characterize the pro-Israel
      forces in the U.S., is pushing for a confrontation with Iran over the
      nukes issue, with some success. The matter is headed for the UN
      Security Council, where the Europeans are expected to go along with
      the American campaign to rein in Tehran, while the Russians and the
      Chinese are sitting on the fence for now. There is little doubt,
      however, where all this is bound to lead…

      As in Iraq, where the Lobby pushed hard for war, the U.S. is revving
      up its propaganda machine and belting out a martial anthem. Seymour
      Hersh has reported that a plan to nuke Iran's nascent nukes is already
      on the Pentagon's drawing board, and now we learn that the famous
      Valerie Plame – outed as a CIA agent by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and
      the neocon cabal around Bush – was working on tracking Iran's nuclear
      program when she was exposed. Her cover blown, along with the entire
      network of which she was a part, the U.S. has been flying blind on the
      question of whether or not Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear program
      with military applications. Ignorance is strength as far as the War
      Party is concerned.

      With the nuke-tracking unit of the CIA put out of commission by
      Scooter and his friends, the way is opened for various "exile" groups
      of dubious credentials and ideology to stovepipe phony "intelligence"
      to the Americans. It's basically a repeat of what happened in the
      run-up to war with Iraq – only, this time, the stakes are much higher.

      War with Iran would drive the price of oil up to as much as $200 a
      barrel and could precipitate a financial crisis of sufficient seismic
      force to bring down the world economy. In America, gas-starved
      commuters would start howling much louder than they are now – and it
      wouldn't take much to turn these cries of pain into war cries. That is
      what the War Party is counting on: combined with images of the "mad
      mullahs" of Iran armed with nukes and ready to strike at the U.S., the
      war hysteria will climb to a fever pitch – and you can be sure the
      neoconservatives will be right there, ratcheting up the volume all the
      way on the road to war.

      In the meantime, the price of oil climbs steadily, in direct
      proportion to the amount of war talk in the air. As a Reuters story
      put it:

      "Concerns that Iran's dispute with the West could lead to disruption
      of its oil output pushed oil prices above $74 a barrel, close to the
      record of $75.35 touched last month."

      If that seems like a dizzying hike, wait until the Iranians blockade
      the Gulf of Hormuz, through which two-fifths of the world's oil
      passes. Let's assume that when the supreme commander of Iran's Islamic
      Revolution Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safa, suggested such a
      strategy, he wasn't kidding. In that case, good luck driving to work:
      you may have to mortgage your house in order to afford the gas.

      Anyone who thinks that this acts as a deterrent to the War Party's
      ambitions just doesn't understand what we are dealing with here. The
      dire consequences of a war with Iran are far more likely to embolden
      rather than discourage them from embarking on such a fateful path.
      Since they have infinite contempt for the American public – the
      neocons, after all, are a self-conscious, self-chosen elite,
      supposedly capable of handling hard truths that would freak out us
      ordinary folk – they no doubt believe that the reaction would be
      simple rage. Not directed at the regime that brought us to this
      crisis, but at the foreigners who sit on massive quantities of oil,
      our oil.

      Ours by what right? Ours according to the principle that might makes
      right, i.e., the central organizing principle of American foreign
      policy in the post-9/11 world.

      The rage produced by the 9/11 terrorist attacks effectively shot down
      the natural defenses of the American body politic and allowed the
      infiltration of a foreign intruder. It's like spyware that sneaks in
      through the back door of your computer and lies hidden in the depths
      of your operating system, slowly insinuating itself into every circuit
      – until, finally, one day it takes control and your computer becomes
      an instrument in someone else's hands.

      I was among the first to see the hand of Israel in the crusade to
      "liberate" Iraq and export "democracy" at gunpoint to the Middle East,
      and it looks like I will not be the last. Professors Mearsheimer and
      Walt have let the cat out of the bag with their pathbreaking paper,
      "The Israel Lobby," published by the Kennedy School of Government at
      Harvard University. Their thesis that "the Lobby" effectively controls
      American foreign policy when it comes to the Middle East, and that
      Israeli interests motivated key players in the U.S. government to
      support an invasion, has the War Party in a state of shock. Two
      prominent academics, with impeccable credentials, have said what we at
      Antiwar.com have been saying since long before the first American
      soldier set foot on Iraqi soil: the invasion and occupation of Iraq
      was designed, not to advance American interests, nor to make the
      region safe for democracy, but to make the Middle East safe for Israel.

      In the case of war with Iran, the hand of the Israelis is even more
      apparent. In the debate over the Iraq war – such as it was, prior to
      the first shots being fired – the Lobby kept its head down, and the
      Israeli government was careful not to make too many public
      pronouncements, although naturally everyone knew they wanted the
      invasion to be launched with dispatch. Today, however, when it comes
      to Iran, Israeli officials are hardly shy about their expectations
      that the Americans will, once again, take care of their problem. They
      are openly threatening to provoke the war themselves by engaging in a
      little preemptive bombing, if the Americans fail to act with
      sufficient speed.

      Americans have to ask themselves if saving Israel is really worth
      destroying the American economy and plunging the world into another
      Great Depression [.pdf]. They have to ask themselves if the Iranians
      achieving nuclear parity with their Israeli counterparts is really
      worth going to war over – a war in which many more Americans will be
      killed in the first few weeks than in all the years of the Iraqi
      occupation. Is it really worth nuking Iran – as the president has
      suggested – so that the Israeli government can continue to lord it
      over their Arab helots?

      Once the question is posed in these terms, the likely answer coming
      from the American people ought to be apparent. The problem is how to
      frame the debate in this context, rather than in one more conducive to
      the War Party's agenda.

      The second Iraq war, like the first, was essentially a project of a
      faction within the U.S. government completely devoted to the interests
      of Israel, which they firmly believe cannot be separated from
      America's most vital strategic objectives. We are being manipulated
      into war with Iran by the same crowd, and for a similar reason, this
      time with the active assistance of much of the ostensible "Left,"
      i.e., the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which is being
      softened up to roll over and play dead if and when President Bush
      gives the command to strike. Hillary Clinton is more of a hawk on Iran
      than most of the Republicans in Congress: she criticizes the
      administration for not being tough enough on Tehran. The Republicans,
      she brays, are appeasers: they are letting the mullahs off the hook.
      She assures us she won't. With a few sterling exceptions, such as Rep.
      Dennis Kucinich, congressional Democrats, led by the warmongering
      Nancy Pelosi, take some variant of Hillary's position.

      So, are we doomed?

      Unless people begin to wake up – and soon – I'm afraid the answer is
      yes. The great problem is that much of the antiwar movement shies away
      from the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis, on account of the preliminary
      groundwork done by the War Party. You'll recall that, early on, the
      War Party's laptop bombardiers, such as Andrew Sullivan and his fellow
      "warbloggers," busied themselves trying to smear the antiwar movement
      as a collection of extreme leftists and anti-Semites. Sullivan
      absurdly claimed that the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion was
      being distributed at antiwar demonstrations, and every opportunity was
      taken to draw a parallel between the views of antiwar protesters and,
      say, David Duke. Mearsheimer and Walt have been subjected to the same
      sliming campaign – by the Washington Post, no less. This, the War
      Party hopes, inoculates them against being fingered as de facto agents
      of a foreign power and effectively masks what amounts to the hijacking
      of American foreign policy.

      The charge of anti-Semitism is a canard. It conflates the interests of
      individual Jews with the quite separate interests of Israel as a
      nation: these interests are not always congruent, and are often in
      conflict. For example, since it is not easy to get people to move to a
      country under siege, one in which jobs and housing are in short
      supply, the Israeli government depends to a certain extent on the fear
      of anti-Semitism to keep its population growing. The more
      anti-Semitism there is in the rest of the world, the easier it is for
      the Israel government to sell aliya – immigration by Jews to Israel –
      as the only solution. Rising anti-Semitism hardly serves the interests
      of the world's Jews, but it suits the engineers of the Zionist project
      just fine, thank you. And if they can't come up with a real
      anti-Semitic threat, or provoke one, then a little exaggeration – if
      not outright lying – is surely in order. After all, it's for an
      ostensibly good cause…

      Another example: a war with Iran would not serve the interests of
      American Jews, who have just as much to lose from such a horrific turn
      of events as anyone else in this country – and yet, it would suit the
      Israelis just fine if the Americans would knock off another one of
      their enemies, especially one that periodically threatens them with
      annihilation.

      The antiwar forces, if they take the bull by the horns, so to speak,
      can turn this one around and deal an effective blow to the War Party,
      derailing their plans to provoke a fresh conflict in the Middle East
      and exposing their treason to public view. There is but one way to do
      this: by exposing the machinations and motivation of the Lobby. This
      would blunt the spearhead of the War Party and render it ineffective:
      people would begin to see it for what it is – as a megaphone for a
      foreign power, just as the Communist Party was once the Kremlin's echo
      chamber.

      The price of moral cowardice, however, is defeat – and the end of this
      country as we know it. I doubt the Republic can long withstand the
      economic and political gale unleashed by a war with Iran. If the War
      Party pulls this one off, then you can kiss your country – your
      freedom, your relatively comfortable lifestyle, your Americanness –
      good-bye.

      NOTES IN THE MARGIN

      To the academics out there, there is some concrete action you can take
      now to ensure that the foreign policy debate is framed to the
      advantage of those of us who hope for peace: you can sign this
      petition, started by Professor Juan Cole, defending Professors
      Mearsheimer and Walt from the scurrilous charges raised against them
      by the Lobby's apologists. Here is the full text of the petition:

      "We note with dismay that when eminent political scientists John
      Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard
      published their 'The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy' in the
      London Review of Books, they were subjected to a barrage of ad hominem
      attacks. In particular, they were smeared as 'anti-Semites.' This
      epithet was hurled at them by the Anti-Defamation League, Eliot A.
      Cohen, Alan Dershowitz, Representative Eliot Engel, Richard L.
      Cravatts, and many others.

      "Merriam-Webster gives the following definition of anti-Semitism:
      'an•ti-Sem•i•tism
      Function: noun: hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a
      religious, ethnic, or racial group.'

      "We protest the character assassination of eminent American academics,
      firm supporters of civil rights for all, as racist bigots for their
      academic analysis of the domestic dimension of U.S. foreign policy. No
      paper about other ethnic lobbies' impact on foreign policy (e.g.,
      Cuban-Americans, Irish-Americans, or Armenian-Americans) would have
      elicited such over-heated and patently unfair charges of racism.

      "We fear that the real motive in the brandishing of the serious charge
      of 'anti-Semitism' so readily at any discussion of the U.S.
      relationship with Israel is an attempt to chill public debate and to
      discourage the critical evaluation of American Middle East policy and
      of Israeli policy in the region. Such a misuse of the word
      'anti-Semitic' is profoundly anti-democratic. Democracy requires free
      public debate of all issues affecting the public weal.

      "We deeply fear that this practice is becoming a form of 'crying
      wolf,' and that the force of the term 'anti-Semite' is being rapidly
      eroded as a matter of moral sensibility. True anti-Semitism does exist
      and is an evil. Let us vigilantly combat it rather than
      mischaracterizing academic papers.

      "We also fear that an impression is being created that elements in the
      American Jewish community are hostile to academic freedom of speech
      and inquiry, and are hostile even to the First Amendment of the U.S.
      Constitution. As admirers of the historic role the American Jewish
      community has played in furthering civil liberties in the United
      States, we are concerned and saddened at this development.

      "We call upon the presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
      forthrightly to condemn the smearing of Professors Mearsheimer and
      Walt, and of other academics who subject Middle East policy issues to
      critical inquiry, as 'anti-Semites.'"

      I should emphasize that Professor Cole is explicitly soliciting
      signatures from professional academics: if you're teaching at a
      university, or have at some point and have academic credentials,
      please consider affixing your name to this courageous and very
      necessary statement. If you don't have academic credentials, then you
      might want to circulate this petition to those who do and help in the
      effort to give it maximum publicity. Too bad we can't put this in the
      New York Times as a full-page ad – unfortunately, we don't have the
      financial resources available to the Lobby, which is spending more
      this year than ever before.

      *********************************************************************

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