Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (1 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   1 comment

General News

Jeremiah Goulka: The Urge to Bomb Iran

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to None 11/5/12

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

 

The Obama administration has engaged in a staggering military build-up in the Persian Gulf and at U.S. and allied bases around Iran (not to speak of in the air over that country and in cyberspace).  Massive as it is, however, it hasn't gotten much coverage lately.  Perhaps, after all the alarms and warnings about possible Israeli or U.S. military strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities this election season, it's become so much the norm that it doesn't even seem like news anymore.  Still, two recent stories should jog our memories.

Barely a week ago, the commander of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis was temporarily replaced and called home to face an investigation into "inappropriate leadership judgment." What this means is unclear, but it happened while the Stennis and its attending strike group including destroyers, guided missile cruisers, and other ships, were deployed in the Persian Gulf.  We forget just what an "aircraft carrier" really is.  It's essentially a floating U.S. airbase and small town with a crew of about 5,000.  As it happens, the Stennis was sent back to the Persian Gulf four months early to join the U.S.S. Eisenhower, because Washington wanted two such strike groups in the area.  Even if there were no other build-up, this would be impressive enough.

At about the same time, what might be thought of as the creepy story of that week surfaced.  Behind the scenes, reported the Guardian, the British government had rejected Obama administration requests for access to some of its bases as part of preparations for a possible war with Iran. ("The Guardian has been told that U.S. diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from U.S. bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.") The rejection -- "the government does not think military action is the right course at this point of time" -- was not, of course, the creepy part of the story. For some strange reason, British officials don't feel that war is the optimal approach to Iran and, stranger yet, don't want to be dragged into a potential regional conflagration.  The creepy part of the story was the request itself, given the traffic jam of bases Washington already has access to in the region.

And remember, this is the Obama administration, not the Romney one!  As TomDispatch regular Jeremiah Goulka makes clear, we're talking about the party of "restraint" in Washington.  If that doesn't make your heart sink, I don't know what would. Tom

The Dogs of War Are Barking
Mitt Romney's Team Wants to Let 'Em Loose in Iran
By Jeremiah Goulka

It's the consensus among the pundits: foreign policy doesn't matter in this presidential election.  They point to the ways Republican candidate Mitt Romney has more or less parroted President Barack Obama on just about everything other than military spending and tough talk about another "American century."

The consensus is wrong. There is an issue that matters: Iran.

Don't be fooled.  It's not just campaign season braggadocio when Romney claims that he would be far tougher on Iran than the president by threatening "a credible military option."  He certainly is trying to appear tougher and stronger than Obama -- he of the drone wars, the "kill list," and Bin Laden's offing -- but it's no hollow threat.

The Republican nominee has surrounded himself with advisors who are committed to military action and regime change against Iran, the same people who brought us the Global War on Terror and the Iraq War.  Along with their colleagues in hawkish think tanks, they have spent years priming the public to believe that Iran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program, making ludicrous claims about "crazy" mullahs nuking Israel and the United States, pooh-poohing diplomacy -- and getting ever shriller each time credible officials and analysts disagree.

Unlike with Iraq in 2002 and 2003, they have it easier today.  Then, they and their mentors had to go on a sales roadshow, painting pictures of phantom WMDs to build up support for an invasion.  Today, a large majority of Americans already believe that Iran is building nuclear weapons.

President Obama has helped push that snowball up the hill with sanctions to undermine the regime, covert and cyber warfare, and a huge naval presence in the Persian Gulf. Iran has ratcheted up tensions via posturing military maneuvers, while we have held joint U.S.-Israeli exercises and "the largest-ever multinational minesweeping exercise" there.  Our navies are facing off in a dangerous dance.

Obama has essentially loaded the gun and cocked it.  But he has kept his finger off the trigger, pursuing diplomacy with the so-called P5+1 talks and rumored future direct talks with the Iranians.  The problem is: Romney's guys want to shoot.

Unlike Iraq, Iran Would Be an Easy Sell

Remember those innocent days of 2002 and 2003, when the war in Afghanistan was still new and the Bush administration was trying to sell an invasion of Iraq?  I do.  I was a Republican then, but I never quite bought the pitch.  I never felt the urgency, saw the al-Qaeda connection, or worried about phantom WMDs.  It just didn't feel right.  But Iran today?  If I were still a Republican hawk, it would be "game on," and I'd know I was not alone for three reasons.

First, even armchair strategists know that Iran has a lot of oil that is largely closed off to us.  It reputedly has the fourth largest reserves on the planet.  It also has a long coastline on the Persian Gulf, and it has the ability to shut the Strait of Hormuz, which would pinch off one of the world's major energy arteries.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch Interviews (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Uncovering the Military's Secret Military

Christian Parenti: Big Storms Require Big Government

Andy Kroll: Flat-Lining the Middle Class

Noam Chomsky: A Rebellious World or a New Dark Age?

Noam Chomsky, Who Owns the World?

Rebecca Solnit: Why the Media Loves the Violence of Protestors and Not of Banks

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Remember the diving torpedo the Japanese surprised... by Hugh Jones on Monday, Nov 5, 2012 at 6:36:11 PM