Posted By Philip Giraldi On August 4, 2010 @ 11:00 pm In Uncategorized |
Everyone who is concerned that yet another war in the Middle East could wreck what remains of the United States economy and probably strip away even more of our liberties should be troubled by the numerous calls for war against Iran. No one believes that Iran is anything but a nation that is one small step away from becoming a complete religious dictatorship, but the country has a small economy, a tiny defense budget, and, as far as the world’s intelligence services can determine, neither nuclear weapons nor a program to develop them. Labeling the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a new Hitler and describing the regime as “Islamofascist” is convenient but hardly conveys the reality of the complex political interaction taking place inside today’s Iran. Ironically, the animus directed against Tehran relates not so much to what it is doing as to what its government might do, hardly an adequate pretext for going to war and a standard of behavior that many countries in the world would fail.
A resolution (HR 1553) is making its way through Congress that that would endorse an Israeli attack on Iran, which would be going to war by proxy as the US would almost immediately be drawn into the conflict when Tehran retaliates. The resolution provides explicit US backing for Israel to bomb Iran, stating that Congress supports Israel’s use of “all means necessary…including the use of military force.” The resolution is non-binding, but it is dazzling in its disregard for the possible negative consequences that would ensue for the hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic personnel currently serving in the Near East region. Even the Pentagon opposes any Israeli action against Iran, knowing that it would mean instant retaliation against US forces in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. The resolution has appeared, not coincidentally, at the same time as major articles by leading neoconservatives Reuel Marc Gerecht and Bill Kristol calling for military action. Both Gerecht and Kristol insist that action by Israel or the US would be better than doing nothing and both downplay the ability of Iran to counter-attack effectively. One might note that both Kristol and Gerecht have been dramatically wrong in the past, most notably in their analyses of developments in Iraq.
Kristol is a poseur, a foreign policy wannabe, framing policy around his own Straussian beliefs. Gerecht, who actually does know quite a bit about Iran and its internal politics, is the more dangerous of the two as he is able to use his knowledge, which he sprinkles throughout the article, to appear credible. But as is so often the case with the neoconservatives, the thinking is based on false assumptions, optimistic assessments, and leaps of the imagination about what might occur. One might recall neocon predictions of a “cakewalk” in Iraq, a war that still embroils tens of thousands of US troops and that kills Americans nearly every day.
In his article entitled “Should Israel Bomb Iran? – Better Safe than Sorry” Gerecht begins with three paragraphs outlining what might happen if Iran is attacked, to include attacks on US troops, shock oil prices, terrorist attacks worldwide, tumult in the Muslim world, and a rush by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon to defend itself. He concludes, however, that “These fears are mostly overblown.”