typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Iran all night

with 4 comments

Not one for the Cyndi Lauper fans so much as the Armageddonists.

There have been other voices in Western media that have tried to tell the real story about the US build-up in the Persian Gulf proximal to Iran, but Seymour Hersh has perhaps been the most dogged and informative. Yes, it’s possible that he at some point got caught in a Karlrovian Pentagonal bait-and-switch, but the bulk of his writing has seemed to cut close to the bone and that which hasn’t has still made for provocative reading.

Watching Lebanon was really the most chilling piece, analysing cold-blooded international war crimes in action. Since then, he has repeatedly updated us on the notion that the current US Administration will certainly attack Iran before leaving office. Of course, mid-term election bit Bush in the ass and put things on hold, but the timing for Hersh’s latest piece, Preparing the Battlefield, could hardly have been more contextually alarming.

Iran’s changing image?

The above picture and illustrations come from this piece in the New York Times. Hardly worthy of applause for either its objectivity regarding Israeli foreign and domestic policy or its sobriety of judgment in matters involving Iranian posturing, the Times has identified what are clearly visible as manipulated images of missile tests, supposedly released by Sepah News which is supposedly the propaganda wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The Times has managed to pull this together within hours of the picture being run by French media. Have they got this good now because they feel bad about the way they gave Rumsfeld, Powell, Cheney, and Bush free passes? OR, could they have perhaps paid this kind of attention 5 years and X hundred thousand dead civillians ago?

It’s a fair question.

And not one which distracts from or avoids the apparent gravity of the situation – Israel, America, and Iran are very much right in the middle of a massive Mine Is Bigger Than Yours stand off right now, and the first one to cough loses… or wins… depending on your point of view, and their weighting of short term testosterone against medium and longer term outcomes.

But to look at this situation – Israel supposedly formation-tested and ready to attack, Iran testing Tel-Aviv-able missiles, Condi Rice goading Tehran somewhat more mildly than she’s tempting Moscow – one must seriously ask “what the hell?”.

Now, I’ve only looked at the New York Times, SBS, ABC and listened to Radio National about this… but Al Jazeera is the only news source I’ve seen to mention that Iran is conducting scheduled war games. This might take some of the Harrison Ford out of news coverage if properly reported and certainly changes the context for the better – unless of course you’re somebody keen to see a fresh premise for some of that tasty new doctrine of preemptive defense.

Like any Halliburton alumni.

On the other hand, Al Jazeera does sometimes understate the idiocy of Islamic fundamentalists, AND Iran’s  choosing to lob missiles and torpedoes into the Persian Gulf at night when 3 US battle groups are stationed there is, well, a bit like putting Josef Fritzl in charge of a day care centre and hoping for the best.

Still, with everything that America has learnt by starting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and unleashing a torrent of global death, torment, and religious hatred, and everything that Israel has learnt about saying one thing rudely while doing another thing horrendously, I’m sure this will turn out fine.

If you sell oil.

Or weaponry.

Or sutures.

Or spin.

Written by typingisnotactivism

July 11, 2008 at 1:59 am

4 Responses

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  1. “I believe President Bush is going to order air strikes (on Iran) before he leaves office”
    -Norman Podhoretz (Lyons, 2007).

    Bush and his cronies say they want peace and diplomacy, but the problem with the members of Bush administration is that you can’t trust them. You can’t take what they at face value. As former Nixon aide John W. Dean wrote, “George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have created the most secretive presidency of my lifetime. Their secrecy is far worse than during Watergate” (quoted in Wittkopf and Jones, 2008, 329).
    The administration secretly planned and prepared for war with Iraq without disclosing it to the general public. Planning began in November of 2001 and included upgrading airfields in various Gulf countries, moving supplies to the region and the construction of necessary facilities. By April 2002, the planning and preparation for war was also being hidden from Congress. Bush had instructed General Tommy Franks not to make financial requests through Washington. “Anything you need, you’ll have.” The money would no longer be appropriated through congress. By the end of July 2002, Bush had approved more than thirty projects totaling over $700 million. Congress had no knowledge or involvement (Woodward, 2004, 122).
    In December of 2002, Bush and Rumsfeld agreed to start secretly deploying troops into the theatre so as not to attract the attention of the press or the rest of the world. The first deployment order went out on December 6, 2002 and deployments continued every two weeks or so thereafter. Troops were given less than a week’s notice at times. In January 2003, the Bush administration arranged for much of its humanitarian relief to be disguised as general contributions to conceal its war planning from the NGO recipients. Yet, when asked about Iraq, Bush’s favorite response was “I have no war plans on my desk.” At one point or another after the planning began, nearly every member of the administration publicly denied any plans to go to war with Iraq (Woodward, 2004, 129).

    A better approach to Iran would be negotiations. While Fareed Zakaria agrees that there is no reason not to use sanctions and embargoes against states such as Iran, he suggests that we also need to “allow a viable way out.” That is to say, we need to negotiate and not merely mandate.

    John Maszka

    July 11, 2008 at 4:04 am

  2. With all the hoopla over the photoshop scandal, the question still remains: What to do about the real ones?

    One of our presidential candidates will likely inherit this mess, so we can only hope. John McCain is a great man who has served our country with great sacrifice. I have tremendous respect for him. I hope if he wins, he will realize that without engaging Iran, there can only be more conflict. As Colin Powell remarks in his insightful article “The Craft of Diplomacy,” we have to leave our enemy an honorable path of retreat.

    While diplomacy with Iran may have its challenges, it should be pursued at every length. Iran has a conscription army and nearly 10 million eligible males between the ages of 18 and 32 (Posen, 2003). Iran’s conventional military potential aside, US Intelligence assesses that Iran will likely have nuclear weapons capability within the decade (Select Committee on Intelligence, 2006).

    “Je vois plus que jamais qu’il ne faut juger de rien sur sa grandeur apparente.” – Voltaire

    We should be careful what we assume about Iran, or any country.

    The United States needs to be very aware of Iran’s growing political influence in the international community as well. In a sermon commencing the month of Ramadan 2007, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the Bush administration of war crimes in Iraq, and of attempting to undermine Islam in the Middle East. Amidst chants from worshipers: “Death to America,” Khamenei stated that he has “a firm belief that one day this current US president and the American officials will be tried in a fair international court for the atrocities committed in Iraq.”

    American popularity worldwide has plummeted over the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Khameinei’s word’s are falling upon a rising number of sympathetic ears. Any inclination the Bush administration has toward regime change in Iran should be given very, very careful thought. Ultimately, the situation confronting the United States regarding Iran is identical in many respects to the threat of terrorism itself:

    A clash of cultures, a stubborn battle of wills, two very different ways of looking at the same reality, a global game of chicken in which neither side wants to back down. This of course is a gross oversimplification of a very complex problem, but there are some basic truths to the argument. The United States and Europe are largely divided on their views of Iran, as well as their views of how best to counter terrorism. One of the greatest challenges facing the United States in its efforts to counter terrorism, is learning to understand those who resort to its use, and developing a coherent construct within which to address terrorism.

    The same can be said of Iran. And few can argue that there is no small amount of testosterone in the air, and this stubbornness can be seen on both sides of the standoff. Henry Kissinger has aptly stated that “so long as Iran views itself as a crusade rather than a nation, a common interest will not emerge from negotiations.” But this observation is equally applicable to the Bush administration as well.

    Puor bien savoir les choses, il en faut savoir le detail, et comme il est presque infini, nos connaissances sont toujours superficielles et imparfaites.

    Unfortunately, what we do know is that the Bush administration cannot be trusted to do what it says. Iraq taught us that lesson. Many experts have long been predicting that Bush would invade Iran before he leaves office. But of course, the Bush administration would never admit to such a thing.

    On ne donne rien si liberalement que ses conseils.

    But it is the man who follows his own counsel, he’s the one that should lead.

    John Maszka

    July 12, 2008 at 7:33 am

  3. To quote out of context, “what we do know is that the Bush administration cannot be trusted”. Hallelujah.
    There is nothing resembling rationale for any American aggression toward Iran. Other than, of course, a continuation of US foreign policy in practice over at least the last 50+ years.
    “The greatest crime” was the term applied to international aggression for a very good reason – all else stems from invasion and violation of sovereignty: regional and global instability and distrust, opportunistic black marketeering, mass murder on scales beyond comprehension, rape, pollution, torture, psychological destruction for generations to come.
    Bush’s main issue – apart from a grade 5 comprehension level – is that of the masters that he serves: Iran’s oil must belong to America. If it goes to the more logical trading partners of China, Russia, or even India, then America loses a competitive edge that it could only really afford to lose if it hadn’t worked so hard to drive oil up to $140 a barrel.
    Cultural imperialism, global elitism, whatever name it goes by – for America to champion the free market ideology which has spread more freely than any religion in history, and simultaneously oppose the right of developed and near-developed nations to exercise foreign and domestic policy sovereignty is a bit more than the world will swallow for much longer.
    George, Condi, Mac, please let the door hit your asses on the way out.

    And although Khameini should be correct and Bush should one day end up in front of a war crimes judiciary, it is unlikely that short of an assassin’s bullet his legal fate will be markedly different from Kissinger’s.


    July 12, 2008 at 9:32 pm

  4. When oil prices spiked $11 as Israel said they’d attack Iran because they could, Scott Ritter reckoned Iran earned an extra $26 million in that day from that spike.

    That means that to increase tension is to increase their income. It also implies that they’re a lot smarter than BushCo

    Mike Bolan

    July 18, 2008 at 3:38 pm

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