Building the Long War
By Staff News & Analysis - July 15, 2010

Israeli attack on Iran would start long war … An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would start a long war and probably not prevent Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons, a think-tank said on Thursday. Oxford Research Group, which promotes non-violent solutions to conflict, said military action should be ruled out as a response to Iran's possible nuclear weapons ambitions. "An Israeli attack on Iran would be the start of a protracted conflict that would be unlikely to prevent the eventual acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran and might even encourage it," it said in a report. It would also lead to instability and unpredictable security consequences for the region and the wider world, it added. The United Nations Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran last month over a nuclear programme the West suspects is aimed at developing atomic weapons in secret. Iran says it wants nuclear energy for peaceful uses only." – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: It is possible though not prudent.

Free-Market Analysis: In several previous articles we've examined the possibilities of the US opening a third (or fourth) military front with Iran. Certainly the US and its allies seem on track to do this and from our point of view the examination of this possibility, combined with an endless stream of articles vilifying Iran and calling for yet more sanctions, is a kind of dominant social theme. It is one gradually being assembled so as to accustom the West to the possibility of a greatly expanded war in our view.

This article at Reuters does not directly discuss an American war with Iran but focuses on Israel. While it concludes that such a war with Israel would be counterproductive to Israel, it brings up some interesting points. First of all, it uses vocabulary that has been used in previous discussions about the Anglo-American axis' approach to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. This vocabulary includes the term "long war" and uses this nomenclature in a kind of subdued approbation (though not in this article). We wrote about the long war syndrome, previously, when responding to an article by leftist Tom Hayden excerpted from the LA Times:

Your Government Is Planning to Stay at War for the Next 80 Years Anyone Got a Problem with That? Without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an "arc of instability" caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years. According to one of its architects, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are just "small wars in the midst of a big one." …

The term "Long War" was first applied to America's post-9/11 conflicts in 2004 by Gen. John P. Abizaid, then head of U.S. Central Command, and by the retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State, Gen. Richard B. Myers, in 2005. According to David Kilcullen, a top counterinsurgency advisor to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and a proponent of the Long War doctrine, the concept was polished in "a series of windowless offices deep inside the Pentagon" by a small team that successfully lobbied to incorporate the term into the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the nation's long-term military blueprint. President George W. Bush declared in his 2006 State of the Union message that "our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy."

The concept has quietly gained credence. Washington Post reporter-turned-author Thomas E. Ricks used "The Long War" as the title for the epilogue of his 2009 book on Iraq, in which he predicted that the U.S. was only halfway through the combat phase there. It has crept into legal language. Federal Appeals Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a darling of the American right, recently ruled in favor of holding detainees permanently because otherwise, "each successful campaign of a long war would trigger an obligation to release Taliban fighters captured in earlier clashes." …

This is how dominant social themes are built in our opinion, bit by bit over a long period of time so that they appear to have been generated by a series of suggestions rather than any larger plan or secret agenda. But there is an agenda in our opinion, one that has been endlessly written about on the Internet. The agenda is simply to militarize the West, especially America, while causing a maximum amount of chaos in the Middle East. The longer this situation extends, the more effective it may be.

In Britain there is more outward pushback. Maybe this is because Britain is a smaller country or more likely it is because Britain suffered terribly in the First and Second World Wars and that cultural memory still looms large. In America, militarization proceeds apace. Despite signaling a contrary approach before governing, the Obama administration has continued the Bush administration policy of using American military resources within USA borders, thus vitiating habeas corpus and accustomizing Americans to internal military presences. The military glorification celebrates destruction and the expenditure of blood and treasure. America has virtually turned into a security state with local police officers regularly stunning women and even children with tazers while harassed citizens line up at airports to be irradiated by unproven "security" technology.

The article by Reuters can be seen within this context in our opinion. It criticizes Israeli military action while granting that the possibility exists. It leaves us with a perspective that such an attack COULD occur, even though there may be a debate as to whether it SHOULD happen. Once people have granted the possibility that it could happen, then the jump to expecting that it might or would happen is not nearly so broad.

This is how, in our opinion, even the most shocking possibilities can become tomorrow's realities. It happens gradually via constant discussion over time. Even individual nomenclature can be corrupted this way. Seventy years ago another American generation waged war against the German "Homeland" or Fatherland. Today, the sons and daughters of that war support an aptly (mis-) named "Homeland Security" apparatus with their tax dollars.

The military industrial complex in America has been very clever in terms of how it has waged the current long war. By removing the draft, the powers-that-be eradicated a potential sore spot and a controlling issue as well. There is no point around which the American people can easily rally anymore as a professional army is in charge of the conflict, and the professional army can be enlarged through the judicious use of private military contractors. The determined impulse is to ensure that the US military and its enablers will do virtually anything to avoid a draft and subsequent exposure to energetic public scrutiny.

Two final points ought to be made about the "long war" scenario. We wondered in past articles how on earth an expansion of current Middle Eastern wars would make sense. But perhaps we were not properly envisioning how such a war would be fought. If a long war is actively being sought by the Anglo-American elite, and it appears that it is, then an attack on Iran might make sense because Iran cannot retaliate massively but would have to fight back on an ad hoc basis. This means terror attacks, oil and gas price hikes, military skirmishes, etc. – but such aggression would probably embroil the Middle East before reaching Western shores.

Secondly, as a Bell feedbacker pointed out to us yesterday, the areas of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq are contiguous, which places the war firmly in a regional context and makes it easier to prosecute from a military and resource standpoint. Thirdly, a vastly expanded war would give the US a chance to proclaim an even firmer common cause with the EU. This in turn, could help prevent that artificial entity from breaking up in the immanent future. Here's a final unhappy thought: A war with Iran might give the US an opportunity to use TACTICAL nuclear weapons, and therefore destigmatize the use of nuclear weapons generally, making it easier to wage a wider war and use war, generally, as a means of social control.

Within the above context, a "long war" is certainly a possibility, so long as the money does not run out. The NATO military, especially the American military, has been secured from the consequences of "endless war for endless peace" by the absence of a draft. Private military contractors can expand the amount of troops as necessary. Funding is an issue but it is one that has been dealt with in the past; Congressmen can be easily cowed in this era of the warrantless wiretap.

As mainstream media discussions about Iran continue, the possibility of a war with Iran will gradually become less shocking, at least on the surface. People will be desensitized to the process. The impact on the prices of gold, oil and other commodities (and world trade generally) would be enormous. But it is perfectly possible that the power elite feels it has no other choice. Western economies are not easily salvaged at this point and war is a good alternative to social unrest that would be aimed at the power elite itself.

After Thoughts

Because of the Internet, it has become far more difficult to launch the kinds of "false flag" operations that the CIA and other Western intelligence organizations have become famous for. The alternative to such operations is an external war that has the same galvanizing effect on Western populations. War is indeed the health of the state. If there are indeed plans for an expanded "long war," we would expect to see additional mentions in the media building up into a feverish blizzard of accusations against Iran. There will of course be arguments pro and con about such a war (as evidence by the Reuters article above) but it will be pro-offered within the elite's fear-based paradigm: Iran is an existential threat and must be confronted.

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