STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Fear Rises as U.S. Officials Threaten Iran
By Staff News & Analysis - April 03, 2010

"Diplomacy has failed," Sen. Chuck Schumer (pictured left with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), D-N.Y., told AIPAC, "Iran is on the verge of becoming nuclear and we cannot afford that." … "We have to contemplate the final option," said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., "the use of force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon." War is a "terrible thing," said Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., but "sometimes it is better to go to war than to allow the Holocaust to develop a second time." Graham then describes the war we Americans should fight: "If military force is ever employed, it should be done in a decisive fashion. The Iran government's ability to wage conventional war against its neighbors and our troops in the region should not exist. They should not have one plane that can fly or one ship that can float." Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, Neocon Central, writes, "The only questions remaining, one Washington politico tells me, are who starts it, and how it ends." As to who starts it, we know the answer. Teheran has not started a war in memory and is not going to launch a suicide attack on a superpower with thousands of nuclear weapons. As with Iraq in 2003, the war will be launched by the United States against a nation that did not attack us — to strip it of weapons it does not have. – Human Events

Dominant Social Theme: Iran's provocations will not cease.

Free-Market Analysis: Again, the drums beat – and the fear and frustration in America thicken until they seem almost palpable. War is certainly a racket, as General Smedley Butler wrote, but it is one that America's power elite has deployed with grim efficiency over the past decade since 9/11. War also allows the state to take repressive domestic actions it could not otherwise justify. And so pound the drums.

Iran is the latest target, as we can see from the article excerpted above by conservative pundit Pat Buchanan. It is a timely article, though Buchanan does not attempt to put the war into a wider context but contents himself with questioning the reason for its imminence and points out how close to total war America and its allies would have to come to properly pursue such a war. In this article we wish to go a step further to put a potential Iran war into a larger perspective.

Is it indeed time for one more conflict? One more war to distract citizens of the West from their own growing police states and the great unraveling of their own economies? Certainly, the rationales offered up for war against Iran are questionable. Many nations have nuclear weapons now, but none have used them for fear of retaliation. Why would Iran be any different – assuming its braintrust even has the wherewithal to make them.

From our point of view, to ask these questions is to answer them. So let us be clear. There is no reason for America to go to war with Iran. As Buchanan points out, it is not Iran that has started numerous wars in the past decades but America. If the world has something to fear from war, it is more likely to arrive from the West than Persia. Yet all this is probably beside the point. If there is to be war, any reason will do. America's leadership may want war for domestic rather than foreign policy reasons.

America, in fact, is a troubled nation. The country is said to be rebounding from the financial crisis but the unemployment figures don't seem to confirm this. President Barack Obama's administration has been piling on one expensive new program after another even as his popularity slides to under 50 percent, according to surveys. Meanwhile, the national debt has soared to a point where observers are talking openly about whether America's credit rating may be downgraded. Gold and silver prices are increasingly expensive compared to paper money. Not only that, but if China and Europe continue their slow motion economic collapses, whatever thin American gains have been made on the economic front may be further set back.

The recent "jaw jaw about war war" is right in line with the more truculent profile that America has been showing the world since 9/11. Debate about 9/11 is not nearly resolved in America, despite lack of official discussion. Like many things that have happened since 9/11, a domestic consensus concerning that terrible attack is hard to discern among the larger American public- and lately the alternative press and the Internet have seemed more active than ever in terms of reexamining 9/11 and questioning the official story.

The 9/11 attack and lack of official clarity about what really happened (see other Bell articles on 9/11) is like a cancer at the heart of American domestic and foreign policy. In the great city of New York there is still a hole in the ground and that hole is destructive to the nation's spirit as well. America's airports are like armed camps, its federal government supports a vast apparatus of spy agencies and domestic terror departments that seem mostly aimed at the nation's own citizens. Free-speech is being further affected by increased FBI and general legal intimidation.

But leaving 9/11 aside, the electorate remains fractured and bitter. The nation's political class is despised and both its current and former president are held in active disrepute by a country that at most can summon perhaps 25 percent voter support for increasingly repressive and economically ruinous policies. The latest, possibly unconstitutional bill, rammed through a fractured national congress, "health care reform," will do nothing to heal the American political conversation or electoral schism.

And so there is war. And more war. And war is a racket.

War is also it seems the preferred solution for America's military industrial complex. America has been embroiled in wars since the end of the 1940s and the last "great war." But in the past decade the pace of war has picked up. First Afghanistan, then Iraq and perhaps, now, Iran. But a trillion dollars later, why does the US government have so little to show for its efforts?

According to insider reports, Iraq's embittered religious leaders seemingly wait for the US to leave before resuming nearly inevitable intercine violence. Meanwhile, Afghanistan remains a political and military mess. The surge that allowed the US military-industrial complex to claim a (current) putative victory in Iraq has yet to take hold in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's increasingly paranoid and isolated leader Hamid Karzai is a thin reed on which to hang American and allied hopes. Recent articles in the mainstream press have pointed out that Karzai should act like the storied French leader Charles De Gaulle during World War II, and properly support American efforts in Afghanistan, but we wonder if that is an appropriate parallel.

Karzai is Pashtun, a member of the very tribe of some 40 million that spawned the Taliban. And thus the historical precedent is perhaps inaccurate. Karzai's own people are the ones that America is fighting. He may have made the prudent assumption that his life is forfeit once America departs, and thus his efforts to reach out to the Taliban to negotiate a government of national reconciliation are perfectly understandable and even predictable.

If America wishes to install the right kind of government, it would support the ascension of an individual without Pashtun ties. But this in turn would inflame the Pashtuns further as they have historically run the area by virtue of being the largest population. It would also be unfeasible in terms of the regions politics as Iran would doubtless be drawn further into the conflict to support the Pashtuns. It is a conundrum.

There is a temptation to wonder if the American military braintrust has decided that the easiest way to cut the Gordian knot of the Middle East conflict is to attack Iran with devastating force, as Buchanan suggests – an option that was finally rejected by the Bush administration but is obviously being considered again. This would have a number of ramifications that might be seen as positive from a certain US high-level perspective. For one thing, it would turn a series of small wars into a fairly sizeable one, even a kind of world war. It would polarize the military debate and potentially set back the effective anti-war movement in Europe and the expanding one in the US.

From an economic standpoint, attacking Iran would generally wreak havoc with industrial economies around the world and thus blur the lines of current responsibility. From a security perspective, a war with Iran would probably involve an even more intensive police state in America, Britain and Europe as remnants of Iran's military and special forces fight back using various terror strategies.

From the standpoint of the Western power elite that ultimately stands behind all these actions, placing the West on a massive war footing again would potentially further regional currency goals of the powers-that-be. The financial pressure on certain failing economies in the EU might subside, and various security and economic pacts (and mergers) in the Americas – between Canada, the US and Mexico – could be further elaborated.

There is plenty of risk in launching a war against Iran. Western economies would reel; China and Russia might be drawn in. Generally a major war always has unintended consequences. But the current status quo in the West is suffering death by a thousand cuts. The Internet has increasingly exposed power elite manipulations and resistance – mostly non-violent – is growing more active in both the EU and US. The economic downturn has exacerbated people's frustration and concentrated their minds on the failed sociopolitical and economic policies that have constituted "capitalism."

Thus it is then that a larger war might well be attractive to the Anglo-American power elite, and the risks even now are doubtlessly being debated and compared to the rewards. This is no surprise. When the Gutenberg press came into its own and began to change the texture of elite governance, several wars raged intermittently like sullen brushfires for decades. It made no difference, ultimately. The changes ushered in by the Gutenberg press were unstoppable.

Nothing, in fact, is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. The Internet and the free-market thinking it has spawned have already changed the West irrevocably. A larger war, even a world war of sorts will not change this reality. One cannot remove knowledge lodged in people's brains. One cannot remove tongues that speak or families and friends that listen. Eventually the power elite will be forced to take a step back as they have before. It is from our point of view inevitable.

It will not happen because of violent revolution. It will occur because of the knowledge of the sordid, elite manipulation that has taken place. People, in fact, don't like to be manipulated. They don't like being lied to. So the dream of one world government will likely fade, as it must. It will prove unattainable because the dominant social themes of the elite are not to be resuscitated. Yes, it is possible of course that some form of what is apparently planned will be implemented – but it will have been built faultily and based on force. Whatever it is, it won't last. It can't. It's too late.

After Thoughts

There is a reason that the elite prizes the promotions that the Daily Bell regularly reports on. It is almost impossible to move billions of people in the direction you want to go without a concomitant belief structure. Communication revolutions (such as the one the Internet has ushered in) are deadly to elite organizational promotions. Ultimately, the desperate Western rush toward authoritarianism is proof positive of this looming failure. The dogs of war may bay. The sound cannot drown out hard-won knowledge.

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