Ring of Iranian Bases Threatens US

I had grabbed an earlier version of this graphic off a Democratic Underground bulletin board from 2005. It made the point that the United States, which professes itself menaced by Iran, rather has Iran encircled by military bases. I have tried to update the map a bit, though this area is a moving target and the map no doubt isn’t perfect. It is expressive enough, however, of the reality. Iraq and Uzbekistan no longer have American bases, but the US military now has a refueling station in Turkmenistan.

US Bases Encircle Iran

Some critics complained that forward operating bases are not much of a base. But actually, this map vastly understates the case. It shows only a few of the estimated 450 US military bases and outposts in Afghanistan, e.g. And it does not show drone bases, of which the US has 60 around the world.

Iran has 150 billion barrels in petroleum reserves, among the largest reserves in the world, but they cannot be exploited by US corporations because of Israel lobby-inspired US congressional sanctions on Iran. US elites, especially Big Oil, dream of doing regime change in Iran so as to get access to those vast reserves. Likely the most important US objection to the Iranian civilian nuclear enrichment program is that it could give Iran “nuclear latency,” the ability to construct a bomb quickly if it seemed to Tehran that the US planned to attack. That is, the real objection in Washington to Iranian nuclear know-how is that it makes Iraq-style regime change impossible and so puts Iranian petroleum out of reach of Houston for the foreseeable future. This consideration is likely the real reason that Washington does not, so to speak, go ballistic about North Korea and Pakistan having actual nuclear warheads, but like to has a fainting spell at the very idea of Iran enriching uranium to 3.5 percent (a bomb takes 95%). North Korea and Pakistan don’t have oil.

63 Responses

  1. We, who wish a relatively sustainable environment for our grandchildren — a goal that is looking incredibly optimistic unless we have a mass outbreak of human, social, political and economic intelligence — have to be very strong.

    If the retrograde forces are allowed to accomplish the war crime of an Israeli and/or American attack on Iranian sites, it will show the complete degeneracy of American political institutions. Perhaps we can make some green movement forward with creative responses to the sudden collapse of most major economies with gasoline at $8. a gallon, not to mention a host of other less-than-optimal aftereffects of yet another Mideast war — whether in or shortly after an American election year.

  2. The US and Isreali governments hypocrisy is limitless. As Iranian scientist are being murdered, Three Stooges car bombings and fictional Mexican drug cartel assassantions are being laid at the doorstep of Iran.

    Lately the “Iran is a threat to the world” rhetoric has reached such hysterical proportions that even Huffington Post made mention of how similar this was to the Iraq war build up.

    As scary as this may sound…Obama may be the only person standing between peace and oil hitting $300 a barrel, which will happen the day after Iran is bombed. What do you want to bet there are neocon insiders who are purchasing oil futures, planning to make a bundle off the misery of others?

  3. “It made the point that the United States, which professes itself menaced by Iran, rather has Iran encircled by military bases.”

    Professor, your post reads as if the United States maintains the aforesaid military bases for the express purpose of encircling Iran. In fact many of the bases (e.g., in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain) have been in place for decades, long before the Iranian nuclear issue became front and center. Most of the other bases in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgizstan, Tajikstan, etc. are there to support the effort in Afghanistan. Others, such as in Djibouti, are for monitoring and striking against terrorist organizations, particularly in Somalia and in and around the Horn.

    In other words, these bases exist for reasons far removed from “encircling Iran,” and most are not configured or equipped to mount any “attack” against Iran. Some can fly drones over Iran and monitor Iranian activity, but their primary purpose is to maintain the U.S. effort against terrorism, insurgents, and threats in a very rough neighborhood. That they happen to be in the same neighborhood as Iran is incidental to their mission.

    • “…incidental to their mission”?

      So, what’s your point? Do these military installations exist or don’t they? The truth is that we have military assets all around the globe, including areas surrounding Iran. If Iran makes any move to use nuclear force against another, it stands to be incinerated within a matter of nanoseconds, while the threat that nation poses to the United States ranges from minuscule to non-existent.

      • Had you read my post carefully, Dorothy, you would have noted my point, which was to put the Professor’s post about U.S. bases in context. You even repeated my line but appear not to have understood it. So let me repeat it here: That they [the bases] happen to be in the same neighborhood as Iran is incidental to their mission. That is very different than leaving the impression that they exist in order to encircle Iran.

        • Contrary to your comment, I believe I read both Mr. Cole’s post and yours very carefully. Your main point is very clear: that Cole intended to leave the impression that the U.S. had constructed military bases “in order to encircle Iran”. This assumption is neither an accurate assessment of what was said, nor is it fair to Mr. Cole. What Cole pointed out was that the U.S. “has Iran encircled by military bases”–a fact that is incontrovertible. No claim was made as to how, when or why these facilities were originally put there. Mr. Cole likely doesn’t know all of the reasons for their construction, and, I believe it fair to say, neither do you.

        • “Your main point is very clear: that Cole intended to leave the impression that the U.S. had constructed military bases “in order to encircle Iran.”

          Dorothy, your statement (quoted above) indicates that you certainly did not read my post carefully, or at least you did not understand what you read. I did not in any way indicate that Professor Cole “intended” anything by his post. What I wrote was: “Professor, your post reads as if the United States maintains the aforesaid military bases for the express purpose of encircling Iran.”

          While I indicated that Professor Cole’s post “reads as if the United States maintains the aforesaid military bases for the express purpose of encircling Iran,” I did not attach to it nor suggest an “intent” on the part of the Professor regarding his post.

    • Some think that the US is the terrorist nation here. Iran has not attacked another nation in well over 200 years; something that cannot be said about the US. How would the US feel if Canada and Mexico were nuclear armed by China and maintained Chinese basses which flew drones at will over the US as well as having fleets of warships in it’s territorial waters.

      • “as well as having fleets of warships in it’s territorial waters.”

        I assume that you are implying that the United States maintains fleets of warships in Iran’s territorial waters, Economist. Please indicate specifically where the U.S. has fleets of warships in Iran’s territorial waters.

    • All those bases would be deployed in any US conflict with Iran, and most Gulf bases were put there specifically for that purpose

      • Actually, any U.S. military action against Iran would be far more likely to be spearheaded by U.S. naval assets (off carriers) and B-2 Stealth bombers based far from the theater of operations than from the small bases we maintain in the Gulf, including the Fifth Fleet naval base in Bahrain.

        • Bill I don’t know what kind of word game you’re playing with your nit picking responses but its very boring.

          The US has very large numbers of bases and troops (Assets) stationed in countries around Iran. I recon that if we were to do a quick survey of the troops there we would find two things:
          1) they are well aware who the current bogey man is (IRAN)
          2) which direction to fire their weapons when/if the order comes (IRAN)

          If the positions were reversed the US would be fairly pissy and would be (rightly) wondering what Iran was up to.
          Iran has even more justification for being a bit concerned ..there’s been a lot of very threatening rhetoric and the US has an earned reputation for throwing its might around…

          But of course this could all be wrong and it might just be the case that the US – having such a MASSIVE military has absolutely nowhere to put them and its just an innocent coincidence that large numbers of assets have ended up in the Middle East in the neighborhood of Iran. And I might be Mother Theresa.

        • Janine, if you do not appreciate precision in the use of language and the clarity of thought and expression that follows, I can see why you might find this boring.

      • Actually Juan, you should make the opposite conclusion from the one you’re making. The number of “bases,” especially if one defines that as liberally as you seem to, does not correlate with direct military capability.

        In fact, all those bases are a net liability when it comes to the balance of combat power between the US and Iran. Closing down Afghanistan and the central Asian bases (as Iraq was closed down) would actually free up combat power and resources which could be used against Iran and would deny Iran lightly defended and dispersed targets for retaliatory attacks. In other words, fewer bases would be a bigger threat to Iran. Specifically, closing down Afghanistan would free up about 100,000 troops, the bulk of US ISR assets, a lot of logistical capability, and a lot of tactical airpower.

        The Iranians aren’t stupid – they understand the the US forces in Afghanistan aren’t a serious threat to them, nor are the “bases” dedicated to support the war there. They are not in the least worried that the 3rd ACR is going to spearhead out of some FOB in Herat province.

        In short, possessing a jar with 1000 pennies does not make one a rich man.

      • most Gulf bases were put there specifically for that purpose

        Most Gulf bases were put there specifically to deal with Iraq, whether before the First Gulf War (Saudi Arabia), immediately after it (Kuwait) or before the invasion of Iraq.

        Now, the bases we built and abandoned in Iraq – most of those were built to “project power” against Iran.

        • Iraq was not a problem for the US until 1990. The US navy was an adjunct to the Iraqi army in the 1980s. As the US replaced the British in the course of the 1980s, it viewed post-1979 Iran as the threat.

        • Iraq was not a problem for the US until 1990. The US navy was an adjunct to the Iraqi army in the 1980s. As the US replaced the British in the course of the 1980s, it viewed post-1979 Iran as the threat.

          All of that is true, Professor, but the creation of most of the American bases around the Gulf, and most of the personnel we have stationed in the region, didn’t come out of that, but out of our two-decade contretemps with Iraq.

          In the 80s, and before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, our presence in the Gulf was mainly limited to aircraft carriers. It was a BFD when George H. W. Bush convinced the Saudis to approve American troop deployments in the Kingdom in Operation Desert Shield, which begat Operation Desert Storm, which begat the long-term, large-scale troop presence.

    • Anyone reading or posting here actually know, and care to share, what actually goes on every day at those “forward bases,” and how they fit into the long-term implementation of the changeable but pretty much hegemonical Doctrine that flavors “our” actions and intentions in the Great Game? I remember what most days on “forward bases” I was assigned to in Vietnam were like — not the stuff of war movies.

      Maybe someone can tell us what the “mission” Bill so portentously cites happens to be. Something more than “We kill some of them, so they kill some of us, so we kill some of their neighbors, so they kill some of us…”? Control, maybe?

      Seems (to this dilettante) that the most prevalent and effective actions “against terrorists” have largely been POLICE activities — investigation, stings, arrest and even “Crotch-Bomber” civilian trial and punishment, or as in the case of bin Ladin, a long-deferred LA SWAT-style takedown. Patrolling the valleys of Kandahar and killing Wogs who “we” define as “terrorists” and “insurgents,” building a new charge of vengeance, sowing corruption like dragon’s teeth, sure does not look like “effective mission” or “success” or “victory” to me.

      The whole worldwide Networked Battlespace apparatus looks to me like just a mechanism searching for a “geopolitical” meta-reason to justify a fits-with-the-myths-they-peddle “mission,” inventing all those “threats” (and selling them, for fun and profit, to potential competitors or opponents) or exacerbating them by Hellfire and Dumbnation as it tramples along. Gulping down huge amounts of real, usable, potentially stabilizing wealth as it goes, for ZERO increase in “security.”

      Seems (to this dilettante) that the whole set of State Security “responses to” and “preparedness for” “terrorism, insurgents and threats” is a fumblefisted giant swinging a huge wrecking ball at the houses of anyone who “opposes American dominance,” anywhere in the eight or nine “Areas of Responsibility” that the Pentagon has divvied the whole world into and claimed for their own. All at the cost of the “freedoms” and “liberty” we think we have, at the cost of any stability or the chance for any kind of healthy and sustainable relationships to develop across the boundaries that have to exist if the whole Networked Battlespace Thingie is going to have any even colorable “reason” to go on eating all our lunches.

      And guess what? “We” walk away, once again, from the mess we augmented in Iraq and Notagainistan and now Yemen and how many other places, like beer-muscled brawlers walking out of the saloon after the bar fight, leaving someone else to clean up and a few of “us” behind to keep breaking the bottles and glasses…

      And on the horizon, The NEXT GREAT ENEMY! IRAN!

      Hey, “we” have spent all the money and effort to put the whole ongoing Futilitarian exercise in motion — let’s not worry about that adage about throwing good money, and good men and women and children, after bad.

      • Manufacturing the right job for the wrong tool? …you think there would be folk who would do something so duplicitous – that would end in “throwing good money, and good men and women and children, after bad.”???
        Yep.

    • Bases are located where they can be closer to future military conflict. The bases are close to Iran and the US/Israeli military complex threatens Iran daily.

    • Bill, isn’t the point of an empire of bases in 130 countries that we can encircle anyone, anywhere, at any time, without any justification, leaving us an easy half-step from aggression?

      You are being far too charitable to the US government in its reasons for spending more on its military than the rest of the world put together. Do you believe that America has a unique right to global hegemony, or don’t you? Because that strikes at the heart of the concept of international law.

  4. Makes sense. But the biggest puzzle from that map to me is the absence of any bases at all in oil-rich Iraq, after we have spent trillions of dollars fighting a war there. I really don’t know what the situation is re: Iraqi oil. Are we getting any of it in the US? All one ever heard about it was the situation was chaotic. Help us out here, Juan.

    • But the biggest puzzle from that map to me is the absence of any bases at all in oil-rich Iraq, after we have spent trillions of dollars fighting a war there.

      That is rather notable, isn’t it? It certainly is a remarkable departure from the historical norm.

      Elections have consequences.

      Obama/Biden 2012.

      • Elections do have consequences. Only it was the Iraq elections and not the US elections. Sistani forced the US to allow Iraqi elections. The deadline to get US troops out was signed by Bush and the elected Iraqi govt. Obama/Biden did SFA.

  5. Juan:

    I thought Saudi Arabia got rid of Prince Sultan a number of years ago? I thought the US moved out to try to reduce animus for America being in the country of Mecca?!?

  6. This is true. The US does find the independence of Iran and thus lack of control over it’s oil more than irritating; but more immediate than that of the independence of the now up and running Iranian Oil Bourse which is selling Iranian oil in currencies other than US petrodollars: gold, rubles, euros, yuan, etc.. The escalation of the sale of oil here and then probably elsewhere in currencies other than the petrodollar will have serious consequences in the short and long run to the US economy.

  7. It was claimed that the US invaded Iraq so that American oil companies could get their hands on Iraqi oil, but I read recently that American oil companies did NOT win the contracts. This in spite of the American military presence and an Iraq gov’t that was supposedly in thrall to the Americans. Now we are told that American oil companies want to invade Iran so they can get their hands on that oil. Doesn’t make sense.
    It does make sense there is a significant American military presence in the area. The area controls a big hunk of the world’s oil reserves and the governments in the area are not democracies. Oil is a VITAL interest to all countries. A major disruption in oil supplies affects the entire economic life of all countries, possibly leading to massive inflation or even to power and food shortages and civil disorder. Look what is happening in Greece without an oil shortage problem. So why is it suprising that the US wants to have a military presence in the area? If any of you were President of the US you would have the same concerns and would support an American military presence in the region.

    • Yeah, actually US firms have done well in Iraq bids. And that things didn’t work out well for Cheney doesn’t tell you anything about his otriginal motives!

    • It wasn’t just “claimed,” that bit about “us” taking Iraqi oil. That was one of the principle neocon selling points: That the oil “we” would grab would pay for the cost of the invasion. And as pointed out here, Plan B for most US oil companies, that part about doing that Capitalist thing and bidding on the reserves, did not work out, because they would not have met their profit expectations at the price they would have had to pay.

      And what is with these people? Did the neocons give any thought to the politics and energies of the various parts of Iraq? Or how “we” would have arranged to secure all those wellheads and storage tanks and pipelines, especially since “we” were so bonehead stupid as to fail to secure all the millions of pounds of US-made and -supplied Saddamordnance, all the dumbombs and artillery shells “we” gave or sold to him, which “insurgents” defending their territory had the temerity to police up and then use to blow up unarmored Humvees and ground-pounding GIs? And their neighbors of a slightly different belief structure?

      But find little corners to work and bits of attempted impeachment to toss up there, and stick with the Narrative — it’s so, aaahh, comfortable, isn’t it? Kind of like those fossils the Creationists point to, found in unlikely geologic strata, as “proof” of the Seven Day Theory?

    • Read “The Shock Doctrine”, for God’s sake. We fully intended to turn the place into a colony, but the people fought back and Rumsfeld’s mercenarized military was too weak and hated. Oil companies know international law as well as Prof. Cole does: contracts signed with a foreign occupation regime have no lasting validity. The US tried to manufacture an unelected regime under an Iraqi to satisfy those conditions, but Sistani’s demand for elections scared the companies away. The Iraqi oil workers’ union bravely declared that they would destroy all their facilities rather than turn them over to foreigners. Thus no elected Iraqi government dared give in to Occupation
      “recommendations”. The civil war resulting from our criminal incompetence (documented by the Lancet death study) made US corporate operations completely impossible, and that ran out the clock on our wretched Occupation.

      To claim that we didn’t intend to win control of Iraqi oil is as evil as claiming that Iraq was behind 9/11 or that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction; a pretty lie to justify further holocausts.

  8. Love love love seeing Iraq blue and free of stars on that map. Some said it would never happen.

    Turning around an aircraft carrier take a long time, but at least it’s turning.

  9. I recall a map making a similar point in an article in the Washington Post editorial section about the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The point was that the much-discussed Soviet “paranoia” was really not unreasonable when their situation with our bases was the equivalent of the Soviets having bases in Canada and Mexico.

    • The situation during the Cold War, Redshift, was that the Soviets maintained a threatening posture toward the U.S. via their ICBM nuclear arsenal, but an even more threatening posture toward Western Europe via their intermediate-range missles and the conventional forces they maintained in Eastern Europe. Their conventional forces were far larger than those maintained in Western Europe by NATO. This is the reason the U.S. maintained bases in Europe, including Greece and Turkey. The Soviets brought it on through their own aggressive and threatening behavior.

      • I grew up during the Cold War. Contrary to conventional wisdom, and despite all the complaining about Europeans’depending on the US’ in the 70s and 80s, whenever Europe began taking about building up strictly European defenses, the US iced the idea ASAP. US policy makers feared an independent European military that it could not control much more than footing the bill for NATO.

        • Actually, the only country to seriously create an independent force was France when de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO’s military command structure in 1966. The U.S. certainly did not “ice” that. We simply moved NATO headquarters from Paris to Brussels, where it is today.

          The U.S. has not interfered with Europe’s attempts to create a 60,000-man “Rapid Reaction Force” over the past ten years. What has held that up has been the Europeans’ inability to finance it because of their very low defense budgets, their almost total lack of logistics capacity to project such a force, and the Europeans’ lack of political will to address those issues.

      • And of course US nuke-armed IRBMs and MRBMs deployed on the Soviet borders, with “target times” from launch to Moscow on the order of 10 minutes, had nothing to do with tensions. Nor did Reagan’s “Peacekeeper” with its first-strike MIRVs. And of course much after the fact, a few US generals acknowledged that the scary Warsaw Pact troops were so drunk, drugged, mutinous and untrustworthy that they were not even allowed to have maps, and sort of admitted that the “bomber gap” and the “missile gap” and the “window of vulnerability” were just BS, cloaked in complicated text from RANDland, designed to scare or buffalo Congress or give aid and comfort to the war-bride members of it, and the rest of us into giving the War Department what it wanted — more, of everything.

        To say that ‘the Soviets brought it on” might be comforting noise, but it sure camouflages the complex reality of the Gamesmanship. “We” are not even close to being able to claim clean hands.

      • But if you recall any geography, Bill, there are no natural barriers to an invading force going in either direction in Eastern Europe. And we had a nuclear monopoly at first. So what choice did the Soviets have but to treat us as being capable of doing what Hitler did? Stalin was a mass murderer, but he didn’t make the same mistake twice.

        This isn’t actually an argument I accept, but your refusal to even consider the other side’s point of view is characteristic of why America blundered into the Cold War. George Kennan saw the entire problem in 1946: Stalin would demand to dominate Eastern Europe by right of conquest, America’s crusader mentality would turn against the USSR, and each side would see the other as a Fourth Reich ready to strike.

        His solution puts the lie to your justifications to America’s actions and to Redshift’s revisionism: Containment. Kennan’s Containment was far more restrained and genuinely defensive than what the USA actually carried out. He wanted it to be strictly a European matter because he knew our aid to already-bourgeoise liberal societies would win. Our paranoia globalized the conflict to assume that any Communist anywhere who fought British, French and Dutch imperialism was a monster who wanted to rape our daughters in Kansas. The spread of the conflict was used to justify orders of magnitude increases in nuclear arsenals, power projection weapons, bases, and budgets. It also was used to purge America of radical thinkers who might have questioned that whole profitable enterprise.

        Kennan became a bitter critic of the Cold War infrastructure and the developing US empire, which was never dismantled after the fall of the USSR, for reasons well outlined by Eisenhower in his farewell warning.

        • And yet, containment, as carried forth by the United States and its allies, accomplished exactly what Kennan predicted: The collapse of the Soviet Union. The USSR was forced to confront (and had a realist leader in Gorbachev to accept the inevitable) its own inability to hold the communist empire together.

          The supreme irony is communist doctrine always held that internal contradictions would lead to capitalism’s demise, while, in fact, it was the internal contradictions of communism that led to its collapse. The United States and its allies, including NATO, by relentlessly maintaining their policy and practice of containment, had a lot to do with forcing the Soviet Union to recognize that it could no longer sustain a crumbling edifice built upon those internal contradictions.

        • “Containment worked”? And burning the house down does get rid of some of the roaches…

          Blah, blah, Narrative blah…

  10. A few points need to be addressed here;

    1, north korea does have oil. Its estimated to be around 400mn barrels, so not a huge amount but its still oil.

    There are currently 3 or 4 companies looking into exploiting the oil, with the North Korean govt.

    The North has its own rigs, just not the funds and experienced personnel required.

    The South Koreans have tried to get the North to jointly drill for the oil in the North for several years — obviously the North hasnt, and will never agree to this.

    2, the commentor saying the U.S. wasnt awarded contracts in Iraq is wrong; several U.S. oil majors bid, but insisted on getting a better deal using the pretense that they had made Iraq safer, as an excuse for why American firms should be rewarded with a bigger chunk of the pie.

    Very few of the American companies were willing to only take $2/bbl profit, but BP/China/Shell were.

    Why? Theyre forward thinking, and realise Iraq has much bigger future potential deals, not just the low-earners currently on offer which are low paying as the majority of the money is, at least on paper, intended to be spent on the reconstruction of Iraq.

    3, Pakistan also has oil…and quite considerable levels of Gas.

    Premier is lifting Gas alongside some Pakistani companies, and the canadian company intends to lift the upto 60mn barrels thought to be in the old “toot” oilfield.

    If anything, the reason Iran irritates the world is the fact it sets its own asking price; On a monthly basis it changes the price it wants. For example, at present for Asia it sells oil at a discount to spot price, but for Europe its at a premium of roughly 1.5% to spot.

    This is probably why Opec countries will support any attack on Iran — Iran under-cuts them on price when it comes to the biggest market — Asia — so is a threat to their economies…albeit, a small, insignificant threat.

  11. “US elites, especially Big Oil, dream of doing regime change in Iran so as to get access to those vast reserves.”

    We’ve seen this movie before – when the Dulles brothers colluded with the UK to put the Shah on the throne, overthrowing a parliamentary democracy, in order to get control of the oil for the Big Four western oil companies. We know how that ended.

    “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”…Santayana also said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

    • Amen Sister!

      But you need to add to “seen this movie before” also, “and before, and before, and before, and before”.

      We were lied to about Vietnam. We were lied to about the communist threat (why oh why our intelligence agencies had any credibility after ’89 is a mystery to me – communism about to collapse – now how’d they miss that titbit of news? And our government caught flat-footed. For just what were our tax dollars being funneled to the CIA?). We were lied to about Grenada and Panama (and by the way, we killed somewhere between 2000-4000 civilians on Bush Sr.’s little obscene adventure in Panama). We were lied to concerning our support of violence in . . . . well, pretty much most of the global south (I’d list the countries but I think I’d have to list just about all of them, especially in central America from pretty much the 1950s-90s and probably still today). We were lied to about Iraq in ’91 (the Washington Post ran an article a few years ago that the Iraqi military build up at the time along the Saudi border ominously referred to then by war secretary Cheney was pretty much fiction). Were were lied to about the Sudan by Clinton. Were were lied to about Iraq by Bush in 2003. We are currently lied to about . . . well, pretty much nearly everything (such as all those nasty threatening children our drone strikes take out). Hell, I’d like to know one genuinely necessary war we’ve waged since we landed on Normandy.

      Look, governments lie. Iran may be about oil, it may not be; but it’s certainly about keeping the military industrial complex fat and happy. Manufacture a threat and you need to prepare for it and meet it – it keeps the armaments factories humming, the media ratings up, the people frightened.

      The mystery to me is how so many of those in power manage to sleep at night, because not only are they killing (or complicit in killing) for the most part poor people of color in the global south, and far too many innocents, they are taking the future away from our children. And if you don’t believe me then I suggest you take a look at some stats about malnutrition, its costs and consequences in our own backyard.

      So, since we need to pay for veteran care for these wars, since we are still in Afghanistan, since we have low level wars ongoing but undeclared in a sense in Yemen and Pakistan and the gods know where else, will someone please explain to me, who is the next segment of the underclass who will suffer in order to pay for this fiasco we are now intent upon in Persia? And explain to me why anyone has any credibility in terms of its necessity?

      The Onion nailed it the other day, I think, when there was a headline that read, “Iran Concerned as USA Builds 8,500th Nuclear Warhead”.

      • Steve:

        Very well said. I could not have said any better.

        “We were lied to about Grenada and Panama (and by the way, we killed somewhere between 2000-4000 civilians on Bush Sr.’s little obscene adventure in Panama).”

        I vividly remember after the capture of Noriega in Panama. Forrest Sawyer was reporting on evening news about Panama, he said that he has not seen such destruction since Vietnam war…..His report was abruptly cut short in the middle. Never heard any more details either on his network ABC or any other channel. It was the end of Free News Media.

  12. Iranning is a lot easier way for the oil companies to make money than deep well drilling, Keystoning, and Arctic Wild Life Refuge lobbying. Just keep the “uncertainty of war” level scary enough to keep the do-gooders off the backs of the futures traders.

    The holy rectitude of the price of a barrel of crude, no matter when, (unless when too low) is the backbone of the energy wealth.

    • And of course there’s this little bit of the Great Game that we all ought to bear in mind — link to nytimes.com

      The history continued: ”Roosevelt pointed out that there was no other way by which the government could be changed and the test was now between Mr. Mossadegh and his force and the shah and the army, which was still with him, but which would soon slip away.”

      Mr. Roosevelt told the shah that ”failure to act could lead only to a Communist Iran or to a second Korea.”

      On Aug. 16, fearing the coup had failed, the shah fled to Baghdad and the C.I.A. urged Mr. Roosevelt to leave Iran immediately. He refused, insisting that there was still ”a slight remaining chance of success.”

      After the tide started to turn against Mr. Mossadegh, Mr. Roosevelt got one of the coup leaders, Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, out of hiding and he made a radio address to the nation that brought the forces over to the shah’s side.

      It was the C.I.A.’s first successful overthrow of a foreign government, and the shah stayed in power until the Islamic revolution of 1979.

      ”For an operation to last 25 years is not so bad,” one of Mr. Roosevelt’s C.I.A. colleagues, Samuel Halpern, said today. ”It fell apart. Every operation cannot go on forever.”

  13. All those military bases are in vain.

    All those military bases and yet it was Iran who came out the winner in Iraq.

    The Americans can’t do a damn thing:)

  14. The only sensible thing to do is to legally transfer the Dept of Defense to the Oil Industry. It will make the accounting and budgeting much easier and increase the profitability.
    In a couple of years when there isn’t any blue on the map Israel will so secure and the Straits of Hormuz so safe we will all just watch baseball.
    The big deal will be the Carbon Price and its impact on a gallon. Nice world eh?
    Next The War Business will be floated.
    War will just be a robotic computer game anyway.
    Buy your Drone Credits here! Cheaply kill terrorists from the comfort of your own lounge. Quantity discounts.

  15. I can’t help but think the Israel Lobby jab in Professor Cole’s post was beside the point. The bases are there to protect Saudi oil, no? And for some reason the Saudis feel threatened by the regime in Iran –more threatened by them than by the Israeli Bomb, otherwise, why are they threatening to build a bomb if the Iranians do, but never did when the ISraelis built theirs? I can’t quite see the reason for the recent drumbeat of support for Iran from Professor Cole, apart from not wanting to see another war. While I share the sentiment I worry about the impact of the analysis. The analysis of Libya and Syria seems sharper to me.

    • The Congressional sanctions on Iran began in the 1980s and were pushed by the Israel lobbies. In fact, originally AIPAC didn’t want to apply them also to Libya despite Lockerbie (because Libya was not a threat to Israel), and were shamed into it by the victims’ families.

      The AIPAC/ Congress sanctions are what keep US Big Oil out of the Iranian fields. They function to force Big Oil to support regime change as the only way to get access.

      Your trolling about alleged ‘support for Iran’ is funny.

    • Longtime US intelligence official Richard Clarke, on page 103 of his book “Your Government Failed You”, claims he was involved in an incident in 1988 when Saudi Arabia tried to import Chinese nuclear-capable long-range missiles and set them up at a secret base. George Schultz extracted a promise from the King that the base would be open for inspection, which apparently forced its closure.

      In 1988, would the Saudis have been buying nukes to deal with Iran, or to deter an attack from an Israel that already had a nuclear arsenal and had America in its pocket? The US obviously felt the latter, and had the power to overrule Saudi Arabia. Whether it still has this power today is open to question. If it does, then the current Saudi threat is horseshit meant to give the US an excuse to act pre-emptively against Iran.

  16. May be the reason USA does not have any bases in Iraq, because USA is leaving a Monstrous “Trojan Horse” in Bagdad, in the form of the Biggest & the most expensive embassy in the world.

    The monster embassy is too sacred and secret that even the American News Media is forbidden to come near it. One US TV channel was showing it from a distance of a mile away according to the TV reporter.

    Why all the warmongers & hawks were so upset when Nikita Khrushchev opened one missile base in Cuba. Why it became Cuban Missile crises? Was he going to attack USA? While USA had thousands of its own nukes? May be he wanted to have early warring missile shield.

    The lovers of democracy use democracy in so many ways that this word has become no more than a laughing stock. Whenever democracy does not suite the interests of the west, the democratically elected governments have been overthrown, dictators brought in, plunged the countries in civil wars that decimated the poor countries for years to come. Dictators were supplied with all the arms & ammunition to slaughter their own. Some times when those dictators became useless, they were overthrown in the name of democracy.

    Democracy is no more than a “Fig Leaf”. Wear it, change it or throw it; however, it suits the west’s interest.

    No matter how many bases USA has around Iran, no matter how much USA & Israel threatens Iran with all the options on the table on the daily bases, Iran is supposed to be silent spectator, but if USSR has built one base in Cuba, all the hell broke loose. How many warmongers lost their sleep?

  17. The idea of anyone lobbing single or multiple nuclear warheads around in the Middle East seems to me to be about as ludicrous as a nuclear threat on Luxembourg!
    Course one can be tested in the back garden at night no one will know!
    But on the top of the World Trade Centre I had no idea that some Looneys would take it out and bankrupt me in my new business as a consequence.
    My real concern is that the oil business doesn’t lead us all to mayhem, as lives do seem cheap on the path to profits.
    I have yet to figure out where “Do Not Kill” comes in the Blasphemy pecking order in the religions; not high up enough for me!

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