The Military-Industrial-Israel Complex is baaack.
The victory of the War Party– … ooops, I mean the Republican Party– at the polls on November 2 was sure to embolden Israeli hawks, since the latter are essentially rightwing Republicans whenever they visit the United States. And, so many of the new members of the House of Representatives are Christian Zionists who appear to believe that Jehovah hasn’t smited the poor Palestinians (I mean Amalekites) sufficiently to ensure the return of baby Jay-sus. More smiting, they say, is in order.
The harbingers of emboldening were clearly visible in Halifax, Canada, when Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak spoke there on Saturday. He decried the ineffectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran in deterring its nuclear enrichment program, making a glib assumption that Iran is a North Korea determined to possess a nuclear bomb. Comically, Barak warned that if Iran did get a nuclear weapon, then everyone in the Middle East would want one, and non-proliferation would be dead.
But of course it is Israel’s own nuclear arsenal that kicked off the arms race in the Middle East, and it is comical for Barak to worry about a Non-Proliferation Treaty Israel never signed and the ideals of which Tel Aviv has wantonly trampled upon. Nor is it true that Israel has a no-first-use policy; it has never announced any such thing. Indeed, its leaders issued only slightly veiled threats to nuke Baghdad at the outset of the Bush invasion of Iraq, were Saddam Hussein to try to send gas-tipped SCUDs at Tel Aviv.
Moreover, while it may be “clear” to Barak that Iran is trying to construct a nuclear warhead, there is no evidence to back up this allegation. The International Atomic Energy Agency has certified only this spring that no nuclear material has been diverted from civilian purposes at the Natanz enrichment facility. Two National Intelligence Estimates in a row, 2007 and 2010, have assessed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. The suspicious are reduced to positing hidden sites and sites in tunnels, etc. But making nuclear bombs uses a lot of water and electricity and would produce activities visible to satellites and susceptible of electronic surveillance. In short, “everybody knows” or Barak’s certitude will not cut it as a basis for going to war, especially after Mossad (Israeli intelligence) misled the US about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
And, of course, the generals, who know about war and military capabilities, completely disagree with Barak.
Barak sounded restrained compared to Republican Lindsey Graham, who said “containment is off the table.” That is, it is unacceptable to him to deal with Iran as the US dealt with the Soviet Union. (Why? Because Khamenei is worse than Stalin. How?) Not to mention that unlike the Soviet Union, Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon. But, oh, I see. That is why you don’t need to contain it. You can just take it out. It is brilliant. Iran’s non-existent, imaginary nuke is at the same time what makes war necessary and what makes it possible. An actual Iranian nuke would put war talk off the table.
Graham said that in the war of the US on Iran, the US military should “not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.”
Graham is a vet and usually is well informed on military affairs, but this remark demonstrates an alarming ignorance about Iran alongside an alarming hole in the center of his soul that makes him want to launch aggressive wars and kill tens of thousands of strangers to prove his manhood.
Iran has no air force to speak of, nor much of a navy. The Iranian military budget is around the same as that of Singapore or Norway, and is the smallest per capita in the Persian Gulf save for the United Arab Emirates. The Revolutionary Guards are a poorly equipped national guard. Revolutionary Iran’s strength has all along been asymmetrical, and the US military is simply not capable of ‘neutering’ Iran’s capabilities in this regard. Graham’s musings are so inaccurate in their view of Iran’s military as to be comical, which is why the Iranian foreign minister speculated that ol’ Lindsey was just joshin’ us.
The third volley came on Sunday from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who told Vice President Joe Biden that economic sanctions are insufficient, and that some military threat must be trained on Iran to make it give up its nuclear enrichment program.
The problem is that if you draw a gun on someone, and they ignore you or rush you, you may have to use it to retain credibility. Military threats can easily escalate out of control, which is what Netanyahu is counting on.
While the Israeli hawks will no doubt hear a Greek chorus of accolades for their warmongering from the House of Representatives, the Obama administration has their number.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (from the small sane wing of the Republican Party) publicly rebuked Netanyahu. Gates said as a security conference in Melbourne, Australia, wrapped up,
‘ “We know that they are concerned about the impact of the sanctions. The sanctions are biting more deeply than they anticipated and we are working very hard at this … So I would disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions it needs to to end its nuclear weapons programme… We are prepared to do what is necessary but at this point we continue to believe that the political-economic approach that we taking is in fact having an impact in Iran.” ‘
I reiterate that at this juncture, an American war with Iran might just about finish off our Republic.