Saturday, February 18, 2012

Keep This In Mind

It is a truism of propaganda
that existential threats generate national cohesion, and this cohesion occurs whether the threat is "real" or not, "real" meaning not just is/isn't, but also degree of threat. There is a current somewhat muted drumbeat of alarm about Iran's nuclear program. On the Right are authoritative voices, some of them major players in the Bush Administration's rationale for war with Iraq, speaking up today for immediate war with Iran. The Obama Administration leaves "nothing" off the table when the subject comes up, appearing in the context of the GOP to be the "reasonable" party. If any one thing makes GOP candidate Ron Paul a person not to be taken seriously by the main stream media and by his fellow candidates, it is the fact that he is absolutely against a war with Iran. Paul's proven racism and general absurdity has never kept him off the main stage, while several other GOP "candidates", Govs Romer and Johnson being two who immediately come to mind, only appear as curios in the odd news piece that fills up a minute or two at the end of a slow day.

In this context, consider the following comment from Juan Cole:

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.

Consider also this comment from Doghouse Riley:

A flurry of actions and statements by Iran this week suggest its leaders are responding frantically, and more unpredictably, to the tightening of sanctions.

LOOK: it is now the 13th month of a Republican presidential campaign--as in President of the United States, the Leader of the Free World, a man who commands an actual nuclear arsenal, not just some aluminum tubes--so freighted with idiocy, illiteracy, hysteria, backwoods religious mania, Xenophobia, howlers, whoppers, bad sci-fi plots, galloping juvenilia, sexual phobias, spittle-flecked nationalism, off-hand wagers larger than most people's life savings, and, of course, the mandatory hushed reverence at the mention of "Ronald Reagan" that we ought to at least think twice before we start calling other people's leaders "frantic and unpredictable".

And just to make life more complicated, while this undercurrent of war with Iran continues, a fairly outspoken voice of the Right, one Dana Loesch, argues with apparent seriousness that the Virginia State Rape law just passed can't be rape, since after all, the women who are subject to the law (requiring an internal sonogram prior to a decision to abort a pregnancy) obviously were parties to a similar "insertion," else they wouldn't be pregnant. This statement is made in the face of the fact that a decent definition of rape would be "undesired penetration of the body," and the Commonwealth of Virginia has just passed a law ordering said undesired penetration as a precondition of a decision to abort.

With this kind of logic operating in our national decision-making process, I predict that war with Iran is now entirely inevitable, and that the utter tragedy of war, which should have been learned for our time by the end of the Vietnam experience, will in fact NEVER be learned. This of course isn't much of a prediction. Athens should have learned it, and taught it to civilization, for all time, well before the appearance of Jesus. After all, Thucydides made every effort to tell the story, and I expect every educated generation since has read his History in their required freshman history course. We still went to war with Iraq.

Update: Oh, I know, this sounds all depressed and bummy. After all, Fiddlin' Bill, it's Sunday (even if it's raining), and Kyle Busch won the Shoot Out last night in Daytona by performing a feat of genius driving not seen since Saint Dale hissef, and the best part to me was after the race, when Kyle sported a black leather Budweiser Shoot Out Jacket, which must have made Harvick positively pound the locker door in utter frustration. Still, you might want to listen to this little interview over your 4th cup of Sunday coffee, because the real world continues to revolve around its obscure sun no matter what Santorum says about its platter-like properties and its central place in the cosmos.

This, keep in mind, is a description of what the by far preferable presidential choice this year is currently pursuing as an aspect of foreign policy, in your and my name. In brief, the US of A now summarily executes people anywhere on earth. This is the policy of the one guy in the race who is really, more or less, a Christian.

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