Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stormy Weather

So many things happening at once today:

Oil is up $2 today, seventh straight day of gains. What will happen in Iran? Tensions are escalating, the situation with the captured British sailors seems to be beyond the control of either Iran or the UK, and the sheer quantity of military forces operating on edge in close proximity in the Persian Gulf makes the probability of an accidental "Gulf of Tonkin" type incident more and more likely by the hour. Not to mention incidents of the non-accidental type. Now it seems that the Nimitz is heading to the gulf to replace one of the two US carriers operating there--there will, of course, be a bit of an overlap, so for a period there will be 3 US carriers in the gulf. Oh, did I forget to mention that the French carrier, the Charles de Gaul, also recently arrived in the Arabian sea? Four carriers in one place almost speaks for itself. I wonder which would better build public support for an attack on Iran, the Nimitz "getting struck by a Sunburn SSM" while trainsiting the Strait of Hormuz, or the de Gaul "hitting a mine" while making the same passage. People keep asking me when and if we're going to attack Iran. I didn't think we'd attack Iraq (booked a vacation that I had to skip, in fact), so maybe I'm overly conservative in these areas as it is, but I'm rapidly coming around to the prospect of an attack on Iran. I still think that we're looking for an incident to build support back home--and the current administration will probably keep ratcheting up the tension until such an incident becomes inevitable. Hey, if it happens before the current troop funding for Iraq expires, then Bush could force the Democrats' hand on war funding, kill the timeline issue entirely, and give McCain a 20 point lead in the '08 presidential race.

But that isn't the only rosy news. The mortgage problems are getting worse. You've heard all about the sub-prime mortgage issue. Now take two minutes and carefully look at this graph:



Scared? If not, look again. That's $ 500 BILLION in sub-prime ARMs set to adjust higher in the next 24 months, and given the recent events, these people will not be able to get new sub-prime loans to refinance to fixed rates. The risk allocation system of Credit-Swap Derivatives did an admirable job of redistributing the first $100 billion in defaults (though only about $10 billion has actually defaulted, the rest are still at some point in the foreclosure process), but will it be able to handle this, or will it bring down the whole house of cards trying? So far only 44 mortgage lenders, including 3 of the top 10, have imploded (see the mortgage lender implode-o-meter) in the sub-prime debacle. How will the economy handle the next wave, which will be between 5 and 50 times as large? The good news is that our brilliant Congress has decided that people already inside the Ponzi scheme of our economy should bail themselves out. Seriously, they're considering a mortgage bail out. I'm sure they won't finance it with obvious taxation, but probably through inflationary debt spending that will have the same effect. Can you afford $1000 to bail out someone else's mortgage? What about the next round?

I'll end on a less negative note: check out John Robb's latest post on The Virtual Caliphate. It's fascinating, chronicles the rise of exactly the kind of state alternative that Robb has talked about before, and that I wrote about in The New Map. If nothing else the greater costs imposed on territorial Nation-States from rising energy prices and mortgage melt-downs will speed up the transition.

Cheers.

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tensions are escalating, the situation with the captured British sailors seems to be beyond the control of either Iran or the UK...

The situation with captured sailors seems to be beyond the control of Iran? Are you kidding me? What it "seems" is that Iran made the decision to abduct the soldiers and it "seems" they could avert all this press and military posturing were they to simply release them.

Do you question why Iran refuses to release the soldiers or just that it is a genuine Iranian move? You and Rosie O'Donnell have both made reference to the Gulf of Tonkin, establishing the implication that the abduction of the British soldiers was staged outside of Iran's control. Yet Iran has never disputed (to my knowledge) that they captured the soldiers and precious few believe the co-erced admissions of trespassing into Iranian waters.

Why would Iran cooperate in creating a justification for military intervention?

Please expand on why such provacative behavior on Iran's part should be viewed as insignificant or secondary to a master design to take over the Middle East.

-Smitty Broham

Jeff Vail said...

No, I'm not kidding. Here's why:

1. Iranian actions are subject to escalation of commitment. They've plastered these "confessions" and "admissions" of British sailors all over TV. Assuming they were coerced, releasing the sailors will lead to their public denials and statments about that coersion. Iran can't accept that, so they've painted themselves into a corner.

2. Yes, Iran captured the sailors. It's the 8th time in the past three years that they've captured small boats patrolling near the Iraq/Iran maritime border (only the second time the crews were western). We know that this is a likly occurence when small boats patrol this area, and yet the Royal Navy sends troops very close to the border (even based on the British account of their position). It's practically asking for this to happen. We can speculate all we want about the interior motivations of both sides, but the bottom line is (and hence the Tonkin reference) that this kind of thing happens when opposing forces increase their operations in such close proximity.

What move would you suggest Iran or the UK make next? They've become largely captive to forces beyond their own control.

Anonymous said...

Iranian actions are subject to escalation of commitment. They've plastered these "confessions" and "admissions" of British sailors all over TV. Assuming they were coerced, releasing the sailors will lead to their public denials and statments about that coersion. Iran can't accept that, so they've painted themselves into a corner.

Your analysis does not follow the previous model of Westerners being abducted by the Iranians for a similar “violation”. Last time it happened, they were quickly released after their “confession”. Why was Iran in control of the disposal of the prisoners last time but not now? As a follow up thought, if the logic behind preventing their release is a concern the “confession” would be taken back, Iran is left with no option but to kill them or hold them indefinitely, making an even stronger justification for military intervention than what they’ve already provoked.

An Iranian desire to prevent a probably coerced admission of guilt from being exposed as such is a horribly weak justification to let them off the hook by making a statement to the effect that they are no longer in control of what is happening. You are in effect projecting an air of unjustified victimhood onto the Iranians however little you may have intended to. They are absolutely in control of this and can make the decision to release the soldiers today. All the British can do is shrug their shoulders, ask nicely, or organize a military intervention.


We know that this is a likly occurence when small boats patrol this area, and yet the Royal Navy sends troops very close to the border (even based on the British account of their position).

The British are conducting military operations in Iraq which happens to be very close to the Iranian border. It sounds as though your expectations lie more heavily on people to stop getting abducted than for Iran to stop abducting. This logic is no more absurd than blaming the wife for getting beat up because she knew what would happen to her for not cooking dinner.


It's practically asking for this to happen.
If you are putting the onus of responsibility for this on Britain because they should have known the Iranians would abduct their sailors, then I am putting the onus of responsibility on the Iranians for the military response that may come because, in the same way, this sort of antagonization practically asks for that to happen. This seems more coherent than attributing this to some master plan to articifically antagonize war, which is a major insinuation from your post.

but the bottom line is (and hence the Tonkin reference) that this kind of thing happens when opposing forces increase their operations in such close proximity.

So your Tonkin reference was to point out that it would be best if opposing forces not operate in close proximity? Seems a rather obvious observation. Rosie O’Donnell’s reference to Tonkin was obviously to suggest the joint American-British forces are engineering this somehow for justification to invade Iran next. I took your reference to mean the same exact thing, being bolstered by other posts you’ve made with the same insinuation. Neither you nor Rosie will come out and just say it (I believe she encouraged everyone to “Google it” to figure out what she meant by the reference) but that is the overwhelming feel of your comments.

What move would you suggest Iran or the UK make next? They've become largely captive to forces beyond their own control.

It’s not all that difficult a solution. Iran releases the hostages as their next step. The UK floats away, or at least back to their posts off the coast of Iraq. The fact Iran had to abduct the soldiers from waters that were outside their jurisiction establishes the justification (or lack thereof) for such actions. If it were a “likely occurence” that Iran sailed down past Kuwait and abducted vessels there, would you attribute this to “forces beyond their own control” as well?

-Smitty Broham

Jeff Vail said...

Smitty- I've already explained the down side to Iran of just releasing the hostages--that's a pretty simplistic suggestion for a "next move." No, there are alternative options other than release or kill the hostages. Iran would be happy to release them, even at the expense of their confessions being explained, as long as they get what they want in return, which is, in part, backing off current sanctions. The problem--and why this is different than the last british abduction--is that now neither side is willing to meet the other's minimum demands, so both sides tend towards escalation. It's nothing at all like your battered wife analogy. It's more like the kid who keeps complaining that he gets punched after spitting in the other kids face. Obviouly the Tonkin reference is an insinuation that US and UK are working to engineer a conflict. I don't see why it's relevant if I say this flat out in this post...I've said it flat out in numerous other posts, and it isn't like I'm trying to get right to the edge of saying it and then backing off. That's what I think is happening. You're welcome to disagree...

Big Gav said...

Zbigniew Brzezinski and Ron Paul have also warned (in Congress) about a Gulf of Tonkin style incident too in recent weeks - its a fairly common belief...

As for the sailors, presumably the Iranians will release them once they think their point has been made.

Alternet has a report that makes some interesting points:

Despite Tony Blair’s adamant denial that the 15 British sailors and marines captured by the Iranians were intruding in Iranian waters, Commodore Nick Lambert, who headed the British naval task force, was by no means as categorical:

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were in Iraqi territorial waters.” He said, but then—in a statement he probably now regrets– he continued : “Equally, the Iranians may well claim that they were in their territorial waters. The extent and definition of territorial waters in this part of the world is very complicated”.

Britain’s former Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who has become a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, after citing Commodore Lambert’s statement wrote, “Before people get too carried away, the following is worth bearing in mind. I write as a former Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Iranians claimed the British soldiers had strayed into Iranian territorial waters. If they had, then the Iranians had every right to detain them for questioning.

“The difficulty is that the maritime delimitation in the North West of the Persian Gulf, between Iraq, Kuwait and Iran, has never been resolved. It is not therefore a question of just checking your GPS to see where you are. This is a perfectly legitimate dispute, in which nobody is particularly at fault….

“There is nothing outlandish about Iranian claims, and we have no right in law to be boarding Iranian or other shipping in what may well be Iranian waters.

“The UN Convention on the Law of The Sea carries a heavy presumption on the right of commercial vessels to “innocent passage”, especially through straits like Hormuz and in both territorial and international waters. You probably won’t read this elsewhere in these jingoistic times but, in international law, we are very probably in the wrong. As long as the Iranians neither mistreat our Marines nor wilfully detain them too long, they have the right.”

FlyintheOnintment said...

Jeff,

I have read much of your writings, and appreciate your efforts. I was curious though: could this escalation be a prelude to possible gas shortages in the summer? Shortages could be pinned on Iran, and the Suburbs suddenly go Pro-War.

Honestly, will there be a 2008 Presidential Election if we're at war with Iran?

crz53 said...

"could this escalation be a prelude to possible gas shortages in the summer? Shortages could be pinned on Iran, and the Suburbs suddenly go Pro-War."

Someone made a similar suggestion in a comment over on Cryptogon and I think it makes sense. The people calling the shots see what's coming down the pipe (fossil fuels, housing bubble, climate change) and They know that the only way they stand a chance of retaining some of their power is too pin the shitstorm on somebody else. I can't see any other logical explainations fow following such an obviously suicidal path.
- Mike Lorenz

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

It’s important to view the comments I made within the context of what you had said rather than what you’re saying now.

Allow me to illustrate:

No, there are alternative options other than release or kill the hostages. Iran would be happy to release them, even at the expense of their confessions being explained…

This is a modified and expanded upon version (one might even say contradictory) of your original flat statement that went something like “They've plastered these ‘confessions’ … all over TV … releasing the sailors will lead to their public denials … Iran can’t accept that.

My “kill the hostages or release them” comments addressed your original version which had Iran not being able to accept the public denials. If we’re now going to abandon that speculation of what Iran can’t accept, then of course more than two options are presented. My comments can only apply to what you have already said, not what you may say in the future.

now neither side is willing to meet the other's minimum demands

You speak as though Iran has some sort of demand on par with Britain’s. If (and this is going by your already stated speculation again) Iran has captured these soldiers for leverage in dealing with the sanctions recently passed, it is a completely invalid method that shouldn’t be entertained. The UN Security Council unanimously agreed through purely diplomatic methods to enact these sanctions. What a sneaky conspiracy! Possibly responding to an act of war with a military option. Who woulda thunk it?

It's nothing at all like your battered wife analogy.

My analogy was meant to address the logic you’re applying to the event, not the event itself. Read it again. That is why I started the sentence with “This logic is no more absurd than …” and describes perfectly your criticism of Britain for getting too close to Iranian waters because they should have known by now Iran would abduct their soldiers. I can only repeat, it seems your expectations lie more heavily for people to stop getting abducted than for Iran to stop abducting.

Obviouly the Tonkin reference is an insinuation that US and UK are working to engineer a conflict … it isn't like I'm trying to get right to the edge of saying it and then backing off.

Well you are trying to get right to the edge of saying it and then backing off. Perhaps you have said it outright in other posts. I’ve only recently begun reading your posts with any sort of regularity so you’ll have to pardon me for not digging through your archives for a clear statement to this effect. The posts I have read involve you discussing “hypothetically” creating an enemy out of the Iranians by discussing them in terms of “us vs. them” language, an assertion I find ludicrous and detail the reasons in the comments of that post. And now this one, where after you mention Tonkin the first time, clarify your reference to it by explaining, “the bottom line is (and hence the Tonkin reference) that this kind of thing happens when opposing forces increase their operations in such close proximity.

This is very much not an explicit statement that you believe the US & Britain are engineering a war. What you said is that these things happen (acts of war, I suppose) when opposing forces increase their operations in close proximity. The fact Britain is not just trolling the Persian Gulf trying to entice a despot nation to abduct their soldiers, but that they have a reason to be where they are which has nothing to do with Iran would (one would think) dispel most of the conspiracy.

And might I ask when you first began your predictions that a war with Iran was being artificially engineered? I wonder if this was prior to Iran’s throwing fire on the Iraqi insurgencies and sectarian violence among other things and now an unjustified abduction of 15 soldiers. Can you direct me to your earliest predictions? I’m just curious if you’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by picking a nation that is inviting military intervention by its actions. Another easily predictable conspiracy would be to suggest the warden is engineering an excuse to beat prisoners by sending prison guards to do their job among prisoners would love nothing more than to assault them.

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Interesting stat : 299,000 hits for google search on 'iran "gulf of tonkin"'.

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=iran+%22gulf+of+tonkin%22

Have you read any of Seymour Hersh's articles about Iran over the past 2 years Smitty ?

sventastic said...

Smitty -
First: I concur with Big Gav and highly suggest you review Seymour Hersh's materials.
Second: It is completely in line with the US and Britain's historical modi operandi to provoke an attack in order to justify military "intervention." (see the explosion of the USS Maine or the Gulf of Tonkin).
Third: Why do you hate the troops?
By joining the military they make the conscious committment to put themselves into harm's way in service to their country. Your comparing them to a battered wife is both inaccurate and does injustice to all parties involved, including the wife. Were you ever in the military? If not, then why don't you keep your armchair general quips and geopolitical savantism to relevant examples. You use the example of prison guards abusing prisoners. You need not look any further than the Stanford Prison Experiment or Abu Ghraib to discredit yourself even more. It's well documented that those in power tend to abuse their power unjustly, just as the world's super powers, namely the US and Britain, are doing so now in the Persian Gulf.
Speaking of prisoners, the Iranians seem to be doing a better job of keeper theirs compared to how we keep ours in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, or any number of illegal black prisons we maintain around the world.
So I repeat, why do you hate the troops? They knew they were putting themselves in danger by joining the military, and these unfortunate 15 people have met with terrible circumstances that they no doubt had considered could happen to them. And you degrade them by making them hapless victims. This is what happens in war, Smitty. Since you are such a strong proponent of military intervention, along with the immoral opportunists who use such troops as pawns in their games (that cost human lives and cause human suffering), maybe you should do a little soul searching about the real players who put those troops in that position. Yes, the Iranians were barbourously criminal in abducting them, but the commanders on their own side who put them there, knowing that just such an event would occur, are equally culpable.
This is not an isolated incident, but the latest in a long line, many of which have been used before to start other wars. Maybe we should deal with these root causes of war, namely the greed of the oil-men who rule our country, rather than callously denigrating the troops (and housewives) who are a part of the machine. The participants in war perpetrate illegal actions, but it is the masters of war who are ultimately the most responsible, and they are the ones who need to be held most accountable. Maybe you should turn your incisiveness away from the foot soldiers and towards the fat, balding men in Washington and London.

Paula said...

It will cost me $1000 for my share in the subprime bail out -- what is my share of the cost for not bailing them out? Any idea?

I'd do this calculation myself but I wouldn't know where to begin to do it correctly.

Jeff Vail said...

The issue with the bail-out notion is that it's like bailing out a Ponzi scheme from within. For many of the people hit with this hypothetical $1000, that is exactly what will push them over the edge into default, perpetuating the problem--even potentially growing it like the old movie clip of the "nuclear reaction" with a gym full of mousetraps and ping-pong balls...

Paula said...

I see, so the consequences are the same either way -- some huge proportion of those loans are not going to be paid back.

I had heard or read somewhere (I can't remember where now, if I find it I will post a link) suggesting that all those loans were illegal under a law called "fraudulent inducement" -- essentially, the banks knew people would not be able to pay back the loans, but the people didn't know it -- and that there are grounds for legal action. Do you know of anything like this? Would it do any good? Would anything?

Jeff Vail said...

A cause of action under the theory of "fraudulent inducement" is possible, but difficult. It's counteracted by the notion of "duty to read" from Ray and the fundamental notion of freedom of contract. If a plaintiff can demonstrate to the court that they were promised by the lender that they'd be able to refinance and would never need to pay the higher rate, then they'd have a case. While that might seem possible, it's very difficult because of something called the Parole Evidence Rule. Basically, when there is a written contract, the plaintiff can't present evidence of oral modifications to that contract unless certain specific exceptions apply. Bottom line, in most cases the sub-prime homeowner is screwed, because ignorance of financial reality won't excuse them from their contractual obligations. Still, I'd expect to see some very high-profile class-actions on this very matter in the near future.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Big Gav and highly suggest you review Seymour Hersh's materials.

I’ll do that.


Second: It is completely in line with the US and Britain's historical modi operandi to provoke an attack in order to justify military "intervention." (see the explosion of the USS Maine or the Gulf of Tonkin).

Actually, provoking military escalation is the “modi operandi” of quite a number of countries that have found themselves in military conflicts. At least for the ones who don’t come right out and invade upfront.


Third: Why do you hate the troops?

Heh, this is certainly one way to derail the conversation away from what I actually said. You sound like Sean Hannity.


Your comparing them to a battered wife is both inaccurate and does injustice to all parties involved, including the wife.

On the surface you appear to be more intelligent than most of the people I’ve corresponded with on your blog. This leads me to conclude you are intentionally and repeatedly missing my point, and the clarification to my point. The first time you missed it was understandable, but after my clarification that I was not using my battered wife analogy to describe the situation in Iran, but the logic you use to analyze it, you have to be doing it on purpose. And not content with simply missing the point on purpose, you are now deliberately distorting my comments beyond recognition by applying them to the troops themselves. Not much else I can do in this case.


Since you are such a strong proponent of military intervention …

This is the problem when you respond to someone with a rebuttal against what you think their point of view is rather than what they have expressed. Nowhere in my comments will you find a “strong proponent of military intervention”. You will find instead characteristics of someone who doesn’t view a military option to an act of war as evidence of an engineered conspiracy such as you do. If I truly fit the mold of the strawman you are styling, I would have been cheerleading Britain to attack rather than hoping Iran just release the hostages so the whole scene can be dismissed.

The Iranian regime has conducted its affairs in a matter that invites military responses. They are interfering in Iraq and have been for years, they are aggressively pursuing nuclear technology in defiance of a unanimous Security Council, and as Britain announces their departures from Iraq, Iran goes and commits an act of war by abducting 15 of their soldiers outside of Iranian waters (or in disputed waters to give them the benefit of the doubt). Certainly this could be a conspiracy, but with Iran participating in all of these activities, it makes it very difficult to see. I would be standing in agreement with your conspiracy theory if Iran had not paved the way for military intervention, but was facing a British/American military build up nonetheless.


Yes, the Iranians were barbourously criminal in abducting them, but the commanders on their own side who put them there, knowing that just such an event would occur, are equally culpable.

Enter the beaten wife analogy once again (try as you might to keep from understanding it). You expect people to stop being abducted as much as you expect Iran to stop abducting. It is not as though British vessels were trolling the Persian Gulf trying to entice Iran to respond to their menacing. If that were the case, I would again agree with you. But they were there because of their commitment to the war in Iraq. Assigning equal shares of blame to Britain for having to operate near Iran is baseless.


Maybe you should turn your incisiveness away from the foot soldiers and towards the fat, balding men in Washington and London.

So true. Anywhere but towards Iran! They are the hapless victims of this conspiratorial engineering, which leads me to the question, why do you hate the Iranians so badly Jeff?

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

Big Gav,

299,000 hits for a google search on 'iran "gulf of tonkin"' is not all that interesting considering Rosie O'Donnell told all of her politically sophisticated viewers to "go Google it" and Bill O'Reilly along with a couple dozen other news commentators gave it airplay by discussing it afterwards. After that, we would have seen google search spike for "cheddar cheese" had that been the topic.

Have you read any of Seymour Hersh's articles about Iran over the past 2 years Smitty?

No, I haven't. I'll check him out.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

So I did some reading on various Hersh articles related to Iran:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/17/060417fa_fact
http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/66/23964
http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/01/16/hersh.iran/
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/11/19/hersh-iran-agent/

All of Hersh’s analysis falls within the timeframe Iran has become troublesome. Iran has been instigating sectarian violence causing unknown numbers of lives, they have been rapidly pursuing nuclear technology in defiance of a unanimous UN, their link and assistance to Hezbollah during the latest Lebanese skirmish is virtually unquestioned, and now they do something like abduct 15 British soldiers. In light of these events, a suggestion that a military invasion (if one occurs) is a premeditated conspiracy rather than a reaction to Iranian behavior just doesn’t appear to hold much water. I’m not saying one absolutely doesn’t exist but can’t you at least agree that with each such action by Iran, it makes the case for conspiracy less and less significant? Seriously, you are basically excusing any expectation that Iran not act belligerently on the grounds that the US has an interest in invading. Funny how Iranian belligerence and interest in military invasion seem to escalate together, ain’t it? At what point do you stop pointing to speculative conspiracy theories and hold Iran accountable for their behavior?

Hersh has been referred to me several times now as though he is the final word. Considering precious few of Hersh’s sources are identified, why again am I to be viewing his articles as authoritative? To clarify for those of you who intentionally misunderstand what I type, I am not saying he is incorrect, but I generally pay attention to where the information comes from to make a judgment call on its quality. In Hersh’s case, I’m left with a gigantic question mark in this arena. In fact, I was amused to find I’m not the only one who noticed this: http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/7576

I suppose it’s much easier to ignore the mystery sources when you already believe what he’s saying. Let me ask, how many of you would be persuaded that this conspiracy is not being engineered were I to provide you a name of a journalist who disagrees with Hersh and actually does identify his sources?

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

Why would Iran cooperate in creating a justification for military intervention?

Please expand on why such provacative behavior on Iran's part should be viewed as insignificant or secondary to a master design to take over the Middle East.


Iran is left with no option but to kill them or hold them indefinitely, making an even stronger justification for military intervention than what they’ve already provoked.

All the British can do is shrug their shoulders, ask nicely, or organize a military intervention.

I am putting the onus of responsibility on the Iranians for the military response that may come because, in the same way, this sort of antagonization practically asks for that to happen.

Possibly responding to an act of war with a military option. Who woulda thunk it?

I’m just curious if you’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by picking a nation that is inviting military intervention by its actions.

The Iranian regime has conducted its affairs in a matter that invites military responses.

I would be standing in agreement with your conspiracy theory if Iran had not paved the way for military intervention

Smitty - your posts invite us all to conclude you are a proponent of military intervention.

Anonymous said...

Smitty - your posts invite us all to conclude you are a proponent of military intervention.

Jeff, your accusation of being a proponent of military intervention was directed at me personally. My comments that you highlight did not express my personal feelings, but the sentiment we could likely expect from governments responding to the Iranian belligerence. Ironically, you feel the same exact way, the only difference is you see it as being orchestrated in advance and I see it as a reaction to events having already taken place.

Pointing out that Iran is "paving the way" for or "inviting" a military response from the US or Britain for what they have done is not the same as my opining that the US or Britain should in fact execute a military response.

Most intelligent people would have caught the difference. This is not to say you are unintelligent because once again, I think you do catch the difference but feel the need to misrepresent what was said on purpose to create what is not there on its own.

It is also noteworthy you have resorted to chasing a red herring (whether or not I am a proponent of military intervention is insignificant in a discussion of whether or not Iran is provoking a military strike) rather than offering any sort of intelligent defense of your consipracy theory. Thus far, the supporting beams of your conspiracy theory are "because Seymour Hersh says so" and "That's what I think is happening."

How insightful. I suppose if the roles were reversed, I too would spend more time misunderstanding what was said rather than supporting my argument.

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

Smitty -
First: I'm not Jeff.
Second: Your repeated use of language in the quoted statements (and lack of suggestion of diplomacy or other viable options) explicitly betrays your personal stance.
Third: Exposing this agenda actually is the point of all of this.
Fourth: Sy Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib disgrace in Iraq, amongst other award winning investigative journalism. Like Noam Chomsky, he articulates clearly what is going on behind the scenes of geopolitics and often in the face of our state propaganda in a logical, based in ascertainable evidence and primary sources (some of which are not named for their protection within the machine) ways, and help show how things came to be this way and where they may be going in both specific and broad contexts.
Fifth: As you yourself have admitted, the masters of war intentionally placing their "expendable" troops in harm's way in order to provoke attacks is historically popular, and especially so with the US and Britain. This is not such a deep conspiracy, but in my opinion, rather blatant and immoral opportunism and exploitation.
Sixth: As both Jeff and I have said, the Iranians committed an illegal act by abducting the British troops, but in order to try and understand why they did so is very important. Check out this article:
http://counterpunch.org/patrick04052007.html

Equally important as to motivations behind why the Iranians did this is the willingness of the US and Britain to intentionally place their troops in the likely situation that this would happen. I suppose this is the conspiracy you're going on about. Again, not so very deep. The oil-men rulers of the US are itching for justification to attack Iran. 4 aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf at once?
Not much of a conspiracy there.

The Iranians have nasty rhetoric and committ illegal deeds, but like Iraq before, the US (and British) government is greatly responsible for creating and contributing to this entire situation. There are more sides to this story than black and white or good and evil. Such binary, fundamentalist assertions are in fact at the very heart of all this aggression, fear and hatred, and they need to be ventilated.
Saying that the only options are to do nothing or fight are not only absurdly short-sighted (and biased towards fighting I suspect)but contribute to the general ignorance and fundamentalism that incites people of all countires to commit illegal and immoral acts.

Here's some MLK for good measure:
http://counterpunch.org/mlk04042007.html

Anonymous said...

First: I'm not Jeff.

Whoops. My apologies Jeff. I figured Sventastic gave up on serious debate after pasting a link to The Onion’s Website as an attempt at a response. Sven, just re-direct my comments toward yourself.


Second: Your repeated use of language in the quoted statements (and lack of suggestion of diplomacy or other viable options) explicitly betrays your personal stance.

This would only be true if my personal stance and the stance of the US & British governments were identical. They are not. My posts never intended to detail my personal stance, but that the stance taken by the US & Britain, if that were a military strike, need not be interpreted as a conspiracy to invade at all costs, but could also be seen as a reaction to acts of war. That’s why they’re called acts of war.


Third: Exposing this agenda actually is the point of all of this.

The prevailing wisdom regarding circular logic is to avoid it, but here you are relying on it. I suppose you can only expose an agenda that exists, and what better proof of the existence of said agenda than the fact someone is attempting to expose it!


Fourth: Sy Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre … Abu Ghraib … he articulates clearly what is going on behind the scenes … based in ascertainable evidence and primary sources (some of which are not named

You don’t listen. I never stated Symour was incorrect about any of this, I said I find it difficult to put much weight into what he says when none of his sources are given. The same reason I am not able to say he’s right is the same reason I’m not able to say he’s wrong … who are his sources?! You may want to re-consider the “He was right before, therefore, he has to be right now” faith you put in Symour. Kudos for his past achievements. That does not give him a pass on everything he sets out to do or say. Here’s the amusing part of the critical article I pasted you might not have got to yet:

“As soon as he has made an assertion he cites a "source" to back it. In every case this is either an un-named former official or an unidentified secret document passed to Hersh in unknown circumstances.

The "source" comes under different labels: a former CIA analyst, a former aide to someone, a person who was present at something, someone who heard it from someone else.

If Hersh talks about Syria, he immediately gets a " Syrian source"; if Germany is involved, hey presto " a German source" appears. By my count Hersh has anonymous " sources "inside 30 foreign governments and virtually every department of the US government.”


Fifth: As you yourself have admitted, the masters of war intentionally placing their "expendable" troops in harm's way in order to provoke attacks is historically popular … This is not such a deep conspiracy, but in my opinion, rather blatant and immoral opportunism and exploitation.

Read carefully and you’ll notice the same dogmatism saturating this blog that a conspiracy is underway is not present in my comments. I’m perfectly content to admit I have no idea if a conspiracy is underway and that it very well could be a possibility (something I’ve already admitted). My point the “Theory of Power” club insists on missing is that whatever conspiracy may or may not have been present, Iran is making it a moot point by their belligerence. The best I’m hearing from the great minds on this blog is that we’re apparently just supposed to give them a pass regardless of which act of war they commit based solely on the speculative possibility the US and/or Britain had an interest in invading. It’s quite irrelevant if a police officer planned on framing you when you get arrested for robbing a liquor store.

If a conspiracy exists, shame on whoever is orchestrating it. It would be much easier to see if Iran wasn’t fanning the flames of sectarian violence with foreign troops, backing terrorist wars in Lebanon, abducting soldiers, and disregarding unanimous Security Council resolutions against their obtaining nuclear weapons. So far none of you geo-political geniuses has ventured an attempt at demarcating the point where we stop blaming conspiracies and start blaming Iran’s behavior.


Sixth: As both Jeff and I have said, the Iranians committed an illegal act … but in order to try and understand why they did so is very important. Check out this article:
http://counterpunch.org/patrick04052007.html


Oh, this almost makes me sad. Now you’re citing CounterPunch? You had such a good thing going with The Onion. Your assumption that I don’t see it as important to understand why Iran does what Iran does is typical of your myriad incorrect assumptions in previous responses. Trying to understand why Iran did what they did, and discounting a conspiracy theory because they’re doing so much of it are too very different things.

I have an account at www.stratfor.com which also offers insight as to why Iran did what they did. Plus, they have the benefit of not being a fanatic hard left Whacksite. You can sign up for a free account there and view the analyses regarding the Iranian abduction for a qualitative eye opener.


Equally important as to motivations behind why the Iranians did this is the willingness of the US and Britain to intentionally place their troops in the likely situation that this would happen. I suppose this is the conspiracy you're going on about. Again, not so very deep. The oil-men rulers of the US are itching for justification to attack Iran. 4 aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf at once?
Not much of a conspiracy there.


Despite all the clarification and re-clarification in the world, Sventastic still manages to miss the whole point. Color me surprised. Never mind the fact Britain is engaged in military operations in Iraq, a country which as I’ve already pointed out is rather close to Iran (check a globe sometime). Here’s a neat circus trick for you to try Sven … draw up a plan for Britain’s navy to fulfill their operations without getting “too close” to Iran (which in Jeff’s and your opinion is close enough for Iran to abduct someone from) and you’ve got yourself a good ol’ fashioned point.

Saying that the only options are to do nothing or fight are not only absurdly short-sighted (and biased towards fighting I suspect)but contribute to the general ignorance and fundamentalism that incites people of all countires to commit illegal and immoral acts.

Oh, did somebody you were debating with say that the only options are to do nothing or fight? Perhaps you should find out who said that and lecture them instead.

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

Aw Smitty (who does not exist),
It's always a pleasure.
Maybe if you'd actually read the Onion article, you might get a clue about the irony from our last lovely discussion.
In the meantime, here's some Chomsky for ya.
http://tomdispatch.org/index.mhtml?pid=182214
Peace.

Anonymous said...

Excellent rebuttal, Sven. I'm glad to see you've finally caught on to the fact the more you say, the more damage you inflict on your own argument.

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Hey Smitty - Seeing as though Seymour Hersh's past reporting record isn't enough for you to grant him "trustworthy reporter" status, how about you comment on both Ron Paul (currently competing for the Republican presidential nomination) and Zbigniew Brzezinski (ex National Security Adviser) both saying - in front on Congress - that they fear a Gulf of Tonkin style incident will occur with Iran ?

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/video/46637
http://www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2007/cr021407.htm
http://foreign.senate.gov/testimony/2007/BrzezinskiTestimony070201.pdf

If those guys can say it, why are you giving Jeff a hard time ?

Anonymous said...

Hey Big Gav,

Seeing as you ignore 82% of what I write as evidenced here in your latest response, how about you stop replying? I have explicitly acknowledged the possibility of a conspiracy to attack Iran (anything’s possible), I have explicitly acknowledged Hersh may be correct. I clarified why I don’t give him an automatic pass on what he says now based on his achievements in the past. Yet you speak as though I have rejected Hersh outright. What I said was that because I don’t know who his sources are, how can I state with any confidence that he is either right or wrong?

What you seem to make a habit of missing is that I could care less about who you can find to agree with you. I care more about getting a response to my point. You want me to comment on the two people you cited. I don’t know what comment you would like. I would pose the same questions I posed to Jeff and Sven and now you to anyone more worried about a possible conspiracy against Iran than Iran’s obviously real actions.

I would ask Hersh, Paul, Brzezinski, Jeff, Sven, and Big Gav the same question I’ve been asking and getting no response to: What relevance does the speculative possibility of a conspiracy to invade Iran carry when Iran is pursuing weapons grade nuclear technology in defiance of the United Nations Security Council, when Iran is sponsoring terror wars in Lebanon, when Iran is committing acts of war by illegally abducting soldiers (and that from a nation who announced it’s withdrawal from the region), when Iran is agitating death and destruction by fueling sectarian violence in Iraq, and when Iran openly and repeatedly calls for genocide against the Jewish state of Israel? I would ask you all to please articulate the point in time when expectation falls on Iran to stop inviting military responses with their belligerence and provocations than on the intangible musings of conspiracy.

This will be the last time I clarify this crucial point because if it hasn’t gotten through by now, it never will: Your conspiracy theory would be much easier to see and much more relevant were it directed against a nation that was not up to their neck in belligerence and provocation. Because your conspiracy theory is directed against a nation that is up to their neck in behavior that invites war and rumors of war, it makes it very difficult to see, and ultimately irrelevant in light of these actions. Dare I ask you to comment on this point I’ve been making over and over again, or would you like to continue posting links to people who are also ignoring these things?

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Sorry Smitty - you're quite right - we should address your conspiracy theories if you are willing to address those of Mr Brzezinski and Congressman Paul.

As I'm neither American or Iranian I feel I'm as well qualified to adjudicate on the bickering between the 2 sides, so here's my take on your ambit set of claims :

Iran is pursuing weapons grade nuclear technology in defiance of the United Nations Security Council

The Iranians say its a peaceful nuclear power program, not a nuclear weapons program and one they are entitled to under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty they have signed.

In the absence of any proof they are building a bomb (and in light of all the lies the Americans told about non-existant Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq) I think we have to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt on this - especially given that polls around the world show that people now regard the US as less trustworthy and more of a threat to world peace than the Iranians or North Koreans - which is quite a feat - one I never would have believed possible 5 years ago.

Its probably also worth noting that the US and the other nuclear powers haven't been living up to their treaty obligations regarding nuclear weapons - not that anyone seems to care.

Iran is sponsoring terror wars in Lebanon

I'm not sure the Lebanese or the bulk of the population of the middle east would agree with you - in any case, the Israel / Palestine / Lebanon situation has defied any solution by the world's diplomats for 6 decades, so I'm sure we're not going to solve it here.

Iran is committing acts of war by illegally abducting soldiers (and that from a nation who announced it’s withdrawal from the region)

The Iranians claim the ship was in their waters and that it had been harrassing other shipping - as the sailors were returned unharmed it seems this was all a storm in a teapot.

Iran is agitating death and destruction by fueling sectarian violence in Iraq

They deny this and if America wasn't still occupying Iraq there wouldn't be anything to argue about.

when Iran openly and repeatedly calls for genocide against the Jewish state of Israel

Pro-Iranian commentators say that Ahmadinejad has called for the nation of Israel to be dismantled, not for genocide - there is a difference (I've seen varying translations and have no idea which side is telling fibs).

In any case Israel is a well armed nuclear power with the full backing of the world's biggest nuclear power, so its in no danger whatsoever from any theoretical Iranian military action. For that matter, Ahmadinejad, for all his bluster and general holocaust denying creepiness, doesn't really call the shots, the mullahs do.

They also seem to have been chanting "death to america" for a few decades now without taking any actions to make it a reality - they might be a bunch of nuts but they obviously aren't suicidal.

I think America should also face up to its responsibility for the regime that is in Iran. If they hadn't overthrown the democratically elected government in Iran in the 1950's and replaced it with a feudal monarchy, the islamic revolution is unlikely to have ever happened.

The real problem here is America's long term strategic goal of dominating Persian gulf energy supplies that they've been pursuing since 1945 and all the meddling in the internal affairs of other countries that has occurred as a result of this goal.

If the US freed itself of oil dependency (and the desire to use it as leverage over the Asians and Europeans) then we wouldn't have the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan that we have today.

And we wouldn't be sitting here trying to work out who are the bigger pack of liars - the fundamentalist nuts in Tehran or the fundamentalist nuts in Washington.

Anonymous said...

The Iranians say its a peaceful nuclear power program, not a nuclear weapons program and one they are entitled to under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty they have signed

And I’m Margaret Thatcher. By the way, Iran is not entitled to the centrifuges (which they have admitted to putting into operation) used in enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels.


In the absence of any proof they are building a bomb I think we have to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt on this

The absence of any proof?? Here are but a few stories covering Iran’s efforts to acquire weapons-grade nuclear weapons. I guess it comes down to what you are willing to accept (or reject in your case) as proof. Not to mention Iran’s Shahab series missiles have already been proven easily modifiable to be equipped with nuclear warheads so the delivery system necessary to make the nukes a threat is already existent.

http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2007/02/05/iran-steps-up-production-of-weapons-grade-uranium/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.independent.co.uk%2Fworld%2Fmiddle_east%2Farticle2237641.ece&frame=true

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030317-430841,00.html

http://www.milnet.com/Iranian-Nuclear-Chronology.htm

http://www.pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=96&language_id=1


It’s probably also worth noting that the US and the other nuclear powers haven't been living up to their treaty obligations regarding nuclear weapons

Hypocrisy is never a good excuse to ignore violations, but I certainly agree that the US and other nuclear powers should honor their commitments to the non-proliferation treaty they have in part ignored or not sign it in the first place.


I'm not sure the Lebanese or the bulk of the population of the middle east would agree with you

Well Big Gav, until you can offer some sort of statistic beyond what you’re “not sure” about, I’ll have to refrain from entering this proof of yours into the exhibits.

http://www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2006/0922_iran_hezbollah.html

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/18/news/iran.php

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51470

Not to mention almost all of the rockets fired into Israel by Hezbollah in the most recent Lebanese skirmish were Iranian made. The Iranian-Hezbollah connection isn’t being denied by many people these days. Congratulations for being on of the few remaining ostriches with their head in the sand.


the Israel / Palestine / Lebanon situation has defied any solution by the world's diplomats for 6 decades, so I'm sure we're not going to solve it here.

I’m not talking about solving it, Big Gav, I’m talking about identifying Iran’s participation in it and adding it to their long-list of recent belligerence which would bring military action upon them not requiring an ethereal conspiracy theory to explain it if it indeed does happen.


The Iranians claim the ship was in their waters and that it had been harrassing other shipping

Even your fellow “Theory of Power” club members have explicitly acknowledged the illegal act committed by Iran. Ahmadinejad also claimed a heavenly light descended upon him during his speech to the UN. Do you believe that as well? If you’re going to believe every public statement issued by Iran to the Int’l community, you’re in for a naïve ride.


They deny this and if America wasn't still occupying Iraq there wouldn't be anything to argue about.

Here you are again with the, “well that’s not what Iran says” defense. Smarten up, Big Gav.


In any case Israel is a well armed nuclear power with the full backing of the world's biggest nuclear power, so its in no danger whatsoever from any theoretical Iranian military action.

Do some homework on “nuclear first strike” (especially against a country the size of Israel) and revise your ignorant statement here accordingly.


For that matter, Ahmadinejad, for all his bluster and general holocaust denying creepiness, doesn't really call the shots, the mullahs do.

In a theocratic dictatorship, do you really believe the president is going to reflect a contrary view to that of the mullahs? Do you really believe Ahmadinejad would be allowed to spew his madness unchecked or uncensored if it were contrary to the wishes of the mullahs? Smarten up, Big Gav.


They also seem to have been chanting "death to america" for a few decades now without taking any actions to make it a reality - they might be a bunch of nuts but they obviously aren't suicidal.

LOL, Iran has assembled one of the largest suicide bombing armies in the history of the Middle East, numbering between 25,000 and 40,000 volunteers.

http://www.solutionassoc.com/truthfire/blog/2004/12/25000-iranian-suicide-volunteers.html

http://www.meforum.org/article/1059

But you’re probably right, they’re not suicidal.

On a side-note, the fact you can’t see any connection between the lack of means to do anything other than chant “Death to America” for the last couple decades and their desperate quest to acquire nuclear weapons says it all.


I think America should also face up to its responsibility for the regime that is in Iran.

You have an almost comic ability to divert blame for everyone’s actions back to the US somehow.


The real problem here is America's long term strategic goal of dominating Persian gulf energy supplies that they've been pursuing since 1945 and all the meddling in the internal affairs of other countries that has occurred as a result of this goal.

Would an example of this meddling be any of the billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid we sent over there? Or maybe the technological assistance we gave them to get that energy out of the ground, without which, they would still be digging for it with shovels. Or perhaps the military assistance the filthy infidel Americans had to lend Saudi Arabia to keep Iraq at bay? You call it meddling because you only listen to the ungrateful complaints of Middle Eastern dictators bitching and griping about the US involvement when the US involvement has often been requested by the complainants themselves. They want us there to help them out, but reserve the right to public ally condemn us to cater to the Islamic militants that can’t stand the fact we were needed in the first place, aka, bin-Laden’s main complaint. Smarten up, Big Gav.


If the US freed itself of oil dependency (and the desire to use it as leverage over the Asians and Europeans) then we wouldn't have the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan that we have today.

No better way to avoid addressing the real issue than to chase peripheral tangents like you’re doing. I thought you were going to address Iran’s responsibility for their actions in the context of your proposed conspiracy theory. I thought you were going to finally answer the question of when we stop straining to see a conspiracy to invade Iran and put the expectation on Iran’s actions to not be belligerent and inviting military responses. I know you started to attempt such a thing above, but I think you’re just as aware as I am that your effort culminated in the “We should believe what Iran says instead of what Iran does” defense, as well as an acute lack of information about regional events … speak about them though you may.

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Beautiful Smitty - I'm convinced by your fine selection of propaganda - American propaganda is so much more believable than Iranian propaganda (which I didn't say I believed - just that their lies are no less believable than yours) !

I'm totally convinced that it hasn't been American policy to dominate the Persian Gulf and that attacking Iran isn't the final step towards this goal. The Americans certainly aren't after oil and gas - they just want to ensure stability in the region.

I also congratulate you on your fine choice of World Net Daily as a source of truth - a wonderful periodical that one - didn't they predict the Iranians were going to nuke New York a while ago ?

Anyway - I hope you're getting paid to do this but as I'm not I'm going to concede defeat - if you aren't working for the Lincoln Group or Netvocates or suchlike I suggest you go and apply - or maybe try out for MSNBC or the Washington Post.

http://heathlander.wordpress.com/2007/04/07/msnbc-re-writes-history/
http://mathaba.net/news/?x=553234

In the meantime I will sit here trembling as I await the Iranian nuclear suicide bombers - perhaps I should go and watch "300" to stiffen my martial resolve...

http://www.smh.com.au/news/film-reviews/300/2007/04/06/1175366447302.html

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced by your fine selection of propaganda

Obviously when you brand anything that stands in disagreement with your preferred outlook as “propaganda” there is no sense in trying to convince you of anything. As I said before, it’s a matter of what you’re willing to accept (and in your case reject) as proof. I do find it amusing, however, that you have resorted to the lazy “propaganda” accusation. That’s sort of like the Swiss Army knife of accusations because it can be applied to so many contrary viewpoints and all with the same ease … no real thinking involved. It’s fantastic!

American propaganda is so much more believable than Iranian propaganda (which I didn't say I believed - just that their lies are no less believable than yours)

Oh, you don’t believe the Iranians?

The Iranians say its a peaceful nuclear power program

I think we have to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt on this

The Iranians claim the ship was in their waters

They [the Iranians] deny this

Pro-Iranian commentators say that Ahmadinejad has called for the nation of Israel to be dismantled, not for genocide

The overwhelming feature of your last response was to believe the Iranians in every situation over the US or Britain, and to “give them the benefit of the doubt” which is also known as “believing” them. I can’t keep track if you’re arguing with me or against yourself anymore.


I'm totally convinced that it hasn't been American policy to dominate the Persian Gulf and that attacking Iran isn't the final step towards this goal.

You speak as though you can be convinced of something different than the viewpoint you prefer. You’re more than welcome to ignore the fact US presence in the region was requested. You’re more than welcome to believe an attack against Iran (if one occurs) is the result of a conspiracy rather than a reaction to the myriad provocations I’ve already outlined which each one on their own has served as a casus belli in the past for war. No one expects you to actually “Smarten up”, Big Gav, that was just a suggestion.

I also congratulate you on your fine choice of World Net Daily as a source of truth - a wonderful periodical that one - didn't they predict the Iranians were going to nuke New York a while ago ?

Are you asking me, or are you telling me? It would seem more expedient on your part if you actually were attempting a point to do the research yourself instead of relying on me to prove you right or wrong.

Anyway - I hope you're getting paid to do this but as I'm not I'm going to concede defeat - if you aren't working for the Lincoln Group or Netvocates or suchlike I suggest you go and apply - or maybe try out for MSNBC or the Washington Post.

There is no need for you to actually concede defeat. A cow can deny making milk, but I’ll still be having my cereal tomorrow morning. As far as your suggestion I find work at the Lincoln Group, Netvocates, or MSNBC … why, have they made your silly arguments look silly as well?

In the meantime I will sit here trembling as I await the Iranian nuclear suicide bombers

You must have misunderstood. I never implied the Iranian suicide brigades were a direct threat to mainland USA. I was just pointing out the total ignorance of your judgment that the nation who has assembled the largest army of people willing to explode themselves to murder others was “not suicidal”.

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

http://tomdispatch.org/indexprint.mhtml?pid=183573

Anonymous said...

Well since Big Gav has conceded defeat in the face of an MSNBC mercenary, Sventastic has long since attempted anything but regurgitating opinions exclusively from like-minded individuals via hyperlinks, and Jeff instantly gives up when his analyses is challenged, now would be a good time to point out that the clearly posed question remains:

At what point do we stop pointing at a possible conspiracy and start pointing at the actions of the Iranian leadership? Notice this question does not dismiss the possibility of a conspiracy so there should be nothing to argue. In fact, let’s assume a conspiracy was indeed hatched against Iran (which you're all doing anyway). Does this mean Iran has a consequence-free pass for belligerence, provocation, and aggression? Does this mean that Iran has an unlimited number of “get out of jail free” cards? Does this mean Iran can recklessly commit acts of war with no justifiable response? Does this mean any military response to any Iranian behavior at any time is proof positive of the conspiracy? Is the “Theory of Power” club refraining from addressing this important question because they are more interested in criticizing US & Britain rather than an objective survey of the situation?

Why is this question so difficult for any of you to address? At what point do we stop pointing at a possible conspiracy and start pointing at the actions of the Iranian leadership?

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Smitty - you really need to understand how the spin machine works - what you consider facts are simply assertions made in order to back up an attack on Iran to seize control of its oil and gas reserves.

I suggest reading the following and educating yourself :

Propaganda (Bernays)
1984 (Orwell)
Manufacturing Consent (Chomsky)
The Grand Chessboard (Brzezinski)

Didn't those 2 examples this week of American media deliberately distorting the story give you some clue about how the system works ?

Oh, you don’t believe the Iranians?

Thats right - they are quite possibly telling lies just as the Americans are telling lies - read each of my statements again and show me where I say "I believe" as opposed to saying "the Iranians say" - I was simply comparing what they say versus your vast compendium of links and turgid prose repeating what the Americans say.

Its important for you to understand that simply repeating the party line at length doesn't make it true.

But I'm sure you won't be happy until you've killed a few hundred thousand Iranians to go along with the half million plus Iraqis that have been sacrificed to slake your thirst for oil - right ?

Anonymous said...

Big Gav has no answer to the question. Anyone else care to venture one? At what point do we stop pointing at a possible conspiracy and start pointing at the actions of the Iranian leadership?

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Smitty - why are refusing to look at the big picture ?

Why are you so fixated by your limited set of propaganda talking points ?

Does the big picture frighten you ?

Geopolitics is quite interesting - perhaps you should consider this a good opportunity to learn something....

Maybe we should start again and look at the topic of energy security.

I suggest perhaps understanding the "Carter doctrine" (though to be fair it seems more Zbiggy's baby than Jimmy's) first off - its a great lead in to a discussion of US - Iran relations (plus entertaining diversions like the Iran-Contra affair !).

Big Gav said...

TomDispatch also has a good article on the topic today - here's a teaser but no doubt you'll find the whole thing educational given your apparent limited understanding of history and how the events you talk about and those I talk about are interconnected...

http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=184747

Like a giant piece in an intricate, if ugly, jigsaw puzzle, the aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, and its strike group are now sailing toward the Persian Gulf. On arrival, they will join the strike groups of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (which it is officially replacing) and the USS John C. Stennis patrolling the region, as stunning an example of "gunboat diplomacy" as we've seen in our lifetimes. I think it's a fair guess that, like most Americans, few, if any, of the Nimitz strike group's 6,000 sailors and Marines, who may become part of a massive Bush administration air assault on Iranian nuclear and other facilities, know much about modern Iranian history. Most may be unaware of the CIA/British coup d'état in Iran, in 1953, that overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh (which had just carried out the nationalizing of Iranian oil), reinstalled the Shah, and ushered in a long, contentious relationship between the two countries -- with all the "unintended consequences" that may end, whether through miscalculation or cold calculation, in a devastating war.

It was this very "success" to which CIA operatives first applied the term "blowback," for those unintended consequences of covert Agency operations which, when they finally land on Americans, are not recognized as such. Just this week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged to the world that Iran was on its way to industrial-scale uranium enrichment. But who today knows that the first seeds of the present Iranian "peaceful" nuclear program came from the United States. Under Dwight D. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program, one of the planet's first nuclear proliferation engines back in the 1950s and 1960s, the Shah's Iran gained its initial nuclear technology, including a U.S.-supplied 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor. At the time, it was believed, the Shah was dreaming of something far more ambitious than a peaceful nuclear program.

Ah, but that was then, this, of course, is now; and not making historical connections is a great American talent. As it happens, it's not an Iranian one. When covert "operations" occur at your expense, you tend to remember -- for a long, long time. Fortunately, Behzad Yaghmaian, author of Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West and a Tomdispatch writer, is here with his remarkable memoir of a life lived in and between two worlds, Iranian and American. His is a tale that can both help us remember how it all began and think more clearly about what an attack on Iran might actually mean in human terms. Tom

Bonded at Birth
How a CIA Coup d'État in Iran and My Life Became One
By Behzad Yaghmaian

I am a child of the coup d'état, born in Iran a few days after the CIA helped overthrow the popular, democratic government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953.

Not long before my birth, facing nationwide protests, the Shah of Iran was forced to abdicate his power and flee the country. My mother used to tell me how men and women celebrated in the streets, how strangers gave flowers and sweets to each other. "The Shah left," they cried with joy. However, the celebration did not last long. In just a few more days, the political landscape changed again. Men paid by the U.S. government began to roam the streets of Tehran, armed with truncheons and chains, assaulting Mossadegh's supporters. Soon the Shah returned and Mossadegh was put under house arrest. That was when I was born.

A witch-hunt for the followers of Mossadegh, communists, anyone who opposed the Shah and the coup d'état now began. Many were jailed -- and tortured. Some opposition figures went underground or left the country; the rest lived in fear of the Shah and, within a few years, the SAVAK, his brutal secret police (also set up with CIA help). ...

sventastic said...

Smitty (who does not exist),
The most sustainable and rational methods of dealing with the belligerence of the world against America is not to threaten everyone else with more of the same aggression and violence that we've dished out forever (which only fans the flames and makes things worse for everyone), but rather to address the root causes of their anger against us.
Instead of sending 4 aircraft carrier groups to the gulf to posture against Iran, we could instead actually have bilateral talks with them, use diplomacy, and provide aid and support to them.

Ultimately, it is by making friends that we are genuinely safe in the world, not by arming ourselves to the teeth (to our own economic detriment) and threatening others with annihilation.

With regard to making enemies and friends, Shantideva, a 7th century Indian Buddhist saint says:

Where would I find enough leather
To cover the entire surface of the earth?
But with leather soles beneath my feet,
It’s as if the whole world had been covered.

Engaging in Bodhisattva Conduct, V, 13

This means that instead of trying to conquer or intimidate all of our enemies is futile, and indeed ultimately self defeating. Instead, if we conquer the fear and hatred in our own hearts that is the cause of enemies in the first place, we will be truly safe and free.

He also writes:


May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

May I be an isle for those desiring landfall,
And a lamp for those who wish for light,
May I be a bed for those who need to rest,
And a servant for all who live in need.

Engaging in the Conduct of a Bodhisattva, III, 18-19

Sounds pretty similar to a Jewish man who lived about 2000 years ago.

One of his recent followers wrote:

"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.... The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength to Love (1963)

Anonymous said...

Big Gav,

Your attempt at side-stepping the question I’ve posed with a suggestion we “start again” with a new topic wasn’t clever. All these peripheral rabbit trails you prefer to muddy the waters with can be discussed, but why should I humor you and discuss them when you can’t address the one singular issue I’ve raised multiple times now?

You insinuate I have no understanding of history, no understanding of geopolitics, no understanding of energy issues, no understanding of the big picture, but these meaningless claims are only bait to keep the fact you can’t or won’t address what should be a simple question. The question I pose doesn’t even lend itself to debate! It’s just a question for you to answer. It’s a question that you should be able to answer whether or not I have an understanding of all those topics. At what point do we stop pointing at a possible conspiracy and start pointing at the actions of the Iranian leadership? What is stopping you from pooling together your mastery of history, geopolitics, energy issues, and the big picture and addressing it?

Your suggesting a party line is being repeated or that I have a desire for hundreds of thousands of Iranians to be killed to satisfy “thirst for oil” is just a small collection of straw men being imposed on me, not at all existent in the comments I’ve made for myself.

For those keeping count, it’s strike 2 for Big Gav. No other at-bats.

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Smitty - I've addressed each of your claims several times and proved them to either be baseless or unproven.

I thought that story about the Washington Post report which covered up the fact that those bombs you were accusing the Iranians of building were in fact being made in Iraq was a fairly classic demonstration of how you are toeing the party line - one that is demonstrably false based on a report from the US military.

You can continue to parrot your propaganda in an attempt to manufacture consent for yet another American attack on a country far away from its shores but I'm sure your shallow lies are convincing no one (that hard core 20% of the "conservative" far right in the US who actually believe this stuff - or pretend to - notwithstanding).

In any case, I see no reason why I should stick to your limited set of talking points.

The big picture, which you continually refuse to exists and debate as it proves my point about what is important - that American policy is oriented around controlling persian gulf energy reserves - and that is the driving force behind this propagandising you are doing.

Anonymous said...

You can continue to parrot your propaganda in an attempt to manufacture consent for yet another American attack

My question does nothing toward "manufacturing consent" (another Chomsky puppet who can't come up with his own phrases). It is just a question. You could have answered it with an explanation of why you don't feel there will ever be a large enough Iranian act of war to ever justify a response to, you could have pinned down about when you would agree Iran's actions have gone too far and need to be countered irrespective of whatever suspected conspiracy existed initially, you could have handled it any number of ways.

This is strike 3 for you when it comes to addressing a clearly posed question. You have proven to be utterly worthless with regard to responding to a direct point; not a good quality for someone who raises so many irrelevant ones.

For those keeping score:

Big Gav - Out!
No other at-bats.

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

Smitty (who does not exist):

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Matthew 5:9

Big Gav said...

Smitty - you have a vastly over-developed sense of your own importance and a very myopic view of the world.

MC is a well known phrase which is why I used it - its called communicating - why would I make up a new phrase when a good one already exists ?

Of course, as a connoisseur of made up news stories that might be an alien way of thinking to you.

Time for you to understand the big picture grasshopper and stop warmongering don't you think ?

Big Gav said...

Oh by the way Smitty - I guess I've been a bit hard on you expecting you to read some of the classics and comprehend them so quickly - how about you start with an entertaining tale for beginners instead - "The History of Oil"...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7374585792978336967

Anonymous said...

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Blessed they are indeed.

You guys are both funny and not smart at the same time (I guess those qualities often go hand-in-hand).

The funny part would be the association with asking a question with "warmongering". Just ignore the inherent neutrality of the question, seeing as it neither endorses war, nor peace. I can't emphasize enough, it's just a question. It's as if you have all gone through some sort of indoctrination that encourages meaningless and irrelevant responses to challenging questions. Never mind if the response addresses the topic, just as long as you say ... something, you're golden.

The not smart part would be the sheer incompetence of your handling of a question. It's not even like you attempted an answer and didn't handle it intelligently, you guys can't even figure out how to approach a response. I guess that's funny too.

You geo-political supermen treat this question like kryptonite. Since you all know so much more about everything than I do, I'll take the fact that my one question has stumped everyone in the "Theory of Power" club as a compliment.

-Smitty Broham

P.S., I can't count your response as a strike, Sven ... you didn't even have a bat in you hand.

sventastic said...

Smitty (who does not exist):
I'll repost this for you.

Iran: The country is a rising regional power, with enormous energy resources, and Shiite allies and allied movements of various sorts throughout the region, including in southern Iraq. But it also has an embattled, divided, fundamentalist government capable of rallying its disgruntled populace only with nationalism (call it, playing the American card). Energy-rich as it is, Iran also has a fractured, weakened economy, threatened with sanctions; and its major enemy, the Bush administration, is running a series of terror operations against it(1), while trying to cause dissension in its oil-rich minority regions. It is also deploying an unprecedented show of naval and air strength in the Persian Gulf. (An aircraft-carrier, the USS Nimitz, with its strike group, is now on its way to join the two carrier task forces already in place there. (2) In addition, the administration has threatened to launch a massive air assault on Iran's nuclear and other facilities (3). Though Iraq runs it a close race, Iran may be the single potentially most explosive hot spot in the arc of instability. In a nanosecond, it would be capable, under U.S. attack, or even some set of miscalculations on all sides, both of suffering grievous harm and of imposing enormous damage not just on American troops in Iraq, or on the oil economy of the region, but on the global economy as well.

Article by Tom Englehardt,
http://tomdispatch.org/indexprint.mhtml?pid=183573

(1) http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?pid=182553

(2)
http://www.navycompass.com/news/newsview.asp?c=211132

(3)
http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=169271

Bless you, too, Smit-diggity.

Anonymous said...

Sven,

The citation you re-posted and each subsequent link do nothing toward answering my question.

I have reached the conclusion you are a robot, programmed to promote your theory of conspiracy, but have absolutely no sub-routine for handling anything other than challenges to said conspiracy.

I've reached this conclusion because I am not even challenging the conspiracy at this point. I have conceded I can't say with any certainty whether a conspiracy exists or does not exist. I have even gone as far as to say, lets assume there is a conspiracy (this is the same as not challenging it).

With the assumption there is absolutely a conspiracy to invade Iran, at what point do we stop pointing at a conspiracy and start pointing at the actions of the Iranian leadership? Certainly the desires of Bush and Blair to invade Iran don't justify any unchecked belligerence from Iran. Certainly there must be a move Iran can make where you say, "Whoa Iran, I know the West wants to attack you, but when you do stuff like that, no wonder." Would Iran hitting Tel-Aviv with a Shahab-3 justify a military response? Would Iran's uniformed troops attempting a military take-over of Iraq justify a military response? I'm not endorsing a military response, I'm trying to figure out if your one-way, robot mind is capable of admitting Iranian belligerence can at some point undermine the relevance of the conspiracy.

Re-visiting the conclusion you are a robot, instead of answering this question you continue pasting links to articles that support that a conspiracy is underway. HEY STUPID! THAT'S NOT THE QUESTION!

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Smitty - calm down fella - I know its hard when you have a monomaniacal focus on getting your inane question answered again and again and again and again.

We've answered it.

What you fail to understand is that the US has no rights under any circumstances to interfere in the middle east any more.

It has overthrown elected governments, launched illegal wars, is currently occupying several nations and has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

The only way you get to point the finger at Iranian bad behaviour now is if they actually attack the American homeland - not via some manufactured Gulf of Tonkin incident or via some bunch of imaginary transgressions that you make up.

If you want to talk about accountability, lets talk about holding your government accountable for invading Iraq shall we ?

Anonymous said...

We've answered it.

We? I’d check to make sure the rest of the “Theory of Power” club wants you indirectly associating them with your semi-retarded mis-handling of the discussion.

The only way you get to point the finger at Iranian bad behaviour now is if they actually attack the American homeland

Stop the presses! Oh my God, it’s a response that more or less addresses the question! If I weren’t such a warmonger, I’d hug you. Contrary to your assertion this answer has been provided before (much less repeatedly so), you have not addressed the question in any recognizably direct manner. If you feel you have, please provide a quote to when you did so. I must have missed it. Please note that quoting yourself or anyone else advancing the conspiracy theory does not qualify as a time the question was answered, since the question was not “Is there a conspiracy theory?” … a point I had to use a jack-hammer to get you to understand.

or via some bunch of imaginary transgressions that you make up

I’m leaving your Tonkin reference alone because I have conceded my uncertainty of whether the conspiracy it refers to exists. But I do have to take issue with your suggestion that Iran has committed “imaginary transgressions”. Big Gav, you are a moron. I don’t usually resort to calling names, but stupid and childish sentences warrant no intelligent response. If you seriously disbelieve that Iran:

1) Is spreading death and destruction through sectarian violence and foreign interference in Iraq
2) Is pursuing weapons-grade nuclear technology in defiance of a unanimous UN Security Council
3) Sponsored a terror war in Lebanon and continues to fuel/support the Hezbollah terrorist militia
4) Openly calls for the genocide of the Jewish state of Israel, referencing the means to do so once the nuclear program is in production
5) Committed an act of war against Britain by illegally abducting their soldiers

then you are one of the morons more dedicated to anti-Americanism than common sense. And I don’t mention anti-Americanism with the insinuation we are the best country in the world and if you don’t just love what this country does then you’re a traitor … no, I merely use the phrase to describe people who willfully sacrifice intelligence on the alter of ideology. We have many problems and commit many evils as a nation, but it’s rather transparent when your only goal is to be so anti-American that you excuse foreign evil elsewhere from states whose redeeming value in polluted minds like yours is that they are not us. The suggestion we are so much worse than everyone else that their sins and evils can only be described as “imaginary” is a classic example of stupidity in purest form. At least you’re consistent.

If you want to talk about accountability, lets talk about holding your government accountable for invading Iraq shall we ?

I do hold them accountable you moron. I never said or even hinted at the fact I don’t. I hold all the democrats that voted for war accountable. I hold all the republicans who voted for war accountable. I hold all the UN accountable for sponsoring 13 resolutions each one invoking Article VII which authorizes the use of force. I hold Iraq accountable for not listening to any of them. I hold the UN nations who were being bribed by Saddam in the conveniently forgotten oil-for-food swindle to not take action for love of money accountable. Was there anything you wanted to add that won’t sound stupid when I read it?

-Smitty Broham

Big Gav said...

Smitty - I'm unsurprised by your descent into outright abuse - I guess thats just one more string to your bow - warmongering, refusing to see the big pitcute, ignorance of history, high school debating tactics and now calling me a moron and stupid - you really should take a good look at yourself sometime.

Moving on to your lunatic charges rather than your insipid abuse:

1. There is no "Thoery of Power club". We're all individuals, as Margaret Thatcher used to say.

2. You haven't proven any of your wild conspiracy theories - you just keep repeating them and claiming that this makes it so. Quoting the likles of World Net Daily merely reinforces how ridiculous your claims are.

3. If you do hold your government accountable for their actions then how do you suggest they be discouraged from repeating their Iraq outrage in Iran. Then compare what you recommend for them to what you recommend for the Iranians (who haven't invaded anyone).

4. I agree with you about the oil for food scandal - this hasn't been satisfactorily dealt with.

5. I'm not excusing the Iranians at all - read that TomDispatch link on Iranian history that I provided.

6. I'm not anti-American - many of the people I like and admire are American (like our host here). I even frequently praise some American politicians - Al Gore and Ron Paul for example. What I am is anti-war (unless the war is truly justified - which the Iraq war wasn't and the Iran war Bush and co want to start is not).

A suggestion - perhaps if you take an objective look at the world you will understand what I am saying. Instead you seem to be wound in in a tight ball of fear and hate, just looking for something to lash out at.

Its turning you into a bitter, angry creature, dude...

Anonymous said...

Smitty - I'm unsurprised by your descent into outright abuse

As unsurprised as I was by your descent into outright nonsense, probably. Critical thinking, reason, logic, and asking questions didn’t work. It wasn’t until I used the word “stupid” that you finally decided to respond in a somewhat direct way to the question I had to ask 15 times. So I guess it worked, huh Big Gav? I had to do the same to Sventastic in a previous discussion before he finally attempted a serious answer so I can only assume this is a sought-after quality and not really “abuse”. Dry your tears, friend.


1. There is no "Thoery of Power club".

This wasn’t a charge, this was a sarcastic way of collectively referring to all of you without naming each person individually. But I guess this way it might look to a late-comer that you’re actually addressing points I’ve made and not come off as so evasive. Do whatever you have to do.

2. You haven't proven any of your wild conspiracy theories … Quoting the likles of World Net Daily merely reinforces how ridiculous your claims are.

Big Gav, rejecting evidences offered to prove something is the easiest job in the world. It’s on par with the supporting reason given for rejecting the evidences which is deeming everything to be “propaganda”. When someone has made up their mind (for example, there is a conspiracy to invade Iran) then nothing besides like-minded ideas will penetrate. You would accept a statement from “Little Chino” on Broadway Street in Los Angeles if he agreed with your premise. Yours is not a quest for gathering evidence, but gathering evidence you agree with. Everything else goes in the toilet … so imagine my shock when you can scratch your ass, take a sip of tang, and call everything I send you “propaganda” that “doesn’t prove anything”. Watch me bring the debate to a draw real quick … Hey Big Gav, the TomDispatch link (which I’ve read by the way so you can stop the barrage of requests to do so) is propaganda. Al Gore is a propagandist. Sy Hersh is a propagandist who doesn’t cite his sources. Ron Paul is a propagandist. Jeff Vail is a propagandist who doesn’t even support his propaganda. You are a propagandist who supports Jeff. You see how easy that was? And just like you, I never offered any reason behind my rejection of the alleged “propaganda” … I just spat out the word and brushed my hands.

You’re more than welcome to cite the parts of the World Net Daily article you take issue with and why. I don’t deny WND gets a bit over-zealous in their headlines so I can’t wait to see what specifically was not to be believed and why we shouldn’t believe them. I also noticed you didn’t protest when Sven cited the Whacksite CounterPunch. Heh. That says more about you than I ever could.

One last thought that you obviously didn’t have … World Net Daily did not support my claims (plural). I cited the article for exactly one claim, which was also supported by a non-World Net Daily source you have had nothing deriding to say about. Given there was more than one claim I made, none of which was solely sponsored by WND, which is more ridiculous, my using it or your whining it was used?

3. If you do hold your government accountable for their actions then how do you suggest they be discouraged from repeating their Iraq outrage in Iran.

You weren’t listening very closely. Your ideological perversion that only allows you to put the US on trial for everything kept your curiosity for my suggestions away from the entire United Nations as well as Iraq, all of whom I explicitly mentioned, not just the US.

My responding to your question would require a clarification of what “outrage” you refer to. Was there only one outrage? Is the outrage that after kicking Iraq out of Kuwait that the Iraqi regime proceeded to systematically break the terms for cessation of hostilities? Is the outrage that upon trying to dispel the rumors of WMD the Iraqi regime constantly denied access to the very inspectors that could have definitively told the world there were none? Is the outrage that Iraq was allowed to defy 13 UN resolutions in a row with no action being taken, rendering the UN an impotent and pointless organization people still appeal to as an authority? Is the outrage that not only the democrats and republicans in America had identical voting records for war against Iraq, but that the entire world including Hans Blix, head of the weapons inspectors, all chimed to the same tune that Iraq was a threat needing to be dealt with, after which, turning out to be wrong? Is the outrage that despite the entire world all reaching the same conclusion, pea brains only want to focus on the US for doing something about it, and domestically, despite the fact the democrats and republicans all used the same intelligence to form the same conclusion, it is only Bush that “lied” us to war? Maybe history is so easy for you to understand because you’ve re-written it in your head as you go.

You seem rather concerned about all the innocent civilians in Iraq dying. I know everything in disagreement with you is merely propaganda, but you would probably benefit from an article in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue “Foreign Affairs” entitled “How Americans Fight” by Colin Kahl. In it, he points out that 90% of the civilian dead in Iraq are caused by “insurgent and terrorist attacks, sectarian fighting, and crime.” Iran is a huge contributing factor to this violence. How you can both shed tears for the dead civilians and wink at Iran while professing their crimes are “imaginary” is beyond me. Perhaps it’s mainly because you’re a hypocrite.


5. I'm not excusing the Iranians at all - read that TomDispatch link on Iranian history that I provided.

Why do you incessantly redirect me to other people’s thoughts and opinions to understand your own? Do you ever compose your own ideas? Anyway, to respond to your 5th itemized point, you say you don’t excuse the Iranians, but you also said that everything they have been accused of doing is just “imaginary” and “ludicrous”. If the Iranians aren’t doing anything, exactly what are you “not excusing” them from?


A suggestion - perhaps if you take an objective look at the world you will understand what I am saying.

A counter-suggestion – perhaps you should put more effort into explaining yourself rather than huge monolithic and fundamentally vague suggestions like “look at the world”. That’s what people suggest when it’s nearly impossible to defend a view, outlook, or opinion with any measure of specificity that will make sense.


Instead you seem to be wound in in a tight ball of fear and hate, just looking for something to lash out at. Its turning you into a bitter, angry creature, dude...

For the life of me I can’t imagine what comments I’ve made that would lead one to the conclusion you’ve just made. Was it my calling you a moron? Identifying moronic assertions and moronic conclusions doesn’t require a “bitter, angry creature”. It just requires staying away from ideological worldviews that pollute and contaminate reason, making morons out of what are otherwise intelligent people.

I suspect you need for me to be a “bitter, angry, creature” that “lashes out” because that way, there is even less for you to contend with. Now you have someone who hasn’t “proven” anything with his “propaganda” that is so “bitter” and “angry” that the points I make aren’t reasonable because they’re nothing more than my “lashing out” rather than making a reasonable point, or making your unreasonable points look silly.

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

What amazes me, Smit-diggity (who does not exist), is not your belligerence, ignorance, arrogance, incivility, and inability to comprehend a world-view differing from your own, but it's that you keep on coming back for more.
If we are truly such stupid morons that you say we are, and you are so superior and enlightened, then why are you wasting your time with us? You must have much more advanced and sophisticated geopolitical ponderings to engage in away from the likes of us.
Your consistency in belittling others' points of view and stooping to the level of engaging in childish name-calling seems curious to me. Seems kind of desperate.
It does lead me to wonder if you are being paid to do this afterall...why else would you return time and again with such vehemence?
I think you should take a long, hard, and honest look into your motivations and intentions for not only frequenting this blog, but frequently acting like a child, ("Your are a moron;" Why won't anyone answer my question? Wah!)?
Maybe you're one of those stellar 150 Regent U. grads appointed by our illegal executive branch that do such a peachy job running our poor country. No matter.
I repeat: take a long, hard, honest look in the mirror, Smits (who does not exist). Do some soul-searching about what you are really tying to accomplish here. You've amply shown it is not engaging in meaningful or cogent discussion. What are your intentions? What are your motivations?
Whatever they are, the fact is you keep coming back. That's something to look into deeply in and of itself.

Big Gav said...

I'm betting you work for Netvocates Smitty (though I'm not offering any odds - you certainly don't have the class of one of the better online trolling companies) - I can think of no reason why you come back again and agian with your blustering nonsense and warmongering.

I doubt anyone but you, Sven and I are reading this (or ever will) - so why are you bothering trying to get us to acknowledge your base propaganda ?

You know we don't believe a word of it, and you refuse to engage in a debate that considers the big picture. If you don't want to accept what the US hads done to Iran over the past 60 years then so be it.

But don't expect the vast majority of the world's population to applaud you while you slaughter yet more civilians in your quest for global hegemony.

In the meatime, feel free to just accept that we disagree and move on...

Big Gav said...

Oh yeah Smitty - here's a good background piece on your other oil war - do you really think people can't see your Iran campaign is a carbon copy of the Iraq campaign ?

In the Caspian Basin and beneath the deserts of Iraq, as many as 783 billion barrels of oil are waiting to be pumped. Anyone controlling that much oil stands a good chance of breaking OPEC's stranglehold overnight, and any nation seeking to dominate the world would have to go after it.

The long-held suspicions about George Bush's wars are well-placed. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were not prompted by the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. They were not waged to spread democracy in the Middle East or enhance security at home. They were conceived and planned in secret long before September 11, 2001 and they were undertaken to control petroleum resources.

The "global war on terror" began as a fraud and a smokescreen and remains so today, a product of the Bush Administration's deliberate and successful distortion of public perception. The fragmented accounts in the mainstream media reflect this warping of reality, but another more accurate version of recent history is available in contemporary books and the vast information pool of the Internet. When told start to finish, the story becomes clear, the dots easier to connect.

Both appalling and masterful, the lies that led us into war and keep us there today show the people of the Bush Administration to be devious, dangerous and far from stupid.

The following is an in-depth look at the oil wars, the events leading up to them, and the players who made them possible.

Iraq

The Project for a New American Century, a D.C.-based political think tank funded by archconservative philanthropies and founded in 1997, is the source of the Bush Administration's imperialistic urge for the U.S. to dominate the world. Our nation should seek to achieve a "...benevolent global hegemony," according to William Kristol, PNAC's chairman. The group advocates the novel and startling concept of "pre-emptive war" as a means of doing so.

On January 26, 1998, the PNAC, sent a letter to President William Clinton urging the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The dictator, the letter alleged, was a destabilizing force in the Middle East, and posed a mortal threat to "...the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's oil supply..." The subjugation of Iraq would be the first application of "pre-emptive war."

The unprovoked, full-scale invasion and occupation of another country, however, would be an unequivocal example of "the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another state." That is the formal United Nations definition of military aggression, and a nation can choose to launch it only in self-defense. Otherwise it is an international crime.

President Clinton did not honor the PNAC's request.

But sixteen members of the Project for a New American Century would soon assume prominent positions in the Administration of George W. Bush, including Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage and John Bolton.

The "significant portion of the world's oil supply" was of immediate concern, because of the commanding influence of the oil industry in the Bush Administration. Beside the president and vice president, eight cabinet secretaries and the national security advisor had direct ties to the industry, and so did 32 others in the departments of Defense, State, Energy, Agriculture, Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget.

Within days of taking office, President Bush appointed Vice President Cheney to chair a National Energy Policy Development Group. Cheney's "Energy Task Force" was composed of the relevant federal officials and dozens of energy industry executives and lobbyists, and it operated in tight secrecy. (The full membership has never been revealed, but Enron's Kenneth Lay is known to have participated, and the Washington Post reported that Exxon-Mobil, Conoco, Shell, and BP America did, too.)

During his second week in office, President Bush convened the first meeting of his National Security Council. It was a triumph for the PNAC. In just one hour-long meeting, the new Bush Administration turned upside down the long-standing focus of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Over Secretary of State Colin Powell's objections, the goal of reconciling the Israel-Palestine conflict was abandoned, and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was set as the new priority. Ron Suskind's book, The Price of Loyalty, describes the meeting in detail.

The Energy Task Force wasted no time, either. Within three weeks of its creation, the group was poring over maps of the Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, tanker terminals, and oil exploration blocks. It studied an inventory of "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts" -- dozens of oil companies from 30 different countries, in various stages of negotiations for exploring and developing Iraqi crude.

Not a single U.S. oil company was among the "suitors," and that was intolerable, given a foreign policy bent on global hegemony. The National Energy Policy document, released May 17, 2001 concluded this: "By any estimation, Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy."

That rather innocuous statement can be clarified by a top-secret memo dated February 3, 2001 to the staff of the National Security Council. Cheney's group, the memo said, was "melding" two apparently unrelated areas of policy: "the review of operational policies toward rogue states," such as Iraq, and "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields." The memo directed the National Security Council staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as the "melding" continued. National security policy and international energy policy would be developed as a coordinated whole. This would prove convenient on September 11, 2001, still seven months in the future.

The Bush Administration was drawing a bead on Iraqi oil long before the "global war on terror" was invented. But how could the "capture of new and existing oil fields" be made to seem less aggressive, less arbitrary, less overt?

During April of 2002, almost a full year before the invasion, the State Department launched a policy-development initiative called "The Future of Iraq Project" to accomplish this. The "Oil and Energy Working Group" provided the disguise for "capturing" Iraqi oil. Iraq, it said in its final report, "should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war ... the country should establish a conducive business environment to attract investment in oil and gas resources."

Capture would take the form of investment, and the vehicle for doing so would be the "production sharing agreement."

Under production sharing agreements, or PSAs, oil companies are granted ownership of a "share" of the oil produced, in exchange for investing in development costs, and the contracts are binding for up to 30 years. What would happen, though, if the companies' investments were only minimal, but their shares of the production were obscenely, disproportionately large?

This is hardwired. According to a UK Platform article titled "Crude Designs," production sharing agreements have now been drafted in Baghdad covering 75 percent of the undeveloped Iraqi fields, and the oil companies, waiting to sign the contracts, will earn as much 162 percent on their investments. And the "foreign suitors" are not quite so foreign now: The players on the inside tracks are Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell.

The use of PSAs will cost the Iraqi people hundreds of billions of dollars in just the first few years of the "investment" program. They would be far better off keeping in place the structure Iraq has relied upon since 1972: a nationalized oil industry leasing pumping rights to the oil companies, who then pay royalties to the central government. That is how it is done today in Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC countries.

Production sharing agreements, heavily favored by the oil companies, were specified by George Bush's State Department. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority drafted an oil law privatizing the oil sector, and American oil interests have lobbied in Baghdad ever since then for the PSAs. Apparently successfully: The Oil Committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih is said currently to be "leaning" toward them.

With the capture of Iraqi oil resources prospectively disguised, the Halliburton company was then hired, secretly, to design a fire suppression strategy for the Iraqi oil fields. If oil wells were to be torched during the upcoming war (as Saddam did in Kuwait in 1991), the Bush Administration would be prepared to extinguish them rapidly. The contract with Halliburton was signed in the fall of 2002. Congress had yet to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

So a line of dots begins to point at Iraq, though nothing illegal or unconstitutional has yet taken place. We are still in the policy-formulation stage, but two "seemingly unrelated areas of policy" -- national security policy and international energy policy -- have become indistinguishable.

Afghanistan

The strategic location of Afghanistan can scarcely be overstated. The Caspian Basin contains up to $16 trillion worth of oil and gas resources, and the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets is through Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first western oil company to take action in the Basin was the Bridas Corporation of Argentina. It acquired production leases and exploration contracts in the region, and by November of 1996 had signed an agreement with General Dostum of the Northern Alliance and with the Taliban to build a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone, the American company Unocal (aided by an Arabian company, Delta Oil) fought Bridas at every turn. Unocal wanted exclusive control of the trans-Afghan pipeline and hired a number of consultants in its conflict with Bridas: Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage (now Deputy Secretary of State in the Bush Administration), Zalmay Khalilzad (a signer of the PNAC letter to President Clinton) and Hamid Karzai.

Unocal wooed Taliban leaders at its headquarters in Texas, and hosted them in meetings with federal officials in Washington, D.C.

Unocal and the Clinton Administration hoped to have the Taliban cancel the Bridas contract, but were getting nowhere. Finally, Mr. John J. Maresca, a Unocal Vice President, testified to a House Committee of International Relations on February 12, 1998, asking politely to have the Taliban removed and a stable government inserted. His discomfort was well placed.

Six months later terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and two weeks after that President Clinton launched a cruise missile attack into Afghanistan. Clinton issued an executive order on July 4, 1999, freezing the Taliban's U.S.-held assets and prohibiting further trade transactions with the Taliban.

Mr. Maresca could count that as progress. More would follow.

Immediately upon taking office, the new Bush Administration actively took up negotiating with the Taliban once more, seeking still to have the Bridas contract vacated, in exchange for a tidy package of foreign aid. The parties met three times, in Washington, Berlin, and Islamablad, but the Taliban wouldn't budge.

Behind the negotiations, however, planning was underway to take military action if necessary. In the spring of 2001 the State Department sought and gained concurrence from both India and Pakistan to do so, and in July of 2001, American officials met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence agents to inform them of planned military strikes against Afghanistan the following October. A British newspaper told of the U.S. threatening both the Taliban and Osama bin Laden -- two months before 9/11 -- with military strikes.

According to an article in the UK Guardian, State Department official Christina Rocca told the Taliban at their last pipeline negotiation in August of 2001, just five weeks before 9/11, "Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs."

The Great Game and Its Players

The geostrategic imperative of reliable oil supplies has a long history, arguably beginning with the British Navy in World War I. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill repowered the British fleet -- from coal (abundant in the UK) to oil (absent in the UK), and thus began the Great Game: jockeying by the world powers for the strategic control of petroleum. (Churchill did this to replace with oil pumps the men needed to shovel coal -- a large share of the crew -- so they could man topside battle stations instead.) Iraq today is a British creation, formed almost a century ago to supply the British fleet with fuel, and it is still a focal point of the Game.

The players have changed as national supremacy has changed, as oil companies have morphed over time, and as powerful men have lived out their destinies.

Among the major players today are the Royal family of Saudi Arabia and the Bush family of the state of Maine (more recently of Texas). And they are closely and intimately related. The relationship goes back several generations, but it was particularly poignant in the first Gulf War in 1990-91, when the U.S. and British armed forces stopped Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, before his drive reached the Arabian oil fields. Prime Minister John Major of the UK, and President George H.W. Bush became the much esteemed champions of the Arabian monarchy, and James Baker, Bush's Secretary of State, was well regarded, too. (Years earlier, Mr. Baker and a friend of the royal family's had been business partners, in building a skyscraper bank building in Houston.)

The Carlyle Group: Where the Players Meet to Profit

After President Bush, Secretary Baker, and Prime Minister Major left office, they all became active participants and investors in the Carlyle Group, a global private equity investment firm comprised of dozens of former world leaders, international business executives (including the family of Osama bin Laden); former diplomats, and high-profile political operatives from four U.S. Administrations. For years, Carlyle would serve as the icon of the Bush/Saudi relationship.

Carlyle, with its headquarters just six blocks from the White House, invests heavily in all the industries involved in the Great Game: the defense, security, and energy industries, and it profits enormously from the Afghan and Iraqi wars.

In the late 1980s, Carlyle's personal networking brought together George W. Bush, the future 43rd U.S. president, and $50,000 of financial backing for his Texas oil company, Arbusto Energy. The investor was Salem bin Laden (half-brother of Osama bin Laden) who managed the Carlyle investments of the Saudi bin Laden Group. (After the tragedy of 9/11, by mutual consent, the bin Laden family and Carlyle terminated their business dealings.) George Bush left Carlyle in 1992 to run for governor of Texas.

Ex-President Bush, Ex-Prime Minister Major, and Ex Secretary Baker, in the 1990's, were Carlyle's advance team, scouring the world for profitable investments and investors. In Saudi Arabia they met with the royal family, and with the two wealthiest, non-royal families -- the bin Ladens and the bin Mahfouzes.

Khalid bin Mahfouz was prominent in Delta Oil, Unocal's associate in the Afghan pipeline conflict. He was later accused of financing al Qaeda, and named in a trillion dollar lawsuit brought by the families of 9/11 victims. (It was Mr. bin Mahfouz who had been Mr. Baker's business associate in Houston.)

Carlyle retained James Baker's Houston law firm, Baker-Botts, and Baker himself served as Carlyle Senior Counselor from 1993 until 2005. (Other clients of Baker-Botts: Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Texaco, Shell, Amoco, Conoco-Phillips, Halliburton, and Enron.)

Mr. Baker has long been willing to put foremost the financial advantage of himself, his firm, and his friends, often at the expense of patriotism and public service. As President Reagan's Secretary of the Treasury, he presided over the savings-and-loan scandal, in which S&L executives like Charles Keating and the current President's brother Neil Bush handed the American taxpayers a bill to pay, over a 40-year period, of $1.2 trillion. His law firm willingly took on the defense of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Azis, the Saudi Defense Minister sued by the families of 9/11 victims for complicity in the attacks.

We will encounter Mr. Baker again soon.

September 11, 2001

In September of 2000, the Project for a New American Century published a report, "Rebuilding America's Defenses." It advocated pre-emptive war once again, but noted its acceptance would be difficult in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor."

President Bush formally established the PNAC's prescription for pre-emptive, premeditated war as U.S. policy when he signed a document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" early in his first term.

Still nothing illegal or unconstitutional had been done.

But the rationale and the planning for attacking both Afghanistan and Iraq were in place. The preparations had all been done secretly, wholly within the executive branch. The Congress was not informed until the endgame, when President Bush, making his dishonest case for the "war on terror" asked for and was granted the discretion to use military force. The American people were equally uninformed and misled. Probably never before in our history was such a drastic and momentous action undertaken with so little public knowledge or Congressional oversight: the dispatch of America's armed forces into four years of violence, at horrendous costs in life and treasure.

Then a catastrophic event took place. A hijacked airliner probably en route to the White House crashes in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon was afire, and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were rubble.

In the first hours of frenetic response, fully aware of al Qaeda's culpability, both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld sought frantically to link Saddam Hussein to the attacks, as we know from Richard Clarke's book, Against All Enemies. They anxiously waited to proceed with their planned invasion of Iraq.

If the Bush Administration needed a reason to proceed with their invasions, they could not have been handed a more fortuitous and spectacular excuse, and they played their hand brilliantly.

9/11 was a shocking event of unprecedented scale, but it was simply not an invasion of national security. It was a localized criminal act of terrorism, and to compare it, as the Bush Administration immediately did, to Pearl Harbor was ludicrous: The hijacked airliners were not the vanguard of a formidable naval armada, an air force, and a standing army ready to engage in all out war, as the Japanese were prepared to do and did in 1941.

By equating a criminal act of terrorism with a military threat of invasion, the Bush Administration consciously adopted fear mongering as a mode of governance. It was an extreme violation of the public trust, but it served perfectly their need to justify warfare.

As not a few disinterested observers noted at the time, international criminal terrorism is best countered by international police action, which Israel and other nations have proven many times over to be effective. Military mobilization is irrelevant. It has proven to be counterproductive.

Why, then, was a "war" declared on "terrorists and states that harbor terrorists?"

The pre-planned attack on Afghanistan, as we have seen, was meant to nullify the contract between the Taliban and the Bridas Corporation. It was a matter of international energy policy. It had nothing to do, as designed, with apprehending Osama bin Laden -- a matter of security policy.

But the two "seemingly unrelated areas of policy" had been "melded," so here was an epic opportunity to bait-and-switch. Conjoining the terrorists and the states that harbored them made "war" plausible, and the Global War on Terror was born: It would be necessary to overthrow the Taliban as well as to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

(In retrospect, the monumental fraud of the "war on terror" is crystal clear. In Afghanistan the Taliban was overthrown instead of bringing the terrorist Osama bin Laden to justice, and in Iraq there were no terrorists at all. But Afghanistan and Iraq are dotted today with permanent military bases guarding the seized petroleum assets.)

On October 7, 2001 the carpet of bombs is unleashed over Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai, the former Unocal consultant, is installed as head of an interim government. Subsequently he is elected President of Afghanistan, and welcomes the first U.S. envoy -- Mr. John J. Maresca, the Vice President of the Unocal Corporation who had implored Congress to have the Taliban overthrown. Mr. Maresca was succeeded by Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad -- also a former Unocal consultant. (Mr. Khalilzad has since become Ambassador to Iraq, and has now been nominated to replace John Bolton, his PNAC colleague, as the ambassador to the UN.)

With the Taliban banished and the Bridas contract moot, Presidents Karzai of Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan meet on February 8, 2002, sign an agreement for a new pipeline, and the way forward is open for Unocal/Delta once more.

The Bridas contract was breached by U.S. military force, but behind the combat was Unocal. Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts for contract interference and won, overcoming Richard Ben Veniste's law firm in 2004. That firm had multibillion-dollar interests in the Caspian Basin and shared an office in Uzbekistan with the Enron Corporation. In 2004, Mr. Ben Veniste was serving as a 9/11 Commissioner.

About a year after the Karzai/Musharraf agreement was signed, an article in the trade journal "Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections" described the readiness of three US federal agencies to finance the prospective pipeline: the U.S. Export/Import Bank, the Trade and Development Agency, and the Overseas Private Insurance Corporation. The article continued, "...some recent reports ... indicated ... the United States was willing to police the pipeline infrastructure through permanent stationing of its troops in the region." The article appeared on February 23, 2003.

The objective of the first premeditated war was now achieved. The Bush Administration stood ready with financing to build the pipeline across Afghanistan, and with a permanent military presence to protect it.

Within two months President Bush sent the armed might of America sweeping into Iraq.

Then came the smokescreen of carefully crafted deceptions. The staging of the Jessica Lynch rescue. The toppling of the statue in Baghdad. Mission accomplished. The orchestrated capture, kangaroo court trial, and hurried execution of Saddam Hussein. Nascent "democracy" in Iraq. All were scripted to burnish the image of George Bush's fraudulent war.

The smokescreen includes the cover-up of 9/11. Initially and fiercely resisting any inquiry at all, President Bush finally appoints a 10-person "9/11 Commission."

The breathtaking exemptions accorded President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the inquiry rendered the entire enterprise a farce: They were "interviewed" together, no transcription of the conversation was allowed, and they were not under oath. The Commission report finally places the blame on "faulty intelligence."

Many of the 10 commissioners, moreover, were burdened with stunning conflicts of interest -- Mr. Ben Veniste, for example -- mostly by their connections to the oil and defense industries. The Carlyle Group contributed to Commissioner Tim Roemer's political campaigns. Commission Chairman Thomas Kean was a Director of Amerada Hess, which had formed a partnership with Delta Oil, the Arabian company of Khalid bin Mahfouz, and that company was teamed with Unocal in the Afghan pipeline project. Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton serves on the board of Stonebridge International consulting group, which is advising Gulfsands Petroleum and Devon Energy Corporation about Iraqi oil opportunities.

The apparent manipulation of pre-war intelligence is not addressed by the 9/11 Commission, the veracity of the Administration's lies and distortions is assumed without question, and the troubling incongruities of 9/11 are ignored: The theories of controlled demolition, the prior short-selling of airline stock, the whole cottage industry of skepticism.

The doubters and critics of 9/11 are often dismissed as conspiracy crazies, but you needn't claim conspiracy to be skeptical. Why did both President Bush and Vice President Cheney pressure Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to forego any investigation at all? Failing in that, why did the President then use "Executive Privilege" so often to withhold and censor documents? Why did the White House refuse to testify under oath? Why the insistence on the loopy and unrecorded Oval Office interview of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney simultaneously?

There is much we don't know about 9/11.

The Iraq Study Group

Viewing the carnage in Iraq, and seeking desperately to find a way out of it, the U.S. Congress appointed on March 15, 2006 the Iraq Study Group. It was also called the Baker-Hamilton Commission after its co-chairmen, the peripatetic problem-solvers James Baker and Lee Hamilton. It was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and making policy recommendations.

The Commission assessed the situation as "grave and deteriorating" and recommended substantive changes in handling it: draw down the troop levels and negotiate with Syria and Iran. These recommendations were rejected out of hand by the Bush Administration, but those about the oil sector could hardly have been more pleasing.

The Commission's report urged Iraqi leaders to "... reorganize the national industry as a commercial enterprise." That sounds like code for privatizing the industry (which had been nationalized in 1972.) In case that wasn't clear enough, the Commission encouraged "...investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international energy companies." That sounds like code for Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, Conoco/Phillips, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell. The Commission urged support for the World Bank's efforts to "ensure that best practices are used in contracting." And that sounds like code for Production Sharing Agreements.

Mr. Baker is a clever and relentless man. He will endorse pages and pages of changes in strategy and tactics -- but leave firmly in place the one inviolable purpose of the conflict in Iraq: capturing the oil.

A Colossus of Failure

The objectives of the oil wars may be non-negotiable, but that doesn't guarantee their successful achievement.

The evidence suggests the contrary.

As recently as January of 2005, the Associated Press expected construction of the Trans Afghan Pipeline to begin in 2006. So did News Central Asia. But by October of 2006, NCA was talking about construction "... as soon as there is stability in Afghanistan."

As the Taliban, the warlords, and the poppy growers reclaim control of the country, clearly there is no stability in Afghanistan, and none can be expected soon.

Unocal has been bought up by the Chevron Corporation. The Bridas Corporation is now part of BP/Amoco. Searching the companies' websites for "Afghanistan pipeline" yields, in both cases, zero results. Nothing is to be found on the sites of the prospective funding agencies. The pipeline project appears to be dead.

The Production Sharing Agreements for Iraq's oil fields cannot be signed until the country's oil policies are codified in statute. That was supposed to be done by December of 2006, but Iraq is in a state of chaotic violence. The "hydrocarbon law" is struggling along -- one report suggests it may be in place by March -- so the signing of the PSA's will be delayed at least that long.

The U.S. and British companies that stand to gain so much -- Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, Concoco/Phillips, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch Shell -- will stand a while longer. They may well have to stand down.

On October 31, 2006 the newspaper China Daily reported on the visit to China by Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani. Mr. Shahristani, the story said, "welcomed Chinese oil companies to participate in the reconstruction of the Iraqi oil industry." That was alarming, but understated.

Stratfor, the American investment research service, was more directly to the point, in a report dated September 27, 2006 (a month before Minister Shahristani's visit, so it used the future tense). The Minister "... will talk to the Chinese about honoring contracts from the Saddam Hussein era. ... This announcement could change the face of energy development in the country and leave U.S. firms completely out in the cold."

The oil wars are abject failures. The Project for a New American Century wanted, in a fantasy of retrograde imperialism, to remove Saddam Hussein from power. President George Bush launched an overt act of military aggression to do so, at a cost of more than 3,000 American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and half a trillion dollars. In the process he has exacerbated the threats from international terrorism, ravaged the Iraqi culture, ruined their economy and their public services, sent thousands of Iraqis fleeing their country as refugees, created a maelstrom of sectarian violence, dangerously destabilized the Middle East, demolished the global prestige of the United States, and defamed the American people.

Big Gav said...

Oh yeah - Smitty - giant brain and centre of the known universe - while I don't have the time to list each of your lies individually and debunk them (which would be easy enough to do if I was paid for doing this like you probably are), I thought this one was such an obvious whopper that I'd mock it anyway.

Is the outrage that upon trying to dispel the rumors of WMD the Iraqi regime constantly denied access to the very inspectors that could have definitively told the world there were none? Is the outrage that Iraq was allowed to defy 13 UN resolutions in a row with no action being taken, rendering the UN an impotent and pointless organization people still appeal to as an authority? Is the outrage that not only the democrats and republicans in America had identical voting records for war against Iraq, but that the entire world including Hans Blix, head of the weapons inspectors, all chimed to the same tune that Iraq was a threat needing to be dealt with, after which, turning out to be wrong?

The international community agreed on no such thing - the US paraded a farrago of lies about WMD in front of the UN (Colin Powell's shameful speech), realised that they weren't going to get a UN go-ahead, then invaded without asking for a UN resolution backing this transgression (which is probably punishable based on the Nuremburg precedent).

The UN weapons inspectors (Richard Butler, Scott Ritter and Hans Blix) all repeatedly said Iraq's weapons (chemical weapons, supplied by the US for the Iraqis to use in their war on Iran) had been dismantled after the first gulf war (one I am not criticising as that was a justifiable war).

Hans Blix - War Was Illegal
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0305-01.htm

Blix attacks Iraq weapons 'spin'
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/09/18/sprj.irq.blix.bush/index.html

Hans Blix: Iraq Destroyed WMD 10 Years Ago
http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/091803C.shtml

Blix criticises coalition over Iraq weapons
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2967598.stm

Blix doubts on Iraq intelligence
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3469821.stm

Blix: I was smeared by the Pentagon
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,974998,00.html

Iraqis Were Better Off Under Saddam, Says Former Weapons Inspector
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1025-01.htm

US 'created' weapons facts
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5759.htm

"I found it peculiar that those who wanted to take military action could — with 100 per cent certainty — know that the weapons existed and turn out to have zero knowledge of where they were."
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hans_Blix

Scott Ritter: Is Iraq a True Threat to the US?
http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0721-02.htm

Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh: Iraq Confidential
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051114/ritter

Iraq | What, If Anything, Does Iraq Have to Hide?
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=2174

Two Who Got It Right: Scott Ritter in Conversation With Robert Scheer
http://www.truthdig.com/interview/item/20070320_scott_ritter_robert_scheer/

Scott Ritter: Weapons of Mass Delusion
http://www.archive.org/details/alt_focus_scott_ritter_weapons_of_mass_delusion

Iraq, Iran, and WMDs
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11993

Stop the Iran War Before It Starts
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070205/ritter

Scott Ritter : Iraq to Iran: The Empire Attacks
http://www.alternativeradio.org/programs/RITS003.shtml


And before you start blathering away Smitty, remember - there were no WMDs in Iraq.

Every time Dick Cheney said there were, he was lying.

Why on earth do you think he's telling the turth about Iran ?

Anonymous said...

This debate has devolved into a tit-for-tat academic slap-fight where the main point is the only casualty. Rather than responding in-line to each comment as I usually do, I’ll attempt a more general consolidated response to both Sven and Big Gav’s comments.

Sven is “amazed”, and “curious” about the “desperation” involved in “childish name-calling”. Sven must have forgot about his history of debate style which almost exclusively relies on such a thing. To refresh your memory Sven, here is a sampling of your name-calling childishness from just one of your previous retorts:

Misperceptions, mistaken views, closed minded, short sighted, knee jerk, defensive reactionism, infantile insipidness, irrational, screaming child, simplistic, reductionist, fundamentalist black and white framework, rant and rave and lash out, hearsay, biased opinion, second hand accounts, and emotional reactionism

Adding to this can be Big Gav’s recent history of childishness, most recently illustrated by his “giant brain and centre of the known universe” comment as well as his self-admittedly “mocking” of my comments. Sven doesn’t find anything amazing or curious about these items which is actually a compliment because though completely unamazed by such childishness coming from you two, you are amazed and curious about it coming from me.


Next, we come across several accusations from both of you (such independent thinkers that you are) of my being paid to post these responses. As flattering as the allegation is, I am not paid and didn’t understand the significance of whether I was or not until I came across Big Gav’s lazy tactic: while I don't have the time to list each of your lies individually and debunk them (which would be easy enough to do if I was paid for doing this like you probably are)

In other words, the reason it is so important for you to claim I’m being paid is to set the stage for ignoring the points I make on the grounds you don’t get paid, and therefore, don’t have enough time to respond appropriately. Can I offer a suggestion? If you spent half as much time responding appropriately to the subject at hand rather than explaining how easy it would be to do if you had enough time, you’d have plenty of time.

Moving along, you both want to know why I keep coming back if I think you are both such utter nincompoops. Well, because I’m curious to explore the reasoning behind that which seems incoherent or implausible to me, even though your constant implications are that I don’t consider any other viewpoints than my own. I guess with that assumption, it will be quite difficult indeed for you to understand why I keep coming back. No chance your assumptions are incorrect, is there? Ironically, you have both asserted with varying degrees of certainty I have no idea of geopolitics, history, “the big picture”, or anything else so might I ask why YOU keep coming back if I’M such an imbecile? No, I might not. Your expectations are always outgoing.

Next, I’m accused of not debating the “big picture”. When it takes 2 dozen responses to get a single question answered, I’m a bit leery to debate anything on such a grand scale. Besides, this thread was not about the “big picture” it was about Iran’s actions being “beyond their control” due to some conspiracy to invade them. You’ll have to excuse me for limiting the debate to the scope of the post it’s in. I never intended to debate a “big picture”, but find out when or if there was a point you would begin pointing the finger of blame on Iran’s hostility and belligerence and provocation and acts of war for being the catalyst of military intervention rather than an ethereal conspiracy theory. To date, Big Gav is the only one who has attempted the answer which was that until mainland USA is attacked directly by Iran, we have no right to militarily respond to anything. This question disregards the role of worldwide alliance networks, internationally recognized acts of war (which need not occur on mainland to serve as a casus belli for military action, among other things), but it was at least an answer nonetheless.

Big Gav then goes on to dispute that the International community agreed repeatedly reserving the use of force that Iraq was in violation of multiple terms from the cessation of hostilities in the last Gulf war. Gav, you’ll need to account for the following resolutions before you make such bland and incorrect accusations such as there wasn’t a “UN go-ahead”: http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/01fs/14906.htm


Big Gav then decides it was only the US that went about a narrative of lies while neglecting to keep up with the simple fact the Security Council also has China, Russia, France, and Britain on board. Never mind all that.


Big Gav continues on a peripheral red herring by citing several articles with Hans Blix complaining that he was misrepresented. For people who listened to Blix prior to the war and not just his back-pedaling statements after the war, he told a different story. Here is a link to various quotes from those who are bitching most loudly about the war today, including Blix, before the war: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1698670/posts

And as the true research giant that Big Gav is, he provides a flurry of links all from the exact same person about the Iraq war which as I can’t stress enough, has little to do with the subject of this site. Not much to comment on.

Every time Dick Cheney said there were, he was lying. Why on earth do you think he's telling the turth about Iran ?

I can’t get over how many times you try to spawn a side-debate by arguing against something I’ve never said. Not once have I even referred to Cheney in this post. And for Sven who mimics a baby crying when I repeatedly ask for my question to be answered … the answer I wanted question is the whole reason for this post. Doesn’t seem too unreasonable to get an answer to it.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

the answer I wanted question is the whole reason for this post.

Strike that, reverse it.

Meant to say "the question I wanted answered". Corresponding on this blog is having a noticable impact.

-Smitty Broham

sventastic said...

Way to go, Smitty (who does not exist).

You came back! Twice in a row, no less.

The amazement continues.

Big Gav said...

the answer I wanted question is the whole reason for this post.

Its amazing - an incoherent rambling machine - and one quoting Free Republic, no less, to debunk all those links I provided to debunk just one of your lies.

I should have guessed - a freeper - you twisted fascist freak.

This does explain a lot - why you view yourself as the centre of the universe and your silly "lets create a frame to decide when we are allowed to invade Iran" question - your just doing what your inner Fuhrer-complex demands - its classic :-)

Its like watching a rerun of your mentor justifying invading Poland - "those Polish terrorists are threatening the homeland - we must attack them before the semitic bolshevik commissars get us" !

I've had enough of listening to your whining and warmongering Smitty - get a life - your quest for global domination is just disgusting ...

Anonymous said...

You came back! Twice in a row, no less.

Sven’s penetrating retort is par for the course.


and one quoting Free Republic, no less, to debunk all those links I provided to debunk just one of your lies.

As always, Big Gav, you are free to point out the inaccuracies of the substance of the text I cited rather than flinging your poo at the source like a monkey who doesn’t like the shape of a tree. You didn’t do so with World Net Daily, and I don’t expect you will or can do so with the Free Republic link I sent you. It’s border line hilarious you refer to “all those links” because as I pointed out in my last post, there were two sets of links, one pertaining to Blix after the war got started and another group of about 7 or 8 all from the exact same person. Big Gav, when you cite 7 or 8 links and they’re all coming from the exact same person, you only get credit for one. “All those links” is only impressive for people with mentally challenged research skills. In any event, neither of the two groups of links you sent over supported or contradicted anything to do with the point of this posting, which was and is a question of whether Iran’s behavior can ever become so belligerent for you to concede a military attack, if one was to take place, was the result of said belligerence rather than the suspected conspiracy. You could have written a doctorate thesis on the Iraq war failures, it still wouldn’t address that one simple question you took a stab at back in the day. The one Free Republic link I sent you had more independent sources of data than all the links you sent me.

And how does Big Gav handle a question he can’t intelligently address?

I should have guessed - a freeper - you twisted fascist freak … you view yourself as the centre of the universe … "lets create a frame to decide when we are allowed to invade Iran" … your just doing what your inner Fuhrer-complex demands … Its like watching a rerun of your mentor justifying invading Poland - "those Polish terrorists are threatening the homeland - we must attack them before the semitic bolshevik commissars get us" … I've had enough of listening to your whining and warmongering … get a life … your quest for global domination is just disgusting

LOL! He has a total melt down, that’s how. The question was at what point should Iran be held responsible for their war-like aggression as opposed to excusing it all in the name of a conspiracy that may or may not exist. Big Gav is totally inept at responding to such a question so he rolls out the ol “You’re Hitler”, “You’re a warmonger”, “You want to take over the world”, “You’re a racist”, “You’re a fascist”, “You’re a twisted freak”. Thanks, Big Gav, I couldn’t have made up an off the point over-reaction up like that if I were getting paid.

You people crack me up. Hey Sven, add this to the reason I keep coming back as well.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

Smitty (who does not exist), you are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet relevancy:
http://www.ejectejecteject.com/

Big Gav said...

Ah Smitty - you're a classic - when I follow your lead into personal abuse ("stupid", "moron", "whacko leftists" etc etc) or attacking sources (Sven you quoted CounterPunch - wah ! wah ! wah !) you then have the unparallelled hypocrisy to then criticise this behaviour and say I'm having a meltdown.

I'm trying to demonstrate how infantile your behaviour is you fell - are you really as obtuse as you pretend to be ?

As for "Big Gav, when you cite 7 or 8 links and they’re all coming from the exact same person, you only get credit for one" - do you understand that this guy is one of those UN weapons inspectors you ludicrously claim said Iraq had weapons of WMD ? How many examples do you want - from the horses mouth - that this wasn't true ? Is it only true if some lunatic "conservative" outlet reports it ? (sorry - silly question - thats the one and only truth in Smitty's paranoid conspiracy world)

Anyway - as you're clearly far too stupid to continue debating (you simply don't understand history or the larger picture and refuse to acknowledge the complete moral bankruptcy of your position) and I've already responded to your "when is iran going to stop beating its wife" question in enough different ways that it makes my head spin, I'm going to call it quits.

Something for you to ponder - Jeff is an intel guy with the US government. I've worked my whole life in the defence, oi&gas, investment banking and tech industries and somehow continue to manage to do quite well in a top 10 company. We both got mentioned in the Wall Street Journal (online) yesterday. And you think we're "whacko leftists".

I think its true that someone is a whacko crank here - but it would seem likely its not any of the regulars.

I suggest you back to Free Republic or LGF or whatever other brownshirt freak show you normally hang out in.

I'm tempted to do a post one day on "The Secret Life Of Smitty Broham" - you deserve a wider audience dude - especially as we clearly haven't appreciated your great talents properly in this friendly discussion...

Big Gav said...

Hey - I think we reached the end of the game...

http://www.xoverboard.com/cartoons/2007/070416_argument.png

Anonymous said...

Cheers, Big Gav.

I agree.

http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/home_page/345.php?nid=&id=&pnt=345&lb=hmpg1

ps-
ejectejecteject...sweet. let's disagree with others' fantasy worlds by constructing our own; a nice convenient one where we can willingly and ignorantly acquiesce to our proto-fascist regime.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Since Big Gav has proven to be a messy train wreck of irrelevant, peripheral, red herrings when it comes to addressing a clear question or challenge, I'll try you out.

First things first, you say you agree with Big Gav and then cite a link to stats indicating an increasing negative world opinion of the US. What do you agree with Big Gav about, and how is negative world opinion of the US relavent to my question regarding Iran? I happen to have no disagreement that world opinion is increasingly negative. I'm not sure what you're trying to support with that link.

Second, you appear to take issue with the link to EjectEjectEject I provided. Can you summarize for me his point to demonstrate you actually understood it, and perhaps detail the main reason(s) you refer to it as a "fantasy world"?

Third, do you have the slightest inkling of what fascism is? I know the word has become so stylish to use that it has virtually lost all meaning, but I'm wondering if you're using it in the uninformed manner Big Gav is fond of, or if there is actually some sort of fascist element you have identified in my comments or in that link.

I'm going out on a limb asking you multiple questions in one posting considering it took my repeating the same exact question almost 2 dozen times to get a response out of Big Gav (never got one from Sventabulous).

I'm banking on the fact you're not a registered user on this blog and perhaps for no other reason are capable of providing concise answers to specific questions.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

1.) I agree with Big Gav that this is the end. America has overextended itself, and its latest attempt at empire will soon end. Your pitiful rantings are as trite as they are nonsensical.
With regard to your question:
Welcome to realpolitik my ignorant friend.
Regardless of Iran's aggressive rhetoric and actions, they are but a drop in the bucket of others who harbour deep-seated animosity towards the United States, and there is no way the United States can possibly maintain anything like its current position on the global stage. One may draw a historical comparison of such hubris to the western Roman empire on the eve of its demise. Your country is in for quite a reckoning.

2.) Replacing one smoke screen with another does nothing but continue to obscure the truth. I wish you the very best of luck in your cocoon. I hope when you are squished it is quick and painless.

3.) I, unlike you, give serious consideration to the language I employ, and do not use the term proto-fascism lightly. The current Bush administration of the American government fits the criteria for the definition of this term: they are attempting to establish an authoritarian dictatorship with rigid corporate-state control of the modes of production. One need look no furter than the undisclosed secret Energy Task Force headed by the Vice President that prescribes governmental policy without checks and balances; the attempt to establish the theory of the unitary executive; the employment of methods previous used by other fascist regimes, such as systematic use of torture, prision camps, blatant disregard for international conventions and law, indiscriminate use of force against civilians, infringement of civil rights on its own citizens, etc. etc. etc.

The current ruling executive branch of the American government appears to be bending and breaking under the weight of its fascist pretensions.

One final word, as I shall not be returning to your charming tirade. Brute force has ruled the hearts and minds of men since time immemorial. The lust for conquest has unleashed the darker angels of mens' spirits since time began. Open your eyes and take an honest look around the world and see where those ambitions and pretentions have gotten the human race.
As it always has been, it is now a time of change, whether we like it or not. It is our decision here and now about what the future will look like.

Anonymous said...

Or putting anonymous's comments above in a slightly more exhaustive way :

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=9798

By the standard moral and legal definition, “telling the truth” means telling “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Seen from the standpoint of that criterion, Ted Koppel came up more than a little short in yesterday’s New York Times.

As all faithful daily readers of the nation’s official “newspaper-of-record” know, the former ABC “Nightline” anchor-editor Koppel graced yesterday’s Times op-ed page with a column chiding the Bush administration for its refusal to admit that “oil” is the reason that for the United States (U.S.) occupation of Iraq.

More than simply denying that petroleum might have anything to with “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (hereafter “OIF”), indeed, the Bush administration says that it is “irresponsible,” “partisan,” “dishonest,” and damn-near treasonous to “claim we acted in Iraq because of oil.”

That’s childish nonsense, Koppel rightly says, usefully enough for those of us who’ve never bought the doctrinal White House story lines about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and (then) the administration’s passionate desire to export “democracy” to Iraq and the Middle East.

“There’s no reason,” Koppel boldly declares, “to be coy about why the U.S. is in Iraq.” “The reason for America’s rapt attention to the security of the Persian Gulf is what is has always been. It’s about the oil.”

And “the oil” is not just why the U.S. went into Iraq in the first place; it’s also why the administration says “the U.S. cannot now precipitously withdraw its forces from Iraq.”

There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in that, Koppel wants America and the White House to know. Glorious America is unfortunately “addicted” to overseas petroleum, he argues, and has long required “an uninterrupted flow of Persian Gulf oil.” And the U.S. can’t stand to have evil non-American others – Iranian Communists and their Soviet allies in the 1950s, Iranian Ayotollahs in the 1970s, and Islamic terrorists today – in charge of such a vital substance.

Consistent with his historical argument, Koppel dedicates the bulk of his column to a review of successive moments when Uncle Sam has moved to guarantee secure regular “oil flows out of the Persian Gulf.” Koppel’s narrative includes British and U.S. collaboration in the illegal but apparently noble (or at least understandable, as far as Koppel is concerned) overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected head of state Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and America’s sponsorship of the brutal dictatorship of Sha Mohammed Reza Pahlevi between 1967 and 1979.

Also meriting mention in Koppel’s account is the famous White House “Carter Doctrine,” which proclaimed that “an[y] attempt by an outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” The provocative establishment of U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia and the launching of Operation Dessert Storm were legitimate expressions, Koppel feels, of America’s obvious and logical interest in protecting its own and the world’s economy by “defending the free flow of Middle East oil” (Ted Koppel, "Will Fight For Oil," New York Times, 24 February 2006, p. 127).

So what is the supposedly super-candid Koppel leaving out? A few things beginning above all with the selfish and imperial nature of America’s longstanding “rapt attention” to Middle Eastern oil. The former “Nightline” host is right to say that OIF is “about the oil,” but he doesn’t give anything close to “the whole truth” on why Persian Gulf petroleum really matters so much to U.S. policymakers.

If Koppel likes history so much, he might want to look at how the U.S. State Department described that region’s unmatched oil reserves in 1945: “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in history.” As such, that “prize” has long been understood by U.S. planners to be what leading U.S. policy critic Noam Chomsky calls “a lever of ‘unilateral world domination,’” adding that control of that that “prize” has “funnel[ed] enormous wealth to the U.S. in numerous ways.” Consistent with that imperial perception and the related wealth windfall, Chomsky observes, “the U.S. invaded Iraq because it has enormous oil resources, mostly untapped, and it's right in the heart of the world's energy system.” If the U.S. succeeds in controlling Iraq, Chomsky notes, “it extends enormously its strategic power, what [leading imperial strategist and Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor] Zbigniew Brzezinski calls its ‘critical leverage’ over Europe and Asia. That's a major reason for controlling the oil resources -- it gives you strategic power”(Chomsky, “Confronting the Empire,” Address to World Social Forum, February 2, 2003).

To be sure, America’s insatiable demand for fossil fuels is making the U.S. increasingly reliant on foreign oil. But even if the U.S. overcame its gasoline “addiction” and became fully energy- self-reliant (it currently receives just 20 percent of its oil from the Middle East), something else would still make U.S. officials positively obsessed with Middle Eastern petroleum: the ongoing and ever-worsening loss of America’s one-time supremacy in basic global-capitalist realms of production, trade, international finance, and currency and the related emergence of the rapidly expanding giant China as a new strategic military (as well as economic) competitor. As David Harvey argues, America’s basic decline, reflecting predictable (and predicted) shifts in the spatial patterns of capitalist investment and social infrastructure (David Harvey, Spaces of Capital: Toward a Critical Geography [New York, NY: Routledge, 2001], pp. 237-393) gives special urgency for the U.S. empire to deepen its control of Middle Eastern oil and use it as what Chalmers Johnson calls “a bargaining chip with even more oil-dependent regions” like Western Europe and East Asia, homes to the leading challengers to U.S. economic power.

America’s long-fading capitalist hegemony is no small part of what drove its hard-right and nationalist administration to occupy Iraq. By many analysts’ estimation, OIF is part of a White House effort to use America’s last truly unchallenged form of world dominance – it’s near monopoly over globally projected organized violence – “to establish U.S. control over the global oil spigot, and thus over the global economy, for another fifty years” (Giovanni Arrighi, “Hegemony Unraveling – I,” New Left Review, March-April 2005, p.62). As David Harvey noted on the eve of the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq: "Europe and Japan, as well as East and Southeast Asia (now crucially including China) are heavily dependent on Gulf oil, and these are regional configurations of political-economic power that now pose a challenge to U.S. hegemony in the worlds of production and finance. What better way to ward off that competition and secure its own hegemonic position than to control the price, condition, and distribution of the key economic resource on which the competitors rely? And what better way to do that than to use the one line of force where the U.S. still remains all-powerful – military might?” (David Harvey, The New Imperialism [New York, NY: Oxford, 2004], p.25)

In a context where the U.S. has good reason to feel that its dominant position within world capitalism is seriously threatened, the Bush administration was “looking to flex military muscle as the only clear absolute power it has left” and to “hide the exaction of tribute from the rest of the world under a rhetoric of delivering peace and freedom for all” (Harvey, New Imperialism, p. 77). Powerless to maintain economic hegemony through the “normal” mechanisms of corporate-neoliberal “free market” globalization, Uncle Sam has bared the “hidden fist” (Thomas Friedman) of coercive militarism to retain planetary economic dominance through military control of Middle Eastern petroleum reserves.

The other thing Koppel either doesn’t know or doesn’t wish to divulge is that the U.S. is not simply worried about “outside forces” controlling Persian Gulf oil. It’s has an equal and related fear that groups internal to the region might attain significant control over the region’s critical raw materials.

Full truth be told, the U.S. strategic “stakes” and opposition to internal control in Iraq are so great that much current U.S. discussion of American withdrawal from Mesopotamia seems exceedingly na*ve. Even on what passes for a left in the U.S., many commentators seem to think that the invasion is properly understood as a bungled effort to spread democracy – an incompetent occupation that genuinely sought to “liberate” and would have been undertaken even if Iraq’s only raw materials were chicory, lettuce, and bananas. The “freedom”- loving Bush administration, many “left” American commentators seem to think, should just call off its overly “idealistic” misadventure and let the Iraqis work their problems out on their own. “We” should accept “defeat,” which “we” allegedly suffered in Vietnam and muster the humanitarian courage to admit “our” (merely) tactical “mistake” and leave (see, for example, Nicholas Kristoff, “What We Need in Iraq: An Exit Date,” New York Times, 14 February, 2006, p. A23).

The White House has never had the slightest interest in creating a genuinely free, sovereign, democratic, and independent Iraq. Under the useful cover story of “Iraqi Freedom,” it wants to deepen U.S. control of Iraqi and thus Middle Eastern oil, something such an Iraq would be certain resist. That core objective would hardly be attained by leaving Iraq to its own independently and democratically determined fortunes. And to make “the logic of withdrawal” yet less apparent to U.S. planners, the majority of Iraqis are Shiite Muslims and therefore likely to use real national independence as an opportunity to form a rough anti-systemic partnership with also oil-rich Iran. Together with Iran, Iraqi Shiites might well inspire Shiite resistance to state power in the Persian Gulf’s ultimate oil-prize, feudal and arch-repressive Saudi Arabia, home (by the way) to the world’s largest known oil reserves, where “strategic” petro-imperial considerations have long mandated a deep U.S. partnership with tyranny and dictatorship. As Chomsky recently explained in an important interview, reminding us that U.S. domination of majority-Shiite post-invasion Iraq is intimately related to U.S. domination of the entire Persian Gulf region (home to two-thirds of the world’s known oil reserves) and the rising world-systemic threat (to U.S. planners) of a dynamic new East Asian state capitalism:

"Let's talk about withdrawal. Take any day's newspapers or journals and so on. They start by saying the United States aims to bring about a sovereign democratic independent Iraq. I mean, is that even a remote possibility? Just consider what the policies would be likely to be of an independent sovereign Iraq. If it's more or less democratic, it'll have a Shiite majority. They will naturally want to improve their linkages with Iran, Shiite Iran. Most of the clerics come from Iran. The Badr Brigade, which basically runs the South, is trained in Iran. They have close and sensible economic relationships which are going to increase. So you get an Iraqi/Iran loose alliance. Furthermore, right across the border in Saudi Arabia, there's a Shiite population which has been bitterly oppressed by the U.S.-backed fundamentalist tyranny. And any moves toward independence in Iraq are surely going to stimulate them, it's already happening. That happens to be where most of Saudi Arabian oil is. Okay, so you can just imagine the ultimate nightmare in Washington: a loose Shiite alliance controlling most of the world's oil, independent of Washington and probably turning toward the East, where China and others are eager to make relationships with them, and are already doing it. Is that even conceivable? The U.S. would go to nuclear war before allowing that, as things now stand"(Noam Chomsky, “There is no War on Terror,” ZNet Magazine, January 16, 2006).

To make easy or rapid U.S. withdrawal yet less likely, Iraq’s inanimate oil reserves and related social infrastructure cannot be “saved” for “critical [imperial] leverage” and global-economic windfall through wanton annihilation. Iraq’s critical raw material cannot be removed from Iraq along with U.S. soldiers and B-52s in the same way that American crucifiers stole the promise of the Vietnamese Revolution through sheer destruction. The utter demolition America inflicted on Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s is not a rational imperial option in regard to Iraq.

Iraq cannot be physically lost – territorially conceded – to the Iraqis without monumentally dire consequences to American Empire. If abandoned, Iraq’s significant share of “the greatest material prize in history” can only be left to the control of others, an outcome that is unacceptable to American policymakers for (again) “very good [imperial] reason[s].”

The fully and ugly truth is that the self-proclaimed universal state and global super-power Uncle Sam has no intention of granting management of the world’s most “stupendous source of strategic power” and “critical” global political-economic “leverage” to the people who happen to live on its merely national, not-so sovereign topsoil. At this precarious and potentially late point in the history of its global dominance, the U.S. can be expected to hold on to that control with an impressive imperial death grip. It will likely exhibit a fierce determination to defend that grasp through even the most terrible conflicts and violence abroad and at home, where more and bigger 9/11’s seem all-too likely in coming years.

The risks of not holding on are simply too great, as far as those structurally super-empowered U.S. actors who crave planetary (and indeed inter-planetary) supremacy (the real objective of U.S. foreign policy) are concerned. Withdrawal from Iraq is a most unlikely thing for Uncle Sam to seriously contemplate in light of his tendency to value hegemony over survival, consistent with deadly choices made by concentrated power through the long, reckless, and criminal record of empire.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of Iran's aggressive rhetoric and actions, they are but a drop in the bucket of others who harbour deep-seated animosity towards the United States

Oh, so you can admit that Iran exhibits “aggresssive rhetoric and actions. Presumably then, were a nation to decide to address Iran’s “aggressive rhetoric and actions” with a military response, we need not lift the couch searching for a hidden conspiracy to invade to explain such a move, need we?


and there is no way the United States can possibly maintain anything like its current position on the global stage. One may draw a historical comparison of such hubris to the western Roman empire on the eve of its demise. Your country is in for quite a reckoning.

Ah yes, I knew it was too much to expect to stay on topic. Nowhere in my comments am I concerned with the US’s global footing. The question was do we have to resort to conspiracy theories to explain a military strike on Iran or could it be that their “aggressive rhetoric and actions” may bring it upon them instead?


2.) Replacing one smoke screen with another does nothing but continue to obscure the truth. I wish you the very best of luck in your cocoon. I hope when you are squished it is quick and painless.

This was your response to “Can you summarize for me his point … and perhaps detail the main reason(s) you refer to it as a ‘fantasy world’”? So in other words, no you could not summarize his point because you either didn’t read it in the first place before concluding it to be a “fantasy world” and now a “smoke screen”, or you aren’t witty enough to understand the point. Perhaps a little of both. And let me see now, the reasons you deem it a “fantasy world” are … oh wait, you didn’t give any other than alternatively referring to it as a “smoke screen”. Never at a loss for being at a loss, are we? At least you are cogent enough to realize the opposite of what the EjectEjectEject link was shooting down (that which Sventabulous, Jeff Vail, and Big Gav are selling with regard to Iran) is also a “fantasy world” and a “smoke screen” with the comment “Replacing one smoke screen with another”.


The current Bush administration of the American government fits the criteria for the definition of this term

Oh, I see. You only intended to describe the Bush administration as “proto-fascist” but not my comments or the comments within any of the links I included. Yours was but a benign insinuation I cheerlead or to be precise, “willingly and ignorantly acquiesce” to it, a charge that you have also proven too intellectually lazy to support but crap out for good measure.

Brute force has ruled the hearts and minds of men since time immemorial. The lust for conquest has unleashed the darker angels of mens' spirits since time began. Open your eyes and take an honest look around the world and see where those ambitions and pretentions have gotten the human race.

This is precisely the exact point I have already made on this blog before. I don’t disagree with it. Persuading me that this is so is unnecessary and nowhere in my comments on this posting or any others I have interacted in would contradict it.

James 4:1-2 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

As it always has been, it is now a time of change, whether we like it or not. It is our decision here and now about what the future will look like.

And the change you expect to happen to counteract human nature from time immemorial will be what? Identifying that human nature is flawed, wicked, evil, brutal, spiteful; that is the easy part. You stopped short of articulating the solution, however. You stopped short of the hard part.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

WHy does Smitty only work within the boundaries of his own question ?

Is he afraid to consider any other point of view ?

Anonymous said...

uh, hold on, lemmee think, oh yeah:

he's a fucking dumb-fuck.

(just like his Dear Leader:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/04/19/jon-stewart-calls-out-bushs-rhetorical-bullt )

Anonymous said...

WHy does Smitty only work within the boundaries of his own question ?

Is he afraid to consider any other point of view ?


If you'll review how many times I asked it and how many times it was side-stepped, ignored, and misrepresented, or how many times I was mocked, derided, and insulted for having the gall to ask it, you wouldn't be left in such a state of confused wonder why might I "only work within the boundaries" of my own question. Had my question not taken 95% of the text of this posting to answer, I would have been glad to move on.

uh, hold on, lemmee think, oh yeah: he's a fucking dumb-fuck.

Pure genius!

(just like his Dear Leader:

You people share a pathological inability to recognize there are more views in existance today than yours or George Bush's. Because you lack the ability to address a political issue outside the framework of an argument handed down to you from someone else does not mean we are all led in similar fashions.

Would it surpise you to learn I both agree and disagree with Bush, with Jeff Vail, with Sventastic, and if either of you two unsigned anonymous literarians had anything intelligent to say, maybe with you as well.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

I think when you watch Smitty at work the phrase to remember is George Lakoff's "Don't Think Of An Elephant".

Its all in the framing...

Anonymous said...

hey dumb-fuck,
did you vote for him? twice?
if so, shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

did you vote for him? twice?
if so, shut the fuck up.


If the support for your thought provoking posts is a suspicion that I voted for George Bush twice, or even once, you don't have a leg to stand on. I didn't vote for George Bush either time, but I'm sure you're perfectly content to divert the discussion from the point of this post which is Iran to whether or not I voted for Bush. It's not a clever diversion, but it keeps you from having to form a thought about what is being discussed and removes the possibility you'll look like a fellow moron. But from what I've read of your comments so far, do we really have to look any further?

I do have a friend who shares the points of view on this blog who did vote for him the first time, however. I'll apply your witty criticism to him instead.

Until you can manage to post a comment related to this thread and find a thesaurus to help you mix up your vocab away from your clever "F" word, you're clearly not the caliber of debate worth responding to.

-Smitty Broham

yet another chomsky puppet said...

I think we're getting a very amateurish repeat here of our media experience last time round...

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003574260

Anonymous said...

Billmon - from one year ago :

http://web.archive.org/web/20060419030725/billmon.org/archives/002390.html

The Flight Forward

For those who don't want to believe the United States is seriously preparing to attack Iran, one favored explanation for the current war chatter is that it's nothing more than a textbook case of saber rattling � or, once the alleged threat to use tactical nuclear weapons is added to the mix, an example of the so-called "madman theory" in action.

I've been planning to post something on the madman theory for several days now, but Fred Kaplan at Slate has long since beaten me to the punch. So I'll let him review the origin of the term:

In his first few years as president, Richard Nixon tried to force North Vietnam's leaders to the peace table by persuading them that he was a madman who would do anything to win the war. His first step, in October 1969, was to ratchet up the alert levels of U.S. strategic nuclear forces as a way of jarring the Soviet Union into pressuring the North Vietnamese to back down. A few years later, he stepped up the bombing of the North and put out the word that he might use nukes.
As Kaplan notes, these threats had no effect whatsoever on Hanoi's behavior � just as talk of nuclear bunker busters now doesn't appear to have intimidated Tehran. Like the North Vietnamese before them, the Iranians apparently have concluded that while the president of the United States may be crazy, he's not that crazy.

Or, alternatively, the ultracons are right and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the crazy one, and would be perfectly happy to accelerate the return of the Hidden Imam (the Shi'a version of end-time theology) by a couple of years. However, it may be that Ahmadinejad is playing his own version of the madman game, in which case it's entirely possible two sane (well, semi-sane) men will end up bluffing each other into a nuclear war � albeit a wholly one-sided one.

To paraphrase Sy Hersh: It's a hell of a way to run a world.

We can only pray that the Iranians are right about Bush and/or the ultracons are wrong about Ahmadinejad � because if madman theory ever turns into madman fact, the world truly will be in Satan's hands.

In my first post on this subject, I made the obvious point that a nuclear first strike on Iran would be the worst war crime imaginable, save for mass genocide. But Arthur Silber at The Power of Narrative points out that the two aren't mutually exclusive. Arthur links to this article in The Progressive, which cites worst case estimates from both the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Academy of Sciences that a tactical nuke strike could kill more than a million people � not counting the longer-term mortality risk from cancer or other diseases. (The UCS offers this flash animation of what the fallout plume from a strike on the Iranian nuclear complex at Esfahan might look like.)

Physicians for Social Responsibility claims the direct death toll from a strike on the Esfahan could be even higher � three million. And even the low-ball estimate, from the Oxford Research Group, forecasts 10,000 immediate deaths and the outbreak of all-out war in the Middle East.

By just about anybody's definition � except maybe Hermann Goering's � this would qualify as mass genocide. Even I don't believe George W. Bush would deliberately and knowingly order the murder of three million people. But I'm absolutely terrified by the thought that a popular novelist (or Dick Cheney) might waltz into the Oval Office and convince the president of the United States that all the scientific experts are wrong and that a tactical nuclear strike on Iran would only make the flowers there grow a little faster.

There are times when ignorance can be an even greater enemy of mankind than evil.

There is another possibility � a new twist on the classic madman theory. As Kaplan notes, the current nuclear blustering may actually be aimed at U.S. and global public opinion, in hopes of making a conventional bombing strike against Iran seem, well, almost sane:

It's a variation on the game that national-security advisers sometimes use in laying out options to their bosses. Option 1: Declare all-out war. Option 2: Surrender. Option 3 is the course of action that the adviser wants to pursue. Hersh's story might be serving the same purpose. Option 1: Nuke 'em. Option 2: Shut your eyes and do nothing, like the Europeans would prefer. Option 3: Attack Iran's facilities, but with 2,000-pound smart bombs, not 5-kiloton nuclear bombs.
Perhaps. Although if this is true the administration appears to have an even lower opinion of the American public, and the democratic process, than I do. The manuever that Kaplan describes � i.e. options 1,2 and 3 � is usually played out behind closed doors, not as part of a national PR campaign. There's always the risk that the public (and Congress) will basically geek out at the thought of nuclear war, and will try to do something to stop it, making the administration's job of planning and preparing for conventional war that much harder.

But these attempts to explain the seemingly irrational may all be going off on the wrong tangent. The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to suspect that the madman theory � and its weaker sister the "saber rattling" scenario � are the wrong concepts for understanding the tragedy that may be playing out in front of us.

What we are witnessing (through rips in the curtain of official secrecy) may be an example of what the Germans call the flucht nach vorne � the "flight forward." This refers to ta situation in which an individual or institution seeks a way out of a crisis by becoming ever more daring and aggressive (or, as the White House propaganda department might put it: "bold") A familar analogy is the gambler in Vegas, who tries to get out of a hole by doubling down on each successive bet.

Classic historical examples of the flucht nach vornes include Napoleon's attempt to break the long stalemate with Britain by invading Russia,the decision of the Deep South slaveholding states to secede from the Union after Lincoln's election, and Milosevic's bid to create a "greater Serbia" after Yugoslavia fell apart.

As these examples suggest, flights forward usually don't end well � just as relatively few gamblers emerge from a doubling-down spree with their shirts still on their backs.

But of course, most gamblers don't have the ability to call in an air strike on the casino. For Bush, or the neocons, or both, regime change in Iran not only may appear doable, it may also look like the only way out of the spectacular mess they have created in Iraq.

The logic is understandable, if malevolent. Instead of creating a secular, pro-American client state in the heart of the Middle East, the invasion of Iraq has destroyed the front-line Arab regime opposing Tehran, installed a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad and vastly increased Iranian influence, not only in Iraq, but throughout the Shi'a world. It's also moved the Revolutionary Guard one step closer to the Kuwaiti and Saudi oil fields � the prize upon which the energy security of the West depends.

By the traditional standards of U.S. foreign policy, this is a fiasco of almost unbelievable proportions. More to the point, the neocons may believe that unless they can do something dramatic to recoup those losses, they won't be able to safely withdraw large numbers of troops from Iraq, since they are A.) the only remaining source of U.S. influence in the country and B.) the only shield against Iranian infiltration of both Iraq and the Shi'a majority regions of Saudia Arabia and the Gulf emirates. Yet the military need for such a draw down becomes more critical with each passing day, as the all-volunteer Army is stretched towards its breaking point.

In other words, the administration, and the Pentagon, have gotten themselves into one hell of a jam � militarily, strategically and politically. As desperate and reckless as attempted regime change in Iran might seem to us, to the Cheneyites it may look like the only move left on the board.

Hersh suggests the neocons have convinced themselves that an air campaign against Iran would quickly lead to a popular rebellion and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Perhaps this is so, at least for the gullible and the ignorant among them (such as Bush.) Drowning men, after all, will clutch at straws.

But my suspicion is that at least some of the civilian war planners see events playing out very differently. They understand that air strikes would lead very quickly to a wider war, which in turn would make it politically feasible to launch a full-scale invasion of Iran.

Conventional wisdom holds that an invasion of Iran isn't militarily feasible, given how bogged down the Army is in Iraq. That being the case, the general assumption seems to be that the administration's war plan begins and ends with a major air campaign � thus the deus ex machina theory of a popular revolt against the regime.

But defense analyst and Washington Post blogger William Arkin begs to differ with the conventional wisdom:

Contrary to all the speculation this week that all U.S. contingency planning for Iran is about quick, surgical action short of war, both the Army and Marine Corps are newly looking at full scale war scenarios.
More on those plans here.

As I speculated in an earlier post, a move against Iran might be preceded by a major troop drawdown in Iraq (which, if my analysis is correct, would itself make war with Iran a strategic necessity in the eyes of the neocons.) Or it may be that Rummy and the gang intend to push through another of their 'minimalist' invasion plans (which may be one reason the chorus of military complaints about Rummy has risen to a howl.) Either way, it should not be assumed that the neocons are going to act in a military rational way. That's not what the flucht nach vorne is all about.

If anything, the same goes double for our boy king. If the institutional temptation for the neocons to seek redemption in a flight forward is powerful, the psychological motivations for Bush may be overwhelming. In his story, Hersh refers to Bush's alleged desire to make "saving Iran" from the Shi'a Hitler his legacy. But saving Iraq from the Baathist Hitler was orginally supposed to be his legacy. This is doubling down on a historically grand scale.

We can at least hope the nuclear component in the current war planning is indeed a sham � some sort of variation on the madman theory. But when it comes to assessing the administration's overall intentions, I have a sinking feeling that most analysts remain trapped in an obsolete frame of reference � that of preemption, or "preventative" war, driven by an overwhelming fear of weapons of mass destruction.

As Arkin puts it:

I don't believe that the United States is planning to imminently attack Iran, and I specifically don't think so because Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons and it hasn't lashed out militarily against anyone.
Fear of WMD may indeed be at the root of a war with Iran, if that's really where we're heading. Or it may simply be reprise of Wolfowitz's "bureaucratic reason." The past few years have taught us a lot about mixed motives. But it seems at least possible that what the neocons � and Bush � are really hoping to "preempt" is the collapse of their grand scheme in the Middle East. In other words, it may be the United States, not Iran, that is preparing to "lash out" � in a deliberate, calculated war of aggression.

That may not fit into the traditional concept of the madman theory, although it would still be the handiwork of the criminally insane.

Anonymous said...

Here's a classic on some religious nuts trying to bring terror to the entire middle east :

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/4/22/73551/1510

Anonymous said...

10 ways America is becomming fascist:

http://alternet.org/waroniraq/51150/

Anonymous said...

One would almost conclude this thread was a discussion of whether or not America was becoming fascist given the last few posts. Right on target as always with the responses, pals.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

Your lack of cogence or adaptability is par for the course, dumb-fuck.

Anonymous said...

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson042607.html

What, a link pertaining to Iranian provocations in a thread about Iranian provocations? Get right out of town. Where do I find the nerve?

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

Um, yeah. We've done such a fabulous job so far.

http://tomdispatch.org/indexprint.mhtml?pid=191294

Anonymous said...

Leave it to the good ole US of A to utterly clusterf*ck everything they touch (a Midas' touch of pure sh*t).
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/05/us_government_g.html

Anonymous said...

Tack another item to the list of Iranian belligerence:

Iran caught shipping heavy weapons to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/document_iran_c.html

Let's see, Iran's recent belligerence includes:

1) Defying unanimous U.N. Security Council on weapons grade uranium enrichment

2) Abduction of British soldiers

3) Provoking all manner of death and destruction in Iraq by fueling sectarian violence, as well as providing insurgents with all kinds of neat armor-piercing IED projectiles

4) Supporting and encouraging a proxy terror war against Israel via Hezbollah

5) Calling for the destruction (genocide) of Israel in an "Islamic fire" (nukes anyone?)

6) And now shipping heavy weapons to Taliban insurgents to carry out yet another proxy war front against US & British troops, supporting the enemies of what even most Iraq War critics can admit was a justified military action.

You guys are probably still right though, Iran isn't asking for a war ... they're just being set up.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

Here's a nice representation of the 4,000 page debate for those who are visual learners:
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=25812_Colossal_Evasion&only

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

um, yeah...

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/04/2284/

way to go.

Anonymous said...

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Since you seem to like comix, take a look at this.

Anonymous said...

Smits:
Gandhi's writings on Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany were controversial. He offered Satyagraha non-violence as a method of combating oppression and genocide, stating:

If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest Gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy [...] the calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the God-fearing, death has no terror.[17]

Gandhi was highly criticized for these statements and responded in another article entitled “Some Questions Answered” where he wrote:

Friends have sent me two newspaper cuttings criticizing my appeal to the Jews. The two critics suggest that in presenting non-violence to the Jews as a remedy against the wrong done to them, I have suggested nothing new...¶ What I have pleaded for is renunciation of violence of the heart and consequent active exercise of the force generated by the great renunciation.”[18]

In a similar vein, anticipating a possible attack on India by Japan during World War II, Gandhi recommended satyagraha as a defense:

…there should be unadulterated non-violent non-cooperation, and if the whole of India responded and unanimously offered it, I should show that, without shedding a single drop of blood, Japanese arms – or any combination of arms – can be sterilized. That involves the determination of India not to give quarter on any point whatsoever and to be ready to risk loss of several million lives. But I would consider that cost very cheap and victory won at that cost glorious. That India may not be ready to pay that price may be true. I hope it is not true, but some such price must be paid by any country that wants to retain its independence. After all, the sacrifice made by the Russians and the Chinese is enormous, and they are ready to risk all. The same could be said of the other countries also, whether aggressors or defenders. The cost is enormous. Therefore, in the non-violent technique I am asking India to risk no more than other countries are risking and which India would have to risk even if she offered armed resistance.[19]

Smitty Broham said...

Hi Anonymous,

I read your post twice. I can't figure out what it is you're trying to accomplish with it. You direct it at me personally, as though I've personally advocated violence in this thread.

You took the time to post, so perhaps you should have taken the time to read the conversation you're jumping into. The only point of my comments in this thread were to find out if Iran could do something so overtly hostile that the Theory of Power regulars would agree that military response was a result of their behavior and not some ethereal conspiracy.

I managed to get one incredibly naive and foolish answer to this question from Big Gav, who to date, is the only one that ventured an actual handling of my question rather than a derailment into peripheral issues, or later in the game, just cursing and spitting from other Anonymous posters.

But you've come along quoting Ghandi, and I don't know what to do with it. The way you've directed Ghandi's quotes at me, I can only assume you've completely missed the purpose of my comments and think that it is me, personally, who is advocating violence. I did not, and am not. I was only questioning the conspiracy theory Jeff Vail is selling, which led to my questioning whether or not Iran could do anything at all that would invite justified military response.

Preaching at me with Ghandi quotes misses two things: 1) my repeated, painstakingly clear explanations that I was not personally suggesting we go to war with Iran, and 2) the point of this post.

-Smitty Broham

Anonymous said...

"In short, an attack on Iran would be an act of political folly, setting in motion a progressive upheaval in world affairs. With the U.S. increasingly the object of widespread hostility, the era of American preponderance could even come to a premature end." Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Been There, Done That," op-ed, Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2006.

I think the point is that folks with power like to "fix the facts" or instigate events to achieve nefarious ends.

The US can't afford to just attack Iran outright, and so it is entirely conceivable that the US (wanting an excuse) would incite the Iranians to commit an act that would "justify" the use of force to retaliate.

The entire point is that the US has the capability to reduce to dust any country in the world. Iran does not. Since the US is supposedly a democracy, it can't just go around reducing countries to dust with impunity, a) because other countries would not be pleased, and b) because a majority of Americans don't think that it would be a wise thing to do.
Therefore, this thread is about whether the US government has the hubris incite an event that, in their eyes, would "enable" it to try and sell committing an atrocity (dusting Iran) to its own people and to the world.
[The opposite approach would be to diplomatically engage the Iran government and work out differences in a non-violent manner.]

Anonymous said...

Smits - Some reading for you, a propos your question.

Anonymous said...

Smits-
They're called False Flag Operations.

Anonymous said...

Fun stuff, Smits.