Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category
A few days in the desert clearing my mind, and I’m back, safe and sound. Maybe not completely sound. No, I’m not in the above image. I’m the one in the 100 year old mine tunnel taking the picture. My friends did not share my belief that “It’s perfectly safe.” Of course it wasn’t perfectly safe, a half wheelbarrow full of gravel and rocks could have showered on my head at the entrance, falling from a few inches. I would have been bruised and dirty. Inside the tunnel, if it was a Hollywood movie, the entire tunnel could have caved in on me, crushing me in front of my horrified friend’s eyes. In real life, tunnels cut through solid dry rock are used as bomb shelters. Yes, there was a minuscule chance that a boulder could have fallen from the ceiling and killed me. Probably about the same risk I take crossing the busy corner by my house several times a day. It’s all about relative risk people.
Speaking of relative risk, standing near New York cops when they open fire clearly has some hazards. They managed to hit nine bystanders while gunning down an armed man?! Is this some sort of record? Fortunately only the suspect was killed, and none of the nine was seriously injured, few of them being directly shot. As police shootings go, this one seems justified to me, so hopefully there won’t be too much hue and cry. And another example of the need for cradle-to-grave health care. Sadly there will now be lawsuits instead.
Speaking of graves, Neil Armstrong is dead. He was a good man, a true hero. And not so much a hero for being the first man to step on the Moon, a hero for being humble about it and sharing the credit for what was a team effort involving tens of thousands of people. Yes, he “flubbed” his line when he was the first person to step on the Moon, but anyone with a functioning brain understood what he meant. He was kinda nervous at the time, so I think we can safely say he gets a pass. And no, he wasn’t an Atheist; and the Mr Gorsky thing is an urban legend.
Two nice segues in a row, but now I got nothing. I have done a bit of digging, and discovered that 31 states allow rapists some parental rights. And that Ryan, Romney’s running mate, co-sponsored a bill that would have given parental rights to rapists. I really hope some gentle reader can confirm that this isn’t true. I did seem to find evidence that Ryan believes that rape is “just another method of conception.” Yeah, and murder is just another form of death. This is the problem with ideology (and “life begins at conception” is as ideological as it gets,) it means that followed to its logical conclusions in any number of directions, one gets sick absurdities. No, rape is not “just another method of conception,” it’s a terrible crime. And rapists do not have parental rights. The Republicans need to clarify their position on this.
A Jason left a nasty comment on my “We Could Have Won Vietnam” post, it’s the last comment. Sigh. Aside from missing the point of the post, he not only regurgitates the myth that we fought the Vietnam War with our hands tied behind our backs for political reasons; he comes up with a new myth, that our victories in World War Two were due to barbarism and unrestricted warfare. No, our victories in World War Two were because the Allies built dozens of planes and tanks and ships for every one that Japan and German built. The war crimes the USA committed on the side had no appreciable effect on the outcome of the war. And no, I’m not going to make any pro forma remarks about competence and heroism by Americans during the war. Deal with it.
Iran has opened the Summit of Nonaligned Nations with a call for a world wide ban on nuclear arms. A prominent Israeli spiritual leader called for Jews to pray for “the annihilation of Iran.” What’s wrong with this picture? Not to be out done, North Korea’s Kim has threatened war over a joint US/South Korean military drill. Of course if Russia and Mexico held an annual military drill in the Gulf of Mexico involving tens of thousands of Russian troops and nuclear weapons, the USA would be threatening war as well. Alas, most people are so wedded to their good guy/bad guy world view that they can’t imagine other perspectives. I still remember an online friend who insisted that it was “illogical” for Iraqi insurgents to be attacking US troops. One of the finest examples of Straw Vulcan Logic I have ever heard.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. ;)
(The above image is Copyrighted with the awesome might of the US legal system behind it, and may not be reproduced for any purpose. Credit and copyright 2012 Doug Stych, all rights reserved. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to publish it, but am very reasonable if asked. Coming someday, more desert pictures, some inspired by the fine photography of Mary Molnar.)
I have to admit that the situation in Syria and the Middle East is a little disturbing. Maybe a lot disturbing. In the normal course of events the rebellion would be crushed in Syria, but we are no longer within the normal course of events. And the Syrian mess is horribly intertwined with Israel’s threat to attack Iran, and the spreading instability from Syria … Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey are already getting spillover. And on the “World News” tonight on TV: The Washington Shooting, Immigration, Domestic politics, and … drum roll … the Loch Ness Monster. Yes dear reader, the sole actual international story on the American news tonight was about the latest Loch Ness Monster hoax. They didn’t call it a hoax though. And then they claimed people have been seeing the Loch Ness Monster since the seventh century. That, in the common or orc speech, is called a lie. Loch Ness Monster sightings date from 1933, which should have ended all the silliness long ago.
Yes, I’m digressing all over the place again. Syria, what’s to be done? I tried writing a blog post. Turns out just understanding the history of Syria is a few blog posts on its own, maybe dozens. Add current events and its a real conundrum. I’ll try and sum it up. Under the guise of supporting a democratic uprising in Syria, the USA and Israel are destabilizing Syria to further isolate Iran, and maybe even force it to capitulate on its nuclear program. Russia and China are supporting the status quo in Syria, and for the moment at least have forestalled direct NATO involvement. No lines in the sand have been drawn yet though. Everyone else in the region is trying to look after themselves, which sadly includes huge numbers of civilians and refugees at this point. And to spice up the mix, Israel is openly talking about a “30 day war” with Iran. And the Iranians responded with stupid sabre rattling of their own.
Fun fun times. It’s impossible to say where this will lead, but I don’t really see how this is going to lead to more peace and stability in the region. Syria, like so many Middle Eastern and African nations, isn’t a natural nation, just lines on the map drawn by France and England after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War One. That bodes ill for any peaceful end to this. The ongoing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan also bode ill for Syria, ten years after the west “liberated” them they are still failed states with no end in sight. Even Egypt’s new president has called for “regime change” in Syria, while criticizing Muslim on Muslim violence, especially during Ramadan. Encouraging violence while simultaneously criticizing it, I don’t even begin to understand that.
And then there’s Israel’s threat to carry out an extended bombing campaign against Iran. Sigh. The Israelis seem determined to keep themselves isolated and hated among nations of the Middle East, they are so stuck in siege mode that they can’t seem to imagine anything else. Once one has convinced oneself that their enemies are sub-human savages, it’s a short trip to believing that violence is the only option. Again, I can’t even imagine what the fallout from an Israeli war on Iran would entail. Though I certainly don’t imagine it leading to peace in the Middle East and a democratic western oriented regime in Iran. An Israeli attack on Iran would be Muslim militant fundamentalist’s wet dream though. That’s another aspect of this mess that’s appalling, so many of the actors seem to be deliberately taking steps that will lead to more Islamic militants and more terrorism. Madness, ignorance, or design? Damned if I know.
To me it’s clear that anyone who says they understand what’s going on the Middle East now is a liar or a fool. Decades ago a wag said that “If God is dead, he died trying to solve the Middle East Problem.” Truer now than ever. I think modern propaganda is making the situation worse, it has been a terrible force for polarization and tunnel vision. Having everyone in the region armed to the teeth isn’t helping any either. I also think Israel is one of the worst actors in the whole unwholesome mess, as I think their goal is to create a situation where they can ethnically cleanse the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the name of “national security.” The USA is running a close second, our foreign policy is so driven by domestic affairs that it has lost touch with reality. I don’t think anyone involved has pure motives though, at least not the major players. And of course I could be utterly wrong about any or all of this.
And here in America in the run-up to the fall presidential elections, we are having a spirited national debate on the wisdom of our militant and aggressive foreign policy. Snort. Nope, we have two war party’s calling the other side “soft on defence.” The one candidate, Ron Paul, actually calling for some sanity in our foreign policy is ignored or hated depending on who’s doing the ignoring or the hating. Lot’s of hating going around, that’s the one constant in all of this, domestically and in the Middle East. Yeah, that always ends well.
Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law, having been painted in 1872 by Peter Nicolai Arbo, Norway 1831-1892. It’s titled Åsgårdsreien, or in English, The Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt is a common myth across Northern Europe, it’s the sighting of a group of spectral hunters and hounds tearing across the sky. Sightings of it are often supposed to be an omen of disaster or war. I think the gentle reader can discern why I found it an appropriate illustration for this post.)
A bomb has gone off in a bus and killed some Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The government of Israel wasted no time in blaming the attack on Iran. They claim “all signs” point to Iran, though they don’t mention what those signs are. It’s possible Iran is behind it, Israel has been waging a terrorist campaign inside Iran for years, so a revenge attack is not out of the question. It seems unlikely though in that it would give Israel a casus beli to attack Iran, and there’s no indication Iran wants a war with Israel. A more likely group is the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), a terrorist group fighting the government of Iran. The attack came on the eighteenth anniversary of the attack on the Jewish Community Center in Argentina. Who launched that attack has never been proved either, both Iran and the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) are suspects there too. There’s really no way for us worms to know for sure, these are intensely politicized bombings with all sides playing for very high stakes, so some or all parties involved have every incentive to lie and mislead. Even if someone claims responsibility, that doesn’t mean they actually did it. Shadow war.
Fortunately, even if I can never know for sure what happened here, I can still speculate on what will happen next. Israel’s instantaneous condemnation of Iran certainly raises the possibility that they will use this as an excuse to attack Iran. Some have even suggested that the reason for Israel’s campaign inside Iran is to goad Iran into doing something that would give Israel cause for war. If so, an attack could come within days. I’m certainly going to be following the news closely for awhile.
There’s certainly been rumours of an impending Israeli attack on Iran, some suggesting it will happen just before the election so Obama will have no choice but to support it. That strikes me as a somewhat facile analysis, I suspect Israel is just using this as another chance to tighten the screws on Iran. The whole Israel obsession with Iran is sometimes hard to parse, Iran is no threat to Israel, far from it. I assume it’s both to distract the world from Israel’s slow ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, and maybe goading Iran into starting a big war which will give Israel to excuse to expel the Palestinians from the occupied territories. In any case they are playing a risky game, as is everyone else in this unstable mess.
Then there’s the whole Syria situation. The west is clearly pushing hard to bring down the Assad regime, though to what end is again hard to fathom. Partly to stick it to the Russians, partly an attempt to replace an independent government with a western lapdog government I’m assuming. And Israel would love to have an excuse to annex the Golan Heights, or more accurately, get some compliant Syrian government to cede them to Israel, all nice and “legal.”
What none of this is about of course is democracy or human rights, despite the endless western condescending propaganda to the contrary. Even our leftists and liberals in the USA have become cheerleaders for blood and empire, all in the name of “saving” the women of the world. Nothing good will come of this bus bombing, but nothing good ever comes of terrorism. No matter who is doing the killing.
(I sat on this post overnight to see if there would be any new developments. Nothing really, they are claiming it was a suicide bomber with fake American travel documents. And Israel has reiterated its claim that Hezbollah/Iran are behind the attack. Hezbollah has even less reason to get into it with Israel, and has been explicit that they won’t carry our attacks on Israel, so it’s a charge I take with a grain of salt. I’m still of the opinion that an Israeli attack on Iran would be so stupid and pointless and counterproductive that Israel really isn’t seriously considering it. I hope I’m right.)
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I got it from Wikipedia, and frankly I couldn’t figure out how to attribute it from their arcane instructions. It’s a Dolphin Class submarine, built for Israel by Germany. They have four of them, with two more on order. They can launch nuclear cruise missiles. Just one of many reasons while Israel has little to fear from anyone.)
There’s been a developments in Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan, so another extemporaneous post on this scary and developing situation. Iran first. The UN has been asking to look at a military base where it is suspected that Iran may have been testing components for a nuclear weapon. This has been an issue for at least six months or so. The inspectors spent a few days cooling their heels, and are now on their way home. Much sabre rattling and threats from the USA ad Israel, with Iran not backing down in its own stead, pointing out that the have the right under international law to launch a preemptive attack at the forces arrayed around Iran if they think an attack is imminent.
This is not good, but it’s not what it seems. The military site isn’t a nuclear site, and Iran is within their rights to refuse access to it. Especially since the US has been known to place spies in UN inspection teams, and considering that the “evidence” claiming this base has been used for nuclear testing isn’t exactly iron clad. Look at it this way, would you let your sworn enemy to send their finest James Bond type guy into your most top secret military base on the basis of what you know to be faked evidence? The damage done by something like that could be incalculable, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They’ve wisely chosen the known diplomatic damage by refusing entry, instead of the unknown damage a spy could cause.
Does this make an attack on Iran more likely? Yes, yes it does. I still think it’s a crazy idea, but Germany declaring war on France and England in World War One was a crazy idea, and they did it anywise. Add whatever historical examples of stupid wars one wants, there are a lot of them when it comes right down to it. Lastly on Iran, note that this military base is NOT a nuclear facility, yet somehow the UN is demanding to see it? Iran’s nuclear fuel supply and enrichment facilities are carefully monitored, this is another example of the USA making demands that are above and beyond Iran’s treaty obligations. (The UN is now just an organization for rubber stamping pretty much whatever the USA wants.)
Sigh. Moving right along, anti-US riots and protests in Afghanistan, several dead. These were triggered by locals discovering charred copies of the Koran dumped in a local dump by US forces. Two points here, the first being that while the burned Korans triggered these protests and riots, they’re a symptom of deep anger and dissatisfaction at the foreign presence in their country. Secondly, how the hell did this happen? Our forces are unaware that if they were going to burn copies of the Koran, they shouldn’t let the locals know about it? Talk about a PR bonanza for the Taliban. Major facepalm. And in Syria, two western reporters were killed. That will certainly spur more calls for the west to “do something” in Syria.
Not a good morning for news out of the Middle East. As a capstone to all this madness, US proxy forces in Somalia have captured a major town. Yes, decades after our humanitarian adventure in Somalia ended in Black Hawk Down, we are still intervening and Somalia is still a bloody mess. That’s because humanitarian intervention really means invasion, meddling, and often occupation. And oddly enough, people tend to resent outside powers fucking up their country, that’s because it’s their country, something the west has forgotten under the all encompassing Christian religion known as cultural imperialism.
Sigh. Tomorrow I will get back to the GOP’s War on Women, another fine example of Christianity’s dark side.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s a very low resolution copy of the original poster, it’s not being used for profit. Credit: Advertisement from the 1970s by American nuclear-power companies. It’s used to show that times have changed, and that Iran’s reasons for building nuclear power plants are as good as they were then. Of course then they were a US lackey, today they are one of the world’s few remaining sovereign states.)
I made the mistake of watching the TV news last night. Senator McCain was openly calling for the USA and the west to support the rebels in Syria. Heck, even Angelina Jolie is calling for intervention. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that it’s gonna happen one way or the other. And I do mean out on a limb, anyone who has been paying attention knows that all bets are off in the Middle East right now. Well, specific bets at least. In general, it seems safe to say that the trend has been from order to disorder. It’s also very safe to say that the west has been batting 1000 when it comes to recent humanitarian interventions in the greater Middle East. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya are all text book failed states … it’s hard to imagine Syria ending up any differently.
So, what happens if Syria turns into a failed state? Well, note Syria’s proximity to Iraq. Iraq is still out of control a decade after the fall of Saddam, it’s kinda like a free trade zone for non western approved activity. This means whatever is going on in Iraq will be able to spread freely to Syria, in fact there’s evidence it’s already doing so. Kurdish insurgents will now have access to the Mediterranean coast. Hezbollah will have more secure supply lines to Iran. Turkey, Israel, and Jordan will have more border issues. It’s interesting to note that Iran is hedging its bets, Iranian warships have docked in Syria. So they likely win either way. And Jordan and Saudi Arabia may very well see more internal unrest.
So who benefits? Israel will be happy to see the Assad regime go, though it may well end up being a mixed blessing for Israel. Other than that, it’s hard to see who is going to benefit from having the bloody stain on the map that is Iraq spread to Syria. Syria has no oil and is no threat to the international bankers. So what gives, is the USA really driven by humanitarian concerns? Um, no, similar rebellions are crushed all the time without “benefit” of western intervention. Heck, usually with little or no mention in the western press at all. Maybe some of the people calling for intervention are driven by humanitarian impulses, if so, they haven’t been paying attention the past decade or so. Insert obligatory comment about how one definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results here.
My current theory is that US foreign policy is driven by, well, inertia. The World War Two and Cold War “arsenal of democracy” and liberator mentality lurching forward of its own momentum. Driven by an array of well healed special interests, most purely looking out for themselves, some by the attendant ideological canard that peace and freedom can be brought to other lands at the point of a gun. And none of these interests seems really cognizant of the fact that the world is moving beneath their feet. Profits are still up, the rich are still getting richer, what’s the prob?
In Iran it’s even clearer that the same old dog eared, blood stained, playbook is in use. Make an ultimatum that is basically outrageous (shut down your nuclear industry or else in Iran’s case,) refuse to talk until they do so, and simultaneously claim to be using “diplomacy” to “solve” the “crisis.” The only crisis is that the USA is making demands that it would never bow to if it was on the receiving end, but oddly enough, despite many American’s claiming that we are a Christian nation, apparently they are comfortable with a foreign policy that is about as far from the golden rule as it is possible to get. Which I am beginning to suspect is the primary function of religion in society, to mask and justify the kinds of hypocrisy that allow massive inequities of wealth and power to exist both domestically and internationally.
And, well, among genders. There has been a war of sorts going on in the USA ever since modern birth control gave women control of their lives in the 1960s, there are a lot of men who are still not comfortable with this at all, as bitter and ongoing efforts to limit access to birth control in the USA demonstrate. I am suspecting that the USA’s incredible effort to “control” the world is to some extent driven by the same social and cultural forces trying to force America’s women back into the home, barefoot and pregnant, where they belong. That however is a topic for future blog posts.
Or maybe we’re just insane as a species.
(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law, having been produced by the federal government. Note how large Iran is compared to Iraq. And anytime a country destabilizes, its borders destabilize. Notice how long Iran’s borders are.)
Image brought to Doug’s Darkworld inspired by the Oklahoma Senate, which just passed a bill claiming that a fertilized egg is a human being. We live in an interesting age, but when one tries to enforce a bronze age morality on a 21st century nation, the going really gets weird. Bottom line: It’s OK for people to have sex for reasons other than procreation. Really, try it some time, you’ll be surprised. As soon as we get that settled, the sooner we can go about sensible ways of making sure that every child is a wanted child, but sadly the evangelicals are never going to give up on sex. It’s how cults control people. It would be like a government giving up taxation, aint gonna happen.
Whitney Houston died. Whitney who? This story got vastly more press than it deserved, but that’s the corporate fawning media at work, real news get short shrift, dead celebrities get top billing. Yes, the mainstream media is now little different that the celebrity magazines by the checkout counter at Safeway. The state of New Jersey is even going to fly its flags at half mast for Whitney, so yes, it can always get weirder. Some aren’t exactly thrilled by this, who can blame them?
The UN has condemned the Syrian government and asked them to step down. Yes, an organization touted as being a way for states to avoid conflict with each other is now simply the enforcer of western hegemony, the US and its allies get to decide what a legitimate government is. The usual burblings about it being about human rights, like the bloody sores that are Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya were. Only tyranny and discord can be imposed on a country from outside, freedom can only be had when a people chose to be free … which of course is what the west is so freaking terrified about in the Middle East. They aren’t afraid of terrorism, that’s to distract the rubes. The real fear is powerful sovereign governments running their countries in their own best interests. Can’t have that, it makes it almost impossible to exploit them for their resources.
Speaking of fake scary again, Iran made its heralded nuclear announcement. Which got zero news coverage because they announced that they had installed their first domestically produced fuel rod in a reactor, and that they had made a breakthrough in medical radioisotopes. All under constant western supervision of course, since Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is carefully monitored as per its obligations under the NPT. Iran being a peaceful responsible player isn’t part of the crazy mullahs meme, so I doubt anyone even saw this in the news. No, just the stories about purported amateur Iranian plots to kill Israeli diplomats, stories so fishy one has to hold their nose while reading them.
Greece. What a mess. My current understanding is that the crux of the whole Euro thing, is that everyone borrowed beyond their means on the assumption that the world and national economies would continue to grow forever and outpace the debt. Yes, basically every nation in the west acted like a crack head with a credit card, and now the bills are coming due. All in collusion with the bankers of course. If people really understood that, capitols would burn. So instead a fall guy has been found, Greece. If the bankers can just get the population of one county to agree to be serfs to pay off the bankers debt, maybe others will follow. I don’t think it’s gonna work, people may be sheep, but they are going to notice if serfdom is brought back.
One would hope so at least. Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over the Internet, I have no idea who to attribute it to. Redefining reality to promote social control, that’s religion in a nutshell.)
“Israel is right to be concerned about Iran’s push to join the league of nations that possess nuclear weapons, but diplomacy – not military intervention – remains the “preferred solution” to averting a potential arms race in the Middle East, President Barack Obama said Sunday”
There are so many things wrong with this statement that it makes me want to scream. Since that upsets my cats and annoys my neighbours, I’ll blog instead. It came from a recent interview he gave. And since are so many things, I am going to gloss over most of them. Suffice it to say that the “danger” posed by Iran is wildly exaggerated, a single Israeli nuclear armed submarine could destroy Iran. And that Iran has every right and reason to develop peaceful nuclear power like dozens of other nations. And we’ll skip the whole oil and petrodollars thing for now.
No, what really makes me admire the Obama’s ability to lie convincingly with disarming sincerity is this part: “diplomacy – not military intervention – remains the “preferred solution”" This isn’t just a little lie, this is a whopper. A giant steaming platter of pure horsecrap … and tens of millions of Americans will gobble it up and ask for more.
Let me explain. Diplomacy is talking to people. It’s setting up meetings and sitting down and talking. This is not what the USA is doing. The USA doesn’t even have diplomatic relations with Iran, we don’t even recognize the legitimacy of the government that has been ruling Iran since they overthrew the US installed Shah in 1979. OK, refusing to talk to someone for decades isn’t seeking a diplomatic solution. More on point, for some years now we have been giving Iran an ultimatum, stop their uranium enrichment or else, and ratcheting up the sanctions and threats. Telling someone to do what you say while you are punching them … is the opposite of seeking a diplomatic solution.
Yet many progressive will be heartened by Obama’s words, despite the fact that his actions towards Iran and the rest of the world haven’t been diplomatic at all. That is what the liberal left has sunk to in America, we have a president waging endless war and giving the bankers everything they want, yet the occasional liberal blurb and all is well. Or at least, they rationalize that Obama’s better than the alternative. No, he’s more comfortable than the alternative, but the destination is the same.
Obama is literally herding his base with liberal sounding comments like this. In fact this has been a classic in US government for decades, give someone an ultimatum, then claim publicly that you are seeking a diplomatic solution. Being able to say that in a presidential manner without gagging or giggling is a requirement for holding the office of the presidency. And Obama passes with flying colours, the man can spout the most egregious lies and look and sound sincere and oh so presidential when he does. And of course when the designated victim agrees to the ultimatum, all the USA does is issue another one, but enough of that for now.
It’s weird, we have spent the last two decades morphing into a nation where our leaders only give lip service to the idea of representing the actual needs of the American people while simultaneously selling us out to the militarists, energy industry, and bankers … while the vast majority of Americans are convinced that somehow “their” candidate is the better alternative. And lest cognitive dissonance sets in, any candidate that tries to deviate from the path set by the powers that be is enthusiastically attacked as a deranged lunatic, or completely ignored. How any Americans have heard of Jill Stein?
What can I say, I have become increasingly cynical of late. None of the mainstream candidates does anything for me, many of them are little more than walking caricatures. Obama though is a smart man, and I think he knows exactly what he is doing. Lying through his teeth to keep up the pretense that him and the Democrats are the voice of peace and reason. They may be the voice, but actions are what counts. And now we have closed our embassy in Syria and broken off diplomatic relations with them. Yerp, more diplomacy afoot there as we openly talk about “helping” Syria by bombing them. Obama is leading down the exact same path of permanent war and slavery and madness as the rest, he just sounds noble while he is doing it.
Sigh. I’ll try to hold it to one anti-Obama rant a month or less. Hey, at least I’m not calling him a socialist or a Muslim!
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright laws. It’s not being use for profit etc. I have no idea as to its origin. If so many Obama supporters can bombard me with abuse because I dare say that Ron Paul has some good ideas (see three paragraphs back,) I think I can get away with suggesting that many democrats are just as much sheep as their Bible following counterparts. Yes, unlike the vast majority of political pundits who specialize in skewing the “other” side, I loathe “both” sides equally. This is why I have only four regular readers.)
A current event for a change. Iran has come into the possession of an advanced American surveillance drone. It’s an interesting little imbroglio, and I have a number of thoughts about it, so here goes. The basic story is as follows, the USA lost a drone over Iran. Iran claimed to have downed it electronically. The USA says it suffered a mechanical failure. Iran just displayed an apparently intact drone, bolstering their version of events where they commandeered remote control of it and landed it. Much stuff and nonsense from either side.
OK, point one. Everything coming out of Tehran and Washington is suspect. Both sides have ample incentive to lie about this, and will do so casually and effortlessly if it suits their purposes. Since this is an embarrassing propaganda coup for the Iranians, clearly both sides will want to milk or minimize this. The codicil is that if the truth suits their purposes, governments often fall back on same. The truth is usually harder to refute than a lie, and doesn’t leave you defending and covering a lie down the road.
Was this an act of war by the USA? I don’t think so, though it’s clearly a violation of Iranian sovereignty. And sadly, something the USA does so routinely that it’s hardly even worth getting upset about. I just wish more Americans understood that by routinely flaunting international law, we are making enemies, not friends. And encouraging our enemies to do same. Drone technology is off the shelf technology, Hezbollah uses reconnaissance drones for God’ sake. Soon enough Mexican drug gangs will have them, if they don’t already.
One of the questions is how much of an intelligence failure is this? Well it’s not as bad as it looks. In Hollywood movies, spies are always trying to steal secret plans or prototypes. In real life, which is much less exciting, spies are primarily trying to steal … test data. If one has a prototype or a plan, one doesn’t know why the device was built the way it was, nor does one know how the device was built. Still, this is a bad thing, and Chinese and Russian drone experts are no doubt slavering for a chance to look it over, it may very well answer some key questions about US drone technology.
Speaking of technology, in a similar vein, could Iran have done as they claimed and brought the drone down electronically? Sure, why not? Anyone who thinks that Iran “couldn’t” override the USA’s vaunted technological edge in this particular instance is, well, underestimating their enemy. For centuries when western armies met non western armies in battle, they had an enormous technological edge, and they had an enormous tactical edge as well. IE they had better weapons, and better fighting styles. This started to change in the late 19th century, by the mid twentieth century there were major parts of the world where it no longer applied, and today is more mythical than real. The Serbians brought down a US stealth fighter using cell phone towers, people are clever. My guess is that the Iranians didn’t bring the drone down, but figured out they might as well say they did because the Americans and Israelis will tear their hair out trying to figure out how they did it.
I don’t think this is a terribly serious incident in that at least no people are involved. I don’t think this brings us any closer to war. The Iranians will milk it for whatever they can and the situation will carry on. Of course the current situation is really grim, with the USA and Israel engaged in almost non stop sabre rattling. If worst comes to worst and an attack on Iran does take place, I will blog about it relentlessly.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, etc. It’s from Iranian TV, correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that right now copyright violations the least of Iran’s worries. Sorry about the unpolished nature of this post, current events posts are going to be knocked off a bit quicker.)
For some time now I have been arguing that the US and Israeli sabre rattling about attacking Iran was nothing to get alarmed about. I argued that the USA and Israel had ample geopolitical reasons for demonizing Iran, and excellent reasons to draw the line at demonizing and not actually engaging in outright war. And here we are once again, with the USA claiming that Iran is building a bomb, and Israel and the USA making veiled and not so veiled threats about attacking Iran. Same ol same ol, right? All threat, no hamster?
Sadly, things may have changed. While the reasons for not attacking Iran remain, there are now some new reasons for attacking Iran that may have pushed the case for war over the line. With no further ado, the four reasons why war with Iran has ramped up in likelihood:
1. The world economy. Or more accurately, the deficit spending (debt) crisis that is threatening both the European and the American economies. What better than a war to both justify continued military spending … and ramming through speeding cuts and austerity measures? Sorry, we need your pension/social security to keep Iran from getting the bomb … and anyone that disagrees is a traitor!
2. Palestinian statehood. The Palestinians have decided to pursue statehood without negotiations with Israel, and are actually making some progress. This has the Israeli government running scared, and they may calculate that a wider war, especially if they can get Hamas to join in, may give them the cover they need to expel the Palestinians from the occupied territories once and for all. At the very least, they may be able t use Iran as a pretense to once again quash the Palestinian’s hopes for a state.
3. Domestic US politics. Both OWS and the upcoming election give the Obama administration reason to support or join a war on Iran. To both outdo the hawks in the Republican presidential race, and create a reason to suppress the OWS movement by force.
4. The USA has demanded that Iran respond to the recent IAEA report about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. This is maybe the scariest of all, since it’s akin to the USA’s demands on Iraq in the run up to the US attack on Iraq. Giving a chosen enemy an ultimatum they can’t meet is a classic USA justification for war. There’s no way Iran can prove a negative, so no matter what Iran says, the USA can just dismiss their claims as lies and make further demands.
Am I being alarmist? I don’t know. Unfortunately the world has become a lot less predictable lately as both political and economic storms ravage the planet. Wars are more likely in unstable times, and I think it’s safe to say that current times qualify as unstable. And if such a war happens, what will be the results? It will be as predictable as the end results of World War One and Two were, in other words, no one has a clue. This is why wars are insane, they almost always have horrible unintended consequences. Still, for politicians, war profiteers, and the like, wars can be enormously profitable on all sorts of levels. That’s why we have so many of them. Heck, the USA is now at constant war, it’s a war profiteers wet dream.
One last note, Iran’s so called “nuclear weapons program.” I didn’t mention it in my calculations, because it is no more a reality than Saddam’s WMDs, IE scary stories to fool the credulous with. The evidence that Iran is producing nuclear weapons doesn’t pass the laugh test, and even if they did, their arsenal would be peanuts compared to Israel and the USA’s vast array of nuclear weapons and attendant delivery systems. The only “real” aspect to it is that if Iran had nuclear arms, it would be able to defend itself against an attack. Um, so what?
Sleep tight everyone.
Current events have once again forced me to drop my planned blog, on the mysterious origins of pizza. Yes, the USA has uncovered a dastardly Iranian plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador followed by some terrorist attacks. Some have called this an act of war, and the sabre rattling coming from Obama and Washington is as scary as it has ever been. What’s going on here?
Sigh. As usual, even with what information has already been made public, this is a terrorist plot largely concocted by the government. In short they found some whack job who was muttering about kidnapping the Saudi Ambassador. An informant pretended to be an Iranian agent and convinced this hapless soul to not only kill the Saudi ambassador. but to set of explosives as well. How does Iran figure into all of this? Because the government says so, that’s why. Yes, the government of Iran decided to use an unstable American used car dealer from Texas to carry out a plot that was almost sure to fail, risked all-out war with the USA, for no conceivable benefit for Iran!
In other words, this “plot” is basically a joke. Except of course there’s nothing funny about the USA threatening war. Is the USA going to attack Iran? I doubt it. There’s nothing to be gained by attacking Iran, and there are all sorts of ways it could cause us terrible problems, I’ve blogged about this before. I think this more of the same ol same ol. Distraction from our domestic concerns, and more of the continuous justification (IE propaganda) for endless American military spending/waging wars.
I can’t think of anything in the equation that would change, and make this war scare more serious than the dozen others that have preceded it. Well, other than the heightened instability in the region I suppose. Syria and Yemen are pretty much in a state of insurrection at the very least, with casualties clearly in the realm of war. The Libyan civil war drags on, Qaddafi loyalists striking in Tripoli today. Illustrating something that so many Americans don’t grasp. Just because Washington says that the Taliban, Saddam, and Qaddafi were the bad guys, doesn’t magically mean they don’t have supporters, often fanatical supporters. And another war would also put that much more financial strain on the US right now, something even Washington surely doesn’t want. And the US military does have its limits. Everything has its limits, another lesson many in the USA are not willing to face. And even if one argues how high those limits are, it’s still not wise to push them.
In addition, and it bears repeating amid the drums of war, Iran is no threat to the USA. They are a modest regional power on the other side of the planet, with a small outdated military and zero ability to attack the USA. Pictured above is a squadron of Iran’s front line fighters. They are F-7s, a Chinese made copy of the Russian Mig-21. The Mig-21 was designed and first flew in the nineteen fifties. These and a few dozen similar aircraft are all Iran has to control the airspace over Iran. A single modern American carrier group could take them out without breaking a sweat. Iran’s entire air force.
My crystal ball is cloudier than ever these days though. There’s no doubt that the Middle East is possibly as volatile as it’s ever been since World War Two. So any war scare is not a good thing. And this may be cover for something else. Even as cover for dictatorships crushing democracy movements it’s an ugly thing. I hope it’s nothing worse.
Coming soon, pizza, overpopulation, and domestic terrorism.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, yadda yadda yadda. And while the above planes couldn’t challenge US control of the skies over Iran, they do make very effective one shot short range interceptors, as North Vietnam demonstrated some decades ago. Iran does have the ability to defend itself, another reason I suspect a shooting war is unlikely.)