Monday, May 05, 2008


The Iranian looking-glass

Earlier today on CNN, someone (I think John King) was talking with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton about the "obliterate Iran" kerfuffle. First of all, over and over people don't seem to be able to get the basic facts right - Clinton did not say the U.S. would obliterate Iran, she said the U.S. could obliterate Iran. But that aside, Clinton refuses to retract her comment, while Obama says it was "intemperate language" (I think that's the word he used). But what really got me was his follow-up "diplomatic" comment (quoted from memory): "We need to use a combination of diplomatic and economic tools to get Iran to stand down."

I was dumbfounded. Stand down? Iran? Are they amassing troops on our border, ready for an invasion? Are they even amassing troops on the Iranian border, ready for an invasion? No, it's the U.S. which has Iran completely surrounded, with hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and elsewhere. It's the U.S. which has warships floating off the coast of Iran. It's the U.S. which has Presidential candidates announcing that "no options are off the table" and proclaiming that we could "obliterate" Iran. It's the U.S. which is driving the world to increase its level of economic warfare against Iran. It's the U.S. whose President, according to Andrew Cockburn, six weeks ago "signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, 'unprecedented in its scope.'" and which authorizes actions "up to and including the assassination of targeted officials."

And it's Iran who should "stand down" according to Obama? And, for the record, the interviewer didn't blink an eye at that phrase, nor, I'm sure, would have Clinton or McCain.

And it goes without saying that Obama (nor Clinton nor McCain) would dream of challenging the conventional wisdomdumb that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, or the further conventional wisdomdumb that, in the hypothetical situation that they did have nuclear weapons, that they would use them, unprovoked and out of the blue, to attack Israel. This, from a nation which hasn't attacked another country in hundreds (or is it thousands?) of years. Why on earth would they attack Israel? To what end? It doesn't matter, that's simply the base, the ground level, on which American Presidential politics starts. At least, for the candidates of the twin parties of imperialism.

Why stop here? There's more...

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