Slip-Sliding to War with Iran

Exclusive: Having apparently learned nothing from the Iraq disaster, many of the same political/media players are reprising their tough-guy roles in a new drama regarding Iran. These retread performances may make another war, with Iran, hard to avoid, writes Robert Parry

By Robert Parry

With the typical backdrop of alarmist propaganda in place, the stage is now set for a new war, this time with Iran. The slightest miscalculation (or provocation) by the United States, Israel or Iran could touch off a violent scenario that will have devastating consequences.

Indeed, even if they want to, the various sides might have trouble backing down enough to defuse today’s explosive situation. After all, the Iranians continue to insist they have no intention of building a nuclear bomb, as much as Israeli and American officials insist that they are.

President Barack Obama as drawn by Robbie Conal (

So, this prospective war with Iran like the one in Iraq is likely to come down to intelligence assessments on Iran’s intentions and capabilities. And, as with Iraq’s alleged WMD, the many loud voices claiming that Iran is on pace to build a nuclear bomb are drowning out the relatively few skeptics who think the evidence is thin to invisible.

For instance, the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s supposed progress toward a nuclear bomb was widely accepted as gospel truth without any discussion of whether the IAEA is an unbiased and reliable source.

In framing the story in support of the IAEA, the major U.S. newspapers and TV networks ignored documentary evidence that the IAEA’s new director-general was installed with the support of the United States and that he privately indicated to U.S. and Israeli officials that he would help advance their goals regarding Iran.

These facts could be found easily enough in WikiLeaks cables that the U.S. news media has had access to since 2010. Yet, the Big Media has ignored this side of the story, even as the IAEA report has been touted again and again as virtually a smoking gun against Iran.

This pattern of ignoring or downplaying evidence that runs counter to the prevailing narrative was a notable feature during the run-up to war with Iraq. It is now being repeated not just by the right-wing news media, but by the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and other centrist-to-left-leaning outlets. [Update: The IAEA report was cited again on Friday in another bellicose editorial in the Times.]

The IAEA Cables

Thus, very few Americans know that U.S. embassy cables from Vienna, Austria, the site of IAEA’s headquarters, revealed that the U.S. government in 2009 was celebrating its success in installing Japanese diplomat Yakiya Amano to replace Egyptian Mohamed ElBaradei, who famously had debunked some of President George W. Bush’s claims about Iraq’s supposed nuclear ambitions.

In a July 9, 2009, cable, American chargé Geoffrey Pyatt said Amano was thankful for U.S. support of his election. “Amano attributed his election to support from the U.S., Australia and France, and cited U.S. intervention with Argentina as particularly decisive,” the cable said.

The appreciative Amano informed Pyatt that as IAEA director-general, he would take a different “approach on Iran from that of ElBaradei” and he “saw his primary role as implementing safeguards and UNSC [United Nations Security Council]/Board resolutions,” i.e. U.S.-driven sanctions and demands against Iran.

Amano also vowed to restructure the IAEA’s senior ranks in ways favored by the United States. In return, Pyatt promised that “the United States would do everything possible to support his [Amano’s] successful tenure as Director General and, to that end, anticipated that continued U.S. voluntary contributions to the IAEA would be forthcoming.”

For his part, Amano stuck out his hand seeking more U.S. money, or as Pyatt put it, “Amano offered that a ‘reasonable increase’ in the regular budget would be helpful.”

Amano also rushed to meet with Israeli officials “immediately after his appointment,”  consulting with Israeli Ambassador Israel Michaeli and leaving Michaeli “fully confident of the priority Amano accords verification issues.” That was another indication Amano’s IAEA would take a hard line against Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions while ignoring Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Michaeli also revealed that Amano’s public remarks about “no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapons capability” were just for show, designed “to persuade those who did not support him about his ‘impartiality.’” In reality, Amano intended to be anything but impartial.

Amano agreed to private “consultations” with the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Pyatt reported. The purpose was to hear Israel’s purported evidence about Iran continuing its work on a nuclear weapon, not to discuss Israel’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to allow IAEA inspectors into Israeli nuclear sites.

In a subsequent cable dated Oct. 16, 2009, the U.S. mission in Vienna said Amano “took pains to emphasize his support for U.S. strategic objectives for the Agency. Amano reminded ambassador [Glyn Davies] on several occasions that he [Amano] was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”

Amano also continued to indicate that he needed to hide his true intentions. “More candidly, Amano noted the importance of maintaining a certain ‘constructive ambiguity’ about his plans, at least until he took over for DG ElBaradei in December” 2009, the cable said.

In other words, the emerging picture of Amano is of a bureaucrat eager to please the United States and Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Wouldn’t that evidence be relevant for Americans deciding whether to trust the IAEA report? But the Big Media apparently felt that the American people shouldn’t know these facts whose disclosure has been limited to a few Internet sites. [See’s “America’s Debt to Bradley Manning.”]

Similarly, the U.S. press corps is now reporting the dubious allegations about an Iranian assassination plot directed against the Saudi ambassador as flat fact, not as some hard-to-believe accusation comparable to Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims in 2002 that Iraqi officials had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. [See’s “Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot.”]

Dangerous Cascade

There is now a cascading of allegations regarding Iran, as there was with Iraq, with the momentum rushing toward war.

Just as with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the U.S. news media treats Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a designated villain whose every word is cast as dangerous or crazy. Even left-of-center media personalities, like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, talk tough against Ahmadinejad, just as many “liberals” did regarding Hussein.

Also, as happened with Iraq when harsher economic sanctions merged with a U.S. troop build-up, making an escalation toward war almost inevitable tougher and tougher Western sanctions against Iran have pushed the various sides closer to war.

In November, Iranian anger at escalating sanctions and other hostile acts led to an assault on the British Embassy, which then prompted new European demands for a full-scale embargo of Iranian oil. As tensions have grown, the U.S. Senate tossed in its own hand-grenade, voting 100-0 in favor of hitting Iran with ever more stringent sanctions.

In turn, Iran has threatened to retaliate against the West’s economic warfare by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil flows, thus driving up oil prices and derailing the West’s already shaky economies. That threat has led to even more bellicose language from many U.S. political figures, especially the Republican presidential hopefuls who have denounced President Barack Obama for not being tougher on Iran.

With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, virtually all the leading Republican contenders including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have signaled a readiness to join Israel in a war against Iran. Romney has farmed out his foreign policy agenda to prominent neoconservatives, and Gingrich has gone so far as to suggest a full-scale U.S.-Israeli invasion of Iran to force “regime change.”

As the U.S. news media and politicians mostly reprise their performances on the Iraq invasion in regard to Iran, the principal obstacles to a new war appear to be President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Both are said to privately oppose a war with Iran, which was not true of how President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld felt about Iraq.

Though Obama and Panetta have talked tough about “all options on the table,” the Obama administration slipped loopholes into the Senate’s anti-Iran legislation, to allow the President to waive Iranian sanctions if he deemed them a threat to national security or to the economy.

One intelligence source told me that Obama is playing a delicate game in which he must placate hawkish anti-Iranian sentiments in Israel and on Capitol Hill while he continues to seek a broader Middle East security arrangement that would include Iran in the mix. On Wednesday, administration officials sought to tamp down alarmist anti-Iran reports in the U.S. press.

Still, whether Obama can head off a violent conflict with Iran remains to be seen. As the presidential election grows nearer and the likely GOP’s nominee hammers at Obama as soft on Iran a preemptive Israeli attack or a miscalculation by Iran could make war unavoidable.

For its part, the major U.S. news media has done its best, again, to line up the American people behind another war.

[For more on related topics, see Robert Parry’s Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, now available in a three-book set for the discount price of only $29. For details, click here.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

47 comments for “Slip-Sliding to War with Iran

  1. flat5
    January 11, 2012 at 21:37

    Why Anti-Semitism Is Moving Toward the Mainstream

    by Alan M. Dershowitz
    January 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    For the first time since the end of World War II, classic anti-Semitic tropes—”the Jews” control the world and are to blame for everything that goes wrong, including the financial crisis; “The Jews killed Christian children in order to use the blood to bake Matzo; the Holocaust never happened—are becoming acceptable and legitimate subjects for academic and political discussion. To understand why these absurd and reprehensible views, once reserved for the racist fringes of academia and politics, are now moving closer to the mainstream, consider the attitudes of two men, one an academic, the other a politician, toward those who express or endorse such bigotry. The academic is Professor Brian Leiter. The politician is Ron Paul.

    You’ve probably never heard of Leiter. He’s a relatively obscure professor of jurisprudence, who is trying to elevate his profile by publishing a gossipy blog about law school professors. He is a colleague of John Mearsheimer, a prominent and world famous professor at the University of Chicago.

    Several months ago Mearsheimer enthusiastically endorsed a book, really a pamphlet, that included all the classic anti-Semitic tropes. It was entitled “The Wandering Who” and written by Gilad Atzmon, a British version of David Duke, who plays the saxophone and has no academic connections. Atzmon writes that we must take “very seriously” the claim that “the Jewish people are trying to control the world.” He calls the recent credit crunch “the Zio punch.” He says “the Holocaust narrative” doesn’t make “historical sense” and expresses doubt that Auschwitz was a death camp. He invites students to accept the “accusations of Jews making Matzo out of young Goyim’s blood.”

    Books and pamphlets of this sort are written every day by obscure anti-Semites and published by disreputable presses that specialize in this kind of garbage. No one ever takes notice, except for neo-Nazis around the world who welcome any additions to the literature of hate.

    What is remarkable about the publication of this hateful piece of anti-Semitic trash, is that it was enthusiastically endorsed by two prominent American professors, John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk, who urged readers, including students, to read, “reflect upon” and “discuss widely” the themes of Atzmon’s book. Never before has any such book received the imprimatur of such established academics.

    I was not shocked by these endorsements, because I knew that both of these academics had previously crossed “red lines,” separating legitimate criticism of Israel from subtle anti-Semitism. Mearsheimer has accused American Jews of dual loyalty, and Falk has repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany. Both were so enthusiastic about Atzmon’s anti-Zionism—he has written that Israel is “worse” than the Nazis—that they were prepared to give him a pass on his classic “blood libel” anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. No great surprise there.

    What was surprising—indeed shocking—was the fact that Mearsheimer’s relatively apolitical colleague, Brian Leiter, rushed to Mearsheimer’s defense. Without bothering even to read Atzmon’s book, Leiter pronounced that Atzmon’s “positions [do not mark him] as an anti-Semite [but rather as] cosmopolitan.” Leiter also certified that Atzmon “does not deny the Holocaust or the gas chambers.” Had Leiter read the book, he could not have made either statement.

    Atzmon himself credits “a man who…was an anti-Semite” for “many of [his] insights” and calls himself a “self-hating Jew” who has contempt for “the Jew in me.” If that’s not an admission of anti-Semitism, rather than “cosmopolitanism,” I don’t know what is. As far as the Holocaust is concerned, Atzmon asserts that it is not “an historical narrative.” And as to the gas chambers, he doubts that the “Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Berkanau.”

    Leiter went so far as to condemn those who dared to criticize Mearsheimer for endorsing Atzmon’s book, calling their criticism “hysterical” and not “advance[ing] honest intellectual discourse.” And he defended Mearsheimer’s endorsement as “straight forward.”

    The Brian Leiters of the world are an important part of the reason why anti-Semitic tropes are creeping back to legitimacy in academia. His knee-jerk defense of an admitted Jew hater—who, according to Leiter is not a despicable anti-Semite but an acceptable “cosmopolitan”—contributes to the legitimization of anti-Semitism.

    The same can be said of Ron Paul, who everyone has heard of. Paul has, according to The New York Times, refused to “disavow” the “support” of “white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy.” (These “anti-Zionists” believe that “Zionists”—Jews—control the world, were responsible for the bombing of the Oklahoma federal building, and caused the economic downturn, because “most of the leaders involved in the federal and international banking system are Jews.”) He allowed his “Ron Paul survival report” to espouse David Duke type racism and anti-Semitism for years during the 1990s, claiming he was unaware that they were being promoted under his name. Edward H. Crane, the founder of the libertarian CATO Institute, has said, “I wish Ron would condemn those fringe things that float around” his campaign, but he refuses to reject the support of these anti-Semites who form a significant part of his base. The New York Times has criticized Paul for his failure to “convincingly repudiate racist remarks that were published under his name for years—or the enthusiastic support he is getting from racist groups,” including those that espouse “anti-Semitism and far right paranoia.”

    Even now, Paul continues to accept contributions from Holocaust deniers, from those who blame the Jews for everything and from other bigots, thus lending some degree of legitimacy to their hateful views.

    When Nazi anti-Semitism began to achieve mainstream legitimacy in Germany and Austria in the 1930’s, it was not because Hitler, Goebbels and Goering were espousing it. Their repulsive views had been known for years. It was because non Nazis—especially prominent academics, politicians and artists—were refusing to condemn anti-Semitism and those who espoused it.

    It has been said that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Leiter and Paul may or may not be good men, but they are guilty of more than merely doing nothing. They are, by their actions, helping to legitimate the oldest of bigotries. Shame on them!

  2. flat5
    January 3, 2012 at 14:57

    Opinion: Bring more pressure on dangerous Iran

    Published: Sunday, December 18, 2011, 6:32 AM

    By Times of Trenton guest opinion column


    By Kim J. Pimley

    Iran seems bent on confirming that it is the world’s chief bully and outlaw and the greatest threat to world peace. Its pursuit of nuclear weapons capability, support for international terrorism and disregard for international law are indisputable. The international community has used a mix of diplomacy and economic sanctions to try to modify Iranian behavior, but Iranian defiance demands stronger measures.

    The terrorist traits of the Iranian regime were exposed again in October, when American officials revealed an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. The crime was to have taken place in a crowded, upscale Washington, D.C., restaurant, and had it come off, many more would have been killed.

    The assassination plot was “directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government, specifically senior members of the Quds Force,” declared Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who added that “high-up officials” in agencies that are “an integral part of the Iranian government were responsible for this plot” to strike in the heart of Washington.

    According to government informants, attacks were also planned on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington and in Buenos Aires — recalling the 1994 bombing of the AMIA (Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) Center in Argentina’s capital that killed 85 people and was also carried out on Iranian orders. Indeed, Iran’s defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, is wanted by Interpol in connection with the AMIA bombing.

    Then, on Nov. 8, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report stating that while it has not yet produced a bomb, “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” This is not nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as Iran’s government claims, but mechanisms “specific to nuclear weapons.”

    This information came from the IAEA, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, not from the intelligence branch of any particular nation, as had been the case with the allegations about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s nuclear plans that led to the second war in Iraq. The U.S. State Department called the report “comprehensive, credible, quite damning, and alarming.” An Iranian nuclear weapon carried by missiles would endanger Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Israel and even Europe — not to mention wreak havoc with the world’s oil supplies.

    Most recently, on Nov. 29, after Great Britain ratcheted up its own sanctions by banning all dealings with Iran’s Central Bank — on which the country’s oil exports depend — dozens of Iranians stormed two British embassy locations in Tehran while several hundred more Iranians demonstrated outside, chanting “Death to Britain!” For anyone old enough to remember what happened to the U.S. embassy there in 1979, and the 444-day hostage ordeal of its occupants, this latest attack brought back nightmarish memories. Certain that Iranian authorities were behind this breach of international law, British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned of “serious consequences.”

    The British shut their embassy and expelled all Iranian diplomats from London. Several European governments joined by withdrawing their ambassadors from Iran in protest. While Russia and China are unlikely to follow suit, surely the European Union as a unit should call its ambassadors home, just as it did in 2009 to protest a coup that ousted the lawful government of Honduras. (The U.S. does not have a diplomatic mission in Iran.)

    The other industrialized nations must emulate the British by adopting more stringent measures against Iran’s banking system and oil industry. There is reason to believe this will have an impact. The most recent poll of Iranian opinion, the December 2010 survey released by the International Peace Institute, notes that while most Iranians support the nuclear program, they consider the existing economic sanctions the country’s No. 1 external problem, and by 65 percent to 32 percent, think that Iran should focus on solving its domestic problems rather than on becoming the leading power in the region.

    The Menendez-Kirk Iran Sanctions Amendment, approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate, would restrict American financial institutions from dealings with any foreign financial institution that knowingly does significant business with Iran’s Central Bank. It also freezes Iranian assets in the U.S. and requires the president to engage in diplomacy to convince other nations to cease importing oil from Iran. The U.S. does not import Iranian oil, but the E.U. accounts for 18 percent of Iranian oil exports. While the House of Representatives has passed a version of the bill, the administration is apparently trying to weaken the sanctions before it becomes law.

    That would be a mistake. Menendez-Kirk, with tough sanctions and vigorous enforcement, will signal to the Iranian regime that violation of treaty obligations and U.N. Security Council sanctions in pursuit of nuclear weapons will come at a heavy, unsustainable price. And U.S. leadership will encourage European and other nations to act similarly. With each passing day, Iran makes further progress in its nuclear weapons program. Strong diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions can stop the momentum.

  3. M Ray Kingston
    January 1, 2012 at 18:49

    Wasn’t Hillary Clinton, a carpet bagger, elected as Senator of NY by a majority of American Israelis? Does anyone believe that she isn’t looking ahead to another run for President? And, where would most of the money for her campaign come from?

    • flat5
      January 10, 2012 at 21:00

      more antisemitic bullshit

  4. Kenny Fowler
    December 31, 2011 at 19:13

    Obama doesn’t really want to start a war with Iran. Hillary, I’m not so sure about. The Israelis are itching to play the victim card and nuke Iran. Thinking that would somehow scare off the rest of the Middle East and solve their problems. We know the Neocon’s desperately want to bomb Iran. The propaganda from the war mongers is being ratcheted up. As long as Obama refuses to buy into the charade, war won’t happen. It’s going to get crazy. This is going to be a campaign issue but I’m guessing whoever the Republican candidate is will parrot the stance Obama takes.

  5. Christopher Lines
    December 31, 2011 at 06:13

    It is up to us social media hounds to spread the truth to followers on Twitter, FB, etc/et al . When the mis-information campaign about the now non-existing WMD’s in Iraq was occurring, the size and scope of FB, Twitter, etc. did not exist. It does now. They need to be utilized in order to spread the truth to try to drown out the MSM crap.

  6. Christopher Lines
    December 31, 2011 at 06:09

    MSNBC is anything but left leaning. Corporatist media. Yes. Granted. Compared to Fox it is practically socialist, but it is not left leaning. It’s programming during the day leans right. It’s evening programming leans left. That point made, the corporatist media regardless of its leaning does report what the pols/and their corporate overlords/and their buddies in the military industrial complex want it to report.

  7. William Rice
    December 30, 2011 at 22:37

    You are heartened? I hate to break it to you…most people don’t read the news online. They don’t read the news at all and they watch the corporate propaganda news sometimes…just enough to hear the lies repeated enough to make them believe them. WMD’s??? I know a teacher who is fairly intelligent who told me on the day Shock and Awe started that ” we had to do something.” Right! Well informed…not! We are gaining but the lazy apathetic people will carry the day and we will all pay for their negligence. Democracy only works with an informed public. We don’t have it. People don’t care. Ron Paul 2012. At least he tell’s the truth.

    • flat5
      January 3, 2012 at 14:47

      Seig Heil to the wingnut

  8. Robert Gabriel
    December 30, 2011 at 21:16

    I am heartened to find intelligent and divergent points of view being expressed herein. Very refreshing in contrast to the vapid content of so much of what is covered and expressed in our media. There is hope for Democracy.

  9. Barbara A. Smith
    December 30, 2011 at 20:27

    I don’t see why Iran can’t have nuclear weapons, especially since Israel already has them. Maybe if it did, all this absurd saber-rattling, bellicose posturing, rumor, and innuendo on the part of the U.S. (and Israel) would finally stop. I am no fan of the Iranian government, but the duty to reform or overthrow it is for the citizens of that country, not anyone else. Besides, Iran once HAD a democracy, which in 1953 the CIA promptly destroyed and then installed the despotic Shah.

  10. Aaron
    December 30, 2011 at 15:56

    My guess is that the United States is more angered about the idea that Iran had ordered Baghdad to offer lucrative oil contracts to China and Russia than about any alleged nuclear weapons program, which is why the Washington-London axis invaded Iraq in the first place. But that backfired on all levels no thanks to neoconservative dimwits and their so-called liberal hawk supporters.

    We can see why Qaddafi had to be removed by force in Libya, and why Western powers will want to make sure that the current Al Qaeda ruling element in Tripoli backed by NATO countries is going to block Chinese interests.

  11. December 30, 2011 at 09:43

    Thank you Robert Parry for your superb analysis of the Great Game for control of oil and the oil and gas pipeline routes in the middle east as played by the US and its profiteering allies. If Iran shuts down access to the Gulf of Hormuz, oil prices will shoot up and international market turbulence will be added to the already incendiary situation. Does anyone think that Russia and China, will sit on their hands and do nothing to aid Iran?

    • ilse
      December 30, 2011 at 21:00

      “Does anyone think that Russia and China, will sit on their hands and do nothing to aid Iran?”
      Apparently the US hope so.

      • William Rice
        December 30, 2011 at 22:45

        The crazy people in charge probably think Russia won’t because of mutually assured destruction, and they probably think China won’t because we owe them too much money.

        • December 30, 2011 at 23:56

          The crazy people in Russia and China are probably looking at the pipeline routes-those already built and those under construction, and calculating the odds…

  12. J. Michael Springmann
    December 30, 2011 at 09:05

    As always, apologies are made for The Great Obaminator. HE’s not responsible, other people are. Or, in the vernacular of the Crackpot Chistians, “the Devil made me do it.”

    Wallahi! (“I swear to God” as the Arabs say.)

    • William Rice
      December 30, 2011 at 22:23

      Crackpot Christians have said they want Armageddon so they can see Jesus. This is their self fulfilling prophecy or maybe it’s that Mayan thing… LOL

  13. John Puma
    December 30, 2011 at 07:19

    In our sick society’s incessant desire to commit yet more, more hideous and more suicidal, criminal war, the incumbent who fails to run as the “it’s my OWN effin’ war” president may well lose to the “why haven’t we had a new war in months” challenger.

    • OH
      December 30, 2011 at 11:27

      The Republicans want to drown American Democracy in a war against Iran, more than they want the presidency, I expect they will make whether or not to attack Iran based on lies, their number one campaign issue. Al Gore got sabotaged by right wing Israelis activities, the gunmun thing, the debates between Al Gore and George Bush were all about it, and the war promoting investors in Israel will be helping the Republicans. Obama ceded his primary defense against this line of attack by going along with the campaign of lies up to this point – even promoting this Japanese guy at the IAEA specifically for the purpose of selling out Americans and caving to the war-promoters.

  14. charles sereno
    December 29, 2011 at 22:22

    Of course, there are parallels with the pre-war approach to Iraq, but also critical differences; among them, “shock and awe” (without occupation), and clever embargoes that put the onus on the regime that will reliably claim that it it not harmed and that it will trash its enemies (Allah willing) without much ado. This puts pressure on the (divided) Iranian government all the while the US and its camp followers retain all their options. Lessons have been learned from Iraq. The men in charge are a step ahead. Hopefully, far enough.

    • William Rice
      December 30, 2011 at 22:20

      You must be kidding. Sanctions are an act of war. Look what happened to Pearl Harbor as a result of sanctions on Japan. I almost think we (I mean the Senate)are doing it with that result in mind. If Iran attacks one of our ships (or we say they did )that will be all it takes to start the war. The people in charge don’t care who they kill as long as they get what they want.

  15. Rory B
    December 29, 2011 at 21:52

    If you really study history the real enemies have always been the elite class and the arms manufacturers and dealers. If some Senators are all fired up to fight, then they should sign up, do their 8 weeks in basic training and go for it. If they are too old, then send their children. Hey, that would be something new! There is reason the saying, “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” came into existence. My ancestors came to America from England in the mid 1650s’s. We have a long history of being citizen soldiers from the Revolution to Vietnam. A cousin of mine was KIA in S. Vietnam in 1968. I could have signed up for the first Gulf War and Iraq and Afghanistan but I didn’t see any point in bailing out wealthy oil tycoons in Kuwait (Why didn’t we send troops to help out other countries that were in more need? Oh, that’s right they didn’t have oil.) and I didn’t believe in Bush’s/Cheney’s bullshit war for oil. I have 15 and 17 year old sons and have made it quite clear (and they agree) they are not to enlist in the military any time in the future. Do we want continuous and perpetual war? Haven’t we had enough?!! My God, how many times will we be conned into fighting a war to stroke egos and to make disgustingly wealthy old white men even more wealthy? It has to stop here and now or we are all doomed.

    • December 31, 2011 at 01:01

      Thank you.

      Its time for individuals to act on their DUTY to refuse to support societies that would permit such madness.

      That means that all people of conscience MUST now refuse to file tax returns or pat taxes until ALL nuclear and other weapons of mass murder are used, or dismantled.

      Woe! We have no other means of waking! We must face the risk of confronting our infection by the madness of greed . . or accept that the USE of all such weapons is the default result.

      Daniel J. Lavigne, Founder



  16. ilse
    December 29, 2011 at 21:39

    “With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, virtually all the leading Republican contenders including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich – have signaled a readiness to join Israel in a war against Iran. Romney has farmed out his foreign policy agenda to prominent neoconservatives, and Gingrich has gone so far as to suggest a full-scale U.S.-Israeli invasion of Iran to force “regime change.””

    All these Republicans, who intellectually and morally do not qualify to run for the presidency, want to go to war with Iran? But of course they will not fight, most of them are too old and fat.
    They will send others to kill and maim. They don’t even speak Farsi, and I doubt they even know what language is spoken in Iran and they have never been there. They are a bunch of dimwits, ready to profit from the war they will promote.
    They all know that they will do the same thing they did to Iraq and it does not bother them! It is not that they have not learned anything; it is because they never cared and have not suffered: others have instead.
    They have profited, and expect to profit again.
    They disgust me.

    • Villainesse
      December 31, 2011 at 05:28

      Alas, I too would support Ron Paul for his foreign policy and his sensible drug policy, but his adherence to ‘some’ libertarian values includes preventing our government from working to “promote the general welfare”, a clause in the Preamble of our U.S. Constitution. Not only would he privatize our Social Safety Net, along with the middle class, out of existence and attempt to return us to the gold standard to support his libertarian ideology; he would contradictorily theocratize our government (just like Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia?) with his un-Christ-like and anti-libertarian christianity to support his religious ideology. The women and minorities of our nation would lose their hard-won rights and freedoms in his ideal world.

      What we desperately need are strong journalists that will highlight the evil and danger we are once again being led into. Maddow’s and Mathew’s GE (MSNBC’s owner) corporate masters have only billions to be earned by yet another Middle Eastern war.

      Even the new Sherlock Holms Movie, still in theaters, put this all powerful meme back into conversation when the writers placed the Forever-Evil-Moriarty in the role of ultimate corporate invester and ultimate instigator in the well planned world-wide death and destruction of a new world war. Isn’t that very much GE’s role? GE makes the bombs and their own MSNBC sells the war to the peaceniks on the Left, while Fox (partly owned by Saudi Arabia!) sells it to the ditto-heads on the Right?

  17. Paul Hamel
    December 29, 2011 at 19:43

    Dear Robert and Friends,

    You frame the issue concerning Iran and nuclear weapons in the following manner:

    “For instance, the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s supposed progress toward a nuclear bomb was widely accepted as gospel truth without any discussion of whether the IAEA is an unbiased and reliable source.”

    While this is true, it is also true that the IAEA reports (at least the public bits) do not suggest that Iran is moving towards nuclear weapon capability. I would point you to a commentary by Ernie Regehr, formally head of Project Plowshares here in Canada who generally gives rather “conservative” analyses.

    Here’s the opening bit:

    “Uncertainty made certainty in responses to the IAEA on Iran

    Canadian Conservative MP Chris Alexander insisted on the CBC’s As it Happens that the IAEA’s most recent report[i] is “conclusive” on the question of whether or not Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. That’s not what the report says – it in fact goes to some lengths to say that its findings are inconclusive.

    And here’s the link.

    I think that some mention of the lack of evidence should also be prominent in your otherwise excellent pieces.


    • rosemerry
      December 30, 2011 at 04:17

      Surely the main points are 1. Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear power and is a founding member of the IAEA, wanting a nuke-free ME, like all the other countries there except Israel. 2. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is the real danger, and Israel constantly threatens Iran and sabotages its nuclear program. 3. If all the USI-led international obsession to stop Iran’s nonexistent threats (it attacks NOBODY) did not lead Iran to try to get a nuclear weapon (for “deterrence”, of course) the Iranian leaders would be very unusual. Self-defence is the only reason for any action they promise.

      • OH
        December 30, 2011 at 11:17

        Or they could really not want nuclear weapons, because they know that after they get massacred becaues they didnt have any nuclear weapons, in the long run they will win.

      • flat5
        December 30, 2011 at 11:21

        As usual Rosemerry the medievalist loving apologist would have Israel wiped off the map by a fanatical theocracy like Iran who unlike the US vs. the Soviet Union during the cold war, at least realized mutually assured destruction, which deterred any nuclear strikes by either side. As I’ve said before, these ostrich in the sand folks should move to states like Iran, where they could get a taste of “democracy”.

        • Jim Morgan
          December 30, 2011 at 18:25

          Did someone just say “fanatical theocracy’?

          In case anyone hasn’t been watching the news lately, Israeli democracy is slowly dying. That is why the population of Israel has been in decline since 2007. And don’t forget that the Ultra-orthodox De-luxe are as rabid as ever.

          And what about the new immigrants? 50% leave after 5 years.
          So can you say “fanatical theocracy” again?

          • flat5
            December 30, 2011 at 19:05

            There many be the meshugina Orthodox in Israel, but did you ever hear of a woman being executed for blasphemy or facing execution for adultery? That’s what’s happening in Iran.

          • Jim Morgan
            December 30, 2011 at 20:26

            Persian culture is ancient and its actions are ancient, yes. Stone Age, yes.

            But who are we to pass judgement on the their actions when worse things happen to the Palestinians on their own land every day? Yes, death, rape, distruction of their homes.

            So how is the Torah any different in its depiction of the killing of ancient tribes, ruthless, bloody, women and children from the Persians’ view of life?

            The Haredi harass people every day especially girls and women. What kind of country is this modern illegitimate democracy?

            Is the Torah some kind of deed to real estate?

          • Mehrdad
            January 1, 2012 at 19:14

            Mr. Morgan,

            You are correct in purporting that Persian culture dates back to over 3 mellenia, however the actions of the incumbent religious oligopoly in Iran has nothing to do with our culture. In the same way Hilter’s goons were not representative of German culture, nor are the actions of a few, and I emphasize the word FEW religious fanatics in Iran.

            Contrary to popular belief, the beginnings of Western Culture did not begin in Greece. It was Persia that civilized the West with their introduction to the idea of One God, Human Rights and Female Suffrage. Unless you think wearing mini skirts, rock and roll and disrespecting your elders is Western Culture I would seriously rethink your opinion of Persians.

            Iran today is being choked on two fronts, one by an anachronistic regime with an alien ideology and the other by the West with urgings from Israel.

            If Israel dares to ever set foot in Iran or bomb Iran I can assure you it will be the beginning of the end of Israel. When you couple Persian Nationalism with Shi’ism you have a very lethal weapon. A nation doesn’t survive for 3,000 years without any cunning. Let us not forget, the Persians taught the idea of one God, how to play Chess and introduced the world to Algorithms, such as Algebra. These are not a people I would want to start a protracted war with.

          • Jim Morgan
            January 5, 2012 at 12:19


            You misunderstand. I couldn’t be more for Iran’s health and prosperity and I have a great respect for Persian history, but the present religious oligopoly, as you say, doesn’t do very much for Iran’s image around the world.

            Mu apologies, I did not mean to insult.

        • ilse
          December 30, 2011 at 21:21

          “There many be the meshugina Orthodox in Israel, but did you ever hear of a woman being executed for blasphemy or facing execution for adultery? That’s what’s happening in Iran.”

          In Israel they just sit at the back of the bus. No?

          Stop your defense of Israel. Irrelevant.
          Nobody wants to go to war in Iran because of the way they treat women. It is about oil. Get it?

          • December 31, 2011 at 00:55

            Unfortunately, it IS about OIL . . and . . due such . . we face the use of ALL nuclear and other weapons of mass murder.

            Perhaps its time for individuals to act on their DUTY to refuse to support societies that would permit such madness?

            Daniel J. Lavigne, Founder



          • flat5
            January 1, 2012 at 02:44

            you’re a bunch of hypocrites. The “peace loving palestinians” represented by Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction, along with Iran as a partner. This medieval govt. has supported terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah for a long time.

        • William Rice
          December 30, 2011 at 22:00

          Too bad they(the ostriches you talk about) didn’t move to Iran before 1953 so they could have tasted the democracy before we killed their president in our coup and installed the Shah. You repeat the lie that Iran wants to Wipe Israel off the map. NO they want the Zionist entity to disappear from the pages of time. There’s a big difference. It is not a wish to bomb them away. That is what we do. It’s a call for justice. Why should Palestinians pay for the crimes of the Nazi’s? The Iranians haven’t attacked anybody for over 200 years. Quit your warmongering. We’ve had enough .

        • OH
          January 2, 2012 at 12:49

          Israel wants to get recognized as Jewish state, but a third of people in Israel are not Jewish and dont have full citizenship.

          Iran, has not done anything, other than the embassy hostages in 1979, but Reagan shot down an Iranian 747 full of civillians! You war enthusiasts already took revenge.

          Why should Americans allow you war promoters, some of you profiting from it, to drag the rest of America into a quagmire that any fool can tell you would be as pointless as Iraq and Vietnam combined – maybe fatal to American Democracy – and wrong too because its aggressive pre-emptive war based on a hallucination you war enthusiasts had.

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