Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Nanny State covers our ears

The inner rot from the Romney camp proceeds apace (the stench over there must be unbearable by now), and relief sets in at the prospect of their prompt departure. While we heave a sigh of gratitude that they will not swarm in like bees and sting our fragile government to death, something else occurs to remind us that the current occupants of high office in the land are dangerous in their own ways.

With October only a week away, the ‘surprise’ season is upon us, and the principal candidate for something nasty in the stretch before voting day is a new war in the Gulf. So it is timely that at least someone, somewhere, is asking an important question BEFORE the next war is upon us: What will it cost?

Let us briefly recall that the last two wars that we were sold, Afghanistan and Iraq (let’s not count Libya for now) turned out rather more expensive than we anticipated in both dollars and body parts as well as in prestige and the grudging affection our society and culture sometimes enjoy. They were also a lot easier to start than to end, a constant in war-making activities throughout human history.

So why, now that Iran has become the latest boogeyman that we should fear and possibly attack, and now that we are in thick into the one season of the quadrennium in which policy is supposed to be debated in depth and at length, why is it that we, the citizens of this country, are permitted no debate on the wisdom of waging war on that country?

Way at the top, there is plenty of nervousness about the idea of starting War #3 against a much tougher enemy than the rickety Saddam Hussein dictatorship. Here is the Washington editor of Bloomberg News, no less, one Albert R. Hunt, who pens a ‘personal opinion’ piece on the topic, appropriately titled ‘Americans Deserve Pre-emptive Debate on Iran Strike’:

The last two U.S. presidents have misled voters on the cost of armed conflicts. Amid another election, the drumbeats of war are sounding again. This time the subject is Iran.

There is a robust debate on the virtues and risks of trying to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities. That discussion is taking place in Israel.

In the U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney parry over who has the smartest strategy for ensuring Iran doesn’t obtain the enriched uranium to develop a nuclear weapon. Both candidates warn about the dangers of Iran becoming a nuclear power.

There is almost no discussion on the costs of a strike to take out that nuclear capacity -- be it by Israel or the U.S -- in lives, money and regional and global standing.

Hunt goes on to remind us that Bush/Cheney promised Iraq would be a cakewalk and cheap, to boot, so we should do it to take away his weapons of mass destruction. It wasn’t, and there weren’t.

Then Obama insisted we needed a ‘surge’ of increased soldierly presence in Afghanistan to clean up that place and make sure no new bin Ladens appeared. Four years later, the place is in worse shape than ever, and the new bin-Ladenites are multiplying like fungi in a Petraeus dish.

So could we maybe possibly have a little serious discussion of whether we should bomb or support the Israelis in bombing the nuclear facilities of a country of 60 million people that sits along the most strategically sensitive real estate in the world?

This ‘strike’ is being peddled to us again with falsities, starting with the idea that it would be a one-time affair, a quick sortie like the destruction of Saddam’s nuclear installations at Osirik. But once an attack is carried out, what’s to prevent the Iranians from restarting the whole thing? Further attacks? A ground invasion? Having declared war on the country (just for the record, flying over a place a dropping bombs on it is an act of war), how will we react when the inevitable retaliation occurs, like maybe, um, on the New York City subways?

Hunt also notes the output of the Iran Project, chock-full of all sorts of weighty members of the foreign policy/security establishment, who lay out these discomfiting facts. So there is a debate taking place—we’re just not part of it.

By contrast, the citizens of Israel get to debate it fully.

Finally, the consensus at the top was further underscored this week by the delisting of the fanatical sect, Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK) from the State Department’s terrorist list. This loony Iranian exile outfit supported Saddam Hussein during the worst crimes of his rule, keeps its own members in a state of Moonie-like control, and regularly commits terrorist acts. So why would the State Department decide they’re okay?

Well, as Glenn Greenwald summarizes, they’re OUR terrorists and carry out OUR dirty work, that’s why. And they’ve doled out a whole lot of cash to buy influence in a whole lot of the right places through people like Howard Dean and Ed Rendell. That’s right, nice liberalish Democrats joining the feeding trough like the best junior execs at Bain Capital. We can safely anticipate that our faithful scribes and stenographers from the major newspapers will not be pointing out this anomaly as it does not fit into the Red/Blue divide.

So when Obama and Romney stand there telling us how tough they are/want to be on who gets to attack Iran first and best, that might be the time to call up a Jerusalem newspaper on the Internet and get some sober thinking about the proper course of action. We won’t be getting any from our own guys.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh great. First a possible "October surprise," putting us into yet another war, then, after the clownish Romney is defeated, O makes a lame-duck deal with Republicans to cut Social Security in order to help pay for this mess (see Huffington Post article on Senator Bernie Sander's protest). With no genuine debate in this country on almost anything of real political importance, at least Sanders is willing to take his protest to the steps of a closed door fiscal summit. Sanders points out the following staggering statistics (never mentioned by Bill Clinton in the "arithmetic" of his stem winding endorsement of O at the Democratic Convention): The 400 richest people in this country own as much wealth as the bottom 150,000,000. The top 1% own 40% of the total wealth. The bottom 60% own a miniscule 1% of the wealth. Both parties are in the thrall of greedy elites. If there is to be yet another war intended to unite us around our leaders, we can rest assured that the rich will not pay their share for it, either in blood or taxes.