The Peter Principle Playoffs
We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men~~George Orwell
So here we sit, our heads jerking back and forth so rapidly most of us are suffering severe whiplash. Will the US attack Iran? Will Israel attack Iran? Or will the two war-mongering bullies join forces and "bomb, bomb, bomb" that belligerent twit-nation into subservience?
It's a great game. A deadly game. The momentum to attack Iran has been building for so long that we're conditioned to watching it like some grotesque international tennis competition. It's the Peter Principle Playoffs, with neoconsters and ziomonsters out on the court milling around, working at their highest "levels of incompetence," feverishly plotting Iran's destruction. Foul lines mean nothing to them. There are no rules, no officials, no scores, no accountability.
Immediately before Bush invaded Iraq, the criminally insane John Bolton, then Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, made a personal trip to Israel to assure Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that as soon as we destroyed Iraq, we'd "deal with threats" from Syria, Iran and North Korea. However, it's obvious Iran has always been at the top of the list.
Since 2003, both US and Israeli governments, the corporate media, especially Fox News, and the US Congress have been unrelenting in their campaign to convince the world that Iran is an immediate nuclear threat, although Iran insists it is seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In August 2003, the UK Guardian's Simon Tisdall wrote, "They call it a trap. But we call it Bolton's first law of international power politics; keep the other guy guessing; wear him down. When he gives a little, demand a whole lot more. Then zap him anyway."
Bolton's Law: Make wild accusations. Escalate terror and confusion. Kill. Repeat.
It's no laughing matter, but the sight of this tousle-headed, "got milk?" maniac running in circles, warning of -- demanding -- a nuclear holocaust is good for a grin, albeit a grim one. Even as he was being forced onto the United Nations over national and international objections, Bolton was hot on Iran's trail. He insisted that Iran is the most dangerous critter out there -- harboring terrorists, arming terrorists, training terrorists -- sending bombs, IEDs, weapons to Iraq to kill Americans. If it weren't for Iran, there would have been no 9-11 attack because Iran provided safe haven for the box-cutting killers headed our way. Bolton warned if Iran managed to produce a single nuclear weapon, Israel, the United States -- the world -- was toast. He promised that Iran will come after us. "That's the threat," Bolton barked, "that's the reality whether you like it or not. And it will be just like Sept. 11, only with nuclear weapons this time."
Bolton keeps showing up for work even though his paycheck is now signed by the second most powerful Israeli Lobby, the American Enterprise Institute . He's determined that Iran is going down and, if he can't goad the US into action, he will whip Israel into a frenzy. Like the Batman's Joker, Bolton leaps from the pages of the Wall Street Journal in catastrophic convulsions on a regular basis. On July 15, Bolton insisted "we should be intensively considering what cooperation the U.S. will extend to Israel before, during and after a strike on Iran. We will be blamed for the strike anyway," Bolton reasoned, "...so there is compelling logic to make it as successful as possible. At a minimum, we should place no obstacles in Israel's path, and facilitate its efforts where we can."
Who's On First?
Bolton is surrounded by fellow psychopaths like Norman Podhoretz who insists our only choice is to bomb Iran before Iran gets the bomb and bombs us. Podhoretz is a key figure in the Playoffs with his constant drumbeat that Iran is the "leading sponsor of terrorism in the world," and once it achieves nuclear technology, we're all gonna die!
And National Review's Larry Kudlow, who swooned ecstatically when Israel cluster-bombed Lebanon two years ago. Israel was "doing the Lord's work," defending freedom against the "Iranian cat's-paw" of terrorism. Kudlow says Israel must not stop, but furiously attack "all the terrorist sanctuaries, training camps, weapons caches, and missile systems it can find." Scary Larry enthusiastically supports at least half of Bolton's Law -- the last half.
Others joining Bolton for whom the destruction of Iran is a political game include Bill Kristol, virtuous "bookie" Bill Bennett, Joe Lieberman, and Daniel Pipes, whose harsh and raucous predictions center around whether Bush will attack Iran before or after the upcoming election. If McCain wins, most say that Bush will pass the nuclear baton to him while sprinting to the finish line to pardon his fellow war criminals. However, if McCain should lose, they agree that Bush will get his war on and leave the mess for Obama to clean up.
Those who continue to beat the drums of war trust that we will believe what they say without considering the obvious. Just last week, to coincide with President Ahmadi-Nejad's visit to the UN, former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former CIA director James Woolsey, former Clinton Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross, and former UN representative for management and reform Mark Wallace wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal regurgitating rigid neoconservative talking points.
Channeling Cheney, they wrote that we shouldn't believe Iran when it says it "needs nuclear energy and is enriching nuclear materials for strictly peaceful purposes." Hey, Iran has "vast supplies of inexpensive oil and natural gas," so there's no "legitimate economic reason for Iran to pursue nuclear energy."
Then, unable to resist an unsubstantiated "Bushism" or two, these heavy hitters warned that "Iran is a deadly and irresponsible world actor," and should it get the bomb, Iran would "sponsor terror, threaten our allies, and support the most deadly elements of the Iraqi insurgency."
Finally, they whipped out Bolton's Law with the wild -- and discredited -- accusation that "President Ahmadinejad specifically calls for Israel to be 'wiped from the map,' while seeking the weapons to do so."
The constant discordant barrage of accusations and demands is so outrageous we attempt to shrug it off as mostly ideological clatter-babble, yet we sit paralyzed with fear. We are unable to recognize the real danger that looms just beyond the shadows.
But we know he's there. When Dick Cheney emerges, we are bewitched by the horror he evokes as he piles lie upon bloody lie about Iran's nuclear activities -- in spite of international findings and US intelligence lack of evidence. He accuses Iran of smuggling weapons of mass destruction into Iraq to kill Americans. Iran is training insurgents, is joined at the hip with Al-Qaeda, is the world's most dangerous sponsor of terrorism, and if it can get its hands on just one nuclear weapon, it will immediately lob it in Israel's direction.
In 2005, Cheney instructed the Pentagon to draw up a plan for a nuclear attack on Iran should another 9-11-type terrorist attack on the U.S. occur, even if Iran had nothing to do with it. To provoke a war, Cheney suggested dressing up Navy Seals as Iranians, putting them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shooting at them. Murdering Americans in cold blood, exterminating 60-70 million innocent Iranians and contaminating millions more throughout the region is a small price for Cheney to pay. Iran must face the consequences for having the audacity to possess two-thirds of the world's oil.
Bad, Bad Ahmadi-Nejad
Since being elected in June 2005 as Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad has rhetorically stepped in it and tracked it all over the Persian rug. Scarcely in office four months, he gave a speech in which he quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini who had said years earlier -- "This regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)." That comment was transcribed as Ahmadi-Nejad threatening to wipe Israel off the map, and despite repeated efforts to get the correct translation out, the world's media went into a shrieking frenzy that has yet to abate.
Ahmadi-Nejad has made numerous public and private diplomatic overtures to the United States in the last three years, and all have been rejected -- with insults, sneers, and threats. It is critical to the outcome of the Playoffs that spectators see Ahmadi-Nejad as a criminally insane killer who is a threat to the entire world. He is sort of cocky, and his arrogance at insisting that Iran has the same rights and privileges under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the other members, that Iran has the right to pursue nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and that George Bush is not Iran's "Decider" is driving guys like Bolton over the edge.
Which -- when you think about it -- is not necessarily a bad thing...
So, who is this guy? Few know that Ahmadi-Nejad is an Engineer with a Ph.D on transportation engineering, a university professor, a working member on the Iran Civil Engineering Society, and the Islamic Association of Students in the Science and Technology University, as well as others. He is an accomplished journalist and former managing director of the Hamshahri newspaper. He was the mayor of Tehran before running for president. Even fewer know that, in reality, he wields no power other than that allotted to him by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. He's deeply religious, stubborn and reckless. He's unpredictable and, at times, dangerous. Ohmigod -- Ahmadi-Nejad is "Bush with Brains!"
Should We Fear Iran?
Iran's nuclear ambitions for other than peaceful purposes are as elusive as Iraq's WMD, which defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld said were "in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Yet we are in danger of being swept up in the propaganda catapulted by the Bush administration and the corporate media once again. Perhaps we should take a deep breath and apply a bit of logic here, pay close attention to the obvious. If Iran is truly a threat to the entire world, then we should be afraid. However, demanding that Iran either prove a negative or face extermination of millions of its citizens does not, and should not, pass the terror smell test.
It is obvious that, in this unstable era, we should be aware of, and even fear, those countries bristling with nukes. For starters, the United States has more nuclear weapons than any other nation. Then there's Russia, China, France, Britain, India, Pakistan, North Korea and...shhhhh...Israel. Currently, Pakistan is in turmoil and threatening to shoot down US planes that fly across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and kill civilians, Russia refuses to back off from its Georgia stance no matter how vigorously Condi Rice wags her finger in its face, China has abruptly cut off financial deals with the US because of the plummeting dollar, and North Korea is restarting its Yongbyon nuclear reactor because Bush broke his promise to remove it from Washington's list of state sponsors of terror.
Yet, amidst all this fury and instability, we are obsessed with destroying Iran -- a nation that, in modern history, has never attacked another country -- and which has repeatedly maintained it seeks nuclear power primarily for generating electricity for its growing population. In 2005, Ayatollah Khamenei issued a Fatwa that "the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons."
What is obvious to anyone familiar with the timeline of Iran's nuclear program from the 1950s is that Iran has never sought nuclear energy for anything other than peaceful purposes. In 1957, the Shah opened the American Atoms for Peace in Tehran, and signed an agreement with the US for cooperation in research on peaceful uses of nuclear technology. And, in 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on the first day it opened for signature. In the late 70's, the US supplied Iran with two nuclear power reactors and enriched uranium fuel, and granted Iran the "most favored nation" status so it would not be discriminated against when seeking permission to reprocess US-origin fuel.
To restate the obvious -- if we are to fear Iran, it is not because, as Bush said in June -- "They refuse to abandon their desires to develop the know-how which could lead to a nuclear weapon" -- it is because Iran threatens to defend itself if attacked. It is because other nations, such as Russia, refuse to stand idly by as Iran is "wiped off the map."
We need to get our minds around who is the aggressor here. Because if we continue to passively watch the evil unfold; if Dick Cheney wins the behind-the-scenes, off-court power struggle, the Peter Principle Playoffs will be over and the entire Middle East will explode in nuclear flames.