Viewpoint: Attack on Iran unlikely and irrational

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Current opinion polls say 57 percent of Americans believe the U.S. and/or Israel will attack Iran next March in an attempt to smash what the George W. Bush administration claims is a nuclear weapons program.

But is that a rational course of action? Stan Goff, a veteran military man and highly qualified analyst of military tactics and U.S. policies, points to an old Haitian proverb: “A stupid person is a real thing.”

Goff, writing for, observed: “… the U.S. and/or Israel attacking Iran would, as a dumb-ass decision, rank with winter ground attacks against Russia and taking that shortcut through the Little Bighorn—[it] doesn’t mean they won’t do it anyway.”

He and a few other well-informed individuals evaluated a number of factors and declared that neither this country nor the Israelis are likely to attack Iran…unless that Haitian proverb prevails.

Goff and others penned a number of warnings about invading Iraq, but the Bushites went ahead anyway and have been in deep doo-doo ever since. Yet the President and his lackeys continue to talk about “total victory” there while our generals are saying we cannot win militarily.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, architect of a strategy for control of Central Asia and some of the Mideast, has been sharply rapping the decision to invade Iraq, viewing it as stupid.

Earlier in the month, if you didn’t notice, a panel of former secretaries of State and Defense, went to the White House to huddle with George W. Bush. It turned out to be more of a photo op than anything else. There was Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, James Baker, William Perry, Lawrence Eagleberger, Colin Powell and Robert McNamara. They supposedly were there to offer Bush some advice on the war. They got all of 10 minutes with the President and left shaking their heads.

Brzezinski recently offered the opinion that “victory or defeat [in Iraq] is, in fact, a false strategic choice.” He went on to say: “In using this formulation, the president would have the American people believe that their only options are either ‘hang in and win’ or ‘quit and lose.’ But the real, practical choice is this: ‘persist but not win’ or ‘desist but not lose.’”

Goff said that mish-mosh translates to: “get the heck out of Iraq and the sooner the better.” Pennsylvania Avenue is in a panic because nothing in the grand plan has gone as expected.

Government, as H.L. Mencken rightly observed, creates “boogie men” to keep the populace afraid and easily manageable. When the Soviet Union collapsed the “boogie man” was gone. We were left without an enemy and no definite purpose for our very costly imperial military machine.

Both major political parties are committed to preserving U.S. dominance in the world. Speaking of dominance, what’s happening in Iraq?

For openers, sources inside Iraq report that U.S. troops are mostly confined to their bases and the “green zone” in Baghdad. They dare not venture abroad in the country except in occasional big and heavily armed convoys. They are surrounded by intense and murderous hostility.

The recently elected government has blown up in the neocons’ faces because it is pro-Iranian. Polls show 87 percent of the populace wants us out of there and 20 percent—the Kurds—want us to stay as a buffer against attack by Turkey.

Oil production in Iraq, which the Bush acolytes said before the invasion would be 4 million barrels per day, has been unable to do more than 2 million barrels per day since.

The morale of U.S. forces is absolute rock bottom. The government is dangling six-figure re-enlistment bonuses in an effort to keep the best special operations troopers from joining Rumsfeld’s shadow army of mercenaries.

And obvious to all who bother to get the facts about the Iraq conflict, the cherished myth of American military invincibility has been ripped to shreds by a lightly armed, urban guerrilla opposition.

Oil was the centerpiece in this operation. When we went in, the first things we seized were the oilfields and the second was the Oil Ministry. Goff said we never needed to steal the oil, that it’s cheaper to buy it. A recent calculation that includes the hidden and long-term cost of the war shows it likely will cost the U.S. $2.65 trillion.

That’s the principal story on Iraq, but what is the likely result if we or the Israelis attack Iran? “An attack about Iran right now would result in an almost instantaneous and generalized southern Shia insurgency directed against the U.S. occupation,” Goff said. “That insurgency,” he added, “would, within weeks, bring about tactical alliances between Shia militias in south and central Iraq and Sunni nationalists and Islamists in the north. The occupation would become literally unsupportable.”

Goff makes a good point about nuclear proliferation in the Mideast. Instead of trying to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability, he says, why not disarm the Israelis and remove their nukes?

Here again, oil figures prominently in the scenario. Many now understand that peak oil does not mean that oil will run out. It means there will come a point where it is no longer practical or profitable to pump any more of it. Oil is an essential commodity on which our and others’ societies is based. No oil means no growth. If we paid the real value of petroleum, there would be a capital crisis, so the costs get shifted to the public through subsidies and military spending. There is no substitute for oil.

What has that to do with Iran? China imports 13 percent of its oil from Iran. There also is growing demand for Iranian oil from India, Malaysia, France, Germany and several other countries. Russia also is interested in Iran because it has strong trade ties with that country, sharing nuclear technology and some armaments such as missiles. An attack on Iran is an attack on China.

The Washington crowd can yelp about sanctions against Iran, but given China and Russia’s seats on the U.N. Security Council and their support of Iran, it is just so much bull roar.

If Israel attempts an attack by air, it will be viewed as having U.S. approval. That the Muslim world would take a very dim view of a joint U.S.-Israeli strike is a gross understatement. It likely would ignite popular anti-government uprisings in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Such a development would spread Muslim unity across Southwest Asia like a forest fire.

Goff sees the shift in Latin American politics toward socialism as being empowered by the mess in Iraq and by the failure of the U.S. there to support and uphold the myth of its invincibility. Venezuela is leading the way in the move toward independence from U.S. influence and the International Monetary Fund.

“This is an indicator, I think,” said Goff, “of the deeper significance of the grinding military failure in Iraq—which is the most precarious moment the American empire has seen since the U.S. war against Vietnam. The very fabric of the empire could unravel, and this is why the Wilsonian section of the ruling class’ political factions is closing in on George W. Bush.”

Goff added: “There is probably no action, short of a nuclear attack, that the United States could approve or conduct that would worsen that crisis more decisively than an attack on Iran.” That’s why an attack is a very remote possibility, but then again, stupidity is unpredictable.

From the Feb. 1-7, 2006, issue

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