Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Perils of Attacking Iran

flagIn mid-April, Istanbul or Geneva will host nuclear talks with Iran. America, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany will attend. Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov calls them a "last chance" to avoid war.

Russian diplomats and independent observers expect it after talks designed to fail. Some believe launching it prevents or delays attacking Syria.

Al Quds al Arabi editor Abdel Bari Atwan told Russia Today he expects a package war against Iran, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Perhaps also against Hamas. At issue is when. Washington wants it after November's elections. Israel wants it sooner.

On March 21, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said he believes Israel will know if Iran moves toward nuclear weapons production when, for example, it's enriching uranium to 90% purity.

He also said Israeli air power can inflict significant damage, but not without serious repercussions. Iran will counterattack. Hundreds of missiles will strike Israeli cities and strategic facilities, including nuclear ones. Hezbollah and perhaps Hamas will act supportively. So will America.

Middle East conflict may escalate beyond what's stoppable. The entire region will be embroiled. Netanyahu says Israel's prepared to strike Iran independently - "not within days, but not within years either." He also said "Israel has never left its fate in the hands of others, not even in the hands of our best friends."

On March 19, The New York Times headlined, "US War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran," saying:

A "classified war simulation held this month" assessed significant repercussions of Israel attacking Iran. It said doing so assures wider regional war. America could get embroiled. Hundreds of US casualties would result.

US Central Command's war game tested communication and coordination between its Tampa, FL headquarters and Persian Gulf forces.

Not a dress rehearsal for war, officials said other outcomes were also possible. However, they raised fears that doing so might "be impossible" for America to avoid and with it serious consequences.

When exercises ended, Central Command head General James Mattis was especially troubled. He told aides that "an Israeli first strike would be likely to have dire consequences across the region and for United States forces there."

The Times called the war game an "Internal Look," similar to what preceded America's 2003 Iraq war. Hundreds of thousands died. Millions of refugees resulted. Vast devastation occurred. The cradle of civilization was destroyed. Nine years later, violence wracks Iraq daily. So does poverty, deprivation, contamination, and appalling human suffering.

With a population two and a half times larger, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities will affect millions catastrophically. If Tehran's retaliatory strikes inflict serious damage on or destroy Dimona and other Israeli nuclear sites, radiation will contaminate large parts of the region.

War games can't predict how nations will respond. Some US and Israeli officials think Iran doesn't want regional war so won't strike American targets, either Persian Gulf warships of Middle East bases. Others aren't so sure.

Iran knows Washington and Israel partner in regional wars, especially against common enemies. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warns that Iran will retaliate if attacked, but won't escalate conflict. He said "(W)e will attack them at the same level as they attack us."

Given what Israel's likely to do, that's plenty. If America and Israeli forces attack jointly, it's perhaps no holds barred because holding back assures sure defeat.

Strategy means avoiding Iraq's fate. At issue isn't Tehran's nuclear facilities. It's replacing an independent regime with a pro-Western one. The same scenario's playing out in Syria. Tactics there involve externally-generated violence, followed by war if Assad survives.

If nuclear strikes don't dislodge Tehran's regime, expect full-scale war next, despite potentially enormous risks and hazards. They'll likely exceed all previous US engagements since WW II, especially if Syria's attacked and Lebanon's Hezbollah gets involved.

Imagine the potential consequences. Imagine leaders willing to risk them. The definition of insanity isn't just repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. It's risking a likely catastrophic blunder and proceeding anyway.

History will judge Netanyahu and Obama, unless they create a scorched earth wasteland, left for future archaeologists to figure out what went wrong if any remain in future generations to try.

George Clemenceau once said wars are "a series of catastrophes that result in victory." He also called waging them "too serious a matter to entrust to military men." Given leaders like Obama, Netanyahu, and others like them, he should have included politicians.

He did say America's the only nation that went "from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization."

America's permanent war policy proves him right. So does Israel's rage to wage them. Humanity's at risk if Iran and Syria are attacked. Yet both countries appear willing to risk it. If that's not insanity, what is?

2- New York Times Promotes War on Syria and Iran

As America's leading broadsheet, what it reports matters, especially on war and peace.

Instead of accuracy, full disclosure, and supporting right over wrong, The Times consistently cheerleads US wars and prospective ones.

Enemies are vilified. Rule of law principles don't matter, nor do decades of crimes of war and against humanity, as well as millions of lost lives in the last decade alone.

In June 1950, The Times called Truman's war on North Korea the right decision, even though Pyongyang responded defensively to repeated South Korean cross-border incursions.

IF Stone's "Hidden History of the Korean War" explained what scoundrel journalism suppressed, including NYT feature stories.

Stone called it international aggression. So did Monthly Review co-founders Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy, saying:

"....we have come to the conclusion that (South Korean president) Syngman Rhee deliberately provoked the North Koreans in the hope that they would retaliate by crossing the parallel in force. The northerners fell neatly into the trap."

Truman instigated what happened and took full advantage.

Stone explained, saying:

"we said we were going to Korea to go back to the status quo before the war but when the American armies reached the 38th parallel they didn't stop, they kept going, so there must be something else. We must have another agenda here and what might that agenda be?"

He learned it reflected America's imperial ambitions. Vietnam followed. He opposed both wars. So did others. The Times supported them and others, including:

  • Reagan in Central America and elsewhere;
  • GHW Bush in Panama, Haiti and Iraq;
  • -Clinton on Rwanda, Iraq sanctions, the Balkan wars, and especially for attacking Serbia/Kosovo lawlessly in 1999;
  • GW Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • Obama's multiple wars and proxy ones;
  • as well as every president since Johnson on Israel/Palestine.

When America goes to war or intends one, scoundrel NYT journalism's front and center supportively. It's their longstanding tradition. Nothing changed to this day. Syria and Iran are now targeted. Neither threatens America, Israel, or other regional countries.

International law is clear. No nation may interfere in the internal affairs of others. Nor is force permitted against nonbelligerent states. Justifiable self-defense alone is allowed.

Israel's had no enemies since 1973. America's had none since WW II. Yet it's waged aggressive wars for decades with full major media support, including The Times.

In late January, The New York Times Magazine published a scandalous piece of warmongering journalism. Written by Yedioth Ahronoth contributor Ronen Bergman, it supportively argued for war on Iran.

Have all measures to contain Iran's "nuclear threat been exhausted, bringing Israel to the point of last resort," he asked? He concluded saying, "I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012."

He ignored facts to incite fear. Israel benefits by "keeping the pot near the boiling point" to portray aggressive war as justified. His commentary was sensationalist, inflammatory, flawed, and sinister to enlist public support for likely catastrophic war if it's launched.

The Times featured him supportively. It quoted Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, stressing Israel's resolve, saying:

"Our policy is that in one way or another, Iran's nuclear program must be stopped. It is a matter of months before the Iranians will be able to attain military nuclear capability. Israel should not have to lead the struggle against Iran."

"It is up to the international community to confront the regime, but nevertheless Israel has to be ready to defend itself. And we are prepared to defend ourselves in any way and anywhere that we see fit."

Other Israeli and US policymakers concur. By promoting them, Bergman's complicit. So is The New York Times for providing feature space instead of taking a principled anti-war stand. It consistently embraces imperial lawlessness, including mass slaughter, vast destruction, unspeakable human misery, and virtually every imaginable crime.

For months, Times articles, commentaries and editorials stoked spurious fears of an alleged Iranian nuclear threat and need to confront it. It lied saying IAEA inspectors say "Iran’s nuclear program has a military objective.”

It ignores Tehran's compliance with Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) provisions. It falsely called Iran's contention about wanting nuclear technology for electricity and other peaceful purposes "hollow."

It cited a nonexistent IAEA report about Iran allegedly developing "computer models of nuclear explosions....experiments on nuclear triggers....and advanced research on a warhead" to be delivered by short, medium, or long range missiles.

It recklessly promotes imperial wars, no matter how lawless, destructive, and ultimately not in America's interest, given the potential for catastrophic consequences too grave to ignore.

Taking Aim at Syria

On March 20, a Times editorial targeted Syria. Headlined, "Wrong Ways to Fight Assad," it said:

He's "so willing to kill his people that he could hold on to power for years. The forces opposing him have won support from the international community starting the moment they" initiated attacks.

Fact check

Syria was peaceful and calm until Western-generated attacks began. Killer gangs comprise opposing forces. Nations supporting them are complicit in their crimes. So is scoundrel journalism, including for betraying readers by lying.

The editorial also rebuked Russia and China as Assad's "chief enablers. These two countries twice have vetoed (UN resolutions) designed to force him to stop killing. The longer the unrest goes on, the more divided the society will become and the more likely that instability could spread to other countries."

Fact check

Russia and China stand resolutely against more imperial war. So far they prevented it. America may launch it anyway. Assad's defending his people. It's his job. Washington could end conflict today by calling off its dogs. Peace and stability would then return, despite lost lives and enormous damage inflicted.

"Russia's latest peace gesture is pathetic....Moscow would support a new Security Council statement of concern only if it sets the stage for negotiations between the regime and the opposition and is not an ultimatum. That is absurd. The Security Council should proclaim in the strongest possible terms that Mr. Assad must go."

Fact check

Western-backed killer gangs cause daily violence. Times scoundrels lie by claiming otherwise. Yet Assad's willing to negotiate to restore peace and stability. Russia's Five-Point plan endorses conflict resolution political dialogue between Damascus and opposition groups.

Washington wants war. In lockstep, so do Times scoundrels instead of forthrightly endorsing peace. Doing so would go against longstanding tradition.

The "newspaper of record" won't dare besmirch its consistent support for America's imperium, no matter how lawless, Machiavellian, and destructive. It shares blame for doing so.

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