Middle East Show of Farce

A July 17 article at the Guardian leads with “In preparation for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, two Israeli missile-class warships have sailed through the Suez Canal 10 days after a submarine capable of launching a nuclear missile strike.”

The fifth paragraph begins, “The deployment into the Red Sea, confirmed by Israeli officials, according to the Associated Press yesterday, was a clear signal that Israel was able to put its strike force within range of Iran at short notice.”

This is utter bosh.

Israel’s German-made, diesel-electric powered Dolphin class submarines supposedly carry nuclear missiles with a range of over 900 miles. If that’s the case, the subs don’t have to deploy to the Suez to hit Iran; they can do that pierside in their home port in Haifa. Israel’s Sa’ar class corvettes carry self-defense weapons and the Harpoon anti-ship missile that has a range of between 58 and 196 miles, far too short to hit Iran from the Suez.

Israel and Iran both possess sea-denial navies that are glorified coast guards. To attack Israel’s navy, Iran’s navy would have to pass down the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, steam west across the North Arabian Sea into the Gulf of Aden, then hike up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal and enter the Mediterranean. Israel’s navy would have to take the reverse route to attack Iran’s. Either navy would likely run out of gas or sink of natural causes before it reached the other one. They might agree to meet in the middle, but in an expanse the size of the North Arabian Sea they probably couldn’t find each other. We might give Israel’s navy a lift to the Gulf of Oman on a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, but as soon as its puddle paddlers unloaded and drove into the Hormuz, the Iranians would shoot their tokheses off with shore-launched missiles (the Iranians might stick one up the carrier’s fantail as well).

Israel’s cardboard-saber-rattling supposedly signals concerns about Iran’s intentions to develop nuclear weapons. That would be well and good if Iran had intentions to develop nukes, but all indications are that they don’t. As I’ve often noted, our own intelligence admits that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program, and the International Atomic Energy Agency can’t find a trace of one. For the Iranians to develop nukes would be astronomically stupid, tantamount to painting a bull’s eye on their backs. Israel would have a perfect excuse to schwack Iran’s nuclear energy infrastructure with a preemptive strike, and from what we just saw the Israelis do to Gaza, they’d likely firebomb Iran’s cities as well.

Despite what hate radio and Fox News and the Polly-cracker mainstream media have told you over and over, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never said Iran would use nukes to destroy Israel, or anything remotely like that, and neither has anyone else in Iran’s government. Iran is incapable of projecting land power more than a few miles from its border, its navy is as potent as root beer outside of the Persian Gulf, and its air force is almost as old and broken down as North Korea’s.

Demonizing Iran has been a long-term project of Dick Cheney’s. Through his Iranian Directorate and his lip-lock with the Likud and neoconservatives cabals, he was able to have Iran declared to be our greatest “challenge,” even though Iran’s military budget is less than 1 percent the size of ours and less than half the size of Israel’s, and despite the Cheneyacs’ failure to prove a single one of their assertions regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions or its meddling in Iraq and the Bananastans.

Iran-baiting has become so popular that it’s practically a national pastime. Maybe that’s why Hillary Clinton has joined the likes of Newt Gingrich aboard Cheney’s crazy train.

I voted against Hillary in the Virginia primary because she’d so clearly rolled over for the neocons for fear they’d call her a girly-man if she didn’t. As secretary of state, lamentably, she’s still putting on a tomboy act for them. In a July 22 speech in Thailand, Hillary said the U.S. would extend its “defense umbrella” to protect its Middle East allies from a nuclear-armed Iran. “We’ll take actions,” she said, “crippling action, working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region.”

A little song, a little dance; a little seltzer down your pantsuit. The Iranians don’t have a nuclear weapons program and common sense says they never will, they’re surrounded by U.S. forces and outgunned by their neighbors, if they ever did acquire a nuclear weapon and use it on someone our retaliation would mean the virtual end of the millennia-old Persian culture, and Hillary wants to further cripple our economy by dumping more American-made arms into the region. Where do we find such women?

Bush/Cheney foreign policy turned the Middle East into an analog of Cold War Europe, and incredibly, they managed to cast pismire Iran as the second coming of the Soviet Union. That the Obama administration is conducting the same clownish statecraft is a sure sign that the American Empire will end not with a bang or a whimper, but with pie on its face.

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Author: Jeff Huber

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (retired), was a naval flight officer who commanded an aircraft squadron and was operations officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the carrier that fought the Kosovo War. Jeff earned a master of arts degree in post-modern imperialism at the U.S. Naval War College. His weekly satires on U.S. foreign policy high jinks are archived at his blog, Pen and Sword. Jeff's critically applauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon of America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Jeff lives with dogs in a house by the beach on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, and in the summer he has a nice tan.