Backtalk, December 1, 2005

Can a Nuclear Strike on Iran Be Prevented?

Given that the vast majority of the evidence presented in this article is incontrovertible, why is there no public debate? If this is so obvious as to be visible to all parties interested in the developments currently taking place in the Middle East, why are there no banner headlines proclaiming this truly terrifying scenario?

I have long suspected that the purpose for invading Iraq was to get closer to Iran, and that the entire business of war was being dominated by the need for oil. Having witnessed firsthand the way in which wars can be fought for oil rights and defense contracts – I served with the Royal Air Force in the first Gulf War – this current situation scares me beyond belief. We will be walked into the next round of “imperial expansion” by a man who has no concept of beliefs, cultures, or ways of life outside the U.S. It has to stop and stop now. What can we do to make it public? It should come as no surprise to know that the majority of the Western press is dominated if not controlled by individuals loyal to both Bush and Blair, and that any leaking of information will be strictly controlled anyway – pictures of coffins coming back to America were easily banned, the end of the world due to nuclear war should be a piece of cake.

A further problem is the way in which the Islamic world is now portrayed – they are all headscarf wearing fanatics with bombs attached to their bodies – and how the leadership of Islamic groups are talked down because of the belief that they threaten and want to destroy our white, Christian way of life. If manipulation of the press and the sheer scale of government-led propaganda has done anything in the war on terrorism, it has certainly achieved a wide-ranging consensus and demonization of anybody from anything other than white culture. You could put out the message, but the average Brit or American is going to ignore the information because of where it refers to.

I only wish that I had answers and that from my lowly position I could make the world stand up and take notice, but given that we are possibly only talking days or at best weeks until this act takes place, I can only add my own dissenting voice to what should be a cacophony of outrage.

~ Chris Doyle

Jorge Hirsch replies:

I certainly agree with what you say. We all have to do whatever we can. Write letters to your senators, representatives, local newspapers. Don’t give up!

Oh please, don’t you think that this kind of hyperventilating is just a little counterproductive? The U.S. is certainly not going to nuke Iran. The casualties would be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. The American people are not monsters. They, along with the rest of the world, would be swept up in a wave of utter revulsion at such a dastardly, Hitlerian criminal act. The people and the Congress would have Bush’s head – and he knows it. Of course, the geopolitical consequences would be devastating for the U.S., and even Bush and Cheney know that. Even Israel would have to condemn such a crime against humanity.

~ Stephen Davis

Jorge Hirsch replies:

No, I don’t think so. They intend to use small nukes, and they expect the casualties won’t be very high. Of course, the situation can easily get out of hand after it starts.

Mr. Hirsch,

You are so right. Iran will be attacked, probably within a year.

The final piece to the puzzle came out recently. A new oil pipeline will be built in Russia to the coast of Siberia to supply oil to China and Japan. Bush’s main reason for going to China was to reassure them that even if their oil supply from Iran is cut off, a new oil supply from Russia will take its place. The U.S. then will take control of Iran’s oil like it did with Iraq’s oil.

This so-called war on terror will last for years. Our congressmen have no guts to stop the insanity. Nuclear winter, here we come.

~ George Sawtelle

Jorge Hirsch replies:

Interesting hypothesis. I do think that one of the reasons for Bush going to China was to warn them in person not to get involved if/when action against Iran starts. You don’t want to do that over the phone.


Beginning of the End

Mr. Bock’s analysis of political, partisan rhetoric in regard to the war in Iraq is dead-on.

The problem rests in the comfort felt by both corporate-owned political parties. The electoral process in the former U.S. is not a threat to those already in power. Consequently, changing it is not urgent in their minds, thus leading to rhetoric as opposed to productive dialogue.

The electoral process has to be changed on a national level to allow for more voices to be heard. The Electoral College needs to be banned, and more direct democracy needs to replace it.

This is not at all disconnected from Mr. Bock’s opinion piece. Why should those who know that they have no less than a 50-50 chance of winning at election time show their true stripes by participating in frank and open discussion? There’s no need of it. Hence we have the superfluous rhetoric to which Mr. Bock refers.

Add to that the fact that the electoral methodology can only be changed by those who benefit from the status quo and you get a system whereby only wealthy people can afford to run for office. Those in office were wealthy before they were elected, are wealthy now, and will be wealthy when they leave. A political debate for them is less about issues and truth and more about contest. Indeed, these people view politics as a sport and, although possibly disappointed if they lose one of the periodic “games," they continue to live a lifestyle to which most of us will never have access. Bottom line – they don’t care.

I’m convinced that, given the chance, American conservatives would migrate toward the Libertarians and progressives would migrate toward the Green Party or possibly the Socialist Party (the latter, unfortunately, still carries with the unwarranted stigma of being the “gateway” party to “communism").

Although I am in total agreement with Mr. Bock’s analysis, I fear that, given the exclusivity of the two-party, winner-take-all electoral process, open and honest debate is a difficult goal.

~ Michael Bonanno, Antioch, CA

Alan Bock replies:

Since I don’t enjoy being ruled, whatever the provenance of the ruler, I lost confidence in the electoral process as something in which I can see much hope for positive change long ago, so I’m not a good person to comment on proposals for tinkering with it. I’ll leave it to others, some of whom might even wrest something positive out of it.


Democrats Take on Murtha

Mr. Raimondo,

I don’t understand one part of your argument. First you state that the analogy the so-called neocons make conflating W.W.II and the fight against Hitler with our invasion and war in Iraq is ridiculous (which I agree with), then you seem to embrace their analogy when it bolsters your “neo-isolationist” (?) belief that the U.S. was wrong to to have entered W.W.II and fought Hitler, etc.

I read Albert Speer’s books, and from what he said, Hitler definitely wanted to rule the world and had the U.S. in his sights as a not-very-long-term objective. Almost opposite the situation with Iraq, Germany had a cutting edge military, an economy of comparable size to the U.S., and if he could have occupied the Soviet Union, Hitler would have had all the oil he needed.

~ Bob Ransdell, Soquel, CA

Excellent article. I worked in government for several years, and we used to have a saying for the public: “We’re not happy till you’re not happy.”

~ Susan Fournier


Sorry, Mr. President, We Won’t Shut Up

Show me ANY QUOTE from ANY SPEECH, ANYWHERE, where either the president or vice president has told critics of the Iraq war to “shut up.”

You won’t find any, anywhere, because neither the president nor vice president have EVER said any such thing. What they have BOTH said in their recent speeches is that debate is the very nature of our democracy, but that those who say that the president misled or lied about prewar intelligence are not telling the truth. …

So, this article is a complete misrepresentation of both the president’s and vice president’s remarks and position.

~ Robert McMullen, Daily Intel Briefing – Kilo Echo 4

Tibor Machan replies:

President Bush never said “shut up” but implied it, clearly, when he said that critics cause morale problems, etc. I quoted him, you can check it: he clearly meant it. It is not wise for a president of a free country to suggest that people who criticize his policies are giving support to the enemy.


Rodolfo T.’s Backtalk

In answer to Rodolfo’s rhetorical question, yes, Bush et al., think most of us are dumb. After all, many of us sit glued to the TV for much of the day. Even if they didn’t think we were dumb, the real point is power. They have the power, man. They can do just about anything they want as long as those seemingly witless Pentagon generals go along with the White House game plan.

Mr. Roberts replied to your concerns by suggesting we do something about it. My question to him is: What can we do? Will changing senators and representatives every two years do anything? It hasn’t, yet, over the last 200 years. Do antiwar parades or fine Web sites, like this one, attain their objectives? I am not aware of any, going back to the Civil War. The war machine just plods on. No, the solution goes much, much deeper than mere elections and demonstrations and information. It is a matter of metaphysics. I would go so far as to suggest that it is a matter of religion. Until we honor God how he wants to be honored, then the likes of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld will continue to plague us, because they come from a society that has practically abandoned Him. That is, we are all to blame one way or another. The cure is spiritual. I suppose, though, to ask people to consider this solution, would be like spittin’ in the wind. Nevertheless, it is the only solution.

~ Jerry C. Meng

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

Jerry Meng is correct that Americans have experienced spiritual deterioration. However, he is perhaps too pessimistic about the power of public opinion. It appears that the White House has noticed that people no longer support its war and is making plans to withdraw troops. The Republicans’ fear of losing power in next year’s congressional elections is causing the White House to align itself more with public opinion. Considering the extent to which the traditional TV and print media have been in the White House’s pocket, the change in public opinion owes much to protests such as Cindy Sheehan’s and to Internet sites such as Antiwar.com.


US Can Head for the Exits in Iraq, but Shouldn’t the Flames Be Doused?

The only role of the U.S.-led army of occupation is to end the occupation, and the sooner the better. Talk about Iraq being an artificial country has no real meaning. Countries are always being created and un-created. Your own country was created and its unity maintained by war, so if Iraq is an artificial country, so is the U.S. and, for that matter, so is Ireland and in fact virtually every other country in the world.

The key issue is that the invasion, conquest, and occupation by the U.S., with the support of its allies like Ireland, was one of the most disastrous decisions in recent history. Bush and bin Laden are seeking to draw the world down into the gates of the hell of permanent war. The only way to shut the gates is to take out the U.S. troops that are holding it open and to stop the use of Shannon airport that is being used to take them there.

~ Roger Cole, Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance, Ireland, www.pana.ie


Adam Smith’s Economic Case Against Imperialism

The article by David Henderson on Adam Smith on imperialism is excellent. I would have posted it on my blog, but I am confused by the “automatic permission” below the article and the strict rules of copyright mentioned elsewhere. It deserves wide circulation to correct the mostly incorrect representations about Adam Smith that are published elsewhere daily in the world’s press, much of which I tackle in my blog with corrections. I am minded to nominate Henderson’s article for the “Lost Legacy Monthly Prize” for accurately presenting Adam Smith’s actual views. … Congratulations to Antiwar.com and to David Henderson.

For your interest, I appended the following comments to my recommendation to my blog readers to read the article on your site:

"One comment may be in order. Adam Smith was not a pacifist. Several of his male relatives on his mother’s side were soldiers and he speaks highly of ‘martial values’ in both Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations, despises cowardice, preferred a standing army to a militia (except when the militia had been in the field for long enough to be as good as or better than a standing army), and generally considered a soldier’s life ‘honourable.’

"Henderson quotes Smith’s views on policy in fighting certain wars which he regarded as wrongheaded. On the issue of the ‘first duty’ of government, that of protecting society ‘from violence and invasion of other independent societies’ by means ‘of a military force,’ he was unequivocally supportive (WN: Book V). The failure of Rome to defend its people from the invasion of the barbarians led to a thousand years of the ‘dark ages,’ the destruction of civilisation, and the spread of rapine and disorder, amidst countless local wars."

~ Professor Gavin Kennedy, www.adamsmithslostlegacy.com

Matt Barganier replies:

Dr. Henderson’s articles may be reprinted as long as publication, author, and title are attributed. We appreciate your link to Antiwar.com.


Nuking Iran Without the Dachshund

Dear Professor Hirsch:

I appreciated your essay “Nuking Iran Without the Dachshund” on Antiwar.com!

At the end, you listed positions on nuclear weapons by the representatives of four religions. However, I missed a position from representatives for those with a non-religious conviction. After all, moral philosophy is not only the domain of religious people. Perhaps you may list for example the following as your link number five:

International Humanist and Ethical Union on Nuclear Weapons: http://www.iheu.org/node/755

– Terje Norderhaug, Coronado (San Diego, CA)

Jorge Hirsch replies:

You raise an excellent point. There is, of course, a strong humanistic moral argument against the use of nuclear weapons, independent of religion, which I did not refer to. Thank you for pointing it out and providing the link.

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