Backtalk, May 20, 2006

April 18, 2006: America’s Step Off the Nuclear Edge

Mr. Hirsch:

If I thought shouting from the rooftops, wearing T-shirts, blogging until the cows came home, or protesting in front of the White House or Congress would stop the nuking of Iran, I would. But it won’t, not even if 100 million Americans did it.

If Bush and Company are committed to nuking Iran, then they will and there is nothing we the people can do about it. True, folks ought to be protesting, but perhaps they aren’t because they know there is nothing they can do to change it. They know Bush just might be insane enough to order it. Most folks know that the only way to remove an insane person is to remove him, not “talk him out of it”! It isn’t that Americans want Iran nuked, it’s that Americans are resigned to the insanity of the Bush regime. That may not be what you or I want, but that’s the way it is. Congress ought to impeach the guy (and Cheney first), but they won’t. Those low poll numbers (Congress’ numbers are even lower than Bush’s!) speak volumes.

~ D. Lagarde

Jorge Hirsch replies:

I agree with you, it is not likely Bush will be “talked out” of it. But if 100 million Americans demonstrate against nuking Iran and tell Congress to pass a law that makes nuking a non-nuclear country illegal, else they will vote every single one of them out of office, it’s likely they will. And with 100 million Americans in the streets, a lot of “inside” people will feel supported enough to disobey orders and leak out information. There is much more that Americans can do as a civic duty than just complaining to pollsters – you can be sure that low poll numbers won’t deter Bush. Those that don’t do anything share responsibility with the administration.

We want WAR off the table!

~ Janie Anderson

Jorge Hirsch replies:

By and large I agree with you. However, there are three reasons why I believe it is advantageous to focus on getting the nuclear option off the table: (1) I believe the fraction of Americans that agree the nuclear option against a non-nuclear country should be off the table is substantially larger than those that want war off the table. So there is a greater chance of success. (2) I am convinced this administration will not launch a war against Iran if they don’t have the “nuclear option” at their disposal. (3) The risks to America and the entire world associated with going to war with Iran are enormously greater if the nuclear option is on the table. Of course, those that feel strongly antiwar like you will hopefully work to get BOTH war and the nuclear option off the table.

US-Iran Ties: Is the Pen Mightier Than the Sword?

I found Leon Hadar’s article to be extremely optimistic. His comparison to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nixon’s secret negotiations with China, though historically accurate, is void of some details which make the extraordinary U.S.-Iran case less plausible for such negotiations.

In Cuba’s case, there was no interference from a third country putting pressure on the Kennedy government to wage war, or to put America’s interest at jeopardy for another nation. It is no secret, nor was it necessary for Walt and Mearsheimer to articulate that America is fighting Israel’s wars. America is yielding to the desires of Israel to remove the regime from Tehran and balkanize the Middle East. Simply put, Israel’s interest is given priority to that of the United States.

As for the China opening, one cannot overlook the bipolar balance of power of the Cold War. China played the USSR and the U.S. against each other. In the end, it was China that sided with the U.S., with Nixon kowtowing to the Chinese, which every American president has done since, at the expense of that all too Orwellian word – democracy.

This does not negate Hadar’s argument that secret negotiations took place, but circumstances permitted them. This is not the case vis-à-vis the U.S. and Iran.

The Middle East will continue to be a battleground until such time that the United States stops its double standards, its unfair backing of Israel, and allows the people of the Middle East to coexist without outside interference. After all, with 200-300 nuclear warheads and $10 billion in foreign aid a year, is it really necessary for the American army to be Israel’s foot soldiers? I think not.

~ Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Leon Hadar replies:

The writer makes an excellent point: History never repeats itself. Each event is unique in terms of the time, the place, and the main players. We nevertheless try sometimes to draw historical analogies, and in the case of the Iran-U.S. relationship my argument is that there are realpolitik considerations that could lead both sides to open a dialogue not unlike those conducted between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis and between Washington and Beijing as part of the gradual process that led to reestablishing diplomatic ties. I don’t deny that the U.S. relationship with Israel is an important component in determining U.S. Middle East policy. But we have to remember that the U.S. has been also engaged in a confrontation with North Korea over a similar issue (nuclear capability) that has nothing to do with Israel. I think in both cases it’s the U.S. attempt to establish hegemony (in the Middle East and East Asia) that is the main driving force behind its policies. And in both cases Washington needs to recognize the limits of its power and try to reach a diplomatic settlement.

The Real Assault on America

Dear Mr. Roberts,

I’m ever so grateful for the way you have illustrated that citizen default is responsible for the success of the Bush administration’s fear-mongering. Yes, we have allowed Bush and company to anesthetize us with fear. And by remaining under the ether of irrational anxiety we are abandoning our responsibility, the oath we take as citizens when we pledge allegiance to our flag – the symbol of our Constitution. If as citizens we allow the Bill of Rights to be vitiated and eviscerated we are complicit in the treasonous acts of our government. Thank you for pointing this out with such clarity.

~ Faye George

Paul Craig Roberts replies:

As the old Pogo comic strip said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Is America Becoming a Police State?


I am truly amazed and encouraged by what you can do with $65,000. Of course, all your energy and tenacity and wit and wisdom is leveraged by the power of the Internet – which, ironically, is partly (largely?) paid for by those same forces (giant global corporations, mainly) which would like to destroy real freedom and convert us all into mindless mall-rats in a tawdry empire of consumerism.

For me, the real genius of and similar organizations, is figuring out ways to use the power of the Empire against itself.

~ Tom Duncan, Astoria, Ore.

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