The Real ‘Existential Threat’

Our “free” media is so eager to accept the official British explanation of why their sailors/Marines wound up in Iranian custody that most Western “news” accounts are ignoring all evidence to the contrary, such as the trenchant observation of former British diplomat Craig Murray:

“The British Government has published a map showing the coordinates of the incident, well within an Iran/Iraq maritime border. The mainstream media and even the blogosphere has bought this hook, line and sinker. But there are two colossal problems.

“A) The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government. Only Iraq and Iran can agree their bilateral boundary, and they never have done this in the Gulf, only inside the Shatt because there it is the land border too. This published boundary is a fake with no legal force.

“B) Accepting the British coordinates for the position of both HMS Cornwall and the incident, both were closer to Iranian land than Iraqi land. Go on, print out the map and measure it. Which underlines the point that the British produced border is not a reliable one.”

What Murray describes as the Brits’ “fake map” is being reproduced in all the major Western media, as if it represents something other than a complete fantasy. Hardly surprising, in our Orwellian age: what’s astonishing is that they expect there is anyone left who believes anything they say, no matter how many times it is filtered through the echo chamber of the “mainstream” outlets. Journalism is dead: long live stenography. The Western media reported Blair’s certainty that the 15 Brits were in Iraqi waters as if it were gospel.

The blogosphere is on it, however, and Blair’s lie had no sooner been uttered than it was in the process of being debunked here, here, here, and here, to start with, so that the BBC – which had already given former Ambassador Murray credibility by interviewing him on several occasions – had to include his viewpoint after a couple of days, albeit relegating his comments to the tail-end of news stories. The American media solved the problem the same way. Very few major papers are running the AP story by Robert H. Reid citing critics of the British position, including not only Murray but also Richard Schofield of King’s College, the foremost Western expert on the waterway:

“If this happened south of where the river boundary ends, knowing the coordinates wouldn’t necessarily help us. We have to accept the British claim with as much salt as the Iranian claim.”

That is something our “free” media won’t do: treat the competing claims equally, i.e. with equal skepticism. The Iranians, you see, are the “bad” guys, and the Brits are the “good” guys (and one highly visible gal), and that’s the way it’s going to be played in the run-up to the second phase of the Great Middle East War.

The real significance of the showdown in the Gulf is that the Iraqi phase of the war is over, and one way we know this is the sudden attention being paid to the Iraq issue by the congressional leadership of the Democratic party. The moment House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to strip out a provision in her omnibus “antiwar” bill that would have required the President to come to Congress before attacking Iran, the Iranian chapter of this long and bloody saga was semi-officially opened. Having been given the green light to go ahead – by none other than the top leadership of the “opposition” party – “coalition” forces in the Gulf are moving with dispatch. The Russians report a U.S. military build-up on the Iraq-Iran border, and no less than two carriers, with their attendant flotillas, are hovering in or very near the Gulf.

The British incursion into a highly problematic area is but the latest in a series of provocations, including Western-sponsored terrorist attacks inside Iran. U.S. aid to pro-al Qaeda elements operating inside Lebanon, as a counterbalance to Hezbollah’s growing influence, is inexplicable except as part of a new strategy to neutralize Iranian assets in the region. The battle is being extended into the heart of the mullahs’ realm by inciting national and religious minorities within the country: Azeris, Sunnis (including groups associated with Osama bin Laden), and, of course, the ever-useful Kurds, America’s Middle Eastern Janissaries.

Iranian behavior in this matter seems predicated on the assumption that the decision to attack them has already been made. Why else would they parade the 15 captives in front of the cameras, and release two letters of one of them, including a call for the Western withdrawal from Iraq? Since the bombs will fall in any event, why not make propaganda while the sun shines?

All those rumors about war by the beginning of April – the 6th is often mentioned as The Day – which once seemed a bit far-fetched look very credible at this particular moment. If it is the sixth, its significance as the date the U.S. entered World War I will not be overlooked. The consequences of an American attack on Iran will signal the beginning of a new and terrible world war, one that will not only embroil the Middle East, from the shores of Lebanon to the wilds of Waziristan, but also spill over into Russia and reverberate throughout Europe.

And for what? Or, rather, for whom?

There is only one country on earth that benefits in any way from a Western collision with the Persians, and its current rulers haven’t been shy about openly calling for war. The Israelis have stated, loudly and often, that Iranian possession of nuclear technology represents an “existential threat” to the Jewish state, and they’ve threatened to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities if we fail in our duty to do so. They way things are going, however, it looks like they won’t have to …

The Lobby moved quickly to bend Western politicians to its will, including “antiwar” Democrats in the U.S. Congress. Having been given a green light to invade by Speaker Pelosi and her minions, is it any wonder that the War Party is crossing that nonexistent line in the Shatt al Arab – the Rubicon of our imperial ambitions?

If ever we needed that long-rumored but seemingly moribund resolution of Sen. James Webb, which was supposed to be the upper house’s equivalent of the fallen “don’t invade Iran” provision nixed by Pelosi, it is now. Senate bill 759 prohibits the use of funds for military operations against Iran, and yet remains bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations committee – while the pork-laden emergency supplemental for Iraq, which is so full of loopholes it resembles a big slice of Swiss cheese, sucks up all the oxygen. Isn’t that just like the Democrats: they come out against the Iraq war only when it’s too late – even as they signal the adminstration to go ahead with the next war.

It’s amazing that the War Party, after delivering a body blow to our military and American interests throughout the world by invading Iraq, can mobilize its forces to make yet another go of it – this time on a much larger scale. That they are doing it without much political opposition, is even more astounding – and that speaks volumes about the corruption and betrayal of our “democratic” system, which is no reflection of the popular will. In a sane world, anyone who so much as suggested the possibility of starting another war in the Middle East would be taken out and horsewhipped. In the Bizarro World universe we seem to have slipped into post-9/11, however, such madness is the norm.

Where are our intellectual, political, and religious leaders? Will no one arise to end our national nightmare and lead us to safety? Both political parties are equally complicit: not a single major declared presidential candidate has spoken out against this crazed course, which seems unalterable, and, at this point, inevitable. I throw my hands up in despair at the terrible power of the Lobby, and wonder, aloud, why no one of any stature dares stand up to them. It doesn’t seem possible that we are being pushed into a bigger and far more destructive conflict, and yet it is all happening rather quickly.

The coming war with Iran will not end until the entire region is aflame – with the fire spreading to three continents, and beyond. Is this the price the world is willing to pay to put an end to the “existential threat” to Israel? Or will our rulers pause, before plunging into an abyss, to ask: what about the existential threat to the rest of the world?

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].