[Marxism] Why the U.S. Won't Attack Iran

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 10 07:18:37 MDT 2008

Reality Bites Back
Why the U.S. Won't Attack Iran
By Tom Engelhardt

It's been on the minds of antiwar activists and war critics since 2003. 
And little wonder. If you don't remember the pre-invasion of Iraq neocon 
quip, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to 
Tehran..." -- then take notice. Even before American troops entered 
Iraq, knocking off Iran was already "Regime Change: The Sequel." It was 
always on the Bush agenda and, for a faction of the administration led 
by Vice President Cheney, it evidently still is.

Add to that a series of provocative statements by President Bush, the 
Vice President, and other top U.S. officials and former officials. Take 
Cheney's daughter Elizabeth, who recently sent this verbal message to 
the Iranians: "[D]espite what you may be hearing from Congress, despite 
what you may be hearing from others in the administration who might be 
saying force isn't on the table... we're serious." Asked about an 
Israeli strike on Iran, she said: "I certainly don't think that we 
should do anything but support them." Similarly, former U.N. Ambassador 
John Bolton suggested that the Bush administration might launch an 
Iranian air assault in its last, post-election weeks in office.

Consider as well the evident relish with which the President and other 
top administration officials regularly refuse to take "all options" off 
that proverbial "table" (at which no one bothers to sit down to talk). 
Throw into the mix semi-official threats, warnings, and hair-raising 
leaks from Israeli officials and intelligence types about Iran's 
progress in producing a nuclear weapon and what Israel might do about 
it. Then there were those recent reports on a "major" Israeli "military 
exercise" in the Mediterranean that seemed to prefigure a future air 
assault on Iran. ("Several American officials said the Israeli exercise 
appeared to be an effort to develop the military's capacity to carry out 
long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel 
views Iran's nuclear program.")

 From the other side of the American political aisle comes a language 
hardly less hair-raising, including Hillary Clinton's infamous comment 
about how the U.S. could "totally obliterate" Iran (in response to a 
hypothetical Iranian nuclear attack on Israel). Congressman Ron Paul 
recently reported that fellow representatives "have openly voiced 
support for a pre-emptive nuclear strike" on Iran, while the resolution 
soon to come before the House (H.J. Res. 362), supported by Democrats as 
well as Republicans, urges the imposition of the kind of sanctions and a 
naval blockade on Iran that would be tantamount to a declaration of war.

Stir in a string of new military bases the U.S. has been building within 
miles of the Iranian border, the repeated crescendos of U.S. military 
charges about Iranian-supplied weapons killing American soldiers in 
Iraq, and the revelation by Seymour Hersh, our premier investigative 
reporter, that, late last year, the Bush administration launched -- with 
the support of the Democratic leadership in Congress -- a $400 million 
covert program "designed to destabilize [Iran's] religious leadership," 
including cross-border activities by U.S. Special Operations Forces and 
a low-level war of terror through surrogates in regions where Baluchi 
and Ahwazi Arab minorities are strongest. (Precedents for this terror 
campaign include previous CIA-run campaigns in Afghanistan in the 1980s, 
using car bombs and even camel bombs against the Russians, and in Iraq 
in the 1990s, using car bombs and other explosives in an attempt to 
destabilize Saddam Hussein's regime.)

Add to this combustible mix the unwillingness of the Iranians to suspend 
their nuclear enrichment activities, even for a matter of weeks, while 
negotiating with the Europeans over their nuclear program. Throw in as 
well various threats from Iranian officials in response to the 
possibility of a U.S. or Israeli attack on their nuclear facilities, and 
any number of other alarums, semi-official predictions ("A senior 
defense official told ABC News there is an 'increasing likelihood' that 
Israel will carry out such an attack…"), reports, rumors, and warnings 
-- and it's hardly surprising that the political Internet has been 
filled with alarming (as well as alarmist) pieces claiming that an 
assault on Iran may be imminent.


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