[Marxism] CIRCLES ROBINSON: Cuba Blogger Concerned over Iran

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 30 09:40:36 MDT 2008


(While he's not convinced there WILL be a war,
he argues that the Iranians have plenty about
its prospects to worry about. In light of the
Seymour Hersh article in the NEW YORKER which
came out yesterday, I think it would really be
irresponsible in the extreme to discount the
possibility of a US or at minimum, a US-backed
Israeli strike against Iran in the near term.)
===============================================

Cuba Blogger Concerned over Iran

By Circles Robinson*
June 29, 2008

Corporations like Halliburton, Bechtel, General Dynamics, ExxonMobil, CACI
International and Titan Corp. have no loyalties, just markets and bottom
lines. History tells us that for them wars mean unrestrained growth and
growth means bigger profits. 

The same state of affairs has repeated itself many times. The US State
Department lays the groundwork for future conflicts, the Pentagon plans war
scenarios, the well-placed corporations begin to lobby for juicy contracts
and the media is prompted to manipulate public opinion. 

The President uses selective intelligence reports to influence Congress. 
The legislators, fearful of being called "soft on national security" allot
special powers to the Chief Executive. The green light is given. The general
population will bear the burden. The victims will rarely be spoken of.

On the uneven playing field, the alternative press and the anti-war movement
put out the warning signals. By the time their message is heeded, it is
already too late.

Sound familiar?

Despite all the successful efforts to uncover the lies used by the Bush
administration to justify the Iraq war; despite the internal audits by the
Inspector General's Office showing that dozens of billions of dollars have
been squandered on inflated, no-bid, no-accounting contracts; and despite
all the belated speeches on Capitol Hill, very little has changed since the
Iraq invasion began on March 19, 2003. 

On Thursday June 26, the US Senate gave final approval to a bill allocating
$161.8 billion to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into the next
year. The bill passed on a 92-6 vote with not one Democrat voting "nay",
including Obama and Clinton. President Bush triumphed once again, as there
was no timetable or mention of withdrawal in the bill.

According to Congressional officials cited by AP, the new funding brings the
official total spent on these wars to over $850 billion: $650 billion on the
Iraq invasion-occupation and another $200 billion on the war against
Afghanistan. The staggering amount is equal to the entire national budgets
of dozens of countries during the same period. In the case of Cuba, the
figure equals more than 50 annual budgets.


NEW CONFLICT COULD HELP MCCAIN

However, when a war drags on too long, affecting the overall economy and
costing too many US casualties, the population can turn against the
politicians. This has been true of the current wars, and John McCain is well
aware of the President's low popularity rating.  

Billing himself as more experienced than Obama on foreign affairs and the
tougher candidate on terrorism, McCain badly needs something to get voters'
minds off the declining economy and Iraq, if only for a few months.

Thus, in a recent interview with Fortune magazine made public on June 23rd,
McCain's senior advisor, Charlie Black, uttered the amazingly candid
Machiavellian statement that another terrorist attack on US soil "certainly
would be a big advantage to him [Mc Cain]." 

McCain quickly apologized, telling the press: "I cannot imagine why he would
say it. It's not true." 

While the risk and cost of such a plan might be too high, I believe there's
another possibility being considered to aid McCain in his uphill battle:
attacking Iran.


MORE SANCTIONS AND TOUGH TALK

In demonizing Iran, most of the State Department legwork has already been
done. Iran has been portrayed in a negative light since the Shah was
overthrown in 1979. For decades the US media has presented the country as
being run by religious fanatics that hate the US and Israel. As a result,
few people in the US have a favorable opinion of Iran or its people.  
For several years now Washington has threatened military action if Iran
continues developing its capacity to harness nuclear energy for generating
electricity, as in Europe, Russia, Japan and the US itself.

The situation has continued to inch towards a crescendo. Iran refuses to
buckle to pressure and the US and its side-kick at 10 Downing St. have
continued to up the ante. The EU has also followed suit.  

On June 16, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the freezing of
the assets of Iran's largest bank. The PM stated: "Action will start today
in a new phase of sanctions... We will take any necessary action so that
Iran is aware of the choice to intensify sanctions."

The European Union followed on June 23rd and imposed new sanctions against
Iran, also freezing assets of its Bank Melli. 

On June 27, the G-8 group of world economic powers urged Iran to heed their
most recent "initiatives" to get it to forgo its nuclear energy program.

Each new sanction offers Washington new justification for a military strike
if the sanctions don't provide the desired results. 

Israel, a major nuclear power, has also made it clear that it is more than
willing to carry out the assault if the US prefers a proxy. To demonstrate
its readiness, it conducted a large-scale aerial military exercise over the
Mediterranean Sea in early June. 

CNN quoted Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz telling Yediot Ahronot
newspaper on June 6: "The window of opportunity has closed. The sanctions
are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order
to stop the Iranian nuclear program." 

A couple of days earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in the
United States: "The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means."


MAKING THE PUBLIC BELIEVE

If President Bush can make the people believe that he's saving the US or its
allies from a potential nuclear attack, he could decide to launch strikes
against Iran. Historically, few members of Congress have ever had the guts
to stand up and ask tough questions when the White House announces an
imminent threat to national security.

The vote on Thursday, more than five years into the now unpopular Iraq war,
shows the power of persuasion that goes along with the Presidency.

If intended to bolster Republican popularity, the timing for such an attack
would be very important. The reasons for it would most likely have to be
fabricated, like those used in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Then there
would have to be an effective cover-up, keeping the cat in the bag until the
November 4 elections; afterwards it wouldn't matter. 

Attacking Iran and taking control of its oil reserves would be another
godsend to the favored US oil, security and construction corporations. It
would be one more case, like in Iraq and Afghanistan, of privatizing the
huge profits and letting the young soldiers and US taxpayers pay the short
and long term bills.

Whether the Republicans will actually try such a ploy remains to be seen.
Regardless, you can be sure that Iran is not taking the situation lightly.
 
"We advise U.S. officials to be careful not to face another tragedy,"
cautioned Mohammed Hejazi, an Iranian military official quoted in the L.A.
Times on Wednesday June 25. "If you want to move toward Iran, make sure you
bring walking sticks and artificial legs, because if you come, you will not
have any legs to return on," he concluded. 


WATCHING FROM CUBA

Living in Cuba, one is acutely aware of what it means to be on the list of
perceived US enemies. The country has spent 50 years updating its defense
strategy and capabilities just in case. 

Cuba is the current chair of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement. 
The grouping is the largest international body that has repeatedly gone on
record supporting Iran's right to nuclear technology for peaceful ends.

Being in a small country doesn't mean you aren't watching the bigger
picture. To the contrary, it can make you keep a watchful eye on the moves
of the superpower that considers it a God-given right to intervene at will
in weaker nations' affairs. 

Some readers might think I'm exaggerating the threat of another war. 
While I'd much prefer to be proven wrong, I don't think the concern is
unjustified.


*Circles Robinson's reports and commentaries from Havana can be read at:
www.circlesonline.blogspot.com


=========================================
     WALTER LIPPMANN
     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================




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