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by Georg Meggle
Friday, May. 19, 2006 at 11:15 AM
The US still needs Iran as a stabilizer in the Shiite sector of Iraq.. The most important war objective in this first phase is maximization of the acceptance of war.. Be skeptical toward all war reports. Go the distance. Keep away from all war hysteria.
BOMBS ON IRAN
Remembering the Iraq War
By Georg Meggle
[This article published in the German-English cyber journal Telepolis, 1/18/2006 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.telepolis.de/r4/artikel/21/21802/1.html. Georg Meggle (10) is a professor of philosophy at the University of Leipzig.]
Bombs on Iran is not open question any more. Only these questions are still open:
• Who? (Israel? The US? Both? Others)
• What are the goals?
• What kind of bombs?
• What will the world look like after these bombs?
1. GROUNDS FOR WAR
1.1 GROUNDS FOR ATTACK
The option of an attack on Iran is an option of Israel and an option of the US. However an attack from Israel is hardly conceivable without US support. Therefore let us concentrate first on America’s grounds for war.
The official US argument for the war is the same as three years ago in the case of Iraq [Remembering the Iraq War (1)]. This argument has two components.
1. The nightmare should be prevented on time – preemptively. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) may not fall in the possession of T-groups (terrorist groups like Al-Qaida). Iran, according to the argument, supports these groups.
2. An Iran with weapons of mass destruction would be a threat to world peace.
The semi-official reason is repeated. An Iran with WMD represents a maximum threat for Israel. One single Hiroshima bomb on Tel Aviv and the state of Israel would be history.
The fundamental reason is the same as in the last Gulf wars. This geo-strategic reason includes a farsighted view to the rest of the century covering the whole globe. For the Wes, control over mineral resources (above all oil and gas) in the “Greater Middle East” – especially in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea – is absolutely vital. An Iran that evades or could evade this control threatens the nerve center of the free world.
Each of these reasons for war is sound – from the US perspective. These motivations – anti-terror war, securing world peace, guaranteeing Israel’s existence and geo-strategy – support one another. A pro-western pro-bellum motive results.
I will not enter into the standard argument that the so-called military-industrial complex of the US and its whole economy only functions optimally with another high-tech war. This is not a statement that refers especially to Iran.
These grounds for war of the US are also Israel’s grounds for war. Seeing-itself-threatened is naturally true for Israel. Israel already considers itself threatened by every weakening of its present military superiority – at least in the whole region of the Middle East. His is understandable. Israel assumes its continued existence is solely due to this superiority. For Israel, this is an additional reason for bombs on Iran.
1.2 THE OTHER SIDE
From the perspective of Iran, the world looks different. Primary Iranian interests are presently threatened:
The mineral resources of a land belong to the land itself according to the world order in effect up to now. (The idea of privatization of “public goods” – as for example oil, water and even the air – is not as common in Iran and Islamic countries as in the fundamentalist-liberal countries of the West.) Consequently:
• Control of its rich oil deposits is not negotiable for Iran.
• Every third party’s claim to control not approved by Iran is considered an unacceptable interference of the sovereignty of the land.
Even if Iran’s provisions are secure for a long time by its oil- and gas resources, the industry and economy of the land are not viable without its main source of revenue, the export of these goals. (The current relation of consumption to export is 50:50. This is hardly optimal for Iran.) In other words, Iran from its vantage point needs additional sources of energy including nuclear energy. Not unlike other industrial countries, Iran relies on a nuclear cycle and reprocessing facilities for reasons of efficiency.
The economic and political independence of the land can only be secured by these facilities. (Can Russia or its Neighbor Asarbadischan be a guarantor of energy supply? What a risk!)
Iran knows its geo-political significance. That the West and East (China) depend on Iran’s treasures means for Iran that it either will profit from the export of these treasures in a great upswing or suffer in a deep downswing or destruction. This last alternative can only be avoided if the land resists external pressure. To that end, it needs either a reliable protection of a third party or its own deterrence potential. Both would b optimal.
China would be the ideal partner for the former. In fact, Iran has strengthened its economic and non-economic relations to China in the last years more than with any other country. However China is not strong enough for a resource war with the US.
Only the second alternative remains. Iran needs its own deterrence potential. Despite all opposite statements, Iran needs the bomb to protect its own interests. Iran would be dumb if it did not draw this conclusion. (A question on international politics: To what extent may strong states demand dumbness from weaker states?)
Furthermore Iran’s security situation has radically deteriorated in the last years. Iran is actually encircled by US-friendly powers.
Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east, Iraq and Kuwait in the west, unstable Turkmenistan in the northern coast and the NATO-state Turkey in the northwest, a little corner of Armenia and Aserbadischan whose oil- and gas deposits are largely exploited by western firms and lastly Saudi Arabia, Katar, the United Arab Emirate and Oman in the south on the other side of the Persian Gulf.
Two other nuclear powers are already in the region: the direct neighbor Pakistan and Israel. Their crossing the nuclear threshold did not cause a great sensation. Why should a different yardstick than these two other lands measure Persia/Iran rightly proud of its history?
Finally, Iran and Israel see each other as enemies – despite their economic cooperation. Israel is a nuclear power at a high technical level. Up to now, Iran has had nothing even remotely comparable. The mutual threat relation is extremely asymmetrical. As to WMD capacities, Israel is a much greater threat for Iran than vice versa.
Vital interests are involved on both sides. These are diametrically different. According to their logic, the answer of the more powerful side can only be: Bombs on Iran!
The more powerful side consists of the US and its allies, that is the NATO states (Great Britain in this war is certainly in the first row) and several other democratic and non-democratic friends in the global anti-terror war along with Israel.
Who will start the first attacks? In June 1981, Israel in a single-handed effort bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak when Iraq was at the same nuclear threshold as Iran at present. The problem in Iran with around 30 installations is much greater. In the article “Will Iran Be Next? (2) by James Fallows, 300 targets in Iran are identified including 125 alleged production- or storage sites of ABC weapons.
While Israel would be capable of a massive military action, it could undoubtedly grapple with much greater challenges. However it would be simply absurd if Israel incurred the Iranian retaliatory measures alone. The US will be involved from the beginning and may carry out the first strikes alone, live on CNN. The American escalation dominance would suggest the latter. Still this is only speculation (which can be very advisable at times).
2. WAR – AND PRONTO!
All the aforementioned grounds are grounds for an attack as soon as possible, the pro-attack grounds from 1.1 and also some of the grounds that from an Iranian view forced its nuclear program, for example the geo-strategic argument 1.2.3.
If a land controls weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the risk of an attack on the aggressor will be much greater. An attack on North Korea is not an option any more.
When will Iran have WMD if its nuclear capacities are not blocked? Opinions diverge considerably here. According to one source, this will take years, the middle of the next decade, the Washington Post concluded on 8/2/2005. Only four months remain (April 2006?) according to Israel’s (3) sources (4), the head of Israel’s military secret service said (cf. Spiegel Online, January 6, 2006 (5).
Reason says: the greater the danger that threatens someone who waits, the more rational it is not to wait any longer. With the maximum danger, it is most rational not to wait any more. From the view of Israel and the US, the danger arising from Iranian WMD – whether directly or through Iranian terror connections – is enormous.
According to this logic, the countdown is already running. The autopilot is set on attack according to a ZEIT-article referring to the Iraq war. We are flying again in the same plane.
3. THE WAR PREPARATIONS
Like all human activities, wars have two sides: a mental and a physical or material side. This is also true for war preparations [Hardly Chances for Peace (6)].
These preparations are underway for the Iran war. The material preparations have been made since the middle of 2005. The mental preparations are increasingly emphasized and are running almost by themselves.
3.1 THE WAR HARDWARE
Despite all their clear human weaknesses, America’s armed forces in their destructive power are still stronger than the armed forces of the next 10 to 20 states combined. A few key strokes for example on a laptop in Nebraska and Iran tomorrow would be a land from the Stone Age to quote past US threats in similar situations. With its 200 nuclear bombs, Israel alone could also accomplish such a time manipulation without technical problems.
However this is not the goal. What is central is “only” the military blocking of further development of the Iranian nuclear industry – at leas potentially toward nuclear weapon production.
Important parts of this industry in Iran are under the earth. To strike and destroy these targets, special weapons are needed. Prototypes of these BBBs – “bunker-buster bombs” – were “tested” in the Afghanistan war and improved in the Iraq war. Between the end of 2004 and June 2005, Israel received 500 BBBs from the US [Strategic Upgrading (7)]. These BBBs could be attached to both conventional and nuclear warheads. The latter are necessary to destroy installations deep under the earth. These so-called “mini-nukes” are called tactical battlefield weapons. With view to this kind of warfare, Michel Chossudovsky warned early of nuclear war against Iran (8).
The Iran war promises a new edition of the Iraq war of Bush senior or of the NATO war against Yugoslavia (the Kosovo war), a pure air war with a series of precise “surgical air strikes.” In this “clean” war, not a single aggressor will have to land on Iranian soil. Will there be deaths? Some collateral deaths but no US deaths will occur.
3.2 THE WAR SOFTWARE. COMPONENTS 1: THE WAR STRATEGY
The strategic concept behind the Iran war corresponds to the grounds for war in 1.1 above. The blueprint was prepared long before September 11, 2001. The New Security Strategy (9), a strategy first implemented with the Iraq war, was officially put into force on the first anniversary of this event (September 2002). In 2003, the first alleged grounds for war (Iraq secretly develops weapons of mass destruction) were doggedly stressed.
The central goal of this strategy: “Prevent our Enemies from Threatening US, our Allies and Our friends with Weapons of Mass Destruction
Please read closely. Not only the use of WMD by the enemy is to be prevented according to this strategy. That would not be new. The threat of such use or the mere possibility of threatening such use represents a casus belli (grounds for war) for the US according to the strategy paper.
The nuclear policy of Iran is such a case, irrespective of whether Iran actually strives for nuclear armament or not. (No evidence is presented this time. However Iran is probably not dumb.)
This strategy provides justifications to every strategist relying on preemptive attacks. The heart-pieces of this war directive are assertions of possibility. Such assertions can hardly be refuted in reality. (Even when all the tentacles are removed from an octopus, new tentacles can still develop,) The only certain way of limiting the developmental possibilities of another is to take away freedom of decision over his activities or bring him completely under one’s control. The “New Security Strategy” of the US presupposes the claim to world domination. This claim should be enforced in this Iran war.
3.3 THE WAR SOFTWARE. COMPONENTS 2: THE WAR PRESENTATION
The countdown for the war is running. However a war countdown is already a part of war, perhaps its most important part. Thus the Iraq war has already begun. All the countdown elements are part of psychological warfare.
Beyond the war preparation course, one single point may necessitate a delay of the bombardment. The US still needs Iran as a stabilizer in the Shiite sector of Iraq. Somewhat more time is needed for the preparations. Its purpose and necessity are in no way annulled.
The most important war objective in this first phase is maximization of the acceptance of war among one’s population or allies. For this maximization, the impression must be first produced that no stone was left unturned to prevent war. Acceptance maximization requires convincing the people that war is really the ultima ratio. The starting shot is always: There is no alternative.
What does this mean for all of us and for you, dear reader?
• Be skeptical toward all war reports – whatever their source.
• Go the distance. (This takes practice.)
• Keep away from all war hysteria!
• Turn off all dramatic TV war productions!
• Pick up a history book or at least a video from the time right before the start of the Iraq war in March 2003. (If the media were really interested in enlightenment, they could regularly remind us of this.)
• Compare the lies at that time with the conjurations of today and tomorrow.
• If today’s statements seem all too familiar, assume the opposite. Test it! (You will first be amazed but won’t be amazed a few weeks later.)
Have we learned anything from the last war for this new war? Probably nothing.
Otherwise we would know what is expected of us. One need not be a psychic or clairvoyant to predict that the prelude to this war will follow the same rules as the last time.
On the political stage:
1. Threatening the work of the Security Council. Explore whether these threats accomplish anything. Is there open or hidden influence on the diverse SC members? (For the interested public, one of the most exciting questions is: Will there be a veto or not in the SC? Bets are made. I would wager: China will refuse. See above 1.2.3.)
2. Repetition of step 1.
3. Actual invocation of SC – for resolutions (with veto, leap to 5)
4. If necessary, repetition of step 3 with intensified resolutions,
4.1 Threat or imposition of sanctions,
4.2 Issuance of an ultimatum (possibly with guaranteed unfulfillability),
4.3 Final goal: legitimation of an “intervention.”
5. With veto in 3 or 4, attack – plus self-authorization through appeal to a supra-legal state of emergency.
The weeks directly before a war bring the highest possible ratings. (Smart journalists write their later reports now.) The highest rule for producing suspense or tension is raising the most important question: When does the “big game” really begin?
The media knows how to increase the general tension to the unbearable until viewers become disappointed if the “game” should be called off.
Is this cynical? No. This happened in February/March 2003. The script of the staged war at that time was perfect. If we have not learned this, the war directors certainly have. The media will also do their best this time.
Most contemporaries who still do not want to believe in the Iraq war are convinced the US cannot afford another war on account of the disaster in Iraq. Unfortunately, this argument has several weak spots:
• America’s war reserves are in no way exhausted. The most powerful components, the forces for a pure air war, have not been used to capacity.
• Bush, Cheney and others count on (our readiness to believe in) the final victory in the global anti-terror war – and in Iraq.
• However this victory is not attainable without stopping the development of Iranian nuclear weapons. And finally:
• The costs in money and human lives and their decreasing popularity do not seem to worry the US administration. The best antidote against this atrophy is well known: a new war.
• This is also necessary to restore the military credibility of the superpower. Amends must be made for the Iraq nick with view to the other Islamic countries.
What was declared before the Iraq war is in force: Next station – Iran.
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