Iran Wants War!

W.J. Astore

You won’t see this illustration in the mainstream media:

iran-war-us-bases1

If the Iranians really wanted peace, they’d move their country.

In all seriousness, U.S. media talking heads, many of them retired military officers, are constantly talking about the aggression of others and their weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  Never do these “experts” speak of U.S. aggression and the WMD we have in our possession.  Indeed, the U.S. maintains an earth-busting arsenal of nuclear weapons, and we remain the only country to have used atomic bombs for real (at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945).  Yet we’re the ones who have to worry about Iranian nuclear weapons that don’t yet exist (and probably never will)?

Tom Engelhardt has a great new article at TomDispatch.com on how the U.S. always sees itself as the victim, as the aggrieved party, as the one who’s being threatened.  Here’s an excerpt:

So here’s the strange thing, on a planet on which, in 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to 149 countries, or approximately 75% of all nations; on which the U.S. has perhaps 800 military garrisons outside its own territory; on which the U.S. Navy patrols most of its oceans and seas; on which U.S. unmanned aerial drones conduct assassination strikes across a surprising range of countries; and on which the U.S. has been fighting wars, as well as more minor conflicts, for years on end from Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Niger in a century in which it chose to launch full-scale invasions of two countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), is it truly reasonable never to identify the U.S. as an “aggressor” anywhere?

What you might say about the United States is that, as the self-proclaimed leading proponent of democracy and human rights (even if its president is now having a set of love affairs with autocrats and dictators), Americans consider ourselves at home just about anywhere we care to be on planet Earth.  It matters little how we may be armed and what we might do. Consequently, wherever Americans are bothered, harassed, threatened, attacked, we are always the ones being provoked and aggressed upon, never provoking and aggressing. I mean, how can you be the aggressor in your own house, even if that house happens to be temporarily located in Afghanistan, Iraq, or perhaps soon enough in Iran?

The U.S. as an aggressor?  Impossible!  Our military installations, our weaponry, even our wars are all about keeping the peace.  Right?

There was a time, almost 250 years ago, when Americans successfully fought for their independence (though quite a few “loyalists” preferred compromise with the British crown).  There was a time, 75 years ago, when Americans landed on the beaches of Normandy to defeat Nazi aggression.  But when you look at America’s long history of wars, precious few of them can be said to have been defensive in nature.  Indeed, most were acts of aggression, e.g. the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the long bloody wars against Native Americans, the Vietnam War, and more recent, undeclared, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dare I state the obvious?  Americans are generally not shy, diffident, passive people.  Ask most foreigners about Americans and you’ll hear words like pushy, outspoken, loud, and, yes, aggressive.  (Of course. not all Americans fit this description, but think of recent representatives like Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton or Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.)  Yet, with all our aggressiveness, with all our violent tendencies, why do we continue to see others as the pushy ones, the headstrong ones, the ones who want war?

A little empathy, America?  Forget about it!  Come on, Iran.  It’s time to move.  And since the U.S. dominates this planet, I have the perfect destination for you.  How about Mars?

But wait: NASA wants to launch a manned mission there!  And since Mars is named after the god of war, it’s a natural for us.  Red and fiery in the sky — how long until we build our first military base there?

16 thoughts on “Iran Wants War!

  1. Bill,

    Great map of course and fine statement as always. Have shared it with my email lists and will make copies to hand out with our small antiwar group on the 4th in nearby Ashland as marchers come through the Plaza. Stay the course.

    John Marciano

    >

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  2. Sad commentary… Before we attempt to colonize Mars I think we should attend to our more pressing problems on Earth! Because I think those are heady predictions coming out of NASA at this time, and I don’t think it will be as easy as the moon was. Speaking of maps have you ever seen the distance involved compared to the relatively in comparison distance the moon was? The effect of cosmic rays, the human bodies rather withering condition relative to long Zero G missions. I’m sure it will get done eventually in the next 100 years , or so especially if there’s a Buck to be made in the venture be it tourist, or scientific. Still somehow I can’t stomach the thought of it if it turns out to be akin to an old Sci. Fi. Flic. from the 80’s. – namely “Outland.” Although that was staged on a Moon of Jupiter I believe!

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    1. Yes. Mars is much, much further away. And I’m not sure what is to be gained by sending humans there, since it’s already been extensively probed.

      Still, I’d rather see more space exploration than more nuclear weapons being built. The money is there, but the will isn’t. Apollo wouldn’t have happened without the Soviets as rivals.

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  3. This map shows the post-World War II liberal democratic world order that our Greatest Generation fought to create has been replaced by a war culture in Washington that is the antitheist of what our country was founded to be. The prevalent war culture is typified by the planned 4th of July celebration our military and its weapons to fire up the Trump base. (Of course, no mention in the media that these unneeded fancy weapons were funded in large part by borrowed money that threatens our country’s solvency.) Most alarming, here is almost no political discourse on this change in our national character from a peace loving country whose strength is its moral values to an aggressive militaristic nation whose strength is its awesome military weaponry. The U.S. military is now even developing nuclear weapons for first-strike offensive use. Hopefully, the looming national debt crisis will force our political leadership to return our country to being the champion of the liberal democratic world order with a foreign policy based on multilateralism that does not waste $1.25 trillion/year on a belligerent national security state that is making America and the world less safe.

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    1. Well, Ron, that’s because Modern Monetary Theory, which is gradually and inexorably becoming mainstream, says that the national debt doesn’t mean anything because it doesn’t have to be paid back (“After all, we owe it to ourselves.”) and that borrowing is good. In fact the government doesn’t have to collect taxes to do anything because it can print money, and the only reason for taxes is to keep consumer spending low enough to control inflation.

      MMT is also beginning to work out how personal and business debt doesn’t mean anything, but the rationale for that is still a little too abstruse for it to have become mainstream yet. They are working on it though, and I have little doubt that before long we will have businesses and individuals in the “pile up debt” race as enthusiastically as governments are.

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      1. “Yes,” to both RONENZ49 and BILL H above. To dispense with ineffectual chatter regarding the the predictably pathetic political puppet show continuously on offer in America:

        “The United States has only one political party, the Property Party, and it has two right wings.” – Gore Vidal

        “The [post WWII] fixation upon mobilization and rearmament inspired the gradual disappearance from the national political agenda of the regulation and control of corporations. … Once the identity and security of democracy were successfully identified with the Cold War and the methods of waging it, the stage was set for the intimidation of most politics left of right” [emphasis added] – Sheldon Wolin, Democracy, Incorporated (2006)

        In other words: not Left OR Right, but “No Left OF Right.”

        Stated somewhat differently (in two terza rima sonnets):

        No Left, just Right

        As witty Gore Vidal described this kind,
        They’re neither “hawks” nor “doves” but capons: clipped
        (Castrated) roosters in a double bind.

        These hen-house harem eunuchs, safely stripped
        Of all hormonal urge (To mate? Or fight?),
        Agree, according to the menu-script,

        That (with both wings located on the Right)
        They’ll wear (for show) the “shameful” label “Left”
        To keep the truth of No Choice out of sight.

        And so the for-rent “Democrats,” bereft
        Of any reason to exist, are stuck
        Abetting crony corporation theft.

        Force-fed “the Center” like a Peking Duck,
        These fattened fowl can only pass the buck.

        So rob tomorrow now, no better time,
        ‘Cause none have ever heard the future yell:
        “Stop Thief!” So take a dollar, take a dime;

        If tired of thieving, sit and rest a spell
        And soon enough the Fed will lower rates
        That “Quantitative Easing” show-and-tell

        Which hedge-fund gamblers know as lovely fates
        While workers and retired on incomes fixed
        Stare at the words upon Inferno’s gates:

        “Abandon Hope,” your savings have been nixed
        By zero interest. Still, take out more loans.
        With fees and fines you’ll find yourself deep-sixed.

        But don’t suppose that Congress hears your groans.
        The banks bought them with money from your moans.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2019

        Or words to that effect …

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        1. Yes. Remarkable how the “leftist” Democrats are approving Trump’s huge “defense,” I mean war, budgets. I thought Trump was a Putin stooge? A traitor? Yet they give him everything he wants with regard to the military and weaponry. Some “resistance”!

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          1. Yes WJA, IMHO the Dems — while never entirely a ‘peace-party’ — had electoral success for a brief period in the mid-1970’s adopting a ‘de-emphasis’ on military aggression by US forces. Jimmy Carter even could be rightly proud of the fact that there were no US invasions nor ‘shots fired’ during his administration. But, as many other critics have noted, once the Vietnam war (undeclared) was over, the US public largely turned-away from this stance (and we reverted to the underlying militarism/anti-communism we’ve had since WWII, as noted by others above) and the Dems eventually started losing at the polls (partially attributable to the right-wing meme that they ‘were anti-military and soft on communism’, but probably even more-so due to conservatives ‘tax reduction promises’ that seemed to outweigh any other issue), they were eventually taken over by conservative Dems, which is where we are today. And militarism is a great distractionary tactic — we’re fighting the latest Hitler and his acolytes, OUR soldiers are getting killed/injured, there’s plenty of dramatic action which make for good media coverage, etc etc, so who can get concerned about wonky things like wealth distribution, tax structure, trade policies, and so-on. It’s a great tactic to advance conservative policies IF they keep the US casualties to an acceptable level to avoid public arousal.

            But back to the main article: it’s great, a bitingly good satirical take on the staggering hypocrisy of US international policies. We can go around to literally the other side of the world, the far ends of the earth, with military men & equipment, and it’s **NEVER** reported in the US as PROVOCATIONAL, much less AGGRESSIVENESS, at least I’d never read anything like that in the mainstream media back when I bothered with them. As numerous others – yourself included- have remarked, IF the positions were reversed and the US were surrounded by Iranian bases, wouldn’t we consider that IN-AND-OF-ITSELF to be provocation/aggression?? But we’re the self-appointed vigilantes fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way!” which of course everyone wants (or SHOULD want, even if they’re ‘stupid furriners’), so that makes all the difference and negates any criticisms.

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  4. On a more humorous context, “Why haven’t you Reps & Dems gotten rid of Communism in Cuba? A 700Bil budget that causes our healthcare, infrastruture, education, pensions, etc. to die? Now they’re discussing IRAN?! This is a historical farce!
    So it really doesn’t matter….but watch out! Iran may win, and then you’re really in trouble!

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    1. Speaking of a farcical thought experiment about what might happen if yet another un-warlike country defeats the mighty U.S. military (again, as usual), you might want to take in The Mouse That Roared, starring Peter Sellers in three different roles. Not bad, for British humor, although not quite up to the standards set by Monte Python in Life of Brian.

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      1. MM: Thanks VERY much for link to “Mouse that Roared”. I’m real dumb in movies; heard the phrase, but had no idea it was a movie! And with Peter Sellers! Strangely, I’m not bad with movie production & star interviews; like to see what makes them happen. I’m forever the mechanic!
        My Cuba comments, now 60yo, was remembered with a recent – hysterically funny! – interview with Elian Gonzalez, that poor boy snatched from his father, by a not so swift Mom, who with her boyfriend, drowned. He forgives her! But still loves Cuba & Dad. Happily married now, he’s a proud member of the Communist Party, trained as an engineer.
        Seems gringos approached him for a documentary: “No thanks.” Yeah, he’d like to return to US someday, “but only to meet relatives”. He added: “I make no judgements. America has money, but we have family, friends, love. Beautiful country! I prefer that.”
        From the Iranians I’ve met, seems the sentiments are the same. They too are surviving terrible sanctions. Better watch out Bolton, Pompeo, Trump! Kabob is ALOT more healthy than Big Macs! Worse, Iran is ‘dry’. Castro’s Cuba was washed in Rum-still is. But they won!
        80Mil tea drinkers is FAR MORE DANGEROUS! Let’s hope our “leaders” wakeup.

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  5. Back shortly after Mao took power in China, the who lost China has been a recurrent theme. Then Mao intervened in the Korean War. Being tough on Communism became an all consuming obsession. LBJ certainly got caught up in being “Tough on Communism” with his Vietnam War.

    With the fall of the Soviet Union, we had to find someone else to be tough on. Amazingly, Communist China became a major trading partner. Communist China found that correct balance a safe haven for Multi-National Corporations looking for cheap labor and no real human rights. Vietnam now seems to have found that balance too. Wow, if only Castro would have let Nike or some other company making athletic apparel in Cuba, we would now have friendly relations with Cuba.

    As far as manned flights to Mars, as science studies the long term effects of space the potential dangers become more apparent, such as weightlessness and exposure to radiation. Plus the space ship to Mars would have to carry earth with it: food, water, air, etc., if the Astronauts are to survive. You would probably need triple redundancies at least. The complexity of the Apollo Program, would pale compared to a mission to Mars.

    That said, I am still a space junkie. I would much rather have our cutting age science applied to space exploration than a new generation of Nukes and drones.

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    1. Yes ML, I still experience cognitive dissonance when trying to reconcile how the US can on the one hand have a major trading relationship with China (and for us old-timers who were propagandized in the 50’s & 60’s, it’s RED China because the ‘real’ China is what’s known as the Republic of China, or Taiwan) whom I believe is our largest trading partner, but yet on the other hand, some politicians and some military can still talk about China as an ‘enemy’ that needs ‘to be contained’ so we have to spend another $40M/pc on some hi-tech fighter jet that doesn’t work or ~$1B on yet another aircraft carrier group? If they’re such a threat, then why aren’t we economically sanctioning them like we do so many other leftist-run countries? Of course the solution I’ve found to this quandary is good old American (US) greed. Greedy corporations who can buy things from China for 20 or 30% of their cost in the US, greedy US consumers who don’t care anything about the origins of the things they buy just as long as it’s cheap-cheap-CHEAP, and the greedy military-contractors who see big-bucks to be made by conning a disinterested (and subsequently uninformed) public with scare-tactics that exaggerate minuscule threats into imminent disasters (NK missiles, for example).

      And I agree with you and PA above regarding the manned-mission to Mars. As mentioned, the effects of weightlessness are becoming a major negative. Saw an interesting program about Mark Kelly, the astronaut who spent something like 1+year in weightlessness while on board the US space station, where he was working-out ~1.5 hrs daily, and he still had something like 15% muscle loss and couldn’t walk steadily for a week or two after returning to earth. He was also troubled by painful burning sensations in his muscles flaring up even 6 months later. I tend to view a lot of this hype about traveling to Mars as PR to try to ‘sex-up’ and reinterest people in the space program, which has seen diminished funding. When you think about, who would rationally want to spend 1.5 yrs of travel-time confined in a large Winnebago RV, land on a semi-hostile environment (we know that from unmanned probes), do a few tests, avoid cosmic rays, leave after a few months, and spend another 1.5 yrs returning —- and hope that there’s no mechanical problems or other problems during the whole voyage …?

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  6. Speaking of “war” — or what passes for such on U.S. television — I finally managed to complete a little something I began a year or so previously: 34 lines of iambic pentameter giving my jaded rendition of the Prologue (Introduction) to Shakespeare’s Henry V (You know, the stage play with the “Band of Brothers” soliloquy). Anything to keep my mind off that preliminary doctor’s appointment with the heart surgeon day-after-tomorrow. Anyway …

    A Profitable Propaganda Prologue
    (with apologies to William Shakespeare’s Henry V)

    Wanted: a hack for hire who would descend
    The darkest depths of Disbelief’s suspension.
    TVs for a stage, dunces to act,
    And morons to consume the threadbare theme.
    Then should the Precious Peacock, him or her,
    Put on the bomber jacket while the troops,
    Like gladiators chained, prepare to fight
    And for the mob’s enjoyment, die. But wait!
    We promise that with each new show you’ll learn,
    Again, Brave Audience, what we have taught:
    That nothing real concerns you, so relax
    And let us your attention span beguile.
    Don’t touch that dial (or digital remote)!
    We’ll be right back with further plots and schemes
    Designed to glue your eyes and ears and minds
    To images that flicker and move on
    To be replaced with advertisements glib
    Exhorting you to buy expensive stuff
    Of which you’ve neither need nor can afford
    But must from your exhausted credit borrow.
    Brave Audience, if we have done our jobs
    Your courage, once projected on our work,
    Will serve, we trust, to fill in all the blanks
    Which otherwise might mar, through glaring gaps,
    The inconsistent logic of this tale.
    Blink, when we show you dragons belching flames
    And feel your skin begin to warm, then cringe.
    Your thoughts, suppressed, have nothing they need do
    At Warp Speed, through black holes, you’ll conquer time.
    Whole galaxies will fly apart, then merge
    Into an episode on Friday night
    Of Fragrant Perspiration: Season Six.
    When nothing matters anyway, why not?
    So sit and stare, and we’ll supply, the rot.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2019

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