The Current Discussion: Seymour Hersh reports a $400 million U.S. covert action program against Iran. On a scale of 1 to 10, what's the likelihood of an American or Israeli military attack on Iran before Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day), and why? For extra points, name the date.
I cannot measure it on a scale of one to ten. Scales are a logical system of measure, be it logically metric or traditionally imperial. The scale of measure needed for the way of thinking in Washington can best be described as neo-Batman pseudo-Imperialist – essentially a comic, cartoonish substance mixed with a silly phantasm of hallucinated bursts and a juvenile vigor in a mutinous breakdown of the legal system.
The covert label is a gross misnomer, tangled in an illegal White House-Congress game. No part of this ill-conceived plan hides the U.S.’s evergreen, hostile intentions against Iran. The American regime considers treaties and laws a mere inconvenience, and the UN Charter (say, articles 2(3), 2(4), 33 & 37) an even larger one. The Algiers Declaration of January 19, 1981, in which the U.S. gave its word not to meddle in Iran’s internal affairs, is cast aside and American credibility is lavishly shattered. The Treaty of Amity of 1955, still in force and practice in both Iran and the U.S., is expediently forgotten. [Memo to members of Congress that authorised the cash: see 8 UST 899 or ask about the meaning of treaties and declarations from the State Department, an arm of the U.S. government that is publicly debating the reopening of an interests section in Tehran. Also see the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.]
For the last three decades, the U.S. has passed contradictory laws with the pronounced goals of destabilizing Iran, absurd concepts of “regime change” and an assortment of other intellectual rip-offs. Overt or covert annual budgets have varied from $25 million (the price of an office building in Tehran), then escalating to $75 million (well, two buildings) and now a whopping $400 million!! Some in Washington deceive themselves in thinking that the comfy, fossilised mindset of the Cold War, and the 1953 coup at a paltry cost of US$40 million can be duplicated, a few corrupt military men bribed and another puppet Shah installed in the oil fields. It is precisely such foolish thinking that hilariously indicates that spending $400m (about 30 hours’ worth of Iranian oil exports that fits in a single tanker ship, or 30 hours’ worth of America’s spending in Iraq) and without understanding today’s Iran will magically help them find the murderer of 3000 Americans (bin Laden), stabilize Iraq or Afghanistan or the greater Middle East, or pull America out of its worst economic problems in its adult life. (Alas, Batman’s stories were always about destruction and fights, never seen at a reconstruction site. Is Batman speculating in oil and commodity futures these days?)
Intentional leaks from the office of the American vice president to Mr. Seymour Hersh, psychological games, misnomers of “secret” and “covert” operations, the always predictable 5-week cyclical waves of anti-Iran stories in the American media, or sensationalist headlines of The Jerusalem Post (especially its predictable reports about “unplanned, surprise” visits of American military men to Israel, to discuss Iran-- a week ahead of the meeting) are parts of the multi-layered hyper-charade, a vapid sigh of frustration and a summary dismissal of goodwill. When stacked against this kind of double secret “announced covert” psychotic program to destabilize Iran, the most recent offer of the 5+1 Group (U.S., France, UK, Germany, China and Russia) about the settlement of the nuclear program has a familiar whiff of hollow, tricky postures. That ought not to be confused with a game.
So, in another memo to American politicians, the world ought to loudly tell Uncle Sam that Iran is not his enemy. It is the skewed, ill-informed American perception of Iran, the Cold War mindset and the insistence to turn the clock back by 50 years that is America’s most visible and destructive enemy. (P.S. Batman--some two years younger than Senator McCain-- is now retired, overweight, on social security and worried about the declining value of his home. Doctors have approved Prozac. Forrest Gump is called in for advice on foreign policy as Rambo is cluelessly lost in Kabul!)
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