Cuba Blogger Concerned over Iran
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.
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.