loonies take over the asylum
Murdoch hack counsels an unconscionable
war on Iran
5 February 2006
who doubts the determination of key elements of the US-led imperialist
bloc to wage a preemptive war against Iran should read the
recent opinion piece by Gerard Baker from The Times (it was reproduced
in The Weekend Australian 28-29 Jan 2006). Not much appears in The Times
by accident, and certainly not a piece of such resounding bellicosity.
I read Bakers article I had been persuaded that the Bush government
would not be quite so loony as to launch a war against Iran, for the
simple reason that its puppet Iraqi government is dominated by pro-Iranian
politicians and that it relies heavily (in some areas completely) on
the militias of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution
In Iraq (SCIRI) for recruits for the Iraqi puppet police and army units.
To wage war on Iran, would be to wage war upon the US-led occupations
only ally in Iraq (apart from the Kurds, who really just want to secede).
The anti-secular Shiites are, to be sure, not enthusiastic and reliable
allies, but they are, at the moment, the occupations indispensable
counterweight to the Sunni and Baathist Iraqi resistance. In spite of
this reliance, the neo-conservatives are now determined to wage war
upon their allies. That is a measure of their willingness to use the
most barbaric measures to subdue the entire region.
writes The unavoidable reality is that we need urgently to steel
ourselves to the ugly probability that diplomacy will not now suffice:
one way or another unconscionable acts of war may now be unavoidable.
Be afraid of Bakers words
very afraid. They are flagrantly,
apocalyptically, wickedly, mad. They counsel an irresponsible, almost
eager, embrace of death and destruction that pays no heed to the unpredictable
consequences of such a war.
To my knowledge, nothing quite like these sentiments has been heard
since the extremists of German expansionism, French revanchism, Tsarist
reaction, Austro-Hungarian intransigence and Serbian nationalism stoked
the tensions that plunged the world into the Great War. I can recall
nothing similar during the cold war.
By unconscionable acts of war Baker means that another blatant
act of super-power aggression against a small sovereign state is imperative.
What he does not spell out is that this aggression will necessarily
take the form of an enormous aerial offensive designed to bomb Iran
back to the Stone Age an offensive unlikely to stop short of
He readily acknowledges that this act would have devastating consequences
for the region and for the world, and that it would entrench
and harden the Iranian regime (actually, for better or worse,
its an elected government with a popular mandate). He admits that
even the young intellectuals who oppose this theocratic government will
pause at the sight of their country burnt and humiliated.
A war, even a limited one, he continues, will almost
certainly raise oil prices to recession-inducing levels.
Note here that he envisages that the strike against Iran will not necessarily
be limited. But even these weasel words mask the reality
that such an attack carries the extreme risk that Russia, China and
Pakistan (among others) will see their vital interests under threat.
But Baker goes further. He acknowledges that the offensive he wants
will foster more violence in the Middle East, strengthen the insurgency
in Iraq and Afghanistan, fuel anti-Western sentiment among Muslims everywhere
and encourage terrorism against us at home.
And then comes his most chilling and irrational rhetorical exhortation:
All true. All fearfully powerful arguments against the use of
the military option. But multiplied together, squared and then cubed,
the weight of these arguments does not come close to matching the case
for us to stop, by whatever means may be necessary, Iran from
becoming a nuclear power (my emphasis).
Lets be quite clear about what Baker (only recently recruited
to Rupert Murdochs most influential newspaper) is proposing here.
He is seriously counselling with a kind of mad fatalism
that Britain, the US and their allies must reduce Iran to a smoking
radioactive ruin, even though that action might trigger a global war.
Such a strategy is made necessary by the fact that the volunteer professional
armies of the coalition that invaded Iraq tied down as they are
by the Iraqi resistance could never assemble enough troops to
manage a conventional invasion and occupation of Iran. What is envisaged
is a return to the strategy of control without occupationused
by the British RAF in the years between the First and Second World Wars
(see here). It
was a policy of brutal aerial bombardment designed to neutralise centres
of opposition or even protest and tax evasion. This time around the
strategy would not be at the level of tribes and mud-hut villages but
would aim to cripple an entire nation.
Let us step back here and ask what transgression by Iran could merit
this ardent desire for war, regardless of the clearly admitted consequences?
Bakers case against the Tehran government (for which I do not
hold a brief, for I am a secular socialist) is pure mendacity. There
is no evidence that Iran is currently doing more than trying to develop
a nuclear power industry, which is its right. Even if it holds ambitions
to develop nuclear weapons, that , most fair and rational people would
assert, is regrettable, but also no more than its right. The US has
nuclear weapons, Israel (unlike Iran, not a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty) has nuclear weapons, Pakistan and India have
Baker asserts that a nuclear-armed Shiite Iran would surely step
up its campaign of terror around the world. What campaign? This
is a bizarre assertion. Iran has certainly supported the suicide bombing
tactics of the Palestinian resistance, but, apart from this, where is
the evidence, even in the mainstream media, of a global campaign of
Shiite Islamist terrorism originating in Iran?
Only wilful ignoramuses and people who have paid absolutely no attention
to world politics over the last two decades could take this madness
seriously. To date, the standard line peddled by the mainstream western
media is that al-Qaeda, a Sunni Wahabist organization, is behind every
atrocity ranging from 9/11 to the Madrid and London bombings and the
slaughter of Shiite pilgrims in Iraq. The Taliban fighters in Afghanistan
are, similarly, Sunnis and regard Shiite Iran as, at best, schismatic.
World-wide, Shiites amount to, at most, 10 per cent of Muslims, which
would be a very poor base from which to export a world revolution, even
if the Tehran mullahs really wanted to.
Clearly, the word is out from the White House and 10 Downing St
public opinion must urgently be prepared for a preemptive strike against
Iran. Within days of Bakers piece, George Bush renewed his rhetoric
against Iran in his State of the Union address and German Chancellor
Angela Merkel, in a statement that betrays a total lack of historic
perspective, labelled the Iranian government as being as bad as the
Baker ends his histrionics on a fearsome note, calling on all in the
West to embrace a psychological readiness, a personal willingness
to bear the terrible burdens that [war] will surely impose,
and in a bizarre touch calls this the last real chance to
Actually, its dangerous, hysterical, madness, and as Baker well
knows, the war has already been decided upon.