December 12, 2007
The first meeting since Annapolis between Israel and Palestinian negotiators took place today. A report by the Jerusalem Post indicated that the parties had a “tense” meeting. The Palestinian Authority raised the issue of new settlements being built by Israel on Palestinian Territories. They made it clear that the new building and the military actions against Gaza were impediments to peace talks. There are rumors that the Bush administration and Bush himself may become directly involved. That won’t change “the facts on the ground.”
Meanwhile, in spite of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report by 16 intelligence agencies indicating that Iran had defanged its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Bush lectured the Iranians telling them they needed to fess up and confess that they do have such a “secret program. ” Gates came out claiming that Iran was still a great danger, as did talking heads in Israel. The “Iranian threat” is being revived.
Many commentators are claiming that the intelligence report lowers the chance of an American military strike on Iran. This would be the case if we were talking about rational actors. In this case, we cannot assume rationality. Arrogance and greed for control of oil, yes, but rationality? It seems that writers such as Chris Hedges and Seymour Hersh were correct when they argued that many in the State Department, the intelligence community, and the military have voiced their opposition to a military attack on Iran. Let’s hope that their protestations and interventions are genuine and not disinformation. Lets hope that these actions actually stop such an attack.
Bush’s minions here in the US and in Israel have been hitting the corporate media pavements claiming that the NIE report of the 16 intelligence agencies cannot be trusted. Christopher Hitchen’s, an advocate of war against Iran and a cheerleader for the ongoing disaster in Iraq, put on his padded running shoes and called out loudly in Salon.com for the dismantling of the CIA. As in Iraq, Bush and Hitchens know what’s best. Hitchens appears nearly hysterical when he puffs himself up like a big bullfrog and talks about Iran and Iraq. He almost seems to fear that an “Islamo-Fascist” American Caliphate will establish itself in Washington. But isn’t something like that already in place?
Currently, fortress America is armed to the teeth with conventional and nuclear arsenals, spends more than the rest of the world on “defense”, is the number one arms dealer, and is waging two counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are suspicious reports of covert actions in Latin America, particularly Venezuela as well. American Generals have complained that the military needs more manpower, that it has been stretched to the breaking point in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US is also the world’s leading jailer with the highest percentage of its population behind bars. Why so many prisoners in the land of the free? Why so proud to be number one?
Others have suggested that a draft may be necessary, especially if Bush attacks Iran. Yet, the current leadership in the administration still fears that a draft would stir up too much public opposition to the war, fear that the opposition in the polls would translate into an opposition in the streets. It is difficult to see this changing any time soon.
Ironically, those who argue that a draft would be good for the anti-war movement may inadvertently be helping the imperialist who want the US to maintain “full spectrum” military dominance throughout the globe. Many are aware that you cannot win wars with just missiles and bombers. Furthermore, a draft is not impossible should things suddenly go south in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan or Lebanon. The Israeli/Palestinian wild card mediates the whole situation. A hostile collapse of the Israeli/Palestinian “peace talks” could inflame matters everywhere, and the blood red wheel of violence would start spinning rapidly once again.
Recently , there has been a deceptive disinformation campaign trumpeting “success” in stabilizing Iraq. Most knowledgeable observers like Patrick Cockburn of Counterpunch, argue that this could be the calm before the storm, a storm of internecine strife between Shiite and Sunny Muslims, a storm in the sand that American soldiers will be trying to police and control. Additional problems and a trend of greater violence against the counterinsurgency US forces in Afghanistan is also in the cards. The reports from there are ominous. Finally, the recent declared “state of emergency” in nuclear Pakistan created fearful tremors around the world.
No one has a crystal ball, and history shows us that conflicts can easily spiral out of control if the grievances behind them are not resolved, but are allowed to fester and stink. The imperial architects of these wars such as Cheney and Wolfowitz are always so certain, so sure of themselves. Remember “mission accomplished?” Yet history always offers surprises to the powerful as well. Remember the glory of Rome, the majesty of the British Empire, the “hundred year “German Reich? History always has surprises.