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Who Gets Totally Obliterated, Iran Or The US?

By Michael Nolan

03 May, 2008
Dissident Voice

Norman Podhoretz, an impassioned cheerleader for war with Iran, reached heights of apocalyptic sang-froid scaled only by the criminally insane when he predicted the following scenario, in the event of a US attack on Iran: "It [Iran] would attack Israel with missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads but possibly containing biological or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a love-fest."

But Hillary Clinton isn't frightened, even as commentators from all over the political spectrum issue similar dire warnings. She told an ABC interviewer, "In the next 10 years, during which they [the Iranians] might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them." The threat (which the Boston Globe called "foolish and dangerous" and the Saudi-based Arab News called the "foreign politics of the madhouse") puts her in lockstep agreement with President Bush, who has pledged to "defend Israel, no ifs, ands, or buts."

Mrs. Clinton is so desperate to play the tough guy card that she's had herself photographed throwing shots and beers back with the boys. Now, with her nuclear threat, she proves that she'll say anything, do anything in order to win what Ken Silverstein of Harper's calls "the frenzied bidding war to be the most 'pro-Israel.'" There's no indication, as yet, that she's ready to explain the monstrous consequences of a war with Iran to the American people.

William Lind, writing from the Center for Cultural Conservatism, fears the slaughter of US troops in Iraq, if we bomb Iran. Iranian regulars and Iraqi militias, grossly outnumbering US forces, could cut off US supply lines from Kuwait. "[W]e could lose the army now deployed in Iraq," said Lind in an piece. If that happens, "American power and prestige would never recover." Consequences at home could be as ugly as those abroad. An attack on Iran would be an invitation to a retaliatory terrorist attack on American turf, and, as Pentagon Papers author Daniel Ellsberg has pointed out, "if there's another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country, detention camps for middle-easterners and their…sympathizers, critics of the President's policy and essentially the wiping-out of the Bill of Rights."

Should the US risk existential defeat for Israel?

Clinton adviser Ann Lewis seems to think so. Lewis, President Clinton's Director of Communications in the late nineties, is now an active member of Hillary's campaign staff, and, in the event of a Clinton win, likely to follow her, in some capacity, back into the White House. Making Mrs. Clinton's case for president at a United Jewish Communities debate in Washington, she recently made the astounding pronouncement that "[t]he role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel. It is not up to us to pick and choose from among the political parties." And what are these "decisions that are made by the Israeli people?" A survey by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found "fully 71 percent of Israelis believe that the United States should launch a military attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to halt Tehran's nuclear program, according to a new poll."

But Mrs. Lewis is not on record as to what responsibility, if any, Israel has here? Despite a decades-long propaganda campaign that paints Israel as an island of stability in an otherwise unstable corner of the world, this sixty year old state, without geographical borders or a constitution, doesn't seem able or willing to enforce its own laws. Benjamin Netanyahu pledged recently that, in the event of his election to Prime Minister of Israel, he will disregard any peace deal made between current Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. So Israel would be selective in its choice of treaties to honor, but the US, as pledged by President George Bush and potential president Hillary Clinton, would go to war for Israel without reservation or qualification.

The moderate voice of President Abbas identifies Israel's illegal settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "the most important obstacle to the peace process." Yet Israel has broadened its settlement construction so expansively (even as an ever-groveling US State Department "warns" against it) that, according to the Israeli group Peace Now "almost nothing is left of the [Annapolis peace conference] promise that Israel would freeze construction in the settlements." Why should America risk everything for a so-called ally who cares so little for a genuine peace process?

No matter how many illegal settlements rise, no matter how cruel the collective punishment of innocents in Gaza, no matter how many broken promises on the "road map to peace," and - most frighteningly - no matter how deadly the consequences to the US, Clinton would write Israel a blank check.

Pat Buchanan, that severe old lion of the Paleo Right, writes in a recent column, "In early 2007, Nancy Pelosi pulled down a resolution that would have denied Bush the authority to attack Iran without congressional approval." The Jewish Telegraph Agency, in a March 2007 piece, referred to the destruction of that same resolution: "It did not help AIPAC's case for bipartisanship [at it's annual convention] that the lobby this week successfully pressed for the removal of a provision in an Iraq war funding bill that would have required the president to get congressional approval for war against Iran." In the same JTA piece, Representative Gary Ackerman brags, "you should get them [the Iranians] to know that maybe we're as crazy as they think we are."

Now Hillary Clinton has shown the world just how crazy she is.

Michael Nolan is a freelance writer. His work has appeared in, Common Dreams, Dissident Voice, Lew, and the Vermont Guardian. He can be reached at: 

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