Saturday, July 25, 2009

Middle East Show of Farce

The demonizing of Iran has become the lamest running gag in the history of international relations.

A July 17 article at The Guardian leads with “In preparation for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, two Israeli missile class warships have sailed through the Suez Canal 10 days after a submarine capable of launching a nuclear missile strike.”

The fifth paragraph begins “The deployment into the Red Sea, confirmed by Israeli officials, according to the Associated Press yesterday, was a clear signal that Israel was able to put its strike force within range of Iran at short notice.”

This is utter bosh.

Israel’s German-made, diesel-electric powered Dolphin class submarines supposedly carry nuclear missiles with a range of over 900 miles. If that’s the case, the subs don’t have to deploy to the Suez to hit Iran; they can do that pier side in their homeport in Haifa. Israel’s Sa’ar class corvettes carry self-defense weapons and the Harpoon anti-ship missile that has a range of between 58 and 196 miles, far too short to hit Iran from the Suez.

Israel and Iran both possess sea denial navies that are glorified coast guards. To attack Israel’s navy, Iran’s navy would have to pass down the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, steam west across the North Arabian Sea into the Gulf of Aden, then hike up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal and enter the Mediterranean. Israel’s navy would have to take the reverse route to attack Iran’s. Either navy would likely run out of gas or sink of natural causes before it reached the other one. They might agree to meet in the middle, but in an expanse the size of the North Arabian Sea they probably couldn’t find each other. We might give Israel’s navy a lift to the Gulf of Oman on a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, but as soon as its puddle paddlers unloaded and drove into the Hormuz, the Iranians would shoot their tokheses off with shore launched missiles (the Iranians might stick one up the carrier’s fantail as well.)

Israel’s cardboard saber rattling supposedly signals concerns about Iran’s intentions to develop nuclear weapons. That would be well and good if Iran had intentions to develop nukes, but all indications are that they don’t. As I’ve often noted, our own intelligence admits that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program and the International Atomic Energy Agency can’t find a trace of one. For the Iranians to develop nukes would be astronomically stupid, tantamount to painting a bull’s eye on their backs. Israel would have a perfect excuse to schwack Iran’s nuclear energy infrastructure with a preemptive strike, and from what we just saw the Israeli’s do to Gaza, they’d likely fire bomb Iran’s cities as well.

Despite what hate radio and FOX News and the Polly-cracker mainstream media have told you over and over, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never said Iran would use nukes to destroy Israel, or anything remotely like that, and neither has anyone else in Iran’s government. Iran is incapable of projecting land power more than a few miles from its border, its navy is as potent as root beer outside of the Persian Gulf, and its air force is almost as old and broken down as North Korea’s.

Demonizing Iran has been a long-term project of Dick Cheney’s. Through his Iranian Directorate and his lip-lock with the Likud and neoconservatives cabals, he was able to have Iran declared to be our greatest “challenge,” even though Iran’s military budget is less than one percent the size of ours and less than half the size of Israel’s, and despite the Cheneyacs’ failure to prove a single one of their assertions regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions or of its meddling in Iraq and the Bananastans.

Iran baiting has become so popular that it’s practically a national pastime. Maybe that’s why Hillary Clinton has joined the likes of Newt Gingrich aboard Cheney’s crazy train.

I voted against Hillary in the Virginia primary because she’d so clearly rolled over for the neocons for fear they’d call her a girly-man if she didn’t. As Secretary of State, lamentably, she’s still putting on a tomboy act for them. In a July 22 speech in Thailand, Hillary said the U.S. would extend its “defense umbrella” to protect its Middle East allies from a nuclear-armed Iran. We’ll take actions,” she said, “crippling action, working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region.”

A little song, a little dance; a little seltzer down your pantsuit. The Iranians don’t have a nuclear weapons program and common sense says they never will, they’re surrounded by U.S. forces and outgunned by their neighbors, if they ever did acquire a nuclear weapon and use it on someone our retaliation would mean the virtual end of the millennia-old Persian culture, and Hillary wants to further cripple our economy by dumping more American-made arms into the region. Where do we find such women?

Bush/Cheney foreign policy turned the Middle East into an analog of Cold War Europe, and incredibly, they managed to cast pismire Iran as the second coming of the Soviet Union. That the Obama administration is conducting the same clownish statecraft is a sure sign that the American Empire will end not with a bang or a whimper, but with pie on its face.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. We have always been at war with Iran.

    They grabbed our (1979) embassy and we won't let them have a bunch of arms built for the Shah.

    There must be enemies of terrific proportions to convince the US poor they are being patriotic living in the 19th century.

    How else can they sell the squandering trillions on non productive corporate welfare (MICC) while all the new factories are in China?

  2. Anonymous10:40 PM

    I think you may have mistyped. What I think you meant is "the Israelis might stuff one up the carrier's fantail as well". With friends like them who needs enemies, they would hit the carrier just for taking them to their destination.

    Buzz Meeks

  3. Well, that was a nice counterpoint to the stuff Raimondo has been writing over at Antiwar. Here's hoping that you're right. I've been been working myself into a nice lather over the latest round of saber-rattling, which is not that hard for me to do these days. I recently took a trip to North Carolina to see my brother's family, and I discovered that both of my nieces (twin girls) had joined the Navy. Not for love of Dog and Country, you understand, but for the usual reason people join the military these days: they just graduated high school and had no job or college prospects, As you might imagine, I'm somewhat less than thrilled with the idea of their being cruise missile bait in whatever the next clusterfuck is going to be.

    I used to really enjoy reading your stuff, but it just got a lot harder. Reading about careerist jackasses like Petraeus or McChrystal was great fun when I could just point and laugh, but now that someone dear to me will be subject to their whims and follies, not so much. In fact, the thought of those girls' precious lives in the hands of assholes like that is almost too much to take. Makes me glad I had the acid-reflux surgery last year.

    If there's a bright side, it's that they have nearly a year to wait before they go to basic training, or whatever the Navy calls it. I don't know if this factoid made the news, because I don't watch the news (although I gather the propaganda machine is in full roar, with an emphasis on "don't worry, be happy"), but it seems that so many young people are joining the military to escape the recession/depression/"black hole that was the U.S economy" that there is a waiting period to get in. So, part of me wonders if it might not be better (for them) for this Iran business to get resolved in the next few months (negotiate, bomb, whatever). Selfish, I know, but goddammit....

  4. Well said, ILSM. Yeah, Buzz, it wouldn't be the first time they've hit one of our ships with a missile. JP, yeah, I know what you mean. I do not go out of my way to encourage young people to join.


  5. Anonymous1:34 PM


    We are now seeing the same thing as Army Navy enlistments in the 1930's. Economy still scraping along, WPA, the CCC or the military for three hots and a cot.

    Good luck to your nieces,

    Buzz Meeks

  6. Thanks. I just found out that one of them chose "nuclear reactor technician" as her MOS. Oy. The other one wants to be a cryptographer, which sounds "safe" (I hope so). It's also apparently a seller's market; to get the more expensive education, the Navy required that they sign extended enlistment contracts. Six and eight years, respectively, which means Shelby could be stuck on the fantail of that carrier until 2018.

    Oh well, I don't suppose anything bad will happen between now and then. And all that stuff about rape and sexual harassment in the military is probably just liberal media lies. And like Hannity et al. tell us, even with a socialist terrorist sympathizer in the White House, we're still the greatest country on the face of the Earth, etc.

    I think I'm starting to understand the Free Republic/Little Green Footballs crowd a lot better - they have to believe all that stupid shit as a form of emotional self-protection.

  7. JP,

    That they believe anything they hear on hate radio and Fox News and the rest of the Big Brother Broadcast is testament to the hallucinatory nature of American conservatism.


  8. JP,

    That they believe anything they hear on hate radio and Fox News and the rest of the Big Brother Broadcast is testament to the hallucinatory nature of American conservatism.


  9. Commander,
    Thanks for the larger type on your commentary. It is a LOT easier on old eyes.

    My head spins with all the mess that the last administration left, for this one to clean up.

    The economy is a wreck. There are no jobs. We are still fighting two wars. Wall Street is making out like bandits. Main Street is continuing to suffer. Health care is non-existent for too many of us, and getting worse each day.

    Our reps in D.C. have been bought and paid for by _______________ (fill in the blank of any big corporation and/or their lobbyists.)

    The media, for the most part is along for the ride. They don't report the news, with very few exceptions -- they make it up.

    Which is why most of us, who search for some truth, and sense to all this..... read the internet.

    We get varying opinions, varying reports, and no talking heads.

    It's a win/win .....


  10. "The unwanted equipment in a military spending bill expected to come to a vote on the House floor Thursday or Friday has a price tag of at least $6.9 billion."....MSNBC on-line.

    Lots of money for the military/industrial complex. Nothing left over for the SChip.

    Don't know if you saw it last night Commander -- Rachel Maddow had an interview with McChrystal's new assistant. She used to be an NPR reporter. Went to Afghanistan to report the news. Decided to stay and work for the Army. Now, she too, is the news.

    The more things change --- the more they stay the same.

  11. Listen to the Mark Klein interview. How does Israel have time to watch Iran when they are busy spying on US?

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