Thursday, November 13, 2008

President Elect Perplexes Pack of Puckered Persians

by Jeff Huber

"Obama from the Bullpen" discussed how the president-elect's edict that the U.S. will not keep permanent bases in Iraq helped avert Cold War II, but he has far to go to fix all of the foreign relations fiascos he's about to inherit. "Puckered Persians" addresses how Obama needs to handle the Iran piece of the puzzle.

The neocons may have lost the election but they still own the narrative. For nearly a decade they've repeated their message of messianic fear and loathing through Rupert Murdoch's Big Brother Broadcast and the compliant mainstream media over and over and over and over until that's what everybody says so it must be true.

One has to wonder, then, how much of the neocon line on Iran Barack Obama had swallowed when he said at his first post election press conference that, "Iran's development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable. We have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening."

Our intelligence services say that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in fall of 2003. I'm not convinced they ever had one at all, exactly. The Russians didn't start building Iran's first nuclear reactor until fall of 2002. It's hard to say how much of a nuclear weapons program they could have developed in a year starting from scratch, but it couldn't have amounted to the program my dogs have going on in the back yard.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has stated for years that it has not found evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Iran has stated for years that it is not developing a nuclear weapon and has no intention to. The only people making boo noise about "Iran's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons" are knot heads repeating the disinformation propaganda that originated in Dick Cheney's Iran Directorate, a special task force designed to instigate war with Iran the same way Cheney's Office of Special Plans and the White House Iraq Group pulled the intelligence shake and bake and the media hoax that sold us on the invasion of Iraq.

And as historian and journalist Gareth Porter recently reported, those "smoking laptop" documents that the Cheney Gang claimed maybe kinda sorta indicated Iran has a nuclear weapons program were maybe kinda sorta forged.

Iran has ballistic missiles that maybe kinda sorta work and maybe kinda might reach Israel. But without nuclear warheads, ballistic missiles are just real expensive mortar rounds, even if you put bugs or gas in the nosecone.

Iran's conventional forces can't project power against Israel. Its army has never operated more than ten miles from its border, and that was in the only war Iran ever fought, one that Iraq started by invading Iran, by the way. (Iran never invaded anybody, which is a lot more than you can say for, um, Israel-yay.) Iran's antique air force would shoot itself down or run out of gas before it got halfway across the Persian Gulf, and its coast guard of a navy would sink of natural causes before it reached the Red Sea. Their navy might be able to close the Strait of Hormuz for a little while, but not to the extent that a barrel of oil would cost the same as a B-2 stealth bomber. They might be able to embarrass our Navy, if they get lucky. A torpedo up the prop locker of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier might put it out of action for the duration; we might even have to tow one of those behemoths all the way home. It's pretty near impossible to sink a carrier, though. The Klingons might be able to pull it off, but like Iran's nuclear weapons program, the Klingons don't actually exist.

Bush administration highfaluters, including General David Petraeus, have for almost two years accused Iran of arming and funding Iraqi militias, but they have yet to produce a shred of real evidence to back up their claims. Ironically, though, what Obama refers to as the "brilliant job" Petraeus has done in Iraq largely consisted of handing out guns and money to militias. Plus, by virtue of having brokered a peace deal between Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki and cleric and militia leader Muqtada al Sadr, Iran is primarily responsible for the reduced levels of violence in Iran that Petraeus gets credit for.

Less than 10 percent of is Iran is arable. The rest is mainly mountain and desert. Iran's population and infrastructure are gathered in eight major cities. If Iran ever were to acquire a nuclear weapon and put it in a ballistic missile and launch it at someone, the retaliation would effectively end the 6,000-year old Persian civilization in the course of an afternoon.

In a May speech in Montana, Obama said "Iran, they spend one one-hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance." Remarkably, in that same speech, he called Iran a "grave threat."

We might reasonably conclude that back in May, when he was still running against McCain, he was throwing a bone to the neocons and the Pavlov's dogs of war that still buy their agenda. But why is he making scary sounds about Iran now? Out of habit? Because it's a grand tradition for America's politicians to pander to its warmongers?

I'm about fed up with that kind of bull plop. I voted for change, didn't you?

Next: the central front of the Second Cold War with the Axis of Energy.

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. Also catch Scott Horton's interview with Jeff at Antiwar Radio.


  1. Anonymous1:26 PM

    "Iran's conventional forces can't project power against Israel" What Iranian power? Iraq with its 19th century army fought them to a standstill for eight years.

  2. Anonymous10:26 PM

    G'day Commander

    One of Obama's first jobs should be putting McCain in charge of a bipartisan task force to root out waste, corruption etc at the Pentagon.

    Let's see how serious the maverick wastebuster really is. Perhaps McCain can ask why inadequate numbers of troops were sent to hell with inadequate protection and the Pentagon can't account for about 2 trillion bucks!

    Love your work as always


  3. McCain? He wasn't the least bit serious about stopping Pentagon waste. That was just campaign sloganeering. The SOB has been senior guy on the SASC for decades, hasn't done jack about DOD waste yet.


  4. Anonymous11:21 AM


    Perhaps it is the reader's bias but by referring to Iran's "coast guard of a navy" did you mean to suggest that Irans navy is small by class of ship or that it is small and also one of the most terrfying destructive forces conceived by man as is the USCG? Keep up the good work.

    Son of Neptune

  5. SON,

    Iran's Navy is, in fact, a coastal, sea denial navy. That's nothing to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, it does its job better than any other nay in the world, including the one that's about to name a new class of aircraft carrier after the only president in American history that nobody voted for.


  6. Anonymous1:17 PM

    I read that Obama's pre-inauguration team is considering a "commission" to look into possible wrong-doing during the bushco reign.
    Study group, committee, commission are the terms government uses to indicate more money uselessly spent and signal "business as usual."
    I hear a quiet "pop" and that, folks, is the first round through the foot of "change."

  7. Anonymous3:59 PM

    At least the new carrier only cost a mere 8 billion or is "stealthier" than prior classes.


  8. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Commander Huber,

    Clearly you are a good man. You write good (and insightful, and important) things.

    I did not "vote for change," because I knew beyond doubt change was not on offer.

    Like most Democrats, Obama voted for more war, more torture, and more destruction of American liberties at pretty much every opportunity.

    Did you not notice that? Why?

  9. I don't know, Jeg. Any time I hear the word "commission" I hear "we'll pay cronies to ignore it for us."


  10. Anonymous7:56 PM

    A good read again Jeff


  11. Glad you enjoyed it, SRL.


  12. Morning Commander,

    I read through your post again, and again. I was looking for "sources close to", or "un-named", or "officials" or something to indicate to me that you monitor, and pass along a bunch of crap from a bunch of people who do not want anyone to know they are peddling crap.

    I know of Gareth Porter. I read Gareth Porter, on a regular basis.
    Darned shame to have to read him in the Asian Times, and not the NY Times. He has a lot of truth to tell. You just have to hunt for it.

    On voting for change - well, hell.

    Rumors running rampant this morning from all those reliable "un-named" sources that we may get Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

    No, we really don't need 60 Democratic Senators.

    We have Lieberman.

    Think of the millions Bill could make from having Hillary at State.

    Think how long we might remain in Iraq. Think how little would be done to bring any peace to the Mid-East.

    Oh, mercy. This kind of thinking makes my head hurt.

    Yes, I voted for change. And, I also bought into that "the special interests will no longer control Washington" crap.

    Rahm Emanuel was just the first of many "special interest approved" appointments, I'm sure.

    My honeymoon with the President-Elect is over, even before the swearing in.

    Course, this Hillary thing also could be a matter of somebody repeating something loud, and often, and hoping people will take it as truth. We'll see.

    Not change I can believe in. Not hope for a better future either.

  13. EL,

    No more honeymoons, that's my motto.


  14. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Are puckered Persians the same as urban turbans? Expiring minds want to know...:)

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