Monday, February 6, 2012

Post #178 - Stop the Bully!

Glenn Greenwald, writing February 4 in Salon, pointed up the absurdity of some of the punditry regarding "the Iran problem." His piece, entitled "The Growing Iranian Military Behemoth?" cited another writer who was mining the ever-popular "new Hitler" theme for all it was worth. That author in turn cited David Goldman in the same vein. "However much it costs," wrote Goldman, "in Iranian blood and well-being, [a strike on Iran] is still worth it."  An rather incredible statement, I believe.  If the "enemy" is utterly expendable, then why would any country ever exercise restraint?

What really caught Greenwald's eye, though, was what Goldman used to back up his conclusion: "Iran is planning to double its defense budget even though its currency is collapsing." True, Greenwald allowed, Ahmadinejad recently announced his intention to up defense spending by 127% (in reality it may never happen, but let that go for the moment...). But Greenwald puts this in perspective by comparing the amounts to be spent to those of other nations, such as our own. [See chart]  [Note also that Iran, spends far less (1.6% of its GDP) than Israel on defense (6.3% of GDP).  The United States, despite its size spends at  a level of nearly 5%.)

Greenwald (with irony) touts the "frightening, Nazi-like military threat Iran poses" based on these figures. "These kinds of scary claims about Iran’s military might have been issuing for years," Greewald points out. "Back in 2006, Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, announced that Iran has the most powerful military in the Middle East, even though Israel has a large stockpile of nuclear weapons, as many as 200, while Saudi Arabia annually spends almost $60 billion on its military (more than 5 times Iran’s current spending)...Both of those Iranian rivals (Israel and Saudi Arabia), and many others in that region, are recipients of vast amounts of sophisticated military weaponry from the U.S."

Greenwald also reminds us of "the fact that the U.S. basically has Iran completely encircled, as demonstrated by this graph from Juan Cole’s blog, showing U.S. military bases near Iran" [See map] 

"As Cole put it: 'Each star is a US base. But just to be clear, Iran is the one that is threatening us.'”

 Greenwald wraps up:  "Yet American political officials and commentators feel free to insist, with a straight face, that Iran is an aggressor nation posing a serious threat to the U.S.: such a serious threat, in fact, that war may be necessary to stop it. And there is, tragically, little doubt that if there is an attack on Iran by Israel — with direct U.S. involvement or, more likely, U.S. support and approval — there will be little opposition in either American political party, and even less challenge to the ludicrous claims about the Grave Iranian Threat that will be invoked to justify it."

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