The Good News About War on Iran

The government is outsourcing just about everything, reports The New York Times (2/3/07). Four hundred billion dollars was paid last year to independent contractors to do jobs that, traditionally and rightly, should have been done by government employees.

The Times’ analysis showed that the “most secret and politically delicate government jobs, like intelligence collection and budget preparation, are increasingly contracted out, despite regulations forbidding the outsourcing of ‘inherently governmental’ work”

It’s been an old canard by the right that government is incompetent. Government bureaucrats can’t do anything right. They’ve worked real hard to make this the conventional wisdom. Big Government is bad. Small Government is good. “Tax and Spend” Democrats want big government, so the cliché goes. They support entitlements like Social Security and Medicare and other social programs that benefit the people.

But, the right and far right favor small government. Privatize as much as you can and get the profits into the hands of private enterprise, has been the battle-cry of the Republicans. Fight entitlements and support discretionary spending-only that which has been voted by Congress. Up military budgets and spending for national security. That’s always popular. It’s an old ploy. This new outsourcing mania certainly fuels the belief that capitalism has nowhere to go. The spectre of socialism hangs over “the system”. In all probability its origin stems back to the fear of the Bolsheviks in the days of Palmer raids after World War I or to the Red Scare pitched by Senator Joseph McCarthy after World War II, or maybe back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

The Bush Administration has made it abundantly clear it’s at a stalemate. They can’t even win a good, old-fashioned imperialist war against a third-rate nation. The only reasons for the war that can be discerned is to benefit the large corporations that service it; the Halliburtons, the Bechtels, and a myriad of other companies, large and small, that reap their rewards from participating in our national security. These corporations have some clout, too. We know of Vice President Dick Chaney’s connection to Halliburton. As for Bechtel, in 1980, Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign was run by George Shultz, president of Bechtel. Casper Weinberger was vice president and general council of Bechtel. Shultz was appointed Secretary of State and Weinberger, Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration. It’s a good example of how corporate power and government have been intertwined. One learned gentleman, who should know, Benito Mussolini, pre-World War II Italian dictator, who coined the word “fascism” said it should be called “corporatism”-the combined power of corporations and government.

George W. Bush has brought the concept of outsourcing to the military. In Iraq, apparently, he couldn’t count on the US Army to do the job so he contracted part of it out to a private company, Blackwater, a private military and security firm. The company describes itself as a “military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company”. In other words, “mercenaries”. With all of this, they still haven’t been able to defeat the insurgents “who swim among the people like fish in water” as one Vietnamese described the process.

Bush’s answer to defeat in Iraq is to start another war, the target, of course, Iran. He has two rationales that are working for him, Iran’s nuclear program and, as Bush charges quite frequently, Iran’s “meddling” in Iraq by helping out fellow Shiites. Meddling? (Look who’s calling the kettle black)

The drumbeats have begun. And the mainstream media is picking up the rhythm. The usual prognosticators say the attack will come in April.

America, Beware! Iran is not Iraq. Ahmadinejad is not the patsy the Shah was. Remember the hostage crisis of 1979 when 66 Americans were held in Iran for three months during the Iranian Islamic Revolution? As the saying goes, “Don’t Mess with Texas!” The same can be said of Teheran.

An attack on Iran would be catastrophic for America. The Shiite government of Iran and its army of close to one million would immediately go to the aid of the Shia in Iraq. That undoubtedly would lead to “helicopter from Embassy roof evacuation time”.

Iran could use its missiles, courtesy of China and Russia, to hit our troops in Iraq and our carrier fleets already assembled in the Persian Gulf.

Syria could contribute its large stocks of chemical and biological weapons.

The flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz could be cut off. Between 15 and 16.5 million barrels of oil transit the Strait each day, roughly 20 percent of the world’s daily oil production. How would you like paying ten bucks a gallon for gasoline?

The US government would undoubtedly declare martial law and use anti-terrorist laws and military force against Americans who protest, predicts Eric Herter, former APTN producer.

And that’s only for starters. If Israel is hit, you can anticipate a nuclear response and that could be curtains for this planet.

You won’t have to wait for the outcome of Global Warming.

STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN, television writer-director-producer, spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC, starting in 1953. In 1959, he participated in the formation of the renowned Murrow-Friendly “CBS Reports” series. In 1983, Fleischman won the prestigious Columbia University-DuPont Television Journalism Award. In 2004, he wrote his memoir. See:, E-mail:


STEPHEN FLEISCHMAN, writer-producer-director of documentaries, spent thirty years in Network News at CBS and ABC. His memoir is now in print. See, e-mail