When batterers explain why they beat up their partners, their classic line is that “she made me do it.”
We are being proffered a similar excuse about why our government is gearing up for a war on Iran.
Like the 6’2”, 235 pound husband who finds it necessary to bust up his 5’ 3”, 110 pound wife because she represented such a terrible threat to his manhood, the sole imperialist superpower, a country that spends more on military weaponry than all of the rest of the world’s countries combined, the most powerful nation to ever stalk the earth, considers a country that has 140 out-of-date aircraft and a navy of mostly small vessels, its gravest enemy.
The Bush White House and the two major party nominees for president, John McCain and Barack Obama, are all giving us the batterer’s defense.
That repeat offenders such as Bush and Cheney should be operating from the same playbook that they used with such success to justify their war on Iraq – and that their Third Term Replacement, McCain, should be doing the same – comes as no surprise.
But that the great “change-we-can-believe -in”- Obama should be rattling the sabers and threatening Iran with military attack comes as a surprise – or even shock – to many.
In his first major address since wrapping up the Democratic nomination, Obama stated his views to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in no uncertain terms:
“The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race, and raise the prospect of a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists… The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.
“We knew, in 2002, that Iran supported terrorism. We knew Iran had an illicit nuclear program. We knew Iran posed a grave threat to Israel…
“[L]et there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel.
“That is the change we need in our foreign policy. Change that restores American power and influence.”
* * *
“Let there be no doubt,” Obama says.
Who could disagree?
Let there be no doubt that a war is brewing when both the GOP and the Democrats are threatening war and justifying it on the same grounds.
Let there be no doubt that when the contest becomes one in which both parties are trying to prove that they are the bigger friend of Israel – “I’m his best friend.” “No, I’m his best friend.” – that a deal has been struck and that barring a large enough mass movement against their schemes, here and worldwide, but especially here, then war it surely will be.
And what is the casus belli this time?
Weapons of mass destruction. Mushroom clouds over America.
Giving material aid to those who are killing Americans.
* * *
Never mind that they used this WMD lie before about Iraq and have been caught in their lies before the whole world.
Never mind the fact that the Americans being killed in Iraq are there as foreign occupiers and wouldn’t be getting killed if they were back on U.S. soil tending to levees and bridges and natural disasters.
Never mind that the war on Iraq was a fabricated war based on literally hundreds of lies and that the real attackers on 9/11 they have not captured because, as Bush said, “they’re hiding.”
Never mind that the gravest war crime of all, according to an American judge at Nuremberg, is to attack a country that has not attacked you: “[t]o initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.’” (Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals—Nuremberg, Germany 1946.)
Never mind that Iranian men, women and children laugh and cry just like us, go to work, make dinner, hug their parents and play in the streets and in their yards just like us.
Never mind that our lives are not more precious than theirs.
* * *
La plus ca change, la plus la-meme chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Many people, including close friends of mine, think that a war on Iran would be insane and that even Bush and Cheney aren’t that crazy.
My question now is: do you think Obama is just as crazy as the madmen at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
And how crazy would we have to be to follow one of these misleaders and war mongerers?
How crazy would we be to forego using the one real power that we have – to demonstrate, to act independently as THE PEOPLE, and create a political atmosphere in the whole society that forces the hand of these profiteers, plunderers and phony peacemakers?
How crazy would we be if we thought that our only choice instead is to tag behind and cheer on – PICK ONE, it’s your democratic right –
the Republicans in the White House who are laying the groundwork for, positioning military forces for, lining up Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Oman as allies, and assuring Israel that war is coming, and soon;
the GOP candidate in the wings, John “ bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain, who is assuring Israel that he is their biggest fan, and threatening war on Iran, and soon; OR
the Democratic putative nominee “Change We Can Believe In” Obama assuring Israel that he is their biggest fan, and threatening war on Iran, and soon?
Isn’t democracy American-style wonderful?
Like Henry Ford, we can have any color we like as long as it’s black.
Except in this case it’s red.
DENNIS LOO is an associate professor of Sociology at Cal-Poly Pomona. He is the co-author of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org