May 11, 2019

Is it just a coincidence that TV networks are re-running old ‘Dirty Harry’ films just as a powerful US Naval armada and Air Force B-52 bombers are headed for what could be a clash with Iran? Here we go again with the ‘good guys’ versus the ‘bad guys,’ and ‘make my day.’

Maybe it’s more bluffing? The current US military deployment was scheduled before the latest flare-up with Iran, but the bellicose threats of White House neocon crusaders like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo certainly create the impression that the US wants war.

Adding to the warlike excitement, President Trump just ordered seizure of a large North Korean bulk cargo ship. This was clearly a brazen act of war and violation of international law. More dangerous brinkmanship by administration war-mongers who increasingly appear besotted by power and hubris.

So much for the president who vowed to avoid foreign wars – and so much for the millions of anti-war voters who believed him.

Why does Trump let his two horsemen of the apocalypse get away with this?

I’m following this latest gunboat diplomacy with particular interest because I had the privilege in 1994 of going to sea on the very same aircraft carrier, “CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln” that is now reportedly steaming towards Iran’s coast. With it are a nuclear submarine, a cruiser and a group of destroyers, all equipped with land-attack missiles.

As a former soldier and war correspondent, I was deeply impressed by the ‘Lincoln’ and her youthful crew. They were efficient, motivated and superbly well-organized. In our lifetime, no other navy will ever equal the skills of the US carrier fleet. The only real threat to America’s huge carriers is the growing power and accuracy of Russian, Chinese and Indian heavy anti-ship missiles.

The Navy task force is backed up by B-52 nuclear-capable heavy bombers now stationed in Qatar, and US warplanes from other bases in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, Jordan, and Pakistan that effectively surround Iran. The carriers are just for show and threat.

Israel, which is eager to see the US attack Iran, has helpfully provided ‘intelligence’ allegedly showing that Iran is planning to attack certain US installations in the Mideast. Interestingly, Israel and its American supporters did the same thing in 2001 and 2003, pushing the US to attack its foe Iraq. Washington largely relied on Israeli intelligence about Iraq since its own resources were so weak – and senior Bush administration neocons kept touting the claims from Israel.

President Trump sees himself as an emperor besieged by Washington Lilliputians. There’s nothing like a jolly little war to shut up all his critics and garner media support. Even better, the ‘bad guys’ in this case are ‘Eye-ranian’ Muslims. Trump’s religious base would thrill at the prospect of pounding the Islamic Republic. During the Bush administration years, over 80% of so-called ‘born again’ Christians backed war against Iraq. What happened to ‘turn the other cheek?’

This administration’s neocons have made it their life’s work to destroy Iran, which is considered Israel’s only serious enemy and a champion of the Palestinian cause.
The Trump administration has largely fallen under the influence of Israel’s hard right in foreign and military affairs. So Bolton and Pompeo are clearly trying to engineer an incident that would spark war.

Not full-scale war, but an excuse for the US and Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, key military sites and communications infrastructure as was done with Iraq. It won’t be back all the way to the Stone Age, but half way, so that Iran’s development is set back by a decade.
Israel will then use its control over the US Congress to keep Iran under a very tight embargo. The Pentagon’s original plan to punish Iran called for some 2,300 air strikes on Day 1 alone.

Washington’s hope, as usual, is that growing misery and hardship in Iran will provoke a revolt to oust the Islamic government, allowing the US to install the exiled Iranian royalists it has waiting in Southern California. This was the pattern in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iraq, Syria, Libya and now Venezuela. It’s not diplomacy, just brute force.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

This post is in: Iran, USA


  1. Perhaps Bolton and company should review America’s initial involvement in the Korean War. I’m currently rereading David Halberstams ‘The Coldest Winter’.
    The mountainous terrain of Korea negated much of the American advantages in mobility and armor. The terrain of Iran will offer similar challenges.

  2. I have to get this done quickly before the bombs begin to fall.
    The time has never been more critical. The UN is broken and if World War III is to be averted, it must be repaired. It is failing miserably in it’s mandate to protect the world, both from war as well as from climate change. The world has to act in unison to prevent the continued action of the American bullies. The Americans have to be reined in. Unlike WWII, where the alleged cause was Nazi Germany, the cause of World War III, may likely be by Fascist America.
    The entire charter has to be re-written to bring it into the 21 Century. Voting has to be on a more democratic basis with no provisions for another ‘super power’ to veto the outcome. The rest of the world has to take stake and realise that the Americans are not working in the best interests of the World, but in their leaders’ best interests; their leaders are not always working in the best interests of their country. Like the UN, their country is broken, too. The rest of the world has to ‘stand up’ and make their voices heard for greater world harmony. With the new charter, the Americans would not likely ‘sign on’. It would, however, show the rest of the world that they stand outside, and are no longer the ‘good guys’ (I’m not sure they ever were.).
    A country cannot unilaterally put an embargo on another. We saw the disastrous effects of this with Pearl Harbor, the declaration of war on Japan, and the subsequent first time use of nuclear weapons on people. The Americans ‘got away with it’ then and have continued to do so since with impunity.
    The Americans and their counterparts in the Middle East are hellbent on starting a conflict with Iran. This will end in a less favourable situation than did their massacre of Iraq. The world sat idly back for that travesty and did nothing. They got away with the destruction of Iraq; why not Iran? Iraq and Iran have largely been decimated by the American’s illegal embargoes which has caused considerable hardship on the Iraqi and Iranian population. The world stands idley back and hopes all will get better; it will not. That’s the real tragedy.
    An interesting News headline:
    “Democratic-Aligned Think Tank Knocks Bernie Sanders for Vote Aimed at Avoiding War With Iran” I don’t like Sanders… I still think of him as one of the Old White Guys in the Democratic Party; they need new people to effect change.
    The ‘White House of the Apocalypse’ appears to be in motion again.

  3. Steve_M. says:

    While hoping that Russian intervention will dissuade the US from attacking Iran, I’m cheering for the Iranians against the Americans should the US make that mistake. Note that the US is currently contemplating air an naval strikes against Iran, rather than ground invasion. If the Americans were to be so stupid as to invade Iran, they would indeed face the mother of all battles. It would be much harder for the Americans to subdue Iran than they were able to do with Iraq.

    • “While hoping that Russian intervention will dissuade the US from attacking Iran, I’m cheering for the Iranians against the Americans should the US make that mistake.”
      Mistake or not, the Iranians would suffer badly, and bring added strife to the Middle East. Israel and Saudi would be the chief beneficiaries, and Syria may be the next ‘domino’.

    • The Iran regime has made it clear that Israel’s racist policies and daily humiliations (and worse) against Palestinians must be dismantled. They are far from alone in this.

  4. Raj Sathya says:

    Probably its a pay back time for Iran. Immediately after the islamic revolution ayotollah komeni wowed ,Israel would disappear from the pages of history.In 2007 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, than president of iran, demanded Israel must disappear from the world map, this was echoed by the rest of the leaders of iran till lately.Who gave iran the responsibility to destroy Israel? Why the hue and cry of the parking of Abraham Lincoln at your water ways? With much of said and done iran seems only a barking dog in Middle East.Its financial and political assistance to hezbollah brought social and political instability in Middle East countries while its religious mantras took some 300 innocent lives in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan government has banned the wearing burqa which is the holy women dress of iran and deported all the islamic teachers mostly from iran and closed down all the Madrasas. Reportedly the government is contemplating to ban islam in the country.Now,its all up to iran to respond to CYN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln whether to sail with it or sink it.

    • “Probably its a pay back time for Iran.”

      Payback for what? They turfed out the American hoisted leader, aka ‘the Shaw’. I don’t agree with a theological government, but, it was chosen by the people… same as the toppled democracy in Egypt.
      People in Iran, and in other countries, are suffering because of blockades enacted by ‘the Bully’, and the rest of the world ‘sits back’ and soaks it up. The UN desperately needs fixing and the US has to be reined in. This is for both their aggression as well as their damage to the environment.

    • Raj, you got it the opposite way completely.
      It is the Saudi wahabis and their masters who committed the crimes in Lanka. Let me ask you, have you ever been to lanka, know anything about lanka, could you spot lanka on the map? I think not. You really sound like person who watches lots of Fox news. You remind me of Colin Powell in the UN showing the mobile WMDin Bagdad that turned to be food testing labs, and I believe that he knew the truth for sure. Iran and Hizboullah condemned the bombing, isreal did not. Isis claimed responsibility and you still want to accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran.
      Other thing, it is Shador what women in Iran wear, burqa is what women in Saudi wear. Also, there are no teachers from Iran in Lanka and all madrasas financed and supported by the Saudi.
      I believe you are confused between Iran and KSA.

      • Raj Sathya says:

        Dino, dont be emotional. It is not a Fox news, probably you are so much to it to say there is no teachers from iran. For your info, after the bombing the iranians are the first to be arrested and ISIS claimed responsibility is FOX of course. Sri Lanka is not next to Saudi as you think, please check the map correctly. What is so proud about Shador and burqa? Thanks for comparing me to Colin Powell and too bad I cant buy your theory on Sri Lanka madrasas financed by Saudis and supported by them.

        • Raj,

          I live in Negombo, SriLanka, next to the church that was blown. My best friend, partner and native of Lanka, and his family are daily visit the church.
          Muslims in Lanka don’t make 10% of the population and since decades, they just want to live in peace and harmony with the rest of relegions of lanka inhabitant. In several occasions, most were for trivial and unrelated to religion reasons, during the last 10 years, there were many incidents that brought angry mobs to attack Muslims shops and properties. There were death among Muslim community. Muslims did nothing and did not retaliate. They know they would be attacked and hurt badly if they did. You think they, shia of lanka who are a very few , would try to open the Pandora box .
          No Iranian teachers or national in all of Lanka, not before or after the bombing were arrested or spotted in Lanka.
          I think you are angry with Lanka, as the USA, after the switched sides. !0 years ago, Mossad were training some Lankian army units and Lanka relations with USA were at it’s best, if one could describe it this way. Lanka government knew that the USA is manipulating the war with TT (Tamil Tigers) and is blackmailing and trying to control the decision of Lanka gov’t. Lanka government wised up and switched to the Chinese/Russian Lap. No more mossad in Lanka and USA influence is at it’s lowest. Lanka buy all of it’s oil from Iran, you think Iran would want to ruin the situation in Lanka !
          If you could see the big pictures, you would know that what happened in Lanka, is done by KSA paid Wahabis and the orders came from angry USA and Israel governments.
          They want to teach Lanka a lesson and want them to switch laps, again. We all know that in Lanka. We lived it and we live it daily.
          Where do you get your info from? Fox news again!
          I think you know all of the info I mentioned above, but you choose to point your finger in the wrong direction for what ever reasons that govern your point of view, but what ever were the reasons, they would never change the truth.

        • In Negombo, where I live, madrasa is less than 2 km away from my residence and place of work. I know most of the muslim community leaders. We all know who pays and it is not Iran. FYI, Shia sec does not endorse, install or support madrasas, KSA and wahabi do and not in Lanka only. Check the nearest madrasa where you live and you would know.

  5. Mike Smith says:

    Neocons, NeoDems… the only difference would be the time table… if Hillary had of won… the war would be moving into year two…. also it would be really interesting to see exactly what Trump is being told by the advisors that are managing him…. documentaries about the Vietnam war revealed that Johnson had been advised to get out that war quite early by people it had been previously assumed were warhawks. This time I am not so sure that he isn’t being spoon fed a narrative after the anti Russia hysteria removed any voices that had a different opinion from the White House. The entire affair reminds me of the excellent sci fi program Babylon5 where a military commander running a remote base broke away from earths warmongering and the last best hope for peace became the last best hope for victory.

    • Steve_M. says:

      Even Robert McNamara knew by the end of 1965 that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, at least the way the Americans were fighting it, and probably so advised Lyndon Johnson. But the military-industrial complex seemed to have played a major role in persuading the Johnson and Nixon administrations to continue that war, which would be one major reason that it dragged on for so long.

    • “Neocons, NeoDems… the only difference would be the time table… ”
      Even now, the ‘Old White Guys’ of the democratic party are directing the shots for the next Presidential election. The US is in desperate need of ‘New Guys’ running the show… and, it doesn’t appear that it’s happening.

  6. Hypocrisy is America screaming about Russian interference in its affairs while trying to overthrow the governments in three countries.

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