Disturbing Stirrings - Ratcheting Up For War on Iran

Stephen Lendman

Posted Jun 17, 2008      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Disturbing Stirrings - Ratcheting Up For War on Iran

by Stephen Lendman

Led by Dick Cheney, Bush administration neocons want
war on Iran. So does the Israeli Lobby, but it doesn’t
mean they’ll get it. Powerful forces in Washington and
the Pentagon are opposed and so far have prevailed.
Nonetheless, worrisome recent events increase the
possibility and must be closely watched.

Recall George Bush’s January 10, 2007 address to the
nation. He announced the 20,000 troop “surge” and
more. “Succeeding in Iraq,” he said, “also requires
defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing
the region in the face of extremist challenges. This
begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two
regimes are allowing ‘terrorists’ and ‘insurgents’ to
use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran
is providing material support for attacks on American
troops. We will disrupt (those) attacks….we will
seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced
weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

That was then; this is now. On May 3, Andrew Cockburn
wrote on CounterPunch: “Six weeks ago, President Bush
signed a secret ‘finding’ authorizing a covert
offensive against the Iranian regime that, according
to those familiar with its contents, (is)
‘unprecedented in its scope.’ ” The directive permits
a range of actions across a broad area costing
hundreds of millions with an initial $300 million for
starters. Elements of the scheme include:

—targeted assassinations;

—funding Iranian opposition groups; among them -
Mujahedin-e-Khalq that the State Department designates
a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO);  Jundullah,
the “army of god militant Sunni group in Iranian
Baluchistan; Iranian Kurdish nationalists; and Ahwazi
arabs in southwest Iran;

—destabilizing Syria and Hezbollah; the current
Lebanon turbulence raises the stakes;

—putting a hawkish commander in charge; more on that
below; and

—kicking off things at the earliest possible time.

These type efforts and others were initiated before
and likely never stopped. So it remains to be seen
what differences emerge this time and how much more
intense they become.

More concerns were cited in a Michael Smith May 4
Times Online report headlined “United States is
drawing up plans to strike on Iranian insurgency
camp.” It refers to a “surgical strike” against an
“insurgent training camp.” In spite of hostile
signals, however, “the administration has put plans
for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities on the back
burner” after Gates replaced Rumsfeld. The article
makes several other key points:

—“American defense chiefs (meaning top generals and
admirals) are firmly opposed to (attacking) Iranian
nuclear facilities;”

—on the other hand, they very much support hitting
one or more “training camps (to) deliver a powerful
message to Tehran;”

—in contrast, UK officials downplay Iranian
involvement in Iraq even though Tehran’s Revolutionary
Guard has close ties to al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army;

—Bush and Cheney are determined not to hand over
“the Iran problem” to a successor.

Earlier on April 7, Haaretz reported still more
stirrings. It was about Israel’s “largest-ever
emergency drill start(ed) to test the authorities’
preparedness for threats (of) a missile attack on
central Israel.” Prime Minister Olmert announced that
the “drill (was) no front for Israeli bellicose
intentions toward Syria” and by implication Iran. Both
countries and Hezbollah see it otherwise and with good
reason. Further, Israeli officials indicated that this
exercise might be repeated annually because they say
Iran may have a nuclear capability by early 2009, so
Israel will prepare accordingly.

No one can predict US and Israeli plans, but certain
things are known and future possibilities can be
assessed. Consider recent events. In mid-March, Dick
Cheney toured the Middle East with stops in Israel,
the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Afghanistan
and Iraq. It came after Centcom commander Admiral
William Fallon “resigned” March 10 (a year after his
appointment) after reports were that he sharply
disagreed with regional administration policy.

Public comments played it down, but speculation was
twofold - Fallon’s criticism of current Iraq policy
and his opposition to attacking Iran. Before the March
10 announcement, smart money said he’d be sacked by
summer and replaced by someone more hawkish. It came
sooner than expected, and, even more worrisome, by a
super-hawk. One with big ambitions, and that’s a bad
combination. More on that below.

First, recall another Pentagon sacking last June,
officially announced as a “retirement.” George Bush
was said to have “reluctantly agreed” to replacing
Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace because of his
“highest regard” for the general. At issue, of course,
was disagreement again over Middle East policy with
indications Pace was far from on board. He signaled it
on February 17, 2006 at a National Press Club
luncheon. Responding to a question, he said: “It is
the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to
disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.”
He later added that commanders should “not obey
illegal and immoral orders to use weapons of mass
destruction….They cannot commit crimes against

These comments and likely private discussions led to
Pace’s dismissal. This administration won’t tolerate
dissent even by Joint Chiefs Chairmen. It’s clear that
officials from any branch of government will be
removed or marginalized if they oppose key
administration policy. Some go quietly while more
notable ones make headlines that omit what’s most
important. For one thing, that the Pentagon is rife
with dissent over the administration’s Middle East

For another, the law of the land, and there’s nothing
more fundamental than that. The administration
disdains it so it’s no fit topic for the media. Law
Professor Francis Boyle champions it in his classroom,
speeches, various writings and books like his newest -
Protesting Power: War, Resistance, and Law.

Boyle is an expert. He knows the law and has plenty to
cite - the UN Charter; Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and
Principles; Convention on the Prevention and
Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; Universal
Declaration of Human Rights; Hague Regulations; Geneva
Conventions; Supreme and lower Court decisions; US
Army Field Manual 27-10; the Law of Land Warfare
(1956); and US Constitution.

He unequivocally states that every US citizen,
including members of the military and all government
officials, are duty bound to obey the law and to
refuse to carry out orders that violate it. Doing so
makes them culpable. Included are all international
laws and treaties. The Constitution’s supremacy clause
(“the supreme law of the land” under Article VI) makes
them domestic law. General Pace, Fallon and others on
down aren’t exempt. Neither is the president,
vice-president, all administration members and
everyone in Congress.

Before Fallon’s sacking, things were heating up. Three
US warships (including the USS Cole guided-missile
destroyer) were deployed to the Lebanese coast -
officially “to show support for regional stability
(and over) concern about the situation in Lebanon.”
It’s been in political crisis for months, and it’s got
Washington and Israel disturbed - because of
Hezbollah’s widespread popularity and ability to
defend itself.

Any regional US show of force causes concern,
especially when more is happening there
simultaneously. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
criticized it, and Hezbollah said it “threat(ened)”
regional stability - with good reason. It believes
conflict will erupt in northern Occupied Palestine
close to the Lebanese border. It’s also preparing to
counter Israel’s latest threat - an Israeli Channel 10
News report that the IDF is on high alert “inside and
outside Israel” and is prepared to launch a massive
attack if Hezbollah retaliates for the assassination
of one of its senior leaders, Imad Fayez Mughniyah, by
a February 12 Damascus car-bombing.

Then came Cheney’s Middle East tour with likely
indications of its purpose - oil, Israeli interests
and, of course, isolating Iran, Syria, Hezbollah,
Hamas further, and rallying support for more war in a
region where Arab states want to end the current ones.
What worries them most, or should, is the possibility
that Washington will use nuclear weapons. If so,
consider the consequences - subsequent radioactive
fallout that will contaminate vast regional swaths

After Cheney left Saudi Arabia, the state-friendly
Okaz newspaper reported that the Saudi Shura Council
(the kingdom’s elite decision-making body) began
formulating “national plans to deal with any sudden
nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the
kingdom” should the Pentagon use nuclear weapons
against Iran. It’s a sign Saudi leaders are worried
and a clear indication of what they discussed with

Saudi, Iranian and other world leaders know the
stakes. They’re also familiar with Bush administration
strategy and tactics post-9/11.

Exhibit A: the December 2001 Nuclear Policy Review; it
states that America has a unilateral right to use
first strike nuclear weapons preemptively; it can be
for any national security reason, even against
non-nuclear states posing no discernible threat;

Exhibit B: the 2002 and hardened 2006 National
Security Strategies reaffirm this policy; the latter
edition mentions Iran 16 times stating: “We may face
no greater challenge from a single country country
than Iran;” unstated is that Iran never attacked
another nation in its history - after Persia became
Iran in 1935; it did defend itself vigorously when
attacked by Iraq in 1980;

Exhibit C: post-9/11, the Bush administration scrapped
the “nuclear deterrence” option; in his 2005 book
“America’s War on Terrorism,” Michel Chossudovsky
revealed a secret leaked report to the Los Angeles
Times; it stated henceforth nuclear weapons could be
used under three conditions:

—“against targets able to withstand non-nuclear

—in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological
or chemical weapons; or

—in the event of surprising military developments;”
that can mean anything the administration wants it to
or any threats it wishes to invent.

WMD echoes still resonate. Now it’s a nuclearized
Iran. Preemptive deterrence is the strategy, and Dick
Cheney places the Islamic Republic “right at the top
of the list” of world trouble spots. He calls Tehran a
“darkening cloud” in the region; claims “obviously,
they’re heavily involved in trying to develop nuclear
weapons enrichment….to weapons grade levels;” cites
fake evidence that Iran’s state policy is “the
destruction of Israel;” and official post-9/11 policy
identifies Iran and Syria (after Iraq and Afghanistan)
as the next phase of “the road map to war.” Removing
Hezbollah and Hamas are close behind plus whatever
other “rogue elements” are identified;

Exhibit D: former Defense Undersecretary Douglas
Feith’s new book, “War and Decision;” in it, he
recounts the administration’s aggressive Middle East
agenda - to remake the region militarily; plans took
shape a few weeks post-9/11 when Donald Rumsfeld made
removing Saddam Hussein official policy; the same
scheme targeted Afghanistan and proposed regime change
in Iran and elsewhere - unnamed but likely Syria,
Somalia, Sudan, at the time Libya, removing Syria from
Lebanon, and Hezbollah as well.

On the Campaign Trail - Iran in the Crosshairs

John McCain is so hawkish he even scares some in the
Pentagon. Here’s what he said about Iran at a May 5
campaign event. He called the Tehran government the
gravest danger to US Middle East interests and added:
a “league of nations” must counter the “Iranian
threat. Iran ‘obviously’ is on the path toward
acquiring nuclear weapons. At the end of the day, we
cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. They are
not only doing that, they are exporting very lethal
devices and explosives into Iraq (and) training people
(there as) Jihadists.”

It’s no surprise most Democrats have similar views,
especially the leadership and leading presidential
contenders. Obama calls Iran “a threat to us all.” For
him, a “radical (nuclearized) Muslim theocracy” is
unthinkable, and as president he won’t rule out using
force. Nor will he against Pakistan or likely any
other Muslim state. Obama also calls his support for
Israel “unwavering.” He fully endorsed the 2006
Lebanon war, and it’s no secret where Israel stands on
Iran and Syria.

Clinton is even more menacing. One writer calls her a
“war goddess,” and her rhetoric confirms it. On the
one hand, “Israeli security” tops “any American
approach to the Middle East….we must not - dare not
- waver from this commitment.” She then calls Iran
“pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel.” She
says a “nuclear Iran (is) a danger to Israel (and
we’ve) lost critical time in dealing” with the
situation. “US policy must be clear and unequivocal.
We cannot and should not - must not - permit Iran to
build or acquire nuclear weapons.”

Worst of all was her comment on ABC’s Good Morning
America in response to (a preposterous hypothetical)
about Iran “launch(ing) a nuclear attack on Israel.”
Her answer: “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m
the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to
understand that. We would be able to ‘totally
obliterate’ them (meaning, of course, every man, woman
and child).” She then added: “I don’t think it’s time
to equivocate. (Iran has) to know they would face
massive retaliation. That is the only way to rein them

At the same time, she, the other leading candidates,
and nearly everyone in Washington ignore Iran’s
official policy. The late Ayatollah Khomeini banned
nuclear weapons development. Today, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad affirm that
position, but western media won’t report it. They also
play down IAEA reports confirming that no evidence
shows Iran has a nuclear weapons program or that it’s
violating NPT.

Media Rhetoric Heating Up

It happens repeatedly, then cools down, so what to
make of the latest Iran-bashing. Nothing maybe, but
who can know. So it’s tea leaves reading time again to
pick up clues about potential impending action.
Without question, the administration wants regime
change, and right wing media keep selling it - Iranian
leaders are bad; removing them is good, and what
better way than by “shock and awe.”

Take Fouad Ajami for example from his May 5 Wall
Street Journal op-ed. It’s headlined - “Iran Must
Finally Pay A Price.” He’s a Lebanese-born US academic
specializing in Middle East issues. He’s also a
well-paid flack for hard right policies, including
their belligerency. He shows up often in the Wall
Street Journal (and on TV, too) and always to spew
hate and lies - his real specialty.

His latest piece is typical. Here’s a sampling that’s
indicative of lots else coming out now:

—“three decades of playing cat-and-mouse with
American power have emboldened Iran’s rulers;

—why are the mullahs allowed to kill our soldiers
with impunity;”

—in Iraq, “Iranians played arsonists and firemen at
the same time; (it’s) part of a larger pattern;

—Tehran has wreaked havoc on regional order and
peace over the last three decades;”

—earlier, George HW Bush offered an olive branch to
Iran’s rulers;

—“Madeleine Albright (apologized) for America’s role
in the (1953) coup;”

—all the while, “the clerics have had no interest in
any bargain;” their oil wealth gives them great

—“they have harassed Arab rulers while posing as
status quo players at peace with the order of the

—they use regional proxies like “Hezbollah in
Lebanon, warlords and militias in Iraq, purveyors of
terror for the hire;

—the (earlier) hope….that Iran would refrain from
(interfering) in Iran (was) wishful thinking;” now
there’s Iran’s nuclear “ambitions” to consider; the
“Persian menace” has to “be shown that there is a
price for their transgressions.”

Sum it up, and it spells vicious agitprop by an expert
at spewing it. He’s not alone. Disputing one of his
assertions, a May 5 AFP report quotes Iraq government
spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh saying no “hard evidence”
shows Iran is backing Shiite militiamen or inciting
violence in the country.

Consider the Arab street as well. It’s unconcerned
about Iran but outraged over US adverturism. Recall
also that on March 2 Iranian President Ahmadinejad
became the first Iranian head of state to visit Iraq
in three decades. Prime Minister al-Maliki and
President Talabani invited him and welcomed him warmly
as a friend.

That doesn’t deter The New York Times Michael Gordon.
He’s taken up where Judith Miller left off, and his
May 5 piece is typical. It’s headlined “Hezbollah
Trains Iraqis in Iran, Officials Say.” The key words,
of course, are “Officials Say” to sell the idea that
their saying it makes it so. No dissent allowed to
debunk them or other administrative-supportive

This one cites supposed information from “four Shiite
militia members who were captured in Iraq late last
year and questioned separately.” For Gordon and
“Officials (who) Say,” it’s incriminating evidence for
what Washington has long charged - “that the Iranians
(are) training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran,” and
Hezbollah is involved. The Pentagon calls them
“special groups.”

Gordon goes on to report that Iran has gotten “less
obtrusive (by) bringing small groups of Iraqi Shiite
militants to camps in Iran, where they are taught how
to do their own training, ‘American officials say.’ ”

Once trained, “the militants then return to Iraq to
teach their comrades how to fire rockets and mortars,
fight as snipers or assemble explosively formed
penetrators, a particularly lethal type of roadside
bomb….according to American officials.”

As usual, the “officials” are anonymous and their
“information has not been released publicly.” Gordon
continues with more of the same, but sum it up and he
sounds like Ajami, Judith Miller, and growing numbers
of others like them.

On March 17, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
put out an Action Alert headlined “No Antiwar Voices
in NYT ‘Debate.’ ” It referred to The Times March 16
“Week in Review” section on the war’s fifth
anniversary featuring nine so-called experts - all
chosen for their hawkish credentials. Included were
familiar names like Richard Perle, Fred Kagan, Anthony
Cordesman, Kenneth Pollack and even Paul Bremer. On
May 4, The Times reconvened the same lineup for a
repeat performance that would make any
state-controlled media proud.

No need to explain their assessment either time, but
NYT op-ed page editor said this on July 31, 2005: The
op-ed page (where the above review was published) is
“a venue for people with a wide range of perspectives,
experiences and talents (to provide) a lively page of
clashing opinions, one where as many people as
possible have the opportunity to make the best
arguments they can.” As long as they don’t conflict
with official state policy, offend Times advertisers
or potential ones, acknowledge Iran’s decisive role in
ending the recent Basra fighting, or mention the
(latest) 2007 (US) National Intelligence Estimate that
Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 - even
though it’s likely one never existed and doesn’t now.

With Iraq still raging and hawkishness over Iran
heating up, it’s disquieting to think what’s coming,
and it’s got Middle East leaders uneasy. Not about
Iran, about a rogue administration with over eight
months left to incinerate the region in a
mushroom-shaped cloud and no hesitation about doing

Enter the Generalissimo - Initials DP, Ambitions

Fallon is out, and, in late April, Defense Secretary
Robert Gates said David Petraeus is being nominated to
replace him as Centcom commander. General Raymond
Odierno (his former deputy) will replace his former
boss as Iraq chief. New York Times reporter Thom
Shanker said these “two commanders (are) most closely
associated with President Bush’s current strategy in
Iraq,” so are on board to pursue it and maybe up the

Besides being a Latin American expert, James Petras
writes extensively on the Middle East and how the
Israeli Lobby influences US policy. His 2006 book,
“The Power of Israel in the United States,” is must
reading to understand it. Petras has a new article on
Petraeus. It’s incisive, scary, and unsparing in
exposing the generalissimo’s true character, failings,
and ambitions.

Competence didn’t make him Iraq commander last year.
It came the same way he got each star. In the words of
some of his peers - by brown-nosing his way to the
top. It made him more than a general. He’s a “brand,”
and it got him Time Magazine’s 2007 runner-up slot for
Person of the Year.

The media now shower him with praise for his stellar
performance in an otherwise dismal war. So do
politicians. McCain calls him “one of (our) greatest
(ever) generals.” Clinton says he’s “an extraordinary
leader and a wonderful advocate for our military.”
Obama was less effusive but said he supports his
nomination as Centcom chief and added: “I think
Petraeus has done a good tactical job in Iraq….It
would be stupid of me to ignore what he has to say.”
It would also hurt his presidential hopes as the right
wing media would bash him mercilessly if he disparaged
America’s new war hero with very outsized ambitions
and no shyness in pursuing them.

He got off to a flying start after being appointed to
the top Iraq job last year. The White House spin
machine took over and didn’t let facts interfere with
its praise. It described him as aggressive in nature,
an innovative thinker on counterinsurgency warfare, a
talisman, a white knight, a do-or-die competitive
legend, and a man able to turn defeat into victory.

Others like Admiral Fallon had a different assessment,
and Petras noted it in his article. Before his
removal, he was openly contemptuous of a man who
shamelessly supported Israel “in northern Iraq and the
Bush ‘Know Nothings’ in charge of Iraq and Iran policy
planning.” It got him his April 16 promotion, and his
week earlier Senate testimony sealed it. He was
strikingly bellicose in blaming Iran for US troop
deaths. That makes points any time on Capitol Hill,
especially in an election year when rhetoric sells and
whatever supports war and Israel does it best.

Petras adds that Petraeus had few competitors for the
Centcom job because other top candidates won’t stoop
the way he does - shamelessly flacking for Israel, the
bellicose Bush agenda, and what Petras calls “his
slavish adherence to….confrontation with Iran.
Blaming Iran for his failed military policies served a
double purpose - it covered up his incompetence and it
secured the support of” the Senate’s most hawkish
(independent) Democrat, Joe Lieberman.

It also served his outsized ambitions that may include
a future run for the White House. His calculus seems
to be - lie to Congress, hide his failures, blame
Iran, support Israel and the Bush agenda
unflinchingly, claim he turned Iraq around, say he’ll
do it in the region, and make him president and he’ll
fix everything.

He (nor the media) won’t report how bad things are in
Iraq or the toll on its people. They won’t explain the
“surge’s” failure to make any progress on the ground.
They won’t reveal the weekly US troop death and injury
count that’s far higher than reported numbers. By one
estimate, (including weekly Pentagon wounded updates),
it tops 85,000 when the following categories are

—“hostile” and “non-hostile” deaths, including from
accidents and illness;

—total numbers wounded; and

—many thousands of later discovered casualties,
mainly brain traumas from explosions.

Left out of the above figures are future illnesses and
deaths from exposure to toxic substances like depleted
uranium. It now saturates large areas of Iraq in the
soil, air and drinking water. Also omitted is the vast
psychological toll. For many, it causes permanent
damage, and whole families become victims.

Consider civilian contractor casualties as well. They
may be in the thousands. A February Houston Post
report noted 1123 US civilian contractor deaths. It
left out numbers of wounded or any information about
foreign workers. They may have been affected most.

Several other reports are played down. One is from the
VA about 18 known daily suicides. The true number may
be higher. Another comes from Bloomberg.com on May 5
but unreported on TV news. It cited Thomas Insel,
director of the National Institute of Mental Health on
an April 2008 Rand Corporation study. It found about
“18.5% of returning (Iraq and Afghan) US soldiers
(afflicted with) post-traumatic stress disorder or
depression (PTSD), and only half of them receive

Much of it shows up later, and many of its victims
never recover. A smaller psychiatric association study
put the PTSD number at about 32%, and a January 2006
Journal of the American Medical Association put it
even higher - 35% of Iraq vets seeking help for mental
health problems. A still earlier 2003 New England
Journal of Medicine Study reported an astonishing 60%
of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans showing PTSD
“symptoms.” Most victims said their duty caused it,
but over half of them never sought treatment fearing
damage to their careers.

The same Rand study said another 19% have possible
traumatic brain injuries ranging from concussions to
severe head wounds. About 7% of vets suffer a double
hit - both brain injury and PTSD or depression. It’s a
wonder numbers aren’t higher as most active duty and
National Guard forces serve multiple tours - some as
many as six or more in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
Surviving that ordeal in one piece is no small

Patraeus’ calculus omits these victims and all other
war costs abroad and at home. They’re consigned to an
over-stuffed memory hole for whatever outs the facts
on the ground or his PR-enhanced image.

Petras strips it away and calls him “a disastrous
failure” whose record is so poor it takes media magic
to remake it. This man will now direct administration
Middle East policy. He supports its aims, and if
neocon wishes are adopted it means continued war and
occupation of Iraq, stepped up efforts in Afghanistan,
and making a hopeless enterprise worse by attacking
Iran. No problem for Petraeus if it helps his
ambitions. They, of course demand success, or at least
the appearance, the way Petraeus so far has framed it.
It remains to be seen what’s ahead, and how long
defeat can be called victory.

And one more thing as well. Congress will soon vote on
more Iraq-Afghanistan supplemental funding. Bush wants
another $108 billion for FY 2008. In hopes a Democrat
will be elected president, Congress may add another
$70 billion through early FY 2009 for a total $178
billion new war spending (plus the usual pork add-ons)
on top of an already bloated Pentagon budget
programmed to increase.

It’s got economist Joseph Stiglitz alarmed and has for
some time. In his judgment, the Iraq war alone
(conservatively) will cost trillions of dollars, far
more than his earlier estimates. That’s counting all
war-related costs:

—from annual defense spending plus huge supplemental

—outsized expenses treating injured and disabled
veterans - for the government and families that must
bear the burden;

—high energy costs; they’re affected by war but
mostly result from blatant market manipulation; it’s
not a supply/demand issue; there’s plenty of oil
around, but not if you listen to industry flacks
citing shortages and other false reasons why prices
shot up so high;

—destructive budget and current account deficits; in
the short run, they’re stimulative, but sooner or
later they matter; they’re consuming the nation, and
analysts like Stiglitz and Chalmers Johnson believe
they’ll bankrupt us; others do as well like
Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs who
last year outed the nation’s trillion dollar defense
budget; in a recent May 7 article, he wrote: “As the
US government taxes, spends, borrows, regulates,
mismanages, and wastes resources on a scale never
before witnessed in the history of mankind, it is
digging its own grave;” others believe we’re past the
tipping point and it’s too late;

—debts must be serviced; the higher they mount, the
greater the cost; they crowd out essential public and
private investment; need growing billions for interest
payments; damage the dollar; neglect human capital;
and harm the country’s stature as an economic leader;
the more we eat our seed corn, the greater the
long-term damage;

—debts also reduce our manoeuvring room in times of
national crisis; limitless money-creation and reckless
spending can’t go on forever before inflation debases
the currency; that’s a major unreported threat at a
time monetary and fiscal stimulus shifted financial
markets around, and touts now predict we’re out of the
woods; they don’t say for how long, what may follow,
or how they’ll explain it if they’re wrong;

—add up all quantifiable war costs, and Stiglitz now
estimates (conservatively) a $4 - 5 trillion total for
America alone; watch for higher figures later; both
wars have legs; another may be coming; leading
presidential candidates assure are on board and have
no objection to out-of-control militarism;

—Stiglitz will be back; his estimate is low; before
this ends, look for one of several outcomes -
trillions more spent, bankruptcy finally ends it, or
the worst of all possible scenarios: an unthinkable
nuclear holocaust that (expert Helen Caldicott
explains) “could end life on earth as we know it”
unless sanity ends the madness.

The generalissimo is unconcerned. He’s planning his
future. He envisions the White House, and imagine what
then. Like the current occupant and whomever follows,
look for more destructive wars to serve his political
ambitions and theirs. They fall right in line with the
defense establishment, Wall Street, and the Israeli

Decades back, could anyone have thought things would
come to this. Hopefully, good sense will gain currency
and stop this madness before it consumes us.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
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Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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