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BUSH'S TYRANNICAL WAR ON TERROR:
No Country for Old Men: The Reality of Iran in the Shadow of WarTuesday, 18 March 2008
What will become of us without barbarians?
When it comes, it will come quickly. No big build-up, no new "roll-out of the product." The groundwork has already been laid, the specious casus beli already embraced, enthusiastically, by Congress. Proposed legislation to "compel" Bush to seek Congressional approval for an attack will be ignored, just as Bush blatantly ignores any Congressional stricture he dislikes. If he decides to launch an attack on Iran, no institutional or legal fetter will stop him. That's the stark truth of the matter.
The attack will probably be a limited one at first, with the immediate "reasons" being offered up afterwards or in media res. After all, who is going to seriously question the Commander-in-Chief when our brave boys are in the air over enemy territory in Iran?
They had parliamentary elections in Iran last week. It was not good news for the cause of peace. Why? Because reform candidates did unexpectedly well, while hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saw a deep split in the conservative majority, with many in his own faction rejecting his Bush-like belligerence and incompetence. This might sound like glad tidings at first glance – but it actually makes an attack more likely. It undermines the carefully crafted cartoon image of Iran as a monolithic, maniacal horde of barbarians intent on senseless destruction. If a truer picture of Iranian society is allowed to take hold, it would pose a serious threat to the agenda of the Crawford Caligula and his militarist handlers.
Make no mistake, the Bush faction's predatory designs on Iran are business – big business. The entire "War on Terror" is an engine for crony profiteering on a monstrous scale – and the greatest transfer of public wealth into private hands the world has ever seen.And make no mistake, the Bush faction's predatory designs on Iran are business – big business. The entire "War on Terror" is an engine for crony profiteering on a monstrous scale – and the greatest transfer of public wealth into private hands the world has ever seen. Those who believe that the Bushists would hold back from striking Iran because it is too "risky" don't understand the stakes these warmongers are playing for. As they will never suffer personally or financially from even the worst outcome of their policies, the game is well worth the candle for them. Others will do the dying. Others will face the ruin. Others will weep with pain and grief.
But who will be killed in the attack on Iran, and the subsequent, inevitable escalation? For most Americans, the image of Iran is still the one that was seared onto their television screens in 1979 and 1980: the angry, violent hostage-takers, fundamentalist zombies blindly obedient to the will of an evil, black-robed tyrant. Less visual, but still potent, are the later press descriptions of Iranian hordes swarming in suicidal waves across the battlefields with Iraq. Such images and impressions – endlessly recapitulated in the media and in the political rhetoric of both parties – constitute the picture of the Iranian "enemy" that many Americans hold in their minds today.
It is these mad, maniacal, frothing zealots who will die in any attack, most people think – when they consider the matter at all. One might oppose a strike on practical grounds, of course, as Admiral William Fallon, recently removed as head of U.S. Central Command, allegedly did; but not from any concern over the fate of those "ants," as Fallon described the Iranians, in a perfect encapsulation of the general consensus.
Even at the time of their creation, these images were gross exaggerations of Iranian society; today they are wildly absurd, even hallucinatory in their lack of connection to reality. Consider just one fact: almost 70 percent of Iran's population is under 30. Most Iranians were not even born at the time of the 1979 revolution. The overwhelming majority of Iranians are too young to have played the slightest part in the war with Iraq. Most Iranians are also too young to play any substantial role in governing the country now. It has one of the youngest populations in the world. And beneath the rigid outward shell of its repressive system, this nation of youth is seething with change, growing toward new freedoms, making its own way toward a future that – if allowed to develop – will doubtless be much different than any scenario imagined by the militarists in Washington or the old men in Qom.
This week in the Observer, Peter Beaumont provided an insightful portrait of young Iran, particularly the women – who now outnumber the men in the nation's universities: a circumstance unimaginable in Iraq or Afghanistan, the lands "liberated" by the Terror War. An excerpt:
These are the people who will die – innocent, young, hopeful, human – in any attempt to extend the militarists' empire of corruption and domination ever deeper into the oil lands.These "islands of freedom" – as yet unconnected into a larger movement, still under threat – will be destroyed by an American attack and the subsequent, inevitable strengthening of the hardliners – or, in the extreme case, the subsequent collapse of Iranian society into the kind of murderous chaos Bush and his Establishment enablers have inflicted on Iraq.
These are the people who will die – innocent, young, hopeful, human – in any attempt to extend the militarists' empire of corruption and domination ever deeper into the oil lands.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on March 19, 2008.