Wright from Washington City
May 25, 2008


Will Bush upset the applecart?



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The rise of Barack Obama poses a problem for fanatical supporters of the War on the Iraqis, now hoping for a new War on the Iranians.

True, Obama has made his obligatory ritual kowtow to the War Party's Supreme Soviet — AIPAC. But it's pretty clear that, as a black who voted against the War on the Iraqis — at least, the first time — and who has criticized the war, if tepidly, he's not completely reliable. He reinforced that troubling impression recently by commenting that Iran doesn't pose as great a threat to the United State as the Soviet Union did. Washington negotiated with the Soviets, he said, so perhaps it might be a good idea to talk to the Iranians before blowing them up.

Those bizarre notions provoked squeals of outrage from various desk-bound neo-Trot Napoleons, and John McCain accused Obama of "inexperience and reckless judgment." That's pretty rich from a guy who sang "Bomb Iran" to the tune of a Beach Boys song, and in public, no less. McCain is nothing if not reliable, having proclaimed his readiness to keep troops in Iraq "100 years." Nobody believes his Patton routine is an act; he really is as crazy as a hoot-owl on meth. Every time I see him on the news I look to see whether his eyes have turned into pinwheels.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has done her best to jettison the bogus anti-war mantle she donned to launch her campaign, instead posing as a beer-swilling, shotgun-toting, working-class pro-military jingo, only with a warm and feminine side. I keep expecting her to light a stogie and challenge Obama to an arm-wrestling match, before leading an American Flag quilting bee and then bursting into tears at a gift of home-made pickles. It's all so confusing. Was it so long ago that she frostily declared her contempt for women who "stayed home and baked cookies," and for the military? How soon people forget.

Underneath her latest public incarnation, of course, Ms. Hillary is a Clinton, which means she doesn't stand for much of anything except whatever will further her ambitions. Despite the early support she received from anti-war liberals, she would undoubtedly have no problem personally attaching electrodes to Cindy Sheehan's genitals to win the nomination.

As for her willingness to attack Iran on any flimsy pretext, remember how her frightful husband casually attacked Serbia and Sudan. Hillary has gone out of her way to threaten Iran with "obliteration" if its rulers should be stupid enough to attack our sacred, nuclear-armed Gallant Ally with nuclear weapons — which, of course, the Iranians don't have, and have little chance of acquiring any time soon. The only problem is that she's losing the nomination, so she probably won't get the opportunity to do any obliterating. [1]

If Obama wins the election, there's a slim chance that the warmongers might not get their way, and that Iran would go unmolested. That can't be allowed, so it's looking more and more as if Iran will be hit before the election. That would serve two purposes:

    1. It would guarantee that Iran gets what's coming to it; and

    2. The resulting tide of jingoism, fanned by the entertainment and news media — our informal Ministry of Truth — would, the warmongers hope, sweep the half-mad McCain into office, making the presidency safe for neo-Trot imperialism for at least the next four years.

Already the ground is being prepared. We are constantly bombarded by nonsense about Iran's being the cause of the Empire's problems in Iraq. Just the other day I heard a CNN correspondent, "embedded" in a U.S. Army unit and wearing military armor and helmet, repeat the ritual chant that Iran is supplying "sophisticated" explosively formed penetrator (EFP) bombs to the Iraqis. [2] I dealt with that lie in September 2007, but apparently nobody in the mainstream press paid any attention to the story.

On May 6, I heard a set of officially respectable talking heads on Diane Rehm's NPR show smugly agreeing that Iran was orchestrating not only the violence in Iraq but also the current conflict in Lebanon between Hezbollah and the pro-U.S. regime there, and, for good measure, the intransigence of the brutalized Palestinians in Gaza in not knuckling under to Israel's vicious starvation siege. I was surprised they didn't accuse the Ayatollahs of being responsible for Global Warming, gypsy moths, or athlete's foot.

Strange to say, neither they nor anybody else in the tame media mentioned something that, like Sherlock Holmes's "incident of the dog in the night-time," is interesting more for what didn't happen than what did.

Here's the story. The Iraqi collaborationist forces in Karbala and Basra captured a huge supply of weapons allegedly belonging to Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia opposed to the occupation and, incidentally, to Iranian influence in Iraq. High-ranking legionaries crowed to journalists that they had the proof that Iran was supplying weapons to insurgents. They planned to have a big media event in which some of the weapons, including EFPs, would be destroyed after showing them to journalists.

But then it turned out that ... er, none of the weapons were, um, Iranian. So the event was cancelled, and, like good Germans, everybody just forgot about it. Except for Tina Susman of the Los Angeles Times, who reported it on her blog, but never managed to get the news into the paper. [3]

If the Iranian regime is actively seeking to stir up violence and destruction, it seems to me that it is missing some golden opportunities. For instance, why supply only EFPs and other low-tech hardware to the Iraqi insurgents when the Iranians could give them much more effective weapons, ones that would allow them to actually engage the invading legionaries? The problem with an EFP is that it is useful only as a harassment weapon. It has to be carefully set up and then detonated from a safe distance. There is no safe place to be when one goes off nearby: although the copper slug it throws does most of the damage to the enemy, it generates a lethal shockwave and spews shrapnel in all directions.

To really fight U.S. troops, you'd want a couple of things. First would be an effective anti-aircraft capability. The second would be an effective anti-armor battle weapon.

The Empire's control of the skies over Iraq and the lethal firepower carried by its helicopters and warplanes make it difficult for the insurgents to carry out anything but hit-and-run attacks. U.S. aerial legions know how to avoid being shot down by the light weapons commonly used by Iraqi insurgents, such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and automatic rifles, even though occasionally somebody gets lucky and downs a helicopter.

But a high-quality infrared-guided anti-aircraft missile is another thing entirely. It was the U.S. gift of Stinger shoulder-fired missiles to al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies (at the time labeled "freedom fighters"; now considered the scum of the earth) in Afghanistan that ultimately made life unbearable for the Soviet occupation there.

Iran has Russian SA-18 Igla shoulder-fired anti-aircraft "fire and forget" missiles. Those are small, light, relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and capable of shooting down aircraft at altitudes up to about 10,000 feet, at ranges of more than 3 miles. They have an estimated kill rate of 25 percent to 30 percent in the face of the countermeasures used by the United State to distract infrared guidance systems. With enough of them, insurgents could deprive the Empire of control of the air over cities such as Baghdad, making it much easier to take on its ground forces. Why aren't they using them?

The second thing the insurgents would need is an effective anti-armor battle weapon. Russia makes a number of these: at least three of them were apparently used by Hezbollah, Iran's protégé, to great effect against Israeli tanks during Israel's murderous but disastrous 2006 invasion of Lebanon. One, known as the AT-5 Spandrel, is large and heavy, and is designed to be fired from vehicles or fortifications. According to Western sources, Iran has been manufacturing them since 2000. Another is the AT-15 Kornet, which can be carried and fired by a small team of infantry, and would thus be more suitable for guerrillas. Like the Spandrel, it requires a good deal of training on the part of its users to be effective. Syria, the ally of Iran and Hezbollah, is known to have it.

The best missile for urban guerillas, though, seems to be the AT-14 Metis, which is small and relatively inexpensive, and can be carried and fired by one man. It has a range of 1,000 meters, and a warhead apparently able to penetrate the armor of heavy main battle tanks such as Israel's vaunted Merkava and the Empire's hideously expensive M1 Abrams. And the Israeli press claim that an improved armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenade called the RPG-29 was responsible for a number of Israeli casualties in the Lebanon fiasco. If Iraqi guerillas had either of these in sufficient numbers, they could make life seriously miserable for U.S. legionaries. But apparently they don't, because they haven't.

All of these weapons are presumably available to Iran, because they have been used by Iran's ally, Hezbollah. And you can bet that if any of them had been used by Iraqi insurgents against the Empire or its Iraqi collaborators, we would have heard about it right away from the tame U.S. news media. But we haven't.

The obvious conclusion is that Iran is not seriously supporting any of the militias currently fighting U.S. forces in Iraq, for the excellent reasons that:

     1. The Iraqi puppet regime of al Maliki has strong ties to Iran, which has every reason to wish it to succeed; and

     2. The Iranians are neither stupid nor insane, and they have no wish and no reason to provoke a confrontation with the Empire.

It would seem that Emperor Bush and his supporting crowd of sycophants, running dogs, mouthpieces, and attack squirrels in Minitrue are telling us things that aren't true.

Of course, Bush's real reason for attacking Iran has nothing to do with U.S. interests, and apparently everything to do with those of Israel. With Iraq — once the most advanced Arab nation, with the largest middle class, the highest level of education, and a growing industrial base — reduced to an impoverished, bleeding ruin by 18 years of U.S. persecution, the greatest rival to Israel's dominance in the Middle East has become Iran. Iran's actual intentions are unimportant; rather, it is its potential to act as a counterweight to Israeli supremacy that is unacceptable to the Israeli Likudniks and their U.S. neo-Trot allies.

But Iran is not Iraq, and attacking Iran may have unexpected consequences for the Empire. It is much bigger in area, has a much larger population, and features completely different political and military cultures. Its protégé, Hezbollah, is the only Arab entity that has shown that it can successfully fight the Israelis; and I suspect that might be an important factor underlying the Empire's restraint up to this point.

William Lind, a military historian and theorist, thinks an attack on Iran might result in an actual defeat for the Empire:

... Here's roughly how it might play out. In response to American air and missile strikes on military targets inside Iran, Iran moves to cut the supply lines coming up from the south through the Persian Gulf (can anyone in the Pentagon guess why it's called that?) and Kuwait on which most U.S. Army units in Iraq depend (the Marines get most of their stuff through Jordan). It does so by hitting shipping in the Gulf, mining key choke points, and destroying the port facilities we depend on, mostly through sabotage. It also hits oil production and export facilities in the Gulf region, as a decoy: we focus most of our response on protecting the oil, not guarding our army's supply lines.

Simultaneously, Iran activates the Shiite militias to cut the roads that lead from Kuwait to Baghdad. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades — the latter now supposedly our allies — enter the war against us with their full strength. Ayatollah Sistani, an Iranian, calls on all Iraqi Shiites to fight the Americans wherever they find them. Instead of fighting the 20% of Iraq's population that is Sunni, we find ourselves battling the 60% that is Shiite. Worse, the Shiites' logistics lie directly across those logistics lines coming up from Kuwait.

U.S. Army forces in Iraq begin to run out of supplies, especially POL [Petroleum, Oils, and Lubricants], of which they consume a vast amount. Once they are largely immobilized by lack of fuel, and the region gets some bad weather that keeps our aircraft grounded or at least blind, Iran sends two to four regular army armor and mech divisions across the border. Their objective is to pocket American forces in and around Baghdad. ("Operation Cassandra," Military.com, March 25, 2008)

Lind points out that the Imperial legions are scattered around Iraq and aren't configured for fighting against a conventional enemy. He speculates that, with their escape to the south cut off, they might be trapped in what he calls "the Baghdad Kessel," and warns:
If the United States lost the army it has in Iraq, we would never recover from the defeat. It would be another Adrianople, another Manzikert, another Rocroi. Given the many other ways we now resemble Imperial Spain, the last analogy may be the most telling.
Lind obviously thinks that would be a bad thing, a sentiment I do not share.

Naturally, there's no telling whether the above scenario will play out when Boy George pushes the button. But it's something to think about. My guess is that, at the very least, some of the missiles discussed above will quickly become available to Shiite guerrillas, and the casualty rate of Imperial Storm Troopers will rise sharply. In any case, it's not the only calamity that could befall the Empire.

In 2002 the Pentagon conducted an elaborate, $250 million war game, with 13,500 participants, simulating an attack on Iran. With a clever retired Marine lieutenant general commanding the "Iranian" forces, the "U.S." fleet in the Persian Gulf suffered heavy losses from massed attacks of cruise missiles, light planes, and small boats.

Now, war games are run to learn about weaknesses, so that they can be corrected, right? Well, apparently not in this case. After the "Iranians" hammered the "U.S." forces, the game was stopped, the fleet magically refloated, and the general forbidden from using his unconventional tactics and some of his weapons. The game continued, with the "U.S." forces eventually winning. The general quit in disgust, saying the simulation was "scripted." ("War games rigged? / General says Millennium Challenge 02 'was almost entirely scripted,'" by Sean D. Naylor, Army Times, August 16, 2002)

And here's another wild card. The Iranians may have a new Russian anti-ship cruise missile for which the U.S. has no effective defense. According to Tony Capaccio, writing for Bloomberg.com, it poses a threat to the Empire's ultimate power-projection vehicle, the aircraft carrier: "The U.S. Navy, after nearly six years of warnings from Pentagon testers, still lacks a plan for defending aircraft carriers against a supersonic Russian-built missile, according to current and former officials and Defense Department documents." ("Navy Lacks Plan to Defend against 'Sizzler' Missile," March 23, 2008)

The Bloomberg article concentrates on a hypothetical threat from China, which has already deployed the weapon; but Iran has three quiet diesel-electric submarines that may be able to fire the Sizzler. They are capable of getting within firing range of U.S. naval forces without detection. The Chinese showed that recently by surfacing inside a U.S. task force in the Pacific with a similar vessel. Iran also has Sukhoi-27/32 heavy attack fighters capable of carrying the Sizzler.

Even if Iran doesn't have the Sizzler, it does have an older Russian weapon called the Moskit: a big ramjet-powered missile with a range of up to 100 miles that flies at more than twice the speed of sound at very low altitude, making it hard to detect and allowing little time for shooting it down. Like the Sizzler, it was designed to sink aircraft carriers. The Sukhois can also carry it, as well as yet another anti-ship missile called the Yakhont, which the Iranians are rumored to have. It is newer, faster, and longer-range than the Moskit, though not as sophisticated as the Sizzler, and Iranian subs can fire it.

The Russians are vigorously flogging weapons to any regime that will buy them, especially in the Middle East, and with Bellicose George bellowing and snorting at every opportunity, the Iranians have every reason to believe they need all the protection from U.S. aggression they can get. All three of those missiles are much bigger, faster, and more formidable than anything the Empire has, not to mention the subsonic Exocets that sank two British destroyers during the Falklands war and severely damaged the U.S. destroyer Stark in 1988. Iran has a lot of those, too.

It is quite possible that the Iranians have deployed enough missiles in hardened sites, in their three subs, and on modern airplanes to sink part of a U.S. carrier task force, if used properly. If I were they, I certainly would have. A low-altitude Mach 2 missile is extremely difficult to shoot down even with lots of warning, and U.S. defenses could be overwhelmed easily by enough missiles fired at once. And, unlike mostly flat Iraq, the Iranian coast is rugged, full of cliffs and mountains, offering many opportunities to hide weapons.

Remember also that Hezbollah — unlike the incompetent Palestinians — have now given the Israelis a bloody nose twice: First in driving them out of southern Lebanon a few years ago, and second, in 2006, in hunkering down in secret bunkers, avoiding detection and destruction from Israeli air attacks, and then slamming them good when they got frustrated and sent their troops in. Hezbollah and Iran have a very close working relationship. Could it be that together they have developed effective methods for fighting against an enemy who has crushing airpower? Note that Iran has been buying highly sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia, as well.

All this is speculation, of course. The Empire's air forces are very, very good, and they may be ready to neutralize anything the Iranians can throw at them. But if the tables are turned and the United State suffers a serious setback, things could get very interesting indeed. Might it be the beginning of the end of the Zionist stranglehold on U.S. politics?

May 25, 2008

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1. The refusal of the Clintonites to give up in the face of Obama's almost certain victory in the nomination battle raises the strong suspicion that they are doing their best to sabotage his run against McCain so that Hillary can run again in 2012. But there's another possibility, which is that they actually believe they can take the nomination. The phenomenally rich Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, a strong supporter of Hillary (and the Defamation League, but not, apparently, a big AIPAC patron) was reported by CNN as having threatened House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with putting a stopper on contributions to Democratic Party congressional candidates if Pelosi didn't repudiate her call for the losing candidate to hang it up by June.

Weinstein reportedly also threatened that he and his friends would jump ship to McCain if Michigan and Florida, whose Democratic primaries were nullified because they were held too early in contravention of party rules, were not allowed to hold the primaries again: a "revote." Both voted the first time for Hillary.

See "Clinton supporter pressures Pelosi," by Ed Henry, CNN, May 8, 2008.

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2. A recent study by a sociologist finds, unsurprisingly, that "embedding" correspondents keeps them from reporting on the suffering of civilians. Instead, they focus on the problems and sufferings of the legionaries. See "New Study Calls 'Embed' Program for U.S. Media in Iraq a 'Victory' — for the Pentagon," by Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher, May 14, 2008.

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3. Many years ago a friend of mine named Phil Nicolaides told me that he enjoyed reading the Washington Post because one never knew where in the paper one might stumble upon a front-page story. It seems that things in the MSM have evolved since then.

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