One thing I’ve learned while researching columns is that oftentimes, the smaller the item, the louder it speaks.
Check this thirty-six worder from page A3 of the September 29 San Francisco Chronicle:
“Petroleum for Pyongyang: President Bush Friday authorized the first U.S. shipment of heavy fuel oil to North Korea in five years, a reward to Pyongyang for moving forward with its agreement to end its nuclear programs.”
That’s it, in its entirety. Its brevity, however, belies its true voluminous content. ‘Cause:
Isn’t North Korea, like Iraq and Iran, a charter member of Bush’s “Axis of Evil”?
And isn’t North Korea, unlike Iraq and Iran, the only one of the three to possess nuclear weapons?
Well gosh, that’s odd. Because why, then, did Bushco engage in (successful) diplomacy with North Korea while Iraq lay in ruin and Iran sits next in the crosshairs?
What on earth could be the difference? (The more accurate query would be: “What in the earth could be the difference?”)
For Bush supporters in the audience, the ones who still insist Iraq’s obliteration is about spreading freedom n’ democracy and killing anyone who resists such beneficence, let me spell it out for you (don’t panic, it’s only three letters): o-i-l.
Come on, even Alan Greenspan said as much. Uh, until he didn’t, that is. (It’s not nice to fool with motherf*****s.)
But, just as transpired before we plundered oil-rich Iraq, we’re now told we must pummel oil-rich Iran, even as lip service is paid to giving peace a chance.
And right on cue, bellicosity rises to muffle such phony calls for diplomacy as Dick Cheney and his pinheaded PNAC pals paint Iran as a grave danger, salivating over the day they can bust its chops and loot its resources.
Calculatingly chiming in with a blustery salvo is the revoltin’ John Bolton, long-time pit bull of the American far right (so far right, in fact, he’s disdainful of those damn feel-good neocons and their “excessively Wilsonian views about the benefits of democracy.” Ouch.)
Bolton declared recently in Great Britain (as reported by Ros Taylor of The Guardian UK) that talking with Iran was useless and “he saw no alternative to a pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities in the country.”
Naturally, this saddens him. “I don’t think the use of military force is an attractive option,” he laments, no doubt sponging away tears that’d make a caiman proud, “but I would tell you I don’t know what the alternative is.”
To his credit, it’s not like he hasn’t considered alternatives: “The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back.”
Yeah, those were the days. Especially when you look at how great that sort of thing worked out in, well, Iran.
Obediently, Bolton invokes the name of the current designated Greatest Threat to American Security Today, intoning “that any strike should be followed by an attempt to remove the ‘source of the problem,’ Mr. [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad.”
Ah, Ahmadinejad. I will admit his recent controversial appearance at Columbia University did leave me wondering why a mad dictator who has no regard for human rights, authorizes torture, is directly responsible for thousands of deaths, has brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation and is a narcissistic loony so ego-ridden his utterly undeserved self-importance blinds him to seeing he’s little more than a mouthpiece for his country’s real policymakers is, indeed, regularly afforded public pulpits from which to spew his fundamentalist religion-based lunacy.
But enough about Bush.
True, Ahmadinejad makes Borat look like Guest of the Year and does have particular difficulty with “H” words (e.g., “Holocaust” and “homosexuals”), but, come now: this fool is America’s biggest fear? Personally, I’m a lot more worried about the latest shipment of lead-based dishware from China.
The fact remains: If Iran weren’t awash with oil, neither Ahmadinejad nor his nation would be even a blip on the greedmeisters’ screen.
Just as I found it an ironic hoot — in a sardonic sort of way — that Saddam Hussein beat Dubya hands-down in the honesty department when it came to Iraq’s (lack of) WMD, so, too, do I give credit to the admittedly unsavory Ahmadinejad for asking at Columbia an entirely legitimate question of America:
“If you have created the fifth generation of atomic bombs and are testing them already, what position are you in to question the peaceful purposes of other people who want nuclear power?”
Whether Iran’s nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful is open to debate. But let’s say Iran does want to develop the bomb.
Well, then, still: By what logic can the U.S. have ten thousand nuclear warheads and Israel, a non-signatory to the nuclear anti-proliferation treaty (which, by the way, bears Iran’s endorsement), two to three hundred, and yet Iran — with zero — is the bad actor?
Because we’re the good guys? Hmm…you may want to ask Iraqis their view of that. (Though a response may be slow in forthcoming from the million-plus slaughtered since the invasion.) And given that Cheney and gang are insanely gung-ho on actually nuking Iran, a country that’s not threatened America one iota, where doth the evil truly dwell?
Bolton and ilk’s broadsides notwithstanding, however, Iran’s nuclear intentions are becoming moot anyway. The bogyeman Iranian-produced mushroom cloud over Peoria has repeatedly been run up the flagpole of American opinion, yet that puppy just hasn’t flown. So now it’s all about how Iran is killing our freedom-fightin’ soldier boys by providing those ubiquitously handy “insurgents” mega-deadly weapons.
But the reason matters not. Barring a miracle, Iran will almost assuredly be attacked and any excuse will do, no matter how far-flung. Hell, next thing you know, Ahmadinejad will be the new Hitler for stealing rattles from babies. (Though he could end up a new American hero if they’re lead-based ones from China.)
About the only thing that could stop this latest round of Bushian madness is if Iran’s oil magically disappeared overnight, even if the very next day fifty shiny new nukes rolled through Tehran on full military display.
If such a fantastic scenario did occur, I’d not be surprised to read this tiny item a few months later:
“Toys from Tehran: The White House, recognizing Iran’s commitment to stop increasing its nuclear stockpile while also seeking to punish China, lifted sanctions yesterday against the importation of playthings from the Middle Eastern nation. Dishware, too.”