For Iran, No Nukes Is Not Good News

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.”

Mmm… sanity?

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.”

Mark Drolette writes in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Mark, or visit Mark's website.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Deadbeat said on October 7th, 2007 at 12:13am #

    War for Oil? I think not!

    How about an alternative perspective, the one that the “left” seems to ignore or choose to quash

  2. Shabnam said on October 7th, 2007 at 1:22pm #

    Mr. Drolette:

    Please let me say that you got it wrong. It is not “only for o-i-l”. It is for Israel as well. The neocons, mainly Zionist, promised George Bush an empire which takes the Zionist interest very seriously. Israel has become illegitimate in the eyes of the international community. It is the existence of Israel in danger, not because of Ahmadinejad’s critic of Israel which has captured the heard and mind of Arabs and Muslim world due to his honestly, rather because of the brutality, war criminal, land grabbing and apartheid system that Zionist regime is engaged in during the past 60 years which has WIPPED OUT PALISTINE, invaded so many surrounding countries and has continued its policy of expansionism for “greater Israel” from Mauritania to Afghanistan that made Israel illegitimate.
    Why don’t you listen to the presidential candidate like Mike Gravel for god’s sake? He knows what is going on and he is very concerned for the interest of American people. He said publicly, on PBS, that Israel lobby is pushing for an attack on Iran, but this is not the interest of the United States. Why did he say so, 77 years old former senator from Alaska? He is bold because he does not have anything to lose and he is more interested in American people’s interest than a silly job that you call it “Presidency” where you have to serve Israel’s interest first when you want to make foreign policy regarding the Middle East.
    Mr. Drolette: Iran is not Iraq, but does not mean they had the right to bring Iraq such a brutality and destruction. Iraq invaded Iran with the encouragement of US and the “civilized west” where Saddam was given weapon of Mass destruction by the west including US and Germany and money from the Arab puppet head of States. The term “axis of Evil” which is suited well for ‘US – Israel – Britain’ was coined by a Zionist pro Israel in name of David Frum, and the term Islamofacsistsm which has been used by George Bush, was created by the pro Israel such as Daniel pipes and podhoretz who has publicly requested, like Joe Lieberman, bombing of Iran on American expense and now is “advising” one of the presidential candidate Rudolf Giuliani who has promised to bomb Iran if he is elected president to please his good “advisor”, podhoretz, form the lobby. Who did bring the proposal labeling Iran’s military, Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist organization which passed by 76 – 22 where Hillary Clinton voted for it and by doing so she expanded the war even further. Hillary Clinton, AIPAC girl, who have said in the past “if I knew what I know now, I would have not voted for the war.” Doesn’t she know now? If she can not learn from her past mistakes then how she expects people to vote for her?

    “What in the earth could be the difference?”)

    The difference is that North Korea is not located in the Middle East. If North Korea was located in the ME and was a regional power historically, then N. Korea would have been a target. Look at Syria. Does Syria have O-I-L? Of course not, but Israel considers Syria as an enemy and does not want to return Syria’s land. Syria is not an enemy of the US and can be very beneficial to the United States but since Syria is on Israel’s enemy list then become US enemy as well. If I were you I would have not paid attention to Bolton who goes to Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and calls for bombing of Iran.
    Mr. Drolette:
    As you have correctly implied US wants to attack Iran and nuclear reactors are an EXCUSE. Number of American generals have accepted, including Odum and AbiZaid, the Iran nuclear reactors even NUCLEAR IRAN and have said we have lived with nuclear Soviet Union why not Iran where is surrounded by nuclear states including Israel. However, I do not want to believe with such a certainty that:
    “Iran will almost assuredly be attacked and any excuse will do, no matter how far-flung”
    If Americans are mobilized and protest against the Zionist war in large numbers and stop funding the war by going on strike until the war machine is down then we might be able to prevent a disaster for the world.

    Americans must stand up and go on strike every Tuesday until the war machine is down. Americans can not hide behind a VEIL OF IGNORANCE and be silent. Your silence may be forgiven once but repeat of the same thing has a serious consequence which you will carry it for generations to come.

  3. r gaylor said on October 7th, 2007 at 3:25pm #

    It is about oil.
    Israel is about oil … without oil, what would Israel matter?
    Our only interest in even having an Israeli state has been in order to have a surrogate in the region. Sure the nut cases in the x-ian-right (of whom I actually count some as friends) think in terms of the rebuilding of the temple and end times … but the core policy has been and will always be oil.
    In fact, perhaps what o i l stands for could be Our Israeli Legionnaires?

  4. Shabnam said on October 7th, 2007 at 4:39pm #

    How many surrogates do you need? Saudi Arabia, Arab Emirate, Kuwait, Turkey,………
    Why can’t they work with Iran, power of the region and natural ally of the United States until the Iranian revolution? But even after the revolution Iran has signaled her intension to work with the US based on mutual interest but due to US domestic politics, the Lobby, and against the interest of oil companies, these efforts have been fruitless. Why is that? The United State has followed her interest like other powers and does not recognize PERMENANT FRIEND OR ENEMY BUT INTEREST. How come the United State is not able to recognize that ISRAEL’S INTEREST IS NOT US INTEREST? If you think that US is looking only for oil in the ME or Central Asia, do you think is Iran or Israel that can be the most beneficial to US since Iran like US does not trust Russia and is working with Russia now because Iran has been pushed towards Russia. On the other hand Russia and Israel seek the same goal, weak Iran. Every Iranian knows that Russia like Israel wants a weak Iran because Iran has strong ties with other republics and their people. If this is for oil only then why not invade Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia in 1974 stopped the shipment of oil? Why the United States trust Saudi Arabia? since states do not have permanent friends or enemies but interest. Israel and Russia have benefited the most since 9/11.
    What kind of benefit do you get out of Israel as a surrogate state? Your biggest enemy, the Russia, was pushed out of Afghanistan by Mojahedin, which later was labeled as “Al Qaeda”. Mojahedin got rid of your enemy for you while Israel continually is making enemies for you.
    I think it is the time for American people to remove THE VEIL OF IGNORANCE and push the servants of the Zionist state of Israel out of the congress, the senate and out of the presidential campaign. Don’t you think so?

  5. Shabnam said on October 7th, 2007 at 4:57pm #

    Mr. McNiven:
    I thought Mr. Reza Fiyouzat position on Iranian reactor has been defeated for now. It is the best that Mr. Fiyouzat spends his precious energy on elimination of US nuclear arsenal and other formal colonial power nuclear weapons including the racist Zionist State first and then talk about the peaceful energy reactors of Iran, otherwise is a fruitless discussion especially now more than ever where countries are attacked by a hegemonic power, and the states are seeking protection by any means.

  6. Mike McNiven said on October 7th, 2007 at 5:04pm #

    Iran’s Nuclear Program

  7. iyamwutiam said on October 7th, 2007 at 8:34pm #

    There is a distinction between the two nations and their ultimate goals. North Korea having an armed US presence adjacent to it for decades see the pursuit of a Nuclear Bomb as a deterrent to an inevitable invasion/regime chane while the Iranian government seeks their exploration of nuclear power as a step to further advance their industrial and scientific base – as did China and India- who by the way have caught up quite a bit with the United States – in terms of technology and particularly understanding technology.

    This is what is being missed. The goals are quite distinct. While one nation seeks a weapon the other seeks to explore and understand technology which may be the next frontier. For example – the pursuit of missile technology can be viewed with two general distinctions – defense but also the ability to launch their own satellites for communications, etc. Again – both India and China come to mind- since Japan isessentially an American protectorate as witnessed by the countless indiscretions of american troops on Okinawa, as well as other places.

    Russia does not seek a weak Iran -especially aty the moment. Their nurturing of the Shanghai Cooperative is not only proof but due to their position of being encircled by traditional allies (particularly Ukraine, Estonia, Poland) has them realizing the ‘virtue’ of being advocates for a “multipolar” world.

    China, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Qatar, and Russia are slowly and concertedly countering both dollar hegemony and US domination. While at this time – it may seem daunting especially sice NATO has firmly allied itself with the US not only in terms of paltry military cooperation but rather more significantly in extending the aims of continued ‘wester/european’ imperialism.

    The large leaps by asian currencies and economies post the long term capital debacles and globalisation HAS had many countries understand that the technology divide can be bridged much sooner than even they themselves expected.

    Today – the wireless innovation has given countries like India and China INSTANT communication infrastructure with out the requsite decades it would have taken before 1980 in termsof laying down copper wire all over the country. The plunge into WI-FI, a large growing base of engineering being converted into computer programmers, physicists who are able to create working space technologies (such as destroying a satellite in space with a single missile) as well as implementing superspeed mag-lev trains etc- has given a confidence to ‘developing’ nations that the IMF, World Bank handouts in exchange for raw resources never have been able to cultivate.

    Finally – the ‘developed’ countries are learning that the price of the obscene profits gained by outsourcing technology to impoverished nations who have a plethora of cheap labor – is transfer of technology and knowledge unprecedented as seen from the scope of European powers. The only analogy would be the wonders that Marco Polo and others brought back via trade from East that exploded the scientific base of the west.

    This is not lost upon the corporations as can be witnessed by the mushrrom cloud s of law dealing with ‘intellectual property’, patents, etc etc. Despite this – one can unequivocally say – that the growth of computer programmers, technicians, scientists etc in these developing countries has risen at such an astonsihing rate that it may be only a few decades before the forefront of innovation shifts back from the West to East. This is what Iran sees- and it seeks itself to advance beyond the provincial and uneducated ‘model’ such as Saudi Arabia and move closer to align itself in the path of its more Eastern neighbors such as India.

  8. Glenn said on October 8th, 2007 at 5:49pm #

    iyamwutiam, thank you for your perspective on the motivation behind the Iranian nuclear programme. It gives an interesting new dimension to our analysis/understanding of what is transpiring today.

    Reasoned argument without vitriol and hyperbole allows us readers to dispassionately consider its merits and draw our own conclusions.

    Thanks again.

  9. Glenn said on October 8th, 2007 at 5:56pm #

    And Mark, I always enjoy your articles. This topics so hot ( lots of strong divergent opinions here!) there’s no way you couldn’t draw some adverse comments. I look forward to your next offering.

  10. jaime said on October 11th, 2007 at 11:46pm #

    Shabnam wrote:

    “…Zionist regime is engaged in during the past 60 years which has WIPPED OUT PALISTINE, invaded so many surrounding countries and has continued its policy of expansionism for “greater Israel” from Mauritania to Afghanistan that made Israel illegitimate….”

    Mauritania to Afghanistan eh? So what was Israel’s crimes against humanity in Mauritania, being as we haven’t seen many news stories lately of the chaos and horrors that Jews and Zionist hegemony has tormented the population with….

    A little googling produced these 2 facts.

    Mauritania is one of the first Arab block countries to establish diplomatic relations with Israel

    In 1999 Mauritania joined Egypt and Jordan as the only members of the Arab League to post ambassadors in Israel.

    That sounds pretty evil. What else did Israel do to Mauritania? Send soldiers? Gun down children in the streets? Rape their women and farm animals?

    Er no. They opened an eye clinic.

    An Israeli eye clinic has, for the first time, operated in Mauritania, under the aegis of the Foreign Ministry’s Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV).

    The clinic, during which eye treatment was provided for many patients, began on July 11, 1999…..

    On the first day of their arrival at the hospital in Nouakchott, the doctors saw and classified about 520 patients who had waited for them, despite many technical and logistic difficulties.

    During their stay in Mauritania, Drs. Rosenblatt and Robinson performed eye operations on patients suffering form various degrees of blindness, using a large quantity of disposable equipment flown in from Israel.

    Here’s a story from 2005

    “…At an Arab League meeting in March, Algeria and Libya tried to get Mauritania to withdraw its support for Israel. But Mauritania refused and Libya’s ambassador has still not returned to Nouakchott….”

  11. Mike McNiven said on October 21st, 2007 at 12:40am #

    What a painfully racist double-standard on things nuclear: It is bad for the Americans but very good for the Iranians! Please compare and contrast for yourself: