Friday, March 20, 2015

The Narrow Gate

Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.
- The Vietnam Song, Country Joe and the Fish

And it all seems so terribly familiar, doesn’t it?

We’ve been here before and made the easy decision.

We paid the price for that too, and we’re still paying.

And yet we apparently learned nothing from our mistakes.

This week, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu won himself reelection.

Polls say that Israelis chose security as the defining issue of the election.

Israel’s idea of democracy isn’t like the American version. In the country’s history, no single party has ever won a decisive majority of the parliament’s 120 seats. Which means that after each election, the resulting government is formed from a coalition of parties and complex alliances. 

Exactly what Israel’s government will look like this time around is anybody’s guess.

But one thing is likely, given Netanyahu’s win, sooner or later there will probably be war.

Netanyahu is determined to see Iran reduced to rubble and he will settle for nothing less.

And the obvious implication of his reelection is that a majority of Israelis feel the same way. They see Iran as a direct threat to Israel’s continued existence, certainly with good reason, and they are convinced that war is the only way of resolving the situation.

But they don’t want to fight that war themselves.

They’d prefer the United States do it for them.

And in this, Israel is not alone. There are plenty of Americans who are perfectly willing to declare war on Israel’s behalf – including a significant number of US Senators, Congressmen, and presidential candidates.

Whether they want war because they’re convinced Iran is somehow an actual threat to the rest of the world, or because they’re attempting to bring about the apocalyptic prophecy of their religion, or because they think it’ll help them get elected, or because they just want to stick it to Barack Obama, they want war and they are determined to get it.

Earlier this week in the Washington Post, neoconservative Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, wrote an article titled “War with Iran is probably our best option.”  The article is a couple thousand words, but you don’t need to read it. The title sums it up nicely.

Muravchik calls for the preemptive destruction of Iran.

He says it’s our best option. Kill them, before they kill us. Simple as that.

This is nothing new for Murachik. He was an early supporter of The Bush Doctrine and advocated for preemptive invasion of Iraq based on the idea of WMDs and a supposed imminent threat to the rest of the world. In December of 2002, while US forces such as yours truly waited in the Northern Arabian Gulf for the Commander In Chief’s order to begin the invasion, “experts” like Murachik staunchly defended the right and duty of America to wage preemptive war. To get them before they got us. In the December 2002 edition of Commentary magazine, Murachik wrote:

"The complaint that Bush's doctrine of preemption traduces international law is the most serious charge laid against it. But is it well founded?

Bush's statement does not strike a posture that places America above the law, as some critics have suggested. To the contrary, it seeks to embed the new doctrine in established legal traditions. 'For centuries,' it asserts, 'international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves.' And it continues: 'We must adapt [this] concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today's adversaries.'

Those capabilities include weapons of mass destruction that can be 'easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning.' In this, Bush is on strong legal ground."

He was joined by dozens of other policy wonks, all nodding their heads in unison over the idea of preemptive war and urging President Bush on. We have to do it, they said, Iraq poses an imminent threat to the rest of the world.

You all remember how that worked out, right?

Turns out, Iraq wasn’t much of threat to anybody – and don’t try to tell me otherwise, because I was there.

The UN sanctions were working.

Iraq had no real weapons programs and no usable stocks of WMDs.

Oh certainly, our troops and the inspectors who followed found bits and pieces, a few old chemical rounds, rusting, unusable, leaking, more a danger to Iraqis than anybody else. There was no nuclear program and no biological one either.

A decade plus later and people like Muravchik dance around the morality of that preemptive war, and whether it was a violation of our own and international law.  Experts and politicians and jingoistic partisans still argue both sides of the issue and history has yet to provide a definitive verdict and likely never will – not because there is any real question but more because history is written by the winners and there’s nobody left in the ruins of Iraq to protest.

A decade of preemptive war, we got rid of Saddam Hussein and got something worse in his place and the consequences of that are all around us for even the most dimwitted to see, and Muravchilk is still rattling the saber and urging us into yet another war.

His reasoning remains the same – even though this time he knows that the target does not in point of fact currently possess nuclear weapons.

But Iran might, someday, gain a nuke and that’s enough to declare war.

Muravchik, like Netanyahu, posits that there is simply no point in diplomacy. 

Sanctions, he declares, won’t work – even the tougher ones demanded by Netanyahu before the US Congress last month. 

The logic goes we can’t get a “good” deal, and even if we did we can’t trust the shifty Muslims to uphold their end of the bargain and besides Obama is too wimpy to impose tough sanctions anyway or hold Iran to them.  

Predictably, just like in Iraq, Muravchik then compares the Iranian regime to the Nazis and the Communists of the old long defunct Soviet Union and warns that they aim “to carry [their] Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond.” As if all Middle Eastern Muslims were the same, as if the same tribalism and sectarian divisions and nationalism that defeated pan-Arabism in the 60’s and Saddam Hussein’s ambitions in the 70’s and 80’s and that tore Iraq apart post-Saddam would offer no resistance to Iranian Imperialism.

Muravchik says that revolutions in Ukraine and Kazakhstan and South Africa led to the abandonment of nuclear weapons in those countries, but Iranians themselves are too passive and cowardly to bring down the regime in their country – so we need to do it for them. Yes, ultimately, we must destroy Iran for the Iranians, just like we destroyed Iraq to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqis.

As an aside: you might not want to ask Ukrainians how they feel nowadays about giving up their nuclear capability.

And where does that leave us according to Muravchik?

“Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes…”

Our only option is war, says Muravchik.

That’s the only option.

Because of course it is.

Because with Neocons it’s always war. That’s their solution to everything foreign and domestic. Kill ‘em all and let God sort it out.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Muravchik goes on to qualify his call for war by saying we could wage it as “an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure” which would entail “less need for boots on the ground” unlike “the war Obama is waging against the Islamic State.”

An air campaign.

Oh, well, an air campaign then.

That’s different. An air campaign.

Sure. We’ll drop some freedom on Iran and be home in time for corn flakes.

That doesn’t sound so bad. An air campaign.

That’s not like real war. Let’s see we’ll just need, hmmm, some drones … no, wait, drones can’t carry large enough weapons to penetrate hardened nuclear facilities, so, we’ll need manned aircraft, and we’re gonna need a lot of them because before we can reach those nuclear facilities that are the real targets we’re gonna have to smash one of the largest air defense systems in the world, so yeah, a lot of planes and we can probably launch them from Navy carriers except of course we’ll need the Navy planes to maintain air superiority over the Arabian Gulf while the fleet tries to fight its way through the Strait of Hormuz, plus we’re gonna be there for a long time so we’d better maybe use Air Force planes so we’re gonna need a base or two, but Israel will provide that, right? They don’t mind American bases on their soil waging war on their neighbors and making them yet a bigger target, no? Not even if we’re fighting a war for them, huh? Well, okay, we understand, so then we’ll launch from a Muslim nation – you know, one that doesn’t mind us attacking a fellow Muslim nation and building bases on their soil … and it can’t be a Gulf nation because, well, there’s that whole problem of the Strait of Hormuz again, so, hmmm, okay, well, we’ll think of something, maybe the Brits will let us use Diego Garcia, and let’s see we’ll need some Tomahawk launch platforms sitting in the northern Indian Ocean and rescue teams forward deployed to Pakistan and of course some contractor support and R&R facilities and repair and resupply and communications and logistics and we’ll sort of half-ass, half-commit to it because it’s not a real war, just an air campaign, but that won’t be a problem, probably, again, just like every goddamned time we’re stuck out on the far end of the shitty stick. Besides, Congress will fund that, right? They’ll keep approving emergency funding bills for the air campaign. Plenty of money, plenty of money, in the Social Security fund. Good idea. No, that’ll probably work. This time. Sure. I mean, ten years of waging an Air campaign against Iraq and, well, okay, we invaded anyway and now we’ve got an even bigger more deadly mess to deal with, nothing to see here, move along, move along.

Muravchik obviously has a pocket full of the same fairy dust which led us into Iraq – i.e. we’ll get rid of the current government which we don’t like and then an America-loving democracy will magically spring up in its place and they’ll be cheering us in the streets of Tehran.

Muravchik asks “Wouldn’t an attack cause ordinary Iranians to rally behind the regime?”

“Perhaps,” he answers his own question, “but …”

They’ve always got a “but…” these Neocons. Sure, sure, an unprovoked attack on Iran would validate what the Ayatollahs have been telling Iranians for years, that we hate them and that we want to destroy them and that we’re nothing but Israel’s dimwitted enforcer. Sure. But the good news is if we kill enough of them, the rest will rise up and tear down the regime.

Just like in Iraq, I guess.

Or Afghanistan.

Or Cuba.

Or Somalia.

Or Vietnam.

Or… well, I digress.

Same old Neocon strategy, bomb our way to freedom.  No freedom yet? Keep bombing.

It might take a year, or five, or twenty, or fifty, but sooner or later we’ll kill enough of them and the few who are left will love us among the ashes.  Just like in Iraq.  Or Afghanistan. Or… well, it’s like that great tale of conservative ideals, John Wayne’s McClintock! a love story that demonstrates how if you just beat a woman enough, she’ll give up her headstrong ways and love you forever. Like that, we’ll bomb ‘em from the skies, see, and Iranians will see what jerks they’ve been and they’ll riot in the streets and tear down the government and sing praises to America for setting them free!

Just like Iraq.

Because that’s how it works, right?

When Muslim extremists preemptively attacked us, when they killed 3000 Americans to make a political point, why we tore down our government and gave up our warring ways. Sure we did. Because that’s what people do. Just like in Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Somalia. And Cuba. And Vietnam…

No? Well, this time I’m sure it’ll be different, you betcha. Plus we can wage it as an air campaign!

Muravchik goes on, “Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress?”

And again answers his own question with, “Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary.”

We can strike as often as necessary.

We can strike. And we can do it as often as necessary.

A year, or five, or twenty, or fifty, and they’ll come around. A couple million dollars, a billion or two, a trillion. A few hundred lives, a thousand, five thousand, a hundred thousand. You’ll see. We’ll call it the John Wayne Doctrine, beat ‘em until they love us. Sure. And it’s not like our open-ended bombing of Iran will fan the flames of Islamic resentment around the globe and help to unite the fractious Muslim world – including those who live within our own borders. No, no, of course Muslim Mujahedeen won’t come from across the planet to rally under the banner of their shared religion. No, no, of course not, that’ll never happen.



And if it does, hey, we can bomb them too!

Don’t forget to tell them it’s not really a war on Islam. Sure, they’re just goat herders, they’ll believe that shit. Besides, it’s worked so far, right?

Of course, Muravchik explains, Iran would certainly try to conceal and defend the elements of its nuclear program. Which, of course they would.

But, Muravchik says, we could find new ways to discover and attack them. Easy peasy.

“Surely,” Muravchik brags in fond patriotic pride, “the United States could best Iran in such a technological race.”

Oh surely we could.

Why you can hear the defense contractors clinking their money bags together right now, can’t you?

What’s that you say? We’ll be bombing Iran every couple of months? Hey, no problem. We can help you out. Let’s see what we got here, oh the F-35 Lightning, a billion dollar plane that’s now a trillion dollar plane that’s almost, but not quite, ready for this exact mission. Couple more billion, maybe a trillion, and she’ll be fully operational. Guaranteed! Smart missiles? We got ‘em in ten different flavors! And you’re gonna need some special satellites and this awesome new SEAL delivery vehicle and some of these new invisible surveillance drones and some IED Proof advanced capability MRAPs. Oh, yes, and you’ll need tech support and some consultants and civilian specialists and, oh, hey, how about you send some officers to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies for their Masters Degrees? Sure, we got just the professor, he’s an expert. What? No, noooooo, no conflict of interest, he’ll tell you whatever you want to hear if the price is right!

Meanwhile Russia and China are lined up to sell Iran the latest in counter technology and weapons systems.

And it all sounds just so terribly familiar, doesn’t it?

Come on Wall Street, don't be slow,
Why man, this is war au-go-go
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Then Muravchik gets down to brass tacks, “wouldn’t Iran retaliate by using its own forces or proxies to attack Americans — as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia — with new ferocity?”

Well? Won’t they?

“Probably,” Muravchik admits, again answering his own question. Probably they would attack us by whatever means, including terrorism he acknowledges. Sure. But, and there’s that but again, “We could attempt to deter this by warning that we would respond by targeting other military and infrastructure facilities.”

Oh, well, we could attempt to deter the resulting terrorism by warning them that we might bomb them again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Because that worked so well in Iraq.

And Afghanistan.

And Somalia.

And Vietnam.

And how is that different from the gunboat diplomacy we’re currently engaged in you ask?

Well, it’s about about how the threat is delivered. It’s about the law we all agreed to live by. It’s “Hey, build a nuke and we’ll attack you with the rule of law behind us” versus “We’ll burn youse guys’ house down first so’s youse knows we mean bizness, then if youse builda nuke we’ll break youse guys kneecaps, see?”

The difference is one is puts us firmly on the right side of history with the world behind us and one doesn’t.

And even Muravchik acknowledges that his preemptive war doesn’t really make us any safer, “We might absorb some strikes […] Yes, there are risks to military action. But Iran’s nuclear program and vaunting ambitions have made the world a more dangerous place. Its achievement of a bomb would magnify that danger manyfold. Alas, sanctions and deals will not prevent this.”

Apparently war won’t prevent it either. Q.E.D.

But better we get the first blow in anyway according to mafia logic.

Let’s review, Muravchik calls for war, nonchalantly says we can wage it as an air campaign, but admits that probably won’t be enough implying an eventual need for ground forces, he admits this action is unlikely to achieve his stated objective of deterring Iran from its nuclear ambitions and will probably require an open-ended commitment of America military strength and money, and ultimately will result in a drastic uptick in terrorism targeting Americans abroad and at home.

Still our “best” option though, right?

And you know it would be one thing if it was just some random pundit calling for preemptive war, but this guy is responsible for educating future military officers and politicians and advising the US government.

Louie Gohmert (Republican, of course-TX) said Tuesday on Washington Watch, “We need to make clear to Iran: You can play these silly games with our president that buys into them and our secretary of state, but the American people aren’t buying it and you’re going to pay a price […] I’m hoping and praying the president will realize, despite the agenda he has that has put Christians in jeopardy around the world, that he will not want to leave the Democratic Party so devastated that they won’t recover for many decades.”

Ah. Nice of Louie to worry about Democrats and non-Christians and the rest of world too, isn’t it?

You know, it’s pretty hard to believe that this isn’t a religious war, a preemptive war aimed straight at Islam when members of the United States government publicly announce “…Christians in jeopardy around the world.”

You have to wonder how many ISIS/ISIL recruiters are quoting Gohmert right now.

Gohmert enjoined President Obama to comply with Netanyahu’s demands, “Maybe once he starts doing that he’ll realize we do need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities that we know of and anything that they move to fix, we bomb that as well.” Then Gohmert justified preemptive war by repeating soundly debunked conspiracy theories, as is his tendency, and ended with a call to arms, “I think it’s time to bomb Iran. Anything that resembles a nuclear facility with centrifuges. It’s time to bomb.”

It’s time to bomb.

It’s time to bomb because Iran endangers the world.

Boy, does this sound familiar or what? Swap out “Iran” for “Saddam” and we won’t even have to print new posters.

Well, come on generals, let's move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Now you can go out and get those reds
'Cause the only good commie is the one that's dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we've blown 'em all to kingdom come.

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Over on World Net Daily, the Mecca of conservative war mongering, it’s time to declare another Crusade.

WND warns, “A solar eclipse coming on March 20 won’t just be an astronomical wonder – it will be an event that may be unprecedented in human history, according to biblical experts who say it is an unmistakable sign of judgment.”

According to “biblical experts.”

A solar eclipse.

It’s unprecedented in human history.

Never had one of these before. Oh No! Maybe there’ll be a comet too! Signs and Portents in the sky!

According to actual scientists, without whom you wouldn’t even know there was going to be an eclipse or how extensive it would be or where the moon’s shadow would fall on the earth, it’s just a manifestation of orbital elements.  Predictable as clockwork and nothing mysterious or prophetic about it.

But holy man Mark Biltz, author of Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs, explains how Friday’s eclipse was a sign we should attack Iran.

Yes, that’s right, an eclipse is God’s way of saying listen to Netanyahu!

“In Jewish tradition, a total solar eclipse is a warning to the Gentiles and a sign of judgment on the nations. When we look at where the darkness will be, it will be in northern European countries like England and Sweden where we see the rise of Islam and anti-Israel sentiment. Europeans especially should take heed.”

Take heed, Gentiles! Or Big Sky Man make angry boom boom!

Now far be it from me to question a genuine “biblical expert” and all, but if this eclipse is a warning to Sweden, why didn’t Netanyahu visit Stockholm instead of Washington?

But, sure, why not? I mean if we’re going to start yet another preemptive war, kill a couple hundred thousand more people, drive our country a couple trillion further into debt, why not mix in some mystical mumbo-jumbo Jewish blood moon astrology too?

I mean it can hardly be any less accurate than the assumptions which led us into Iraq, could it?

Come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, and don't hesitate
To send your sons off before it's too late.
And you can be the first ones in your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam.
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Where does this end?

This idea of preemptive war?

This idea that we have a right to destroy a country, to kill a people, to topple governments, based on what they might do in the future? Based on hysteria and conspiracy and rumor and astrology?

Certainly it’s an interesting exercise to wonder what the world would be like today if Adolf Hitler had been shot dead as a soldier in World War I, or if he’d died in prison after the Beer Hall Putsch, or if the Allies had come together 1938 and stopped the Nazis before the occupation of the Sudetenland.

And if we could predict the future with any degree of accuracy then perhaps preemptive war could be justified.

But as Iraq shows, we can’t predict the future. Hell, we barely grasp the present.

And so where does this end? This idea of preemptive war?

Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon.

Iran might get one in the future.

War might stop the threat, certainly, depending on how far we’re willing to go and how long we’re willing to stay and whether or not we’re willing to bankrupt ourselves doing it.

War can certainly topple regimes, just as it toppled the Soviet Union when they stayed so long in Afghanistan they bankrupted themselves out of existence.

And war might make the world a far more dangerous place, as it did in Iraq.

We can’t predict the future with any degree of accuracy.

There’s no way to predict with any certainty whatsoever what Iran would do with a nuclear weapon should they obtain one.  Certainly they may threaten Israel. Certainly they may threaten the United States. Or they may not. Iran is in the hands of fanatics, but those fanatics are neither insane nor suicidal.  Having a nuke and using a nuke are two entirely different things. 

Iran could not use a nuclear weapon without committing suicide. Would they? I don’t know. Would North Korea? Would Pakistan? Would Israel? 

And so by the logic outlined above, shouldn’t we declare preemptive war on those countries too? 

Shouldn’t we?

Shouldn’t we take out North Korea? Should we take out Pakistan? Shouldn’t we take out Israel’s nuclear capability? Shouldn’t we topple their governments?

No? If not why not?

And don’t say it’s because Iran threatened other countries, because right now? Right now, we’re the nuclear power threatening war on other nations.

So be specific, why destroy Iran and not Israel?

No, think about it. If you really want peace in the Middle East, wouldn’t getting rid of Israel preemptively go one hell of a lot further towards stabilizing the region and making Iran our friend?


I mean we’re willing to tell Israel, hey, don’t worry, we’ll blow up Iran for you.

But wouldn’t the quickest way to get Iran to give up nuclear weapons is if we returned the favor for them? Hey, you don’t need nukes, we’ll destroy your enemy for you. And you keep the Strait of Hormuz open and the oil flowing. Deal?


If not, why not?

Careful, it’s a trick question and you don’t want to end up admitting that bit about how it’s really a war on a certain religion.

Now look, I’m NOT advocating for the destruction of Israel, by us or by anybody else.

I firmly believe in Israel’s right to exist.

But I also believe in Iran’s right to exist.

I think Iran is dangerous. I think they are nobody’s friend and certainly not ours. I don’t trust them. I think there is a legitimate reason to fear Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But I also think they have a right to exist. Same as Israel.


When you say that we should engage in preemptive war, you’re saying very clearly that Iran as it exists now does not have a right to exist.


And what I’m saying here is the doctrine of preemptive war is a goddamned slippery slope.

When our educators and leaders and holy men tell us that one nation has a right to exist but another does not – and that is exactly what they are saying here – then I think we as citizens have not only a right but a duty to know where the lines are drawn and what the criteria is.

Why does Israel have the right to exist, the right to self determination, but Iran doesn’t?

We don’t like Iran. Israel doesn’t like Iran. Europe, Russian, and China don’t much care for Iran. Iran’s Muslim neighbors don’t have much use for Iran. But does that mean Iran doesn’t have a right to exist? To chose its own government, no matter how oppressive or fanatical?

If not, why not?

Be specific. Don’t move the goalposts. Answer the question.

If Iran in its present form does not have the right to exist, why doesn’t it? Lay it out on the table and explain it in small words. Show your work.

Once you buy into the idea of preemptive war, you can use it to justify all kinds of things. Japan justified its attack on Pearl Harbor, because it saw the United States as a threat to its ambitions. Hitler saw a preemptive invasion of his neighbors as justified by their economic sanction of Germany and the limitations placed on its military capability after WWI.

Vladimir Putin sees preemptive invasion of his neighbor as justified because Ukraine stands between Russia and the Russian Black Sea Fleet – and therefore Russia’s security.

We saw the invasion of Iraq as justified by 911 and some of us, such as Joshua Muravchik, still see it that way even though the reasons we used turned out to be magic fairy dust. But we won so we get to write history and so we say that Iraq was a threat to world peace and to America and enough people believe that bullshit so as to keep those who gave the orders out of jail.

Where does this end?

As populations increase and resources become more scarce, at the climate changes, as new disease emerge, as new and dangerous technologies evolve, where does this end?

We want to destroy Iran for what they might do, for the threat they might pose in the future.

How big of leap is it from “Iran might get a nuclear weapon” to “Liberia might infect us with Ebola?”

Where does this end?

Slippery Slope Fallacy? Perhaps. But perhaps not.

Show me the controls.

Show me the limits.

Show me where the boundaries are.

Show me why one nation has a right to exist and another doesn’t and show me where we get to decide.

Show me where we use war and where we don’t.

And this time, take responsibility for it. Show me where we use war and where we don’t. Define the criteria. Put it in writing.

Show me how war with Iran makes the world less dangerous. Put it in writing and sign your name to the bottom of it.

Show me how we avoid the mistakes of Iraq, put it in writing, sign your name to the bottom of it, and be willing to go to prison as a war criminal if you’re wrong.  No, really, if you’re not willing to risk prison, when the lives of millions are on the line, when the world economy is at risk, then why should I listen to you when you call for war? Why should everybody else put their ass on the line and not you? I’m just asking you to risk prison, you’re demanding everybody else risk their lives. So pony up. Do you really believe the shit you’re shoveling or don’t you?

Show me the budget, not the one for war – we’ve always got money for killing people, for dropping bombs, for destruction. No, show me how you’ll pay for what comes after. Show me how you’ll take care of veterans like me for the rest of our lives. Show me how you’ll pay to rebuild Iran into a model of Western style democracy. Show me where you’re willing to tax the rich and Wall Street to pay for it all – after all they’re the ones who profit hugely from war, from the world being a “safer” place, they should be willing to pay for the privilege. Go on, show me the goddamned money.

Show me the plan for Iran. Not the war plan, I don’t need to see that, hell I helped write part of it. The war plan is the easy part.

No, I’m talking about afterward. Show me that part.

Show me peaceful democratic united post-war Iran.

Show me. Show me the Iran that makes the world a safer place. Show me that Iran. Show me piece by piece, step by step, line by line, how we ensure that the government which replaces the one we blast out of existence, the one that doesn’t have a right to exist, will be an Iran that never, ever, seeks a bomb. Go on, show me. Show me how you plan to retool Islamic religious fanaticism into the benign, loving, non-aggressive Christian model – you know, the one that wouldn’t start a war in order to get its way.

Show me this: Show me an Iran with a nuclear bomb aimed at Israel … and the collocated Independent State of Palestine, so that Iran, or any other Muslim nation, couldn’t nuke one without killing the other. 

But I digress.

Show me all of these things. Show me why preemptive war is better than diplomacy.

Go on.


You can’t, can you?

You can’t show it to me. You can’t prove why this time preemptive war will be different. You can’t predict the future, not with any certainty, not even if you are a fellow of the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics Joshua Muravchik, PhD. You can’t show it to me even if you’re a United States Representative. You can’t show it to me even if you’re a holy man who deals in signs and portents. 

But we can make educated guesses based on past history and none of that history, none of it, supports the notion that preemptive war will somehow make the world a safer place. In fact, if we’ve learned anything from Iraq, it’s exactly the opposite.

Preemptive war will not make the world a safer place.

Not unless we are willing to occupy post-war Iran forever with enough troops to impose our will by lethal force. Not unless we are willing to bankrupt ourselves and to send our children one after the other into the meat-grinder forever. And if we are not willing to do that, if the world is not willing to do that, then the only way – the only way – you can make absolutely certain Iran won’t threaten the world ever again is to blow them all to hell. Genocide. Nuke ‘em. Kill them all. Every last mother lovin’ one of them.

Burn the whole country to the ground and salt the earth.

Kill ‘em all and let God sort it out…

And it's one, two, three
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Iran!

… and become the very people we despise.

We can not predict the future. War may indeed be necessary one day and diplomacy may certainly fail. That is always a possibility and if we have to fight we will.

But it is also possible that the current diplomatic efforts will succeed, and if not these talks then the next ones or the ones after that.

If Israel is able to negotiate a working government from a collection of mutually hostile political and religious entities, they, and we, should be able to do so on a larger scale.

So long as Iran is willing to talk we should be as well. 

So long as Iran is willing to talk, then war is not the only option.

It is certainly not the best one.

War is simply the easiest.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
- Christian Bible, Matthew 7:13


  1. "Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
    Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
    Come on fathers, don't hesitate,
    Send 'em off before it's too late.
    Be the first one on your block
    To have your boy come home in a box. "

  2. Thanks again, Jim.

    I'll see your Country Joe, and I'll raise you a John Prine.


    1. (Good grief, when did Prine get so old?)
      Aw, geez. When it was MacArthur's doctrine it was called "prevnetive war" and Eisenhower called him back from the theater, then warned us of the temptation to keep warring because it is so lucrative. *sigh* George Santana said that those who failed to remember history were doomed to repeat it, so here we are some 7 or so decades later...

    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dKAX7Jp8wo
      War, what is it good for?

    3. And a Bob Dylan


    4. Plus a CSN&Y


  3. Country Joe & The Fish sang "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag". Guess "The Viet Nam Song" is a bit shorter. Brilliant, as ever, Jim...

  4. Actually, it's called the "I feel like I'm fixin' to die rag" - take it from a boring old guy who remembers it in original release.

    Interesting times, those.

    And if we must bomb Iran, can we drop Louie Gohmert on them first? And maybe John Bolton, just on principle?

    Come to think of it, Ted Cruz might come in handy too. That much hot air would be sure to have some sort of effect, yes?

    All snark and such aside, every one of these advocates for war need to put their families - their entire families - on the point. Muravchik has seven grandchildren, I believe. (I read that somewhere after that abysmal Post article.) Let them lead.

    Because I'm sick of it always being someone else's kids having to bleed for these scumbags.

    1. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredMarch 21, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      Turner Classic Movies ran Dr Strangelove recently and your suggestion of dropping Louie Gohmert on Iran brought me a visual of him in the Slim Pickens role, riding the bomb.

      Jim - I read your essays, religiously, and as I mentioned on the FB announcement of this post - this one just blew me away. OMIGOSH!!!

    2. Greg, I had the *exact* same image....just that in my mind, it was *mandated* that Gohmert ride the bomb down

    3. Sarah Palin from 30,000 feet...

    4. That's a little harsh. Nobody deserves that ... well maybe Texas.

    5. Thank you for another insightful blog. I enjoy reading words of wisdom form people with clarity on the issues we face. It is rare these days to find someone that can look at both sides of the coin. I look forward to the next article.

    6. Actually Jim, there are quite few nice folks down here in Texas. Including Democrats, no less. We are embarrassed by the Cruz's, Gohmerts, Cornyn's, et al. But, we'll keep trying knock sense into folks. Followed a vehicle into my subdivision today with a Cruz for President" sticker plastered on the back of their vehicle. Total lack of critical thinking skills. Although I usually eschew bumper stickers, I did see once recently that resonated a bit: "If you weren't there, shut up!" Always enjoy your work, because you were there. (dbtexas - a Vietnam vet)

  5. Thank you Jim.

    Mrs Gunka

  6. A quick google seach revealed that Joshua Muravchik is another piece of shit who avoided a war he could have participated in. He flipped his views when he was safely out of danger.

    I am getting close to advocating mandatory military service for Federal politicians, or their family members in lieu of them if they are too old. Seriously, fuck these people.

    1. They should never be TO OLD. if they are calling for war, Draft Them, not as officers, as infantry let them die for their professed beliefs.
      Mike Morrow

    2. I knew Josh back in the Vietnam days when he was more concerned with registering voters and advancing the War on Poverty. He always struck me as an opportunist so it's not surprising that he turned himself into a major Chickenhawk war monger to save Israel. He could have gone and served in Israel if he really wanted to but it was much easier to become a policy grifter in DC. Guys like Josh and his buddy Richard Perle have no idea what it means to be responsible for others lives and well being. They live in the thunder clouds as they rattle the earth for war. They never grow up.

    3. I looked and looked and looked for evidence of Joshua Muravchik's (b.d. 1947) service but could find NOTHING. What a chicken-hawk! One of the many who love to huff and puff and feel grandiose, but NEVER let a member of his family serve either. I agree with the above posters--you want war? You must go serve abroad, regardless of age, or any physical problems.


    4. Muravchik is a neocon. Meaning "New" conservative, i.e. somebody who was a liberal until the Vietnam War ended, then they became a conservative.

    5. That's a terrible idea. The last thing we need in the military is a bunch of limp-dick, poseur sociopaths getting their crew killed.

    6. I've long been a proponent of universal service as a requirement to vote or hold public office. It doesn't have to be military - join a teacher's corp, the peace corps, a 2 year stint rebuilding inner cities, a 2 year stint fighting forest fires - ANYTHING that gets you to commit your self to the broader good and community. And if you don't - you can still be a citizen, just not vote or hold any public office or any government job.

    7. If their crews are made up of their families and cronies I'm all for it.

    8. I could never fathom how/why so many who came of age in the 60's, who rightfully protested the VietNam war, and campaigned for a more egalitarian society, could "grow up" to be so conservative, such hawks, and so very, very cold. An excellent essay, Jim. April Hughes

    9. I spent my college days protesting the Viet Nam War both on campus and in DC. With the all encompassing first draft lottery I pulled a 39 ensuring I would be on the way to Fort Polk the instant I graduated. The Draft Board pulled a surprise on me and ordered me to a "pre-induction" physical months before my graduation. Long story short, with the help of the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) I failed my physical (but not before a short stint on the Group W bench as Arlo Guthrie called it).

      I have found that those of us who wound up in the jungles of Nam or who had close calls continue to hold the same principals we did then. Those who had a high draft number or like Cheney and others had political "outs" morphed into what we now see as Neocons.

    10. My thought exactly, April Hughes.

  7. Eisenhower warned us of some of the implications of the Military Industrial complex. We are now seeing another manifestation of it. Power corrupts both in a monetary sense and in a moral sense. The sad part is the moral corruption seems to come from those on the religious right who shout about Jesus with one breath and bomb them and kill them with the next. Cognitive dissonance is a sad thing but it is especially frightening when it manifests itself in the morally self-righteous.

    1. To that I would also suggest the Bene Gesserit (Dune) elaboration, that power itself serves as a magnet for the corruptible.

    2. OK...the Dune reference made the hair stand up on my neck...

  8. I'm not sure how I've never managed to read an article from you before but I almost feel like I've found water in the desert. Or that last Hershey's Kiss when you're positive that the world is entirely devoid of chocolate.

  9. Thank you, Jim. Matthew 7:13 sums up your essay better than anything I could have imagined.

    1. Yep, and if ya keep reading Mathew, you get to 7:15, False Prophets and False Teachers, etc...

    2. Proverbs 12:15 is also apropos.

  10. Anyone -- and I mean ANYONE -- who is hell bent on proselytizing war should be required to be in the forefront of any kind of invasion, be it aerial or boots on the ground. That person and his/her entire family must be willing to lead the fight rather than to sit on their "well-healed arses" counting their money they will accumulate from another war while they once again send our young men and women to die for a cause that another country wants for its own self-aggrandizement.

    1. I've always lent towards the idea of dumping them all in a very deep pit, lobbing in one knife and letting them get on with it. Then when anybody asks about them, we go "Who".

  11. Goddamn, you just kicked a whole shitload of hornets' nests! And in addition to Prine, I'd add Tom Lehrer: For might makes right, and till they've seen the light, they've got to be protected, all their rights respected, till somebody we like can be elected.

    1. While we're on the subject of Tom Lehrer, remember this one? Seems kind of prophetic, given the current subject.

      First, we got the bomb, and that was good,
      'Cause love peace and motherhood.
      Then, Russia got the bomb, but that's okay.
      'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way.
      Who's next?

    2. The Lord's my shepherd so says the Psalm,
      But just in case, we'd better have the bomb
      Who's next?

      Yeah I remember when that song came out.

      Jackson Brown's Lives in the Balance is pretty damn good too.

      By all means put the Gohmerts and their ilk at the head of the line along with their relatives. If they're too old to fight put 'em to work digging endless latrines.

  12. Her'es where my feelings on this shake out.
    Israel has a right to exist.
    Israel has a right to defend itself.
    Israel has no right to ask Americans to die for them.
    Americans have no right to ask Americans to die for Israel.

    End of policy statement.

  13. Insightful article, as usual.

    Glad you pointed out that the Iranian leaders would have to be suicidal to use a nuclear weapon. Seems few people realize that.

    Understanding that Saddam was an egomaniacal dictator who wanted to remain in power was my main argument against the Iraqi war. He knew that the world was watching him and would quickly coalesce against him should he ever use WMDs. That's why he allowed inspectors in.

    Anyway, I hope the warmongers can be dissuaded from any more preemptive invasions.

  14. only quibble - some people did predict the future of Iraq correctly. Not the rise of IS, but certainly the massive sectarian bloodshed and the inability to maintain order by outside forces

    1. Hmm. George H.W. Bush, if I recall.

    2. Yes. Molly Ivins, Nov 19, 2002, Jan 16, 2003, July 14, 2003, Oct 7, 2003. She saw it coming and published it. Of course, those in power ignored her.

  15. Thank goodness we have the Republican wing of the Democratic party to oppose this crap.

    So effectively, as always!

  16. I'm pretty much done with my rantings against war and imperialism. Those in power want what they want and don't care who they kill to get it. I'm getting too old for this shit. Seriously thinking of going to sit on the mountaintop and watch it all burn.

    But you...dude...please keep raising your voice. If you can succeed in turning one heart, changing one mind...maybe it will be the one that changes the world.

    1. Amen, Please Mr. Wright-Keep on writing-You are so good at connecting the past 50 years and telling it like it is. Barbara Schneider

    2. The mountain tops are about to get crowded.

  17. As usual, thanks Jim, for your powerful essay. It angers me no end that those who yell the loudest for war have the least skin in the game! I so remember the young men going off to war in Viet Nam, many of them totally unprepared for their future with little understanding at all of what was happening. I worked on the military flights moving troops to and from Viet Nam and it was so sad. I guess the Louis Gohmerts did not lose a family member to war or see the personal destruction of so many good men. They may be too young, or maybe just too wound up in their importance, and their failure to think of the young men and woman of America as anything but numbers, definitely not people. America has become the world's bully and for some reason, we are unable to stop it.

  18. "So long as Iran is willing to talk, then war is not the only option.

    It is certainly not the best one.

    War is simply the easiest."

    As a non-military person I know essentially nothing about how to conduct war. Your paragraph delineating (some) of the actual details of bombing Iran makes me think you misspoke here. How is going to war easier than conducting negotiations (i.e. talking)?

    You know I think you're awesome, and this isn't criticism of your incredible writing. But maybe instead of "War is simply the easiest" we might think "War is simply the more macho"?

    And this "We’ll call it the John Wayne Doctrine, beat ‘em until they love us." is perfect!

    Thank you!


    1. A bullet is always the easiest way to end an argument once and for all.

      I didn't say it was cheaper, or without consequence, or moral, or right. I said it was easier. Violence is always easier than reason. Honor, Duty, Courage, Trust, Reason, Love, these things require you to override the primitive gibbering monkey that lives in the back of your brain, it's always easier to give in to hate, fear, rage, violence, and suspicion. Always. Hell, you see it on the highway every day.

    2. Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent....Isaac Asimov.

    3. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredMarch 22, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      I interpreted war being easier in the context of negotiations being difficult, give and take, and not without some element of going into unknown territory of compromise between the negotiating parties. The waging war part is easy, despite all the complications Jim listed in that paragraph, because going to war is pretty well defined and we have a military industrial complex that's very good at all those logistical issues. The paradox is that the "easy" preparation and fighting part is followed by the nebulous and always (it seems) ill thought out after we "win" part, ala all those examples Jim cited. Maybe it's my own military background that made it easier for me to interpret war being easier that way (not saying it's correct, just that I accepted it all based on my own experience - and I do think it's correct).

    4. These idiots in the GOP can't even consider compromise with fellow countrymen in our own government. Does anyone really expect them to even understand, let alone value the idea of compromise with a foreign country they don't like? "You are either with us, or you are with the Terrorists."

  19. Country Joe continues to be tirelessly wonderful. On Tuesday, March 24th at 7:30pm at Pegasus Books on Solano in Berkeley, Country
    Joe will present "War Nurse: A Special Evening of Spoken Word and


  20. Over the past day or so I've seen news video from a half dozen regions of the world, many on holiday today, some experiencing combat, others backed by "travelogue" style narrative about how things are better today than in some recent wartime. A thought struck me, I thought how blessed we are in the US to live in a country that, apart from a few areas like Florida, we live and work in cities or towns where there are buildings with second stories! Just joshing, folks! I've been through this "War?" buzz a hundred times in my life and it's just damn depressing whether it ends with a pang or a paean.

    The only way I'd jump on a call for military action in a middle eastern country (again, I think the liberation of Kuwait was justified) is were we to be pulled offsides into a regional firestorm, too close for comfort and justified in shooting our way out. Other than that, please ... please, can our negotiators extend an olive branch to the senators who penned them a lovely letter recently. Their trip abroad would be one for which I could countenance use of my tax dollars. Call it a prime directive of congress, to advise and support the US mission abroad, its "partial agency" aside its one full time job.

    1. The invasion of Kuwait was given tacit approval by the Bush White House. It wasn't until Saddam took Kuwait and started eyeballing Bush Buddies in Saudi Arabia that we were sent in.

      That story about Iraqi soldiers dumping preemies out of incubators and stealing the incubators? Horsecrap, and the "Witness" who pushed the tale was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family who was nowhere near Kuwait when it was invaded.

  21. The song is actually call "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag", and I own both the studio version on their album "The Life And Times Of Country Joe And The Fish From Haight-Ashbury To Woodstock" ad the Woodstock album. Another blast from the past that I find appropriate is Steppenwolf's "Monster"

    "The cities have turned into jungles
    And corruption is stranglin' the land
    The police force is watching the people
    And the people just can't understand
    We don't know how to mind our own business
    'Cause the whole world's got to be just like us
    Now we are fighting a war over there
    No matter who's the winner we can't pay the cost"

    Some days the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  22. '..when will they ever learn'? Pete Seeger.

  23. The reason Netanyahu wont mention, nor will anyone else say out loud, as to why war is the only course to take is because they have no intention of letting Iran exist. As long as Iran exists intact, the Israelis cannot expand their territory to the east. They want nothing less than Eretz Israel. From the Nile to the Euphrates and all the oil that lies under those sands. In my estimation, THIS is why we have spent the last 20 years eliminating one Arab state after another. Ask yourself why GHWB sent April Glaspie to tell Saddam could do as he wished with Kuwait, that it was not our business. Read the "Clean Break" report written in the late 90s. Israel was clamoring for this way back then. They got what they wanted about Iraq, now they want Iran neutralized for them. They don't show naked aggression, they are way too smart for that, they let us do it for them. They KNOW most Americans cant figure out what is really going on, and they are right.

  24. Jim, do keep in mind, when you go off on a good rant (and they *are* very good), how easy it would be to yank all kinds of out-of-context quotes from your work to say evil things about you.

  25. After reading this I am emboldened to wonder why the citizenry couldn't organize to preemptively remove from office any of our congressional representative who seem to be inclined to attack Iran. I am serious.

    1. Would that sort of thing not interfere with the ever-present celebrity-watching that seems to consume much of American society?

    2. Send the celebrities to war. That way we can do both.

    3. A sizable portion of the citizenry sat home and did nothing on election day, which is why we have these particular politicians in office. And you think they will organize to remove them? Right. -Martha Zimmerman

    4. Jeebus, you could hide a platoon behind Kim Kardashian's ass alone.

    5. Well I guess it's up to us then--are y'all in?

  26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlkH687M4YM When it was written, it was Science Fiction.

  27. Love the sanity of everything you write, Jim, and wish we could share your essays with the world.


  28. Thank you for this Jim, for putting the realities and history in our faces. But once again, this is on us. My biggest reason I worked like crazy to get President Obama elected in 2008 (even here in TX, we at least contribute to the popular vote total) was the war issue and contrast with McCain. Does anyone doubt that if McCain had been elected we'd still have 50,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq? But the anti-war folks stayed home in 2014, and now the warmongers will do what they can to derail any deal with Iran. I am not naive, and would not trust Iran for a millisecond, but based on the reports I've read trying to destroy its nuclear capability will be nothing short of a nightmare given the way they've built their facilities, the terrain, and their highly sophisticated military systems. The military reports that have been made public aren't convinced even then with a sustained offense we'd achieve much more than a short term reprieve. But those who see war as the only option cannot be reasoned with, and are driven by the money of the militarized industrial complex. And they don't give a shit about how many Americans die in the process. The answer is to exercise the power we have through our votes. Just imagine how different the Congress would look if even 66% of Americans got out and voted.

    The ultimate irony, of course, is that this was bin Laden's plan for destroying the US. He knew what the fight in Afghanistan had cost the Russians and the same would work for us. Just imagine if the billions (and ultimately trillions) that we spent there had been used for education, research and infrastructure. And despite what we think, what the Iraqis thought is a whole different story. I have a friend who is from Kurdistan and most of his family still remains in Northern Iraq. Although one of his brothers was killed by Saddam Huseein's henchman, his life was good. The government was secular, the education system was great and free for everyone (one of his sisters was a physician there) and everyone was provided with excellent health care, nothing like the picture that was painted for the US public. But if the Republicans manage to blow up this deal, the sanctions will fall and it is the US who will be isolated from our strongest allies, all for the "love" of Israel. Apparently Bibi's closing line to the US Congress was that if necessary Israel would go it alone. Fine by me, given the apartheid state it has imposed on the Palestinians.

    1. You and other well-informed citizens must do your best to inform others and convince them to vote.

    2. McCain? If he'd been elected we would have been at war with Canada within 6 months!

  29. Bravo Zulu, sir! And many thanks for yet another thoughtful and well-reasoned piece.

    (please forgive a very reluctant grammar-Nazi comment: criteria is the plural of criterion, and so should properly be followed by "are" rather than "is".)

  30. It could just be a war between civilizations, too, and we're losing because we can't step it up.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. We only lose if we fight. Obama's managed to prevent that so far, despite the desperate efforts of our oh-so-loyal opposition...

  31. This reminds me of a scene I have planned for a science fiction project I'm working on, where in a war between a North America super-state and a global government of Mars colonies, the Americans (whose public face resembles the likes of Westboro Baptist Church) essentially drop a city-sized space station on Mars (who, due to extensive use of drone spacecraft, have been largely detached from the realities of war and at their worst treat the war like a game) and violently disrupt the peace that most Martians had become accustomed to.

    Anyway, the incident happens as elections on Mars are ramping up, and a minor party candidate known for his nativist rhetoric begins to gain traction as his platform's solution to the Earth problem becomes more palatable to Martians tired of the major party candidates more measured approach (eliminate Earth's ability to wage war until they have no choice but to surrender), and it is during one of the debates that this candidate invokes his party's plan: wipe the entire North American continent off the face of the Earth as an example to all other nations. They call it "Operation Curb Stomp."

    One of his major party opponents brings up concerns that this action will only escalate the conflict until both factions are reduced to slinging mass extinction-level events at each other and both Earth and Mars are reduced to lifeless balls of slag. "What is the endgame?" she asks, "when does this war end?"

    Our nativist candidate replies, "the war ends when we win."

    This is the sort of mindset we can expect from a generation of people who think that games like Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare in any way resemble modern warfare, as if the bad guys are going to helpfully show up on your HUD as hostile, or that you can cheerfully level a city block with an airstrike and no consequences other than maybe some hit point loss that you'll recover soon anyway.

    Another home run piece, Chief.

  32. "Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again.
    He's got himself in a terrible jam
    Way down yonder in Vietnam
    So put down your books and pick up a gun,
    We're gonna have a whole lotta fun.
    - The Vietnam Song, Country Joe and the Fish"

    When I saw this as an 'opening comment/lead-in', the only thing I could think of was "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Interrogative Bang Bang" and wonder why in the hell you, of all people, would start off a post with =that= song!! ((Me: US Army, 1963-66)) Yeah, I remember that song, and quite a few others like it, when they first came out. I also knew you were no dummy .. so .. what the hell were you going to get at; I =really= didn't think you'd bring it up out of nostalgia!

    Then, I read the rest of your post. It affected me so much, I had to take =twice= my meds -- you know, the ones VA give certain vets to keep them 'safe' in public. (Probably wasn't a good idea to take a double dose, but I was =no-shit-seriously= upset.....) The biggest 'problem' I had with your article? I kept flip-flopping between being utterly disgusted "the Great American Public" has such a short and -easily- =manipulated= memory, and completely furious for the same 'reason'... Ya know, people, that "Wall" wasn't built -into- The Mall for giggles & snorts! Maybe all'y'all could =learn= =something= from why it was put there, eh, ya think??

    And if our "Glorious Leaders" -persist- in their stupidity, maybe it's time [(actually, it's -way- =past= time)] we got off our fat asses and started re-sharpening the tines on our 'pitchforks'.......

  33. Widely shared, and attributed...My son is law is Navy, and his ship is in the Persian Gulf. We are, it seems, defacto, already at war with ISIL, no matter what Lindsey Graham thinks. Iran is also at war with ISIL, it appears, and the Shia militias they back, seem to be the fighting force, with the Peshmurga Kurds, that is actually pushing ISIL back...something about the ''enemy of my enemy is my friend" comes to mind.

  34. Brilliant essay again, Jim. I appreciate you doing your part to educate the U.S. populace about the perfidy and perils of preemptive war.

    I think Mr. Robert Allen Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minnesota also had a few words to say on the subject:

    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks

    You that never done nothin’
    But build to destroy
    You play with my world
    Like it’s your little toy
    You put a gun in my hand
    And you hide from my eyes
    And you turn and run farther
    When the fast bullets fly

    Like Judas of old
    You lie and deceive
    A world war can be won
    You want me to believe
    But I see through your eyes
    And I see through your brain
    Like I see through the water
    That runs down my drain

    You fasten the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion
    As young people’s blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud

    You’ve thrown the worst fear
    That can ever be hurled
    Fear to bring children
    Into the world
    For threatening my baby
    Unborn and unnamed
    You ain’t worth the blood
    That runs in your veins

    How much do I know
    To talk out of turn
    You might say that I’m young
    You might say I’m unlearned
    But there’s one thing I know
    Though I’m younger than you
    Even Jesus would never
    Forgive what you do

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul

    And I hope that you die
    And your death’ll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I’ll stand o’er your grave
    ’Til I’m sure that you’re dead

    "Masters of War", Bob Dylan, 1963

  35. Viet Nam was my generation's war. We are still bleeding. I took to the streets in protest then, I've taken to the streets every time since, and it never ends. I am getting too old for protesting. There will be no winners. That is the only truth I hold.

    1. I too did all that protesting and more, and am now at the stage that I feel too old to be out on the lines. But I have a phone and I have a computer and come elections can work them to get out the vote. We simply cannot quit. The costs to our kids and grandkids simply are too high.

  36. Cliche. For a reason - the more things change :

    One more song suggestion with an accompanying set of imagery that sums it up. Once again. Still.

    (TRIGGER WARNING - Powerful stuff.)


    'Eve of Destruction' posted by JoAnne Harrison.

    "Our" planet : Too much hate, too little understanding, too little thought and empathy for other humans who but for the grace of .. whatever .. could be you or me.

    (Also see 'I was only 19' by Redgum on youtube. Or / & 'The Band played Waltzing Matilda' by Eric Bogle. Plus so very many other songs and images throughout the ages.

    We want to go *there* again? Really?

    More screaming naked girls their clothes burnt off their bodies by napalm running down the road in agony and terror*; more real sweat, blood, tears, flesh and lives shed without need based on the fever dreams of egotistical, greedy men sitting in high offices without a fucking clue and even less heart to whoem war is an abstract chess or dominoes type game.

    * Would they show that image these days and let us think and face what it means and what we've done?

  37. One of the recurring issues here is that we don't trust Iran. I bet they don't trust us either. Growing up, I always had the sense that the ideals of the Founding Fathers, if adhered to, would garner the trust that is a prerequisite to diplomacy.

  38. My reactions to this essay:

    1. We started in Vietnam with just an air war. It was known then that an air war alone is ineffective. Why would that be any different now with Iran. We would be foolish to start this type of operation as it is our pathway to full blown war. Beware the person who says easy peasy - air strikes, no loss of personnel and great results.

    2. Iran has spent the last 50 years being threatened by Israel and its ally the good old USA with the potential of nuclear attack. Perhaps, they see their possession of nuclear weapons as neutralizing that threat. Possible? Perhaps also, this threat is a great motivation to make diplomacy with the US. Possible? Perhaps they are conflicted and undecided about the process and the results. Possible? Perhaps they are pulling the wool over our eyes and have a grand plan to attack? Possible? With these and likely more possibilities, it is a good idea for the US to proceed cautiously, but proceed.

    3. It is very silly to go to every battle you are invited to.

    4. The mantra of all things middle east can be summed up in one word: OIL. All things in this region, I have heard, boil down to this one thing. If this is in fact true, it would behoove the world to really focus on renewable energy and reasonable substitutes to all materials derived from oil. If the importance of the middle east were, over time, to diminish then tribal and religious "wars" would not have such incredible global importance. The US, then would have no reason to go to war with anyone in that region.

    In general, when someone is a strident proponent of a costly policy, follow the money. Jim gets money from his readers and from woodworking. Where does this Muravchik get his money. Who does he solicit for money, who solicits him for policy?

    Fay Reilly

  39. Wow. You make a very strong argument against a war in Iraq....er....Iran. Will we ever learn?
    Sadly, I strongly doubt it.
    But credit to you for doing what you can to point out the idiocy of our continued waste of blood and treasure to achieve our goal of....what was it again?

  40. I struggle - at least not every day now - with the dissonance in my head over what I did in my former career. But it was my job and I did what I had to do. I was selectively blind to what was really going on. But hindsight IS 20/20. Now that we know and most people with 3/4 of a brain can SEE, why would these sob's continue to push the same agenda on us?

    Because they are so far removed from the reality of the consequences of their uninformed decisions, that they have NO earthly idea of the impact on their own citizens, let alone on The Other. Force *them* to serve. Force them to wear a uniform or perform civil service to the poor and needy. Make them serve in a soup kitchen. Force them to walk through rows of homeless temp shelters or do disaster cleanup in a poor neighborhood. And not a photo op. No way. Make them do it over and over until they can feel something. Make it a long enough term of service that they are changed. Take away any hope of relief from this service because they are no longer the decision makers in their own lives.

    I'm so damned angry at these &^&$^%&$ ers I can hardly see straight sometimes. Sorry for going on and on but anger is what I have. Otherwise I'd just sit down and cry - for my friends, family and my country.

    US Army...retired. Bruised and tired, but still proud.

    1. Absolutely! While it is ugly for young people to have to face the prospect of a draft I believe that everyone should serve either right out of high school or right after college. Two years if high school graduates and four for collegians. They can have a choice: either serve in the military, or serve in some form of social service operation of benefit to our nation (and of minimal compensation to the draftee). I did it both ways and into my mix I had service in the inner city and then war in Southeast Asia. It made me a far better, stronger and wiser person.

  41. (Also posted on your FB thread)
    What is so frustrating to me is that your POV here is, as my high school physics professor Mr. Norton used to shy, evident to even the most casual of observers. The US has engaged in preemptive war since our founding. Arguably the early days (Indian Wars starting with Jackson, Mexican American War, Spanish American War) showed some modicum of success (if you don't mind a bit of genocide with the Indians and stealing sovereign territory with the Mexicans,) but in the post WWI era our military adventurism and geopolitical maneuvers have brought more sorrow and long term issues than success. As Santayana said - those who fail to learn for history are doomed to repeat it.

    But I don't blame the neocons for this situation - it's in their nature. Better ask the rattlesnake not to bite you, or the tiger to change its stripes. No, I blame the American People for this. 36% turnout for the mid term elections gave us a Republican majority in both houses, with the Republicans more fractured than the Democrats were in the lead up to the War of Northern Aggression. Through our laziness, our disaffection with the political process, our all consuming narcissistic consumerist self indulgence we've given a bunch of petulant adolescent politicians and policy wonks the keys to the government, economy, budget, public policy and military arsenal of this once great nation. And now the chickens are coming home to roost.

    1. The only history they give a damn about is the part of the recent history where they and their cronies made billions of dollars from the last wars. Notice, when they can't make money from taking care of the soldiers they sent to war, they cut the benefits. They want more war so they make more money. Simple as that.

  42. These neocons like Muravchik,, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Douglas Fieth are beyond redemption.

    Like naked mole rats, they live in dark, blind tunnels of solipsistic 1950's American Christian supremacy, and no one can convince them there is a world above ground.

    On a related subject, how long can we keep ignoring the *root causes* of Islamic terrorism?

    Shoud we remain ignorant and oblivious to the last 150 years of history and invade some more Muslim countries?

    Ask the British and French how well they've done since 1919, when they divided up the Mideast like a jigsaw puzzle which created permanent enmity, and are now finding their own civilizations challenged by Muslim citizens born in their countries.

    Bringing the USA into ARAMCO in the 1930's for oil incensed the hard line Muslim conservatives. The entire Arabian peninsula is sacred ground to them, but we couldn't care less.

    Propping up that murderous Shah if Iran in the 1950's did wonders for our reputation.

    Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979, spent 11 futile years trying to subdue them and gave up, in spite of their huge army.

    And then, we have the outright madness of invading Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003, a step which even Bin Laden couldn't have wished for in his wildest dreams.

    We destroyed what balance of power there was, causing even more radicalization of the 10% Muslim hard core, and now are reaping the whirlwind with ISIS.

    The worst of Bush's group of sycophant fools still don't realize what they did, and refuse to acknowledge a 2 Trillion dollar mistake, 4500 US Troops dead, 35,000 badly wounded, PTSD, and millions of citizens KIA or displaced in Iraq and Syria.

    This is pure ignorance of history, and we are apparently doomed to repeat the same mistakes at the hands of these chicken hawk fools who do not understand war or the consequences.

    Ron Paul tried to point out some of the root causes of Muslim anger at the Western world during his 2012 debate appearances, but he was ridiculed by nearly all Repubs.

    Obviously Muravchik has never spent one minute contemplating the cost, the fallout, and the next 100 years of tragedy for not only Iran, and even the entire planet if the USA goes to war with Iran.

    Many Christian evangelicals see war with Iran as the 1st step to Armaggedon, and hastening the rapture and end of days. Their mythology should not inform US policy and politics.

    1. "The worst of Bush's group of sycophant fools still don't realize what they did, and refuse to acknowledge a 2 Trillion dollar mistake, 4500 US Troops dead, 35,000 badly wounded, PTSD, and millions of citizens KIA or displaced in Iraq and Syria."

      The party of "personal responsibility" not taking responsibiity? Imagine that. I burst out laughing when I hear the neocons say Obama created Daesh/ISIL. Really? Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact we invaded Iraq and completely disbanded Saddam's army, many of whom are now leading Daesh. But again, who wants to think about those pesky "facts".

    2. "Bush's group of sycophant fools still don't realize what they did"
      "these chicken hawk fools who do not understand war or the consequences"

      Sorry, but it's -not- a matter of realization -or- understanding. They simply -don't- =care= .. because -they- won't be the ones "at the sharp end". What a bunch of gutless phonies!

      What bothers me even more than their hypocrasy, though, is that "the Great American Public" -still- =listen= to these blatant phonies!

  43. I would love to send this to Senator Tom Cotton, who may have forgotten the horrors of war...

  44. Perhaps the Republicans are correct that the Iranians are duping us. But so are the Saudis, the Afghans, the Egyptians, the Israelis, basically the entire Middle East. Since the West started interfering in the affairs of the Middle East, we have been dupes. These are an ancient people who have existed since the dawn of time. The US and the West may be more technologically advanced now, but these people are used to waiting.

    We're like the big, dumb jock who wants to help out and doesn't realize how he's being used. And what's worse, we refuse to learn.

  45. "This idea that we have a right to destroy a country, to kill a people, to topple governments, based on what they might do in the future? Based on hysteria and conspiracy and rumor and astrology? "

    Funny how the people screaming for pre-emptive war never for a moment consider that the rest of the world might get tired of our "Pre-emptive" bullshit and invade US, to keep us from killing another few hundred thousand people and destroying another nation. because near as I can tell, the only out of control aggressive "Rogue" nation attacking and threatening people is the USA. Along with Israel and their never ending "Let's you and him fight" nonsense.

    Also, I never see anyone ask WHY Iran doesn't like us, and why they might want a nuke or three. Well gee, it's not like we once deposed their old ruling body and installed the Shah, a murderous, torturing scumbag of a puppet dictator.....who knew the Iranians would take that shit personal? And a nuke? Well, since we invaded and devastated Iraq on a whim, destabilized the entire region, and set loose a bunch of mad dog lunatics, one might see how it'd make the neighbors nervous, and how they might want to have a 'deterrent' to such imperialistic actions from us.

    We've given Iran PLENTY of reasons to be hateful and afraid of us. And to date, we're STILL not giving them any reasons to change that feeling. We create our own problems, our own enemies, and the MIC likes it that way. We need to change our entire method of interacting with the rest of the world, and cut out military back. Take a defensive, not aggressive posture and deal with our issues here at home and stop threatening everyone.

    Jeff Lamm, AO3, USN, SPC, Military Police, US Army.

  46. Jim, I savor your essays. The hate mail must be coming fast and furious. I had to read the suggestion that getting rid of Israel would make better sense twice. Yes, I know it was not serious. But it was beautiful in its utter simplicity.

  47. Too many parallels between Netanyahu and the Ayatollahs for me to be comfortable.

    1. add in crazy christian fundies like Hagee and Bryan Fischer

  48. The winds of war begin as little gusts. I too see the dark thunderheads beginning to form on the not-so-distant horizon. Emboldened by their control of the Senate & Congress the war-mongers are beginning to drool at the prospect of yet another conservative puppet president they can make dance to their tune. They no doubt have erections at the anticipation of harvesting more future-America's wealth for their coffers now. Follow the money.

  49. https://www.facebook.com/IranlovesIsrael.OfficialPage

  50. Hi Chief, Remember when Israel destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor using only three F-15s? They had to fly over Saudi territory, jam Iraqi radar and refuel aerially to return home safely. They were helped by US crewed AWACS and aerial refueling tankers. Today, they would have to fly farther carrying heavier bunker busting bombs to hit Iranian nuclear facilities. Such an attack is simply not possible without active US support. Sure they can use medium range missiles or even cruise missiles but those cannot deliver the required punch unless they are nuclear tipped. Even Netanyahu is not crazy enough to do that. So regardless of any rhetoric, Israel has to have US permission and support before any attack on Iran.

    The Iranian mullahs know this, and they will sign on to any deal offered by President Obama. Why, because it lifts the sanctions and later if a new president revokes the deal, the sanctions will not be re-imposed by the international community because Iran will have committed no violations.

    The letter sent by the congressmen is exactly what was needed by the Iranians. They are now sitting pretty in a "no lose" situation.

    With over 100 western inspectors in their facilities, they will have the added comfort of convenient human shields against any symbolic surprise attack by Israel.

    The US/Iran deal will be done and the door to a US Iran war is almost closed.

    As an afterthought, there is a pesky bunch of rebels in Yemen giving the Saudis sleepless nights. No one would really mind an invasion (except the Yemenis, maybe) in this oil-less hard sand desert in Saudi Arabia's soft underbelly. It's conveniently located within bombing distance of Diego Garcia and has nicely sloping beaches for ambitious, sorry I mean amphibious landing. And oh yeah, they're just across the strait from Iran.

    1. It was 8 F-16s, not 3 F-15s. They didn't refuel along the way. They had to drop fuel tanks while flying at low level. Something no one had ever done before, BTW. They were running on fumes when they got back. This is all from one of the pilots who was on the raid. (Trivia note: The Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia Disaster was one of the pilots on that raid too.)

  51. Iran wants the bomb to deter a US invasion. After Dubya's axis of evil speech and the invasion of Iraq, obviously Iran and North Korea figured they were next. If we didn't want Iran and the PRNK to have a bomb, we shouldn't have invaded Iraq.

  52. Where have all the flowers gone?

  53. OK. Neocons want us to attack Iran. Big deal and no surprise. Its a long way away and its unlikely that you'll know anyone who has to pay any price. Now, back to the real March Madness.

    Of course I am concerned, and I do know pilots, SOF and intel troops who will be in harm's way. But, as spittle flecked cheerleaders and other sober opinion leaders wish to drive us toward inevitable pre-emptive war with against 77 million new Muslim enemies, I keep looking back at their loopy brothers and see what they plan for us here at home. When we initiate the Iran campaign in our war against sanity, the Christian Taliban, Tea Bagger, Koch sucking, We the People, Trickle Down, Ayn Rand masturbationist, developmentally stunted fuckwads elected to Congress and state legislatures will open up a second front right here in the homeland.

    While we drop bombs on Iran, Congress and GOP controlled states will attempt to cut aid and healthcare for poor, disabled and disadvantaged cuz it's their own fault; drain Social Security to prove it's insolvent; cut infrastructure investment so that more broken bridges and dams prove gov't can't do anything right. Baby Jeezus and old white men demand control of women's uteruses (at least until any unwanted gifts are born - then the little fuckers are on their own). They'll drill and mine in every national park cuz god's and man's dominion over the Earth and shit. And eliminate Global Climate Change by banning the use of that term.

    We'll rain death and destruction on Iran cuz its inevitable and there's no other choice. Back here in the USA, while Faux News and CNN screen cool vids of airplanes taking off, night vision tracer fire and explosions, and Pentagon PR flaks, we already face a simultaneous assault on our own way of life with hardly a mention in the liberal MSM. You tell me which campaign we will "win". Tommy D

  54. It is not about Israel, and it's not about oil - it's about money and power. In the mid 1950's, the US, via our CIA, overturned a democratically elected government in Iran in favor of our puppet, the Shah -- who proceeded to remain very friendly with US business interests while ripping off the Iranian people. No wonder they don't like us very much. And, they are fighting against ISIL -- what could be wrong with that? But the neocons don't even like that. Iran and all of the Arab countries surrounding Israel have for decades, used the existence of Israel to distract their people from the fact that those governments are virtually universally corrupt, steal from their own people and use their country's resources as their own. Here, the US suffers from enormous income inequality, overall poor health (except for the rich), crumbling infrastructure and poverty not known in any other Western democracy....Income inequality could easily be "fixed" by raising taxes on the rich (to where they were under Eisenhower) and raising the safety net and other public benefits (like free college) for the poor and middle class, and by reducing our extravagent military expenditures to reasonable levels. But, just like the Arab governments, and now, probably Israel as well (if Krugman's column on the serious income inequality problem in Israel is true(, the Republicans and too many Democrats, also want to distract our people with scary talk of Iran....that way they don't actually have to do anything to make this country better.

    1. I really like your comment, but would like to reply with this.
      One should look to their selves in understanding why all of this fighting is going on. We want to act like we are some how better than others. Our thinking that we are better than others is at the root of it all. Being better than others, gives us the right to exploit them. This exploitation leads to the accumulation of wealth for some and the poverty of others. This leads to the exploited hating the exploiter. How many of us are guilty of wanting to get rich, and not realizing that being the problem? Oh, but I am better than you and should have more. Until all of mankind is good enough to be communistic there is little hope. Those most offended by that statement, are probably the ones furtherest from being good enough. Oh, and the fact that communism did not work helps to prove my point. Not much chance of the fighting ever ending.

  55. As an atheist, Matthew is my favorite of the gospels.

    That being said, does anyone think Iran would launch a nuke if this were common knowledge?


  56. The DOD is the only department of the federal government that has never passed an audit. I say before we go to war, let's get them through an audit first.

  57. Thank you Jim for another insightful article. As always, you put a smile on my lips, cause much laughter for me but most of all, make you cause me to stop and think about stuff. I completely enjoy your writing style and have for almost a year now when I first discovered your website and Facebook page.

    I look forward to your pearls of thought-provoking prose and I am completely entertained by your ever evolving writing style. I have not enjoyed opinion writings this much since Molly Ivins was still alive, keep it up, thanks!


  58. I can't say reading this didn't make this old woman tired to her soul. You put out there many things that I have said or thought, first as a teenager during Nam, to now with everything in the Middle East. Of course I have been lam blasted over the years for daring to do so. I'm a Navy Vet daughter, and a Army Vet mom with way to many memories of all those lost over the last 50 years of political wars. Thank you Jim for this and please keep at it. As always, in this reader's opinion, you nailed it!

  59. Jim, you make so much sense. I've yet to find another writer I agree with completely. You're the first.

  60. USS Liberty, June, 1967. Israel attacked this ship and almost sank it. The Liberty suffered 90 percent casualties and over 30 KIA. Bibi's recent visit refreshed my memory on this horrible incident. And Israel is our ally?

  61. Powerful article.

    I don't watch CNN or cable for that matter, but I understand that McCain was on doing his lying best to convince people of his lies. Of course, his main purpose was to disrespect President Obama and it's my understanding that he received no push back which doesn't surprise me. At any rate he's going straight for the Iraq playbook. And apparently the media is letting him and other neocons have at it.

    From the article: "It wasn’t a coincidence that McCain linked Iran and ISIS together in his comments. It was the same kind of verbal trickery that Bush/Cheney/McCain used to link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda before the invasion of Iraq."


    Americans can't count on the MSM not to push for war.

  62. The aim of war is not peace. War is a tool, used to funnel the power of the many into the hands of a few. The Constitution grants the title of Commander in Chief to the Executive, which entitles the president to wartime powers, including suspension of civil liberties. In addition, as per the Constitution, the people do not directly elect the president. That task is left to the electoral colloge. Although we hold national presidential elections, a presidential candidate can lose the popular vote and win the presidency, as recently witnessed in Al Gore’s candidacy. In a post Citizens United America, it is arguable possible to purchase a president, a president with unbalanced power in time of war. If defining preemptive as “relating to the purchase of goods or shares by one person or party before the opportunity is offered to others”, then waging preemptive war is a means of obtaining perpetual power. Now you have the answer to the age-old “war, what is it good for” question.

    “It’s Not Easy, Being Green”

    Black, White, Yellow, Red
    These are the colors, in your head.
    “It’s not easy, being green.”
    A little frog, once said.
    “We are all green!” he would scream,
    If he weren’t dead.

    That little frog taught me how to see,
    But that was before his dreams,
    Were sold, and bought by Disney.
    Now they shovel shit into kid’s heads:
    “Don’t worry; your prince will come.
    Just brush with some fluoride,
    And go to bed.”

    We are all green, in fact.
    That’s the color, they’ve stamped upon our back.
    Claim: America, home of the free and brave,
    Don’t realize: Every one of us, is a slave.

    Human Capital? What’s that?
    That’s the work, that breaks your back,
    Collateral against borrowed debt, in fact.
    Fuck the debt ceiling, that’s whack,
    Either way, we pay, that’s that.
    Either way, we pay, in tax and tax.

    Income Tax
    Property Tax
    School Tax
    Sales Tax
    Sin Tax

    What happened to bartering,
    This for that?
    What happened to scratching,
    Back for back?
    Nah, they don’t get a piece of that.
    People helping each other,
    Ain’t that a bitch?
    People help people,
    They don’t get rich.

    “Make the people fight each other,
    We gotta pin brother, against brother.
    Distract them, Scare them, Make them Shudder,
    They’ll look one way, we’ll go another,
    Otherwise they may hear us, when we stutter.”

    “What’s that”, she said,
    “What’s in our bread?”
    “What’s that”, you did,
    “Fed us poison through a SIV?”
    “What’s that”, she cried,
    As everyone around her died.

    We don’t see, the things they do.
    Everyone’s busy, playing Who’s Who.
    Who bought a car?
    Who got a rock?
    Who’s wearing who,
    Waiting at the bus stop?

    “Distract, Distract, and Misinform,
    If they don’t know, they can’t stop the storm.
    Why live life, when they can watch T.V.?
    Listen to what we want; why buy the C.D.?
    Read what we want; why keep the internet free?
    Ignore those, who update their status with fact.
    That’s just some intellectual shit; that’s whack.
    Why eat a GMO-free fruit or nut,
    When they can feed themselves for a dollar, at Pizza Hut?”

    “Fuck that”, I scream,
    “I see, I see,
    I do not want,
    What you want for me!”

    “Fuck that”, I scream,
    “I’m free, I’m free!”
    But I am not as free,
    As I’d like to be.

    My blood is not red,
    It’s green, I dread.
    No life running through these veins,
    Just another money train,
    Work me, kill me, ‘til I’m dead,
    Isn’t that, what that little frog once said?

    -Gina B. (That’s Me;)

    1. Wow, Gina B.! I had to copy this so I can share . . . with credit, of course. It is very moving. Thank you.

      -- 'Niques

    2. Thank you. If you plan to share the first paragraph, please fix the type-o. I should have proof read that. I don't know how an "o" found it's way into college. Maybe Jim can help me out there. I spent a good 10 minutes yesterday trying to convince myself that being plagued by phantom "O"s isn't actually a bad thing.

      - Gina Michele Bartkus

    3. If you like that, maybe you will like this one as well. I rarely have the opportunity to engage people who are like-minded. Finding this blog has been a blessing. Thank you.

      "Baa Baa Black Sheep"

      Like lambs to the slaughter,
      Meat on the table,
      By choice and consent,
      They follow, follow, follow.

      They seem happy.
      They are smiling.
      Why are they so happy?
      Why are they not crying?
      I think; I can hear them crying.

      “Follow, Follow, Follow”, they cry.
      I search my soul, search and search, and sigh,
      Fragments of shattered heart, give my reply,
      “I cannot follow you; I am not a sheep”,
      Something tells me, has always told me that,
      I am not a sheep.

      “Follow, follow, follow”, they say,
      I am not a sheep; I cannot go that way.
      “Come with me”, I ask, I beg, I pray,
      Come with me; do not go that way.

      Follow, Follow, Follow us,
      Go this way,
      Go this way, you must.
      See that man at the end,
      Standing there,
      Smiling, he is a friend.

      He is not a friend of mine.
      See through his smile,
      See through his shine,
      There is danger lurking,
      Behind his smirking.

      Danger, Danger, Danger,
      Listen, “Can you hear the voice inside?”
      It says, “You must not follow the masses blind.”
      Do not follow; can’t you see?
      Do not follow; come with me.

      But they do not come with me,
      They leave me; they leave smiling,
      But I do swear, I can hear them crying,
      I hear their cries,
      With fists pounding in my ears,
      I hear their cries,
      With all my might, I shut my eyes,
      But I can still see them,
      See them …

      Follow, follow, follow,
      Like lambs to the slaughter,
      Meat on the table,
      By choice and consent.
      I cannot follow, where they go,
      Must not try, to save them so,
      Must turn my back,must let them go,
      But I hear their cries; I know their fate,
      And as the rabbit finally howls,
      Alas, it is all too late.

      -Gina B. (That's Me;)

  63. Last week I caught documentary on FreeSpeech TV on Prosecution of GWB for Murder based on book by V. Bugliosi. The opposition to the book has been incredible but his case was made (going to read the book next) but his reasoning was if W wasn't held accountable it will happen again, that lying us into a war on the cheap will become the norm and sadly with the last election results it is clear that is a distinct possibility as soon as 2017. I don't think President O will take us to war and his reasoning about not looking into war crimes was his call but at the very least he should have appointed a commission to spell out what happened, what it cost us in human treasure and financially. Bugliosi's point was to prove to the world (and us) that no one is above the law could possibly stop this from happening again.

    I'm going to check out the WH site -- silly thing but you can submit petitions that must be acted on, sometimes they get mentioned and get attention. I would submit a petition that every one on Fox, every politican, every talking head must volunteer at least 1 family member for regular military service...no officer slot or stateside billet. That family member must be a child (grandchild) or nephew/niece - the more of your family you volunteer the more times you can urge war. If you don't volunteer anyone you must shut up and no TV show can book you. If they do they are fined a million dollars (everytime someone is on...if McCain/Graham are on all 4 networks that's $8 million on one day alone) payable to the VA or specific program for veterans and their families. I grew up on those songs and hope today's generation can stand up as well. Thanks for stating the facts so clearly and stripping away the "romance" of war. It is not romantic or heroic to those fighting or waiting at home. Marlene

  64. Next comes the Trojan horse ? Will it be a Gulf Of Tonquin like incident, or another 9/11 style attack ? No matter, it will happen.

  65. Jim, I really think this is your best yet. Thank you. Now the downside--I'm REALLY depressed.

    1. Do not sit and sulk. Do something to make this world a better place. It will make you feel better. Each one of us has the power to produce positive change.

  66. Again Jim, you tell people what needs to be said, but no one wants to hear.

    It seems to me that we are all animals with the nerve and audacity to call our selves human. The only difference between any of us is environment. Keep telling yourself the lie that you are better than others while you scream “bomb them into oblivion “. Humanity just sickens me. Now lets hear about God's love, from all of you hypocrites.

  67. Dear Generals and Chickenhawk Warmongering Neocons:

    My son just turned 18. He's not fighting in your ridiculous trumped-up wars. If we have to, we'll strap on a backpack and disappear into South America. Send your own sons into battle instead -- better yet, send Louis Gohmert to lead the charge.


    An American Mother

  68. Where have all the flowers gone?
    When will they ever learn?
    Will they ever learn?

  69. Tremendous Flop by Mercedes Schlapp
    GOP Strategist Casually Dismisses Civilian Casualties
    NY Will Never Forget the Faces of Thousands of Dead Innocents
    Who's the Terrorist Now, GOP?



  70. Your criticism of the GOP is well warranted but, in a rare show of bi-partisanship, the house passed a bill goading Obama to arm the western Ukrainian militias pretending to be a national army with offensive weapons so they can take the fight to the Russia-backed eastern Ukrainian militias. Russia will respond to this NATO threat on their border.

    If Obama caves to this pressure like he did with Syria and Libya, it could very well spark a Russian invasion. Europe opposes this move, and for good reason. Our list of allies would be woefully thin. If he folds, Obamacare won't be his legacy. WWIII will be his legacy.

    I wrote my Republican congressman a couple months back asking him to reconsider this provocation. He wrote back that we needed to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine's borders. My recollection is that Ukraine wasn't an entity at all until the USSR declared it one. It was traditionally split between Russian and eastern European (Poland, Romania) partisanships, with some Ottoman Empire vassalage thrown in for good measure. We're going to risk war for that so-called "country"?! Madness.

    10 Republicans voted against the measure, and 38 Democrats. My guy voted yes, regrettably.

  71. Jim,

    Let’s not forget the corrosive weakening of the American media, and how that decline has shaped recent conflicts and American’s reaction to them:

    Vietnam: “Those nattering nabobs of negativism” showing the true nature of the conflict thus earning the ever-lasting hatred of those running the war.

    Today: Embedded, greedy sycophants channeling all their energies in the pursuit of ratings and money and fame no matter the consequences to the soldiers on the ground or America as a whole.

    Note that there are many good, brave journalists risking their lives to get the truth. But the American media as a whole has deteriorated to where it no longer serves the people, but has instead become either propaganda arms of political parties (Fox), or nothing more than ratings driven, entertainment for the masses.

    Chris in S. Jersey

  72. Preemptive strikes, on those that present a threat, make sense to me. We would soon be the only ones left, and what better than a one world order. Then we could preemptively get rid of all but the Christians. After that we could attack other false denominations, like say Catholics. Then we could start in on the witches. Then we would have a utopia. That should give one hope.

  73. Muravchik goes on to qualify his call for war by saying we could wage it as “an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure” which would entail “less need for boots on the ground”

    Not only have the war hawks not thought through the planning necessary for a successful air war, but no one ever seems to think about what the United States has dumped on foreign CIVILIANS (aka NONCOMBATANTS) during and since World War II.

    Mark Selden wrote in Japan Focus:

    "US Bombing Strategy...the American Way of War from World War II to Iraq:
    The Nuremberg Indictment defined “crimes against humanity” as “murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war,” language that resonated powerfully with the area bombing campaigns not only of Japan and Germany but of Britain and the US.

    Only by engaging the issues, and above all the impact of this approach to the massive killing of noncombatants that has been central to all subsequent US wars, can Americans begin to approach the Nuremberg ideal that holds victors as well as vanquished to the same standards with respect to crimes against humanity, or the standard of the 1949 Geneva Accord which requires the protection of civilians in time of war."

    1. Mr. Wright
      This is perhaps your best summation of historical events to date. But I must argue one important point. Putin did not invade the Ukraine. The US State Department, and its neocon holdovers from the Bush era did. Robert Parry at Consortium news has done an exemplary job in laying out the timeline re events in Ukraine and US involvement.

      Western media has ignored the neo-nazi elements from Eastern Ukraine, along with their wealthy oligarchs, of their participation in the coup. And they have ignored the interests of US corporations, but the State Dept. has not.

      Perhaps I am too idealistic, but I believe that there are three governments that we should be talking to, rather than confronting militarily: Russia, Syria, and Iran.

      SDCulp USMC

  74. I feel like this goes here


  75. bonefish (Nancy Tatum Wood)March 27, 2015 at 7:25 PM

    Dammitall. Just damn it all to bloody fucking hell, Jim, honestly.
    I will come back tomorrow or the next day and read all of this wonderful, as usual, post. Right now, I am tired and fed up and disgusted (that's not a good enough nor strong enough word but it's all ah's gots) and just can't handle any more for now.

    1. Don't feel alone. I'm a vet and i'm tired and disgusted too. It never ends. BOB

  76. Look at the House and Senate proposed budgets. Cut programs such as healthcare, food stamps, and Medicare. INCREASE defense spending. The ramp up for war is in high gear.

  77. As usual a very perceptive and incisive analysis. This bunch of Dominionists with which your poor country has been landed, frighten the absolute Bejesus out of me. They make the milquetoast Etonians and lesser Public Schools(they're not public and no I don't understand it either), that we are going to have the joy of choosing from look, positively benign.
    I'll be sharing this and guiding as many people as possible to your blog.

  78. Thanks Jim, I loved the Country Joe and the Fish stuff, right up my alley...If you couldn't see it then, I guess you aren't going to see it now or in the future...Eisenhower had it right when he warned us about the Military Industrial Complex, war for profit in a capitalist society is a dangerous mix, now the complex is spread throughout the whole country.
    Still the Hawks can't seem to see that we never should have been in Viet Nam, they still maintain their position.. so we're still "fighting" the Viet Nam War, the Hawks still blame the anti war people for "losing" it. Fast forward to Iraq, we are all responsible for allowing our government to commit our forces to such an unnecessary "war". Cheney, as hard as he tried to stay out of Viet Nam should have known better, they all should have .Maybe if we had a Draft, maybe people would pay attention. Another excellent essay Jim, thank you.

  79. Just read, Tom Cotton says war with Iran would only take 'a few days'.

    There are 5 other countries party to those talks. All Republicans are doing is proving your country can't be trusted.


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