The U.S. has long had Iran virtually encircled as a result of the American occupation of Afghanistan on Iran’s Eastern border, its invasion of Iraq on its Western border, its NATO ally Turkey hovering on Iran’s Northwestern border, some degree of military relationship with Turkmenistan on Iran’s Northeastern border, and multiple U.S. client states sitting right across the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, where the massive U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed). Additionally, some combination of the U.S. and Israel has bombarded Iran with multiple acts of war over the last year, including explosions on Iranian soil, the murder of numerous Iranian nuclear scientists (in which even one of their wives was shot), and sophisticated cyberattacks… In the past decade, the U.S. and/or Israel have invaded, air attacked, and/or occupied Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (to say nothing of the creation of a worldwide torture regime, a system of “black site” prisons around the world to which people were disappeared, and a due-process-free detention camp in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean where many people remain encaged for almost a full decade without charges). During this same time period, Iran has not invaded, occupied or air attacked anyone. Iran, to be sure, is domestically oppressive, but no more so — and in many cases less — than the multiple regimes funded, armed and otherwise propped up by the U.S. during this period. Those are all just facts.
But — despite all of these facts — all Serious people in the U.S. know that Iran is the Aggressor, the Modern Nazis, a True Menace, while the U.S. and Israel are its innocent peace-loving victims.
— Glenn Greenwald (Salon)
by Norman Horowitz
As a television executive, I have realized the value of selling things with more or less “catchy” or previously used titles. There were programs called “Poltergeist: The Series,” “The New Sea Hunt,” and “American Werewolf in London: The Series.” Words used to describe movies and television content matter, and they matter a lot.
I was on a cable panel about 30 years ago when I suggested that the television series “Happy Days” lived in the consciousness of the American public and that everyone who watched television at that time knew what it was. Names of things mattered then as they do today. Television people and politicians have long understood this.
I just loved it when the White House apologized for the President’s description of the campaign against terrorism as a “crusade.” For an encore, they renamed the campaign “Operation Infinite Justice,” a name that seemed to some Muslims to promise what only Allah could deliver. Continue reading “A Rose by Any Other Name”
The sequence of military adventures set in motion when Jimmy Carter promulgated his Carter Doctrine back in 1980 makes for an interesting story but not a very pretty one. Ronald Reagan’s effort to bring peace to Lebanon ended in 1983 in a bloody catastrophe. The nominal victory of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which pushed Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait, produced little except woeful complications, which Bill Clinton’s penchant for flinging bombs and missiles about during the 1990s did little to resolve or conceal. The blowback stemming from our first Afghanistan intervention against the Soviets helped create the conditions leading to 9/11 and another Afghanistan War, now approaching its tenth anniversary with no clear end in sight. As for George W. Bush’s second go at Iraq, the less said the better. Now, there is Libya.
…why persist in an effort for which great pain is repaid with such little gain?
— Andrew Bacevich (Boston University)
Here’s what Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the chairman of Hizbollah, said to me when I asked him to explain the mind of a suicide bomber. “Think of a person being in a sauna bath for a long time. He is very thirsty and tired and hot and he is suffering from the effects of a high temperature. Then he is told that if he opens the door, he can go into a quiet, comfortable room, drink a nice cocktail and hear classical music. Then he will open the door and go through without hesitation.”
That’s definitely in the “Ouch!” painful-truth bracket…
— Robert Fisk (The Independent)