Togane, Japan
December 31
I'm teaching English in foreign countries as a way to see the world. I lived in Germany for three years and have been in Japan since August of 2011.


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MARCH 5, 2012 7:03PM

On the Brink of War with Iran

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While the day-to-day sideshow of the presidential primary and other sensational stories keep us distracted, the most important thing happening in the world today is scarcely getting any attention at all.  The U.S. headlines remain dominated by stories of clownish candidates and their gaffes, birth-control controversies, pedophile football-coaches, celebrity deaths, and so on.  In a sane country, every newspaper would be screaming the same question on Page One: “Will there be war with Iran?”

It might not feel like it, but we are practically on the brink of a conflict that could conceivably escalate into World War III.  Something akin to the Cuban Missile Crisis is taking place behind the scenes of the great global power struggle and the agents involved are taking care to keep it as quiet as possible.  Those interested in starting this war know that their situation becomes more complicated if the masses start paying attention, so the least we can do is make our awareness known.

Everybody ought to be gravely worried about this, but unfortunately people take most of their cues from news anchors and commentators, and none of them are projecting what I feel is an appropriate amount of concern.  I will explain why I’m worried in the hopes that it will encourage others to express these concerns as well.  This is not fear-mongering, as this is rational fear.  Rational fear is what prevented nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and it’s the only thing that can stop us from a potentially disastrous war in the Middle East.

Regardless of your political persuasion, you can not deny that there are powerful organized interests who benefit financially from war.  Military contractors such as those listed here have seen their budgets inflate wildly thanks to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Now that those wars are dying down, could anyone honestly believe that these companies are prepared to see all of that extra revenue suddenly dissolve into thin air?  The people who run these companies have all the incentive in the world to seek a justification for another war.  It’s not that they’re evil—they’ve probably convinced themselves that Iran does pose a genuine threat and a war now is preferable to a war later.  With billions of dollars on the line, you can will yourself into believing just about anything.

If we acknowledge that there are powerful interests who are actively trying to bring about war, the question then becomes what could stand in their way.  The most obvious answer is public pressure, and after a decade of Afghanistan and Iraq the public is sick of war.  The most recent CNN/ORC poll shows that regarding Iran 60% of Americans favor a diplomatic approach and only 17% would favor military force.

Compare that to the numbers in the lead-up to the Iraq war.  In the aftermath of 9/11, Americans were far more supportive of military action, and virtually no effort was made to protest or lobby the government against it.  Effort was expended to sell the American public on the idea of preemptive war in Iraq, and after a long period of widespread journalistic malfeasance (of which the most egregious offenses are recounted here) the war was launched with barely a word of public outcry.

Because that debacle is still fresh in the collective memory, the military contractors are barely even bothering with public opinion this time.  That’s not to say they aren’t trying: just watch the major news-channels and notice that among the few stories in which Iran is mentioned, it’s almost always referred to as an imminent threat.  Glen Greenwald wrote a piece last week drawing attention to how retired generals such as Barry McCaffrey have been posing as objective military analysts while at the same time participating in a Pentagon propaganda program.  Greenwald reports that McCaffrey has been briefing NBC executives on the situation with Iran, basically telling them that war will almost certainly break out within 90 days and it will be Iran’s doing.  The message they want planted in American minds is not that a war with Iran is desirable—they know they’ll never be able to accomplish that—but that it may be necessary.

Even if the majority of Americans are against the war, they can still safely launch one as long as the people believe they had no choice.

That means we must be prepared to be dragged into a war we don’t want, and there are two very easy ways this can be accomplished.  First is to goad the Iranians into attacking one of our ships in the Persian Gulf in the hopes of provoking another Gulf of Tonkin incident (thankfully, Iran doesn’t seem anxious to take the bait).  The second is to have Israel launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and wait for Iran’s retaliation.  I’m particularly worried about this second possibility, as Benjamin Netanyahu is about as hawkish as they come and he has a history of acting without U.S. approval.

Luckily for us, the last thing the Obama administration wants in the run-up to the re-election is to start an unpopular war with Iran, and this week he’s no doubt pressuring Netanyahu not to strike.  I have a long history of criticizing the president, but one solid reason to vote for him in 2012 is that he—whether out of genuine moral conviction or pure political calculation—will resist starting another war, whereas Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich would do everything they could to facilitate one.

Yet if Netanyahu acts unilaterally by bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities and inviting a counter-attack by Iran, President Obama will have no choice but to honor the alliance with Israel and commit the U.S. military to the fight.  Just consider what would happen if he refused and withheld military support from Israel.  The right-wing, which has already been lambasting the president for being weak on Israel and soft on the Muslim world for three years, would come down full-force and Obama would be accused of nothing less than allowing a Second Holocaust.  He’d be damned among conservatives for avoiding the war and he’d be damned among progressives for joining it (not to mention damned among everyone for the effect on gas prices), so his best hope is that it does not become an issue.  But Netanyahu is no friend of Obama and neither are the military contractors.  Handing him a political nightmare in an election year is just another incentive to start the war now.

And this is the point I want to conclude on: why now?  Even if you believe that Iran is not a rational actor and would launch a suicidal nuclear attack on Israel if they had the capability, there is absolutely no credible person on the planet who says they have that capability now.  Even the war-mongering General McCaffrey puts forward a figure of 36 months as the period of time it will take for Iran to develop nuclear weapons, though he inexplicably insists they intend to escalate towards war within 90 days.  Even if you were a religious nut, why on earth would you start a war with your mortal enemy several years before you are capable of seriously harming them?  An attack now would invite a counter-attack from the United States military that would destroy the Iranian government before they could even bruise Israel.  The leaders of Iran might be crazy (and I don’t believe they are) but they’re definitely not that stupid.  They rigged an election in 2009, and that requires at least two brain cells to accomplish.

The reasons why this war might start in 2012 are numerous.  The withdrawal of our last combat troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 is one.  The benefits of starting this conflict during an election year are another.  But perhaps the most sinister is the fact that the year happens to be 2012.  It’s no secret that many people with their hands on the levers of power in the world are fundamentalist Christians.  Many see a nuclear conflict in the Middle East involving Israel as the spark that will bring about Armageddon, and what better year to get that started than the year the Mayan calendar ends and people are already anticipating an apocalypse?  Prophecies have a tendency of fulfilling themselves, especially when very powerful people who believe the prophecies find themselves in a position to bring them to fruition.

A war with Iran will not be like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Iran is far more powerful and capable of putting up a fight.  Dozens of catastrophic scenarios are possible if we strike.  Other Muslim nations, their perceptions of a Holy War being waged against them reinforced by an unprovoked U.S.-Israeli assault on a fellow Muslim country might very well get involved.  Pakistan, with whom our relations these past years have been tenuous at best, might cut all diplomatic ties with us and join the fight on Iran’s side and offer their nuclear support.  Iran might already have other weapons of mass destruction such as chemical or biological in their arsenal as an insurance policy for war just waiting to be unleashed.  Whatever happens, millions of innocent people will die or have their lives tragically altered forever.  All so a few mega-wealthy corporations can maintain their profits.

I’m not sure we can stop this.  Writing to our representatives and marching in the streets will probably not be enough to block this juggernaut, but we have to be aware of what’s going on.  If we can’t prevent it, at least we can be prepared for it.

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This is a very insightful piece. I hope you're not right.
I think that if this position of yours were to be covered on TMZ it might get enough enough people to notice how terrifyingly dangerous the situation is.
There is ONE sure fire way out of this predicament. See my most recent post on Obama's peace mission to Iran....wink
This might be pertinent.
You didn't see my previous post? Read it, and try to feel better. I make the case why the threat of an Israeli-Iranian war is much overblown, and I elaborate in my comments.
Although "when" is problematical, there is just too much in favour of war with Iran for it to be stoppable. Three huge factors are at play:

FIRST: The US government wants control of that part of the world and has shown no inclination to stop at anything to get it.

SECOND: Major international corporations and bankers want that area brought under the control of a nation they own. The US will do very nicely.

THIRD: With or without an silly armageddon talk, the major christian religions have for hundreds and hundreds of years felt threatened by Islam. Their greedy little fingers positively twitch at the thought of all those potential donations just going to waste.

I know of no way that this triple desire for war can be countered. The possibility that American and other western nationals can "rise up in protest at such actions has been pretty much eliminated by the recent emasculation of the constitution. Heck, the government has even anticipated their likely need for vast detention capabilities and has/is in the process of creating them.

You touched very briefly on the ability of Iran to wage a chemical or biological war. The US too has this ability fully developed. While everyone has bee watching the nuclear red herring, the real threat to mankind, now and in the future, is biological first and chemical second. Nuclear isn't even close as a world threat.

I hope I'm wrong but I'm of the opinion that it is now far too late to stop this from happening. No amount of "Occupying" or "marching" or even an attempt at violent revolution (doomed to failure) can stop it.

It's gonna happen........

Rated and rated again!
"The most important thing happening in the world today is scarcely getting any attention at all"?


Yowg, ?"mun"? I don't know which part of the world or its definition of attention span you live in but my own wee corner of world and attention has been all tangled up more ... at least this one day (with "Bibi" and whatever-you-all do or don't want to call POTUS) meeting in D.C. ... with these issues and threats than anything else at all.

Thanks for letting me rant. And MANY thanks for this post!

"in the war over land where the world began prophecy says it's where the world will end but there's a tremor growing in our own backyard fear in our heads fear in our hearts" ~indigo girls

this is getting plenty of play on the tv here. Has been for awhile now. And haven't we been dancing around Syria and Iran for years now? Hezbollah is their creature. I know very little about politics, but we've been gearing up for this for years and years haven't we? I wish it weren't now. We are ...weary, for lack of a better word. Now is not a good time. Which is probably why they are pressing now.
ha! just reread my comment...well you can tell when subconsciously I think this is going to happen
OMG this would just fuck up everything and in the end no winners only losers.
.........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx, PEACE NOW! (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥
You should remember that orthodox Christianity is just a tool to control the mighty army's of the west, has been since the days of Constantine and was consolidated throughout Europe during the reign of Charlemagne. Those who move the levers of power have never believed it. The posts I have left on Open Salon will tell you just what they believe and as I said in LUCIFER they are not of one mind. You need to slow down a little here Kem. The war in Afghanistan is hardly winding down. In fact the Pashtuns are launching a major offensive that is intended to sweep ‘the infidels who dared burn the Koran” from the Indus valley itself.

Technically, we cannot attack Iran conventionally. Blockading the Strait of Hormuz will put America’s carrier groups directly in the path of Iran's Sunburn missiles (courtesy of Russia not to mention the Satan missiles that they have probably also deployed in Iran). We have no defense for those we will lose the whole dam fleet (good riddance). If we nuke it China and Russia will respond in turn. Israel cannot bomb selected targets without midair refueling technology possessed only by America and at this time America has refused to “lend” them the necessary equipment. Right now “our” Golem Israel is just posturing that is why Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, just said Jerusalem believes diplomacy is the preferred course to resolve the current nuclear standoff with Iran. Nobody will be doing anything until they can equip the fleet, and probably fortress Israel, with adequate missile defense systems.

You are right but Kem! Americans will wake up when Snookie has been interrupted by a nuclear missile detonating in their backyard. Same go's for Israelis except they will be doing God only knows what they are doing in front of the Wailing Wall (Here we worship Snookie).

Now we need to take into consideration that all of the above is true only if you are working on the premise that “our” beloved leadership does not want to start WWIII. I am, and have been, telling you that they do, and they will. They have less than 10 months to do so. If we are all still here next year at the same time I will gladly admit that I have been wrong about a few things but don’t bet against me
Perhaps as a sign of good faith in the course of future USraeli-Iran negotiations a U.S. negotiating position with Iran might be to initiate an "in good faith" window wherein the U.S. would make/acknowledge arrangements for U.S. release of Iran's pre-Ayatolla assests/investments plus interests still being held by U.S./Wall Street interests.
Were USraeli to bomb nuclear facilities in Iran one consequence of which there can be no doubt is that such bombing results in a radioactively contaminated environment the likes of which premeditated action can only equate to a war crime, which of course zionUSt$ can likely get away with for a while.
If I may, Kemstone, perhaps a different perspective is worth considering.

Maybe all the hair pulling and breast beating about all this is being overdone. We need another war…a really big one—and this scenario seems to fit the bill very nicely.

It’s pretty obvious we have not learned our lesson from past wars…and one more really big one seems an almost unavoidable requirement in our maturation as a species—although considering that WWII did not do the job…I wonder just how bad the next one will have to be in order to make the transition from relative barbarians to a truly intelligent species.

Whatever is needed, however, this set-up in the Middle East has great potential to fill the bill.

In any case, it should be noted that lots of ancillary good could come from a decent-sized major war. We’ve got way, way too many people using up way, way too many resources and doing way, way too much polluting of the planet. Getting rid of a decent number of people through a really savage war would go a long way toward easing the pressures those problems are causing for us.

And the really great thing about war as the next one will almost surely be fought, is that it will be a relatively humane way to “cull the herd” so to speak—relative, that is, to starvation, over-crowding, pestilence, the effects of poisonous air and water…and all that stuff that kills so slowly and painfully. Heck, a decently directed hydrogen bomb…or an efficient, well-placed dirty bomb could get done in days what might take those other methods decades or even years to accomplish.

Yup, the situation in the Middle East may have a lot more positive going for it than some of us want to acknowledge.

Just sayin’!
My rabbi, who belongs to AIPAC and was about to leave for the meeting in Washington, said to a study group that what was going on with Iran reminded him strongly of the Cuban Missile Crisis. You're apparently not alone in this observation.
Now the idiot's (apisa) latest delusional inanity is war as a good thing. I'm sure YOUR man, mr. obongo would be more than happy to oblige your latest sociopathic passive-aggressive rant.

Kemstone, as Jack pointed out, Afghanistan may appear to be winding down, but, as in Iraq, it is but entering a new phase.

Finally, with all due respect, despite the best efforts of governments to prevent and pre-empt demonstrations against the Iraq War in 200o3:

" Europe saw the biggest mobilization of protesters, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally.

According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between January 3 and April 12, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war."

I'm sorry to sound like a troll, but both the CIA and Israeli intelligence both agree that Iran has no nuclear weapons right now. Only 19% of the Israeli people support going to war pre-emptively with Iran right now, as compared with 42% who essentially agree with President Obama's position.

And isn't it a coincidence, that all of this war fever just happens to coincide with the AIPAC convention? If you don't believe me, look at Alexander Cockburn's latest piece on this in Counterpunch.

Believe me when I tell you that war fever is vastly overrated, and that the majority of people inside both the Iranian and Israeli governments are rational people who are not hot to trot on WW III.
There is NO way that repeating FACTS is the mark of a troll.
McCaffrey, a military-industrial-MSM-complex whore, has been way wrong many times in the past. Let's not give him too much credence now.
I am much delighted with Frank Apisa's open admission that a vigorous use of the latest military technologies will scourge the world of the obvious insanities of current humanity and clear the way for the intellects of a new dawn to take prominence on this much battered planet. He judiciously left unmentioned that he himself is a prime representative of those most worthy of stepping aside for the benefit of the new sunrise of intellect and my only wistful monumental desire is that I could be transformed into a cockroach so I could participate in the progress of the replacements of humanity in the coming arthropodic era.

The Jews have long prided themselves on their intellectual and humane attainments with demonstrated accomplishments in such outstanding individuals such as Christ, Marx (both Groucho and Karl), Woody Allen, Freud, Einstein, Jack Benny and a host of Nobel winners far in excessive disproportion to their numbers in general humanity. That their immense basic and extraordinary abilities have been deftly combined with the blatant viciousness, inhumanity, and titanic stupidities incessantly demonstrated by the the Israeli community must be rated as an outstanding accomplishment of the human mind. I am filled with a complex emotion of wild admiration and total depression.
Uh, Mark?
I read Frank's comment as extreme sarcasm or, at the very least, extreme flippancy. This looks like an example of Frank being cute, not insane.

There are limits.
Such impressive generosity to Frank is excessive. You might as well take him at his word.
Uh, Kosh, this is not the first time fRANK has spoken of culling the population. Sometimes, I think I give you more credit for following along than you deserve.
you lost me when you started hawking Obama as lesser of two evils and I stopped reading. sorry. his bullshit positioning on the war, politically expedient, lesser of two evils all the way and screw the people of conscience once again and if we have a war at least I am on the record frowning during a photo op and good thing I always talk out of both sides of my mouth. Gotta protect that resume.

Jill Stein is running for president and doesn't see war with Iran as an "unpleasant" but probable decision as Obama does (come on!!!) (he actually chides people for thinking Iran war-mongering is a game, bullshit...everything is a game to these pols, especially to Obama!).

But of course, don't support a Jill Stein, she is too anti-establishment, even though the establishment is CORRUPT... ABSOLUTELY SATURATED WITH CORRUPTION AND NOT WORTH TRUST. But what they hey. I don't get it and the biggest sell-outs are faux-progressives supporting Obama despite cherrypicked criticisms and not recognizing his absolute obsequiousness to the one percenters.

Obama jumped the shark long ago. he is a terrific actor. as a president? he is our tragedy but he is enabled by so many other non-empathetic ones, too, some too cool for school as in pragmatic to ever acknowledge the REALITY forest as they do their among the trees commentary. libby
A Modest Proposal for Frank Apisa: do not ever cast pearls of satire before readers of OS.
from wsws bill van auken about the NY Times:

"“Israelis have every right to be fearful and frustrated,” the editorial continues. “For too long the world ignored Iran’s misdeeds and shrugged off Israel’s alarms.”

Here reality is turned upside down. What Iranian misdeeds the world has ignored, the Times does not bother to specify. The reader must accept them as given, along with Israel’s “right” to be fearful, frustrated and alarmed.

One would never suppose that it is Israel that has stockpiled hundreds of nuclear weapons in complete defiance of the international nuclear regulatory system. Unlike Iran, Tel Aviv has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has never allowed IAEA inspectors access to Israeli nuclear sites.

As for the world ignoring misdeeds, it is Israel that has waged war against every one of its neighbors, slaughtering thousands of civilians, most recently in its invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and the siege of the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009. It continues its illegal occupation of the West Bank, subjecting its Palestinian population to relentless repression. Israel’s principal concern in confronting Iran is to preserve its regional monopoly on nuclear weapons, which has played no small role in allowing it to attack with impunity.

While counseling a modicum of patience in pursuing what amounts to an economic blockade designed to pressure Tehran by destroying the living standards of average Iranians, the Times assures its readers that Obama and the newspaper itself will not shy from launching yet another war of aggression.

“What if sanctions and diplomacy are not enough?” the editorial reads. “Mr. Obama has long said that all options are on the table. In recent days his language has become more pointed—urged on, undoubtedly, by Israel’s threats to act alone.” Neither Israel nor Iran, it adds, should “doubt this president’s mettle.”

If anyone should experience a sense of déjà vu in the face of such rhetoric—which combines assertions of an “undeniable” foreign threat with militarist bluster—it is for good reason.

The Times is reprising the role it played a decade ago in the run-up to the US war on Iraq, when it made the case for an “undeniable” threat posed by Baghdad’s “weapons of mass destruction,” which proved non-existent.

The stench from that journalistic travesty has still not left the offices of the Times. Judith Miller, a senior Times correspondent, produced article after article citing unnamed US intelligence and military officials supposedly verifying that Baghdad was pursuing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. The Bush administration in turn quoted these “scoops” as justification for its policy.

Meanwhile, the Times foreign affairs columnist, Thomas Friedman, penned numerous columns embracing what he acknowledged as a “war of choice” against Iraq, justifying such an act of aggression in the name of human rights, democracy and oil.

The coverage by this “newspaper of record” set the tone for the entire US media, thereby saturating the American public with false propaganda and providing indispensable assistance to the Bush administration in launching a war based upon lies.

Then, as now, the newspaper provided not a hint that the war could involve motives other than the lies repeated by the administration and amplified by the Times itself.

Having waged two wars over the past decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, the countries on Iran’s eastern and western flanks, US imperialism is now preparing for war against Iran itself. Washington’s principal war aim is to assert US hegemony over the energy rich and geo-strategically critical regions of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Once again, it invokes “weapons of mass destruction” and “terrorism” as pretexts, and once again the Times acts as a faithful organ of war propaganda."
For once I agree with most of what you wrote above libby. Time to go back tto bed.
ordinary, just like frank thinks morals are a genus of mushroom, principles run schools, satire is what keeps his car moving.

When you wise up to the moron, you'll be less than ordinary.

you shoulda' stayed in bed.
Less than ordinary, are you sure? I didn't comment the last time you called me that BTW. I don't understand your drama with him, but kindly let me draw my own conclusions.
I'm sure that in the event this location of your own property were for being covered with TMZ it will get plenty of enough individuals to notice the way terrifyingly dangerous the matter is.

The IAEA report was damning in character as to putting a set of dots in a line that when connected so simply, mean: nuclear weapons program.
Israel will not tolerate that, for understandable reasons, like with Saddam, and so, there you go, and make the best of it.
16 intelligence agencies say no hard evidence of a nuclear program. the new head of IAEA is a puppet for the profiteering one percenters. Just as they are now infiltrating the leaderships of human rights organizations, contributing their way in. same Iraq garden path. how interesting to live in a country the vast majority of which doesn't give a serious sh*t about the welfare of 80 million Iranians, just as they didn't give a shit, and still don't, about millions of Iraqis or Afghans or Syrians or Libyans. It's all a big video war game to the craven powers that be, big media and to a very disturbed narcissistic citizenry incapable, the majority, of critical thought and with no seriously active consciences!
Add Palestinians to the list above. They sure don't give a sh*t about them, either. Okay, Africans, ... well, the complete list would a long one. US imperialism and hegemony on a real rampage. And I suppose it would end with not giving a serious sh*t about fellow Americans, too. So many treated the OWS movement as a spectator sport. There is the tragedy.
I've been worried about this myself. Obviously, the hidden players are the oil interests and those interested in water rights. They are goading the not-so-hidden players to do something. I will firmly state, right now, that I do not support an attack on Iran because there's not one reason for it. They aren't going to attack Israel ever. Please. That's just nonsense. They know perfectly well that they don't have the support to win anything. This is about money underneath, and I am really, profoundly tired of these asshats oil/power brokers screwing up our lives.
Hey, Frank,
Do us a favor and settle an argument, willya?

I assume your remarks about culling the population are sarcastic and flippant. Mark assumes you mean it, apparently because you've said it before. I don't put it past you to try to recycle what I would characterize as old failed jokes.

I'm not saying I couldn't be wrong here. I won't place my odds at better than 5o/50.

Think he'll answer?
Just curious.
Something about the events related to Iran and many other current events is totally nonsensical and it is hard to believe that things are as they continue to present them.

Two of the biggest examples are the Iranian hikers that were detained for over a year and the murder of an Iranian opposition leader in Texas that they're trying to imply is the fault of Iran. It would take too much time to go into detail but the activities and motives attributed to both sides don't seem to add up. It doesn't make sense for Iran to detain the hikers any more than it makes sense for them to be there at all nor does it make sens for Iran to send assassins to Texas; nor does it make sense for the USA to use this as a false flag since they could do a much better job.

Regardless of what they're doing or why we should stop our own government from fighting one war after another based on lies in the most effective way possible.
Who in the current us admin is a fundamentalist w his/her hand on a nuclear button?
Otherwise, very well-said.
Jeff,yes,I hope so,too.

Jan,thanks for reminding me...

ordinaryjoe:"do not ever cast pearls of satire before readers of OS."
Your remark was an elegant,masterly move.
Koshersalaami wrote:

Hey, Frank,
Do us a favor and settle an argument, willya?

I assume your remarks about culling the population are sarcastic and flippant.

Kosh, My remarks about “culling the population” (or as I prefer, thinning the herd)—whether presented in terms of the result of a devastating war or by impact of an asteroid the size of Manhattan…are meant in the most sarcastic and flippant way possible. Obviously I hope people seeing the situation in such stark terms might be moved to take the problem more seriously...and perhaps exert more effort in making things right.

I am an optimist by nature…and I see lots of good in humanity with plenty of upside to our on-going growth.

I also am a realist and pragmatist, however, and I can see the potential for an horrendous end to the experiment that is “the human race.” As I have mentioned on many occasions, the “realist” part of me sees a need to mention that if all evolving species develop along the lines homo sapiens has, “an untimely end” may be the rule rather than the exception. “Survival of the fittest” is a very demanding mistress—and we humans may well be one of the most evolved species in existence…with the vast majority of developing species ending their evolution prematurely because of primitive stupidity.

The pragmatic side of me want to call attention to the fact that we humans presently seem disposed to self-destruction, even if only because WE ARE NOT disposed to doing everything possible to avoid it.

Hope that clears things up for you.
Mr. Apisa: How can you seriously propose a major war as a "culling strategy"?! We tried that in spades, over the last hundred years, in 2 world wars, and it didn't seem to reduce the population much at all. Or did you mean it as "Evolution in Reverse", killing off the competent, and leaving the stupider to survive?! And as for long term survival, well, the dinosaurs did it much better. A biology professor once told us that it is still a question whether or not "Intelligence" is a Lethal Mutation.
I think Obama has been masterful in this. He has both managed to stand firm against Netanyaho and sent him back to Israel with something to crow about. And that ain't easy. Not in an election year with the Republicans breathing down his neck.

The hope in my view is more of the "disenchanted" will see there is no real competition between Obama and his GOP challengers, regardless of the challenger. It's not time for "liberals" to sit on their ass and act superior to the political process as it exists--not as a fantasy in their imaginations.
Ben-wow, what is it gonna take to GET Obama? Lucy and the football one more time. You think Obama has any commitment to anything he says????? Really????? We're not sitting on our asses, us liberals with CONSCIENCE. You Obamacrats are sitting on your asses projecting nice spins on Obama or lining up for another election round of Lucy and the football. How Charlie Brownie of you. libby
Thanks, Frank. That is what I assumed.

I have no objection to busting your chops when I think you deserve it (and I've noticed the feeling is mutual, which is as it should be), but I didn't think this was one of those times.
Even many very intelligent people are uninformed or misinformed, and truly believe that our overly aggressive foreign policy [and freedom-stripping domestic policies] makes us "safer". The key to turning this nation around is informing the People of ALL ages, starting with evaluation of information to determine credibility [along with not giving major media outlets a free pass, as if being big somehow means that you don't spin the story], the importance of fact versus opinion, critical thinking, and promoting information as a responsibility, rather than an option.

We also need to emphasize the importance of keeping an eye on the actions of our government as a duty of all those who live and work in America. With the long hours people work, staying accurately informed and understanding the issues isn't a priority for far too many. We all need to recognize and acknowledge that if we don't each spend at least a few minutes each day on accurate news, the America our descendents live in
Kem, I've been wavering all over this issue. You post articulates what I've been fearing for the past several months. but, I've also taken to heart ONL's argument plus that of a few other sources. No doubt there are some political and economic actors who favor a war. But most folks who've been paying attention understand that such war would be a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

The MSM has been almost as dismal as they have been in the lead-up to Iraq. And the Repubs seem to think that Vietnam and Iraq notwithstanding, eventually we'll get one of these wars right. Like you, I shudder to think what the future might hold if President Romney were making the call. Of course there's really no telling with him.

re the comments, it was pretty clear that Frank was writing tongue-in-cheek. I'm always a bit saddened that Mark, who has such decent instincts and a fascinating personal story to tell, focuses so much attention on another OS blogger.
Actually Mark, who tends to go off the deep end over Frank, has all the right instincts. libbyliberalnyc has it pretty right and lays it on the line. Perhaps Obama is the least poisonous of the choices but a poison is still a poison and even if it is thickly sugar coated it still is fatal in the end. Election is an inexorable machine and when it rolls over you with only catastrophe as the end product it really doesn't matter who is in the driver's seat.
One man's meat is another man's poison. I know what you don't like and want, Jan, but I am trying to work out what you do want. Anarchy? Dictatorship of the intelligentsia? A parliamentary democracy? If it's totally honest politicians you won't get that in this lifetime, although I wish you many more years.
As a factual matter, Israel looks at the world it sees with a nuclear armed Iran, which is what Iran is clearly aiming at, and doesn't like it.
Partly that is the proxy issue in Hizballah and Hamas. It would potentially alter things as they stand now if Iran could practice extended nuclear deterrence with either of those proxies.
Moreover, it is unnerving to the Israelis as to whether or not Iran can be trusted to maintain an Assured Destruction relationship with nuclear weapons with them. Why find out isn't a bad argument, if it would help ease the situation if there were a Palestinian state that would live in peace with Israel, although that's a huge if.
I have never understood why the Left so wanted to encourage Palestinian violence, as it makes them seem like Nazis as to hostility to the existence of the State of Israel.
Thanks for this very thorough political analysis. Glenn Greenwald has been keeping Iran developments on Salon's front page but, you're right, most American news is oblivious: Reminds me alot of the Bay of Pigs in the sixties. I'll be posting a very impractical solution shortly
I actually do think there's a little fear-mongering to your piece. It's an election year for all of the key players. This chest beating and posturing is part of the play. And perhaps you are underestimating the power of the people, who are fortifying and strengthening. Good piece nonetheless and hopefully we'll live to discuss it!
I hope I'm wrong but I'm of the opinion that it is now far too late to stop this from happening. No amount of "Occupying" or "marching" or even an attempt at violent revolution (doomed to failure) can stop it.
This world will never cease to be alarming in someway!
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Ahh, Dan, Iranians can read. Unlike you and the other 16-18 former Bush neo-con foreign policy advisors to Romney, they actually pay attention to what is said and what happens outside their borders. They can figure out that you are just blowing smoke to line up your right wing nut-case base.

It is amazing to me that any American would pay any attention to anyone connected to the Bush 'Foreign Policy'. Doesn't say much for our education system and our ability to graduate so many without the very basics of critical thinking skills. Looking for cheapest auto insurance in Florida?