More on Iran

I’m on Iran today. Mainly because I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on, what’s going to happen, perhaps steal myself against what is inevitable. Bunch of stuff to cover here, and it’s kind of a mess, but the long and the short of it is that we’re well and truly fucked.

To begin, let’s visit with our good friend the Dark Wraith, who has, in his usual right-on and enviable style, spoken:

The Bush Administration has now called home the American ambassador to Syria. This is not a pretext for war against that country; it is, instead, as much as anything else a notice to the people of the United States that a situation of crisis is building once again in the Middle East, and the Americans must and will take the lead in resolving the looming threat. Syria poses no danger to the United States, but it does afford the neo-conservatives a means by which a message can be conveyed to Iran.

We are on the brink, once again, of war. This time, however, the enemy will not be a country eviscerated by years of debilitating sanctions. This time, the enemy will not be a nation with a Westernized military the vast majority of which stood down for us as we staged a violent and epic play for embedded reporters and enraptured television viewers. This time, the enemy will fight; and the battlefields will be slaughterhouses not only for Iranian soldiers, but for American soldiers, as well.


Iran is a country about to become a nuclear state. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. Iran with nuclear weapons is no counterbalance to the nuclear state of Israel; it is, rather, the partner for a gruesome dance of death traced across the blood-strewn floor of a new century. Iran as a nuclear state is no longer merely a meddling, regional menace; it is a global threat to Western culture.

Now, for those who find the idea of "Western culture" repugnant, the alternative offered by Iran and nations like it should transcend even the most terrifying visions of a world oppressed by the grotesqueness of what America and the Europeans have done throughout history.


The Bush Administration had more than four years to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Bush Administration had more than four years to shepherd, both openly and covertly, that country's moderates to permanent dominance in their halls of political power. The Bush Administration had more than four years to shut down the global traffic in components for nuclear weapons and precursors to the fuel of Hell's weapons.

The Bush Administration had more than four years to build a house that would keep America safe and at peace in a world of madmen.

That house was never built. And now, the bitter-hot winds of war are coming. And we are have no choice but to walk through the maelstrom to the other side, where the next tragedy of our leaders' failures will surely begin.
As unthinkable as it may seem, Iraq may, in the end, turn out to be little more than a minor skirmish preceding a cataclysm the magnitude of which we have yet to grasp. Iraq might only have been the first step in a long descent into madness of the Middle East.

And consider this: against a small guerrilla insurgency in Iraq, against an army that, as the Dark Wraith correctly noted, largely did not fight, we have heard but half-truths about the real cost of this war in troop injuries and deaths.

Information about the number of US casualities in Iraq is available on a web site of the Pentagon or known as the "War Hub" at This information covers only those who are officially US citizens enlisted with different military services. Hired security contractors, or mercenaries, and recruits who are not citizens who enlisted to obtain a "green card," are not counted or mentioned. A large number of the green card recruits are from Mexico and Central America. There are no organizations to look after their rights or help them once they're in Iraq. Most of them are buried in Iraq when killed. A videotape produced and distributed by the "Majles Shora Al-Mojahideen in Fallujah," one of the most important military wings of the Iraqi resistance, showed a burial site discovered outside the Iraqi city of Samara with tens of bodies in US military body bags. The dead where dressed in US uniforms. It is estimated that as many as 40% of the US troops serving in Iraq are green card recruits.
This is not the only incidence of mass graves for US troops being reported. Remember the Reuters cameraman who was killed by US troops, ostensibly because his camera was mistaken for a rocket launcher?
The Pentagon has confirmed that US troops have shot and killed a cameraman working for Reuters news agency in Iraq.

The shooting happened at Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, where six Iraqis were killed in a mortar attack late on Saturday.

The US military said that soldiers had mistaken Mazen Dana's camera for a rocket propelled grenade launcher.

The 43-year-old Palestinian was described by Reuters as one of its finest cameramen.

His death brings to 19 the number of journalists and their assistants who have died in Iraq or have gone missing since the conflict began.


He is the second Reuters cameraman to be killed since US-led troops invaded Iraq.
Guess what he was working on?
"Mazen told me by phone few days before his death that he discovered a mass grave dug by U.S. troops to conceal the bodies of their fellow comrades killed in Iraqi resistance attacks," [Nazmi Dana, Mazen’s brother] said.

"He also told me that he found U.S. troops covered in plastic bags in remote desert areas and he filmed them for a TV program. We are pretty sure that the American forces had killed Mazen knowingly to prevent him from airing his finding."


Mazen's wife, Umm Hamza, did not rule out that the U.S. troops targeted her husband personally, noting they had agreed to give him a permit to film Abu Gharib prison and then he was directly shot dead by two U.S. tanks.
So how many troops, US citizens or not, have given their lives for the war in Iraq? We just don’t know for sure. (Suburban Guerrilla has more on this issue, including how combat vs. non-combat deaths are defined and delineated so as to lower the official governmental total number of combat fatalities. In brief, if your Jeep tips over and you die, it doesn’t count.) A more realistic number is likely 4,000 deaths and 30,000 injuries. And that’s with an army that didn’t stand and fight, in a country that had no weapons of mass destruction to use against our troops.

If (or, as it increasingly appears, when) we go into Iran, Iraq may well be a walk in the park by comparison.

The active-duty Army is in danger of failing to meet its recruiting goals, and is beginning to suffer from manpower strains like those that have dropped the National Guard and Reserves below full strength, according to Army figures and interviews with senior officers.

For the first time since 2001, the Army began the fiscal year in October with only 18.4 percent of the year's target of 80,000 active-duty recruits already in the pipeline. That amounts to less than half of last year's figure and falls well below the Army's goal of 25 percent.

Meanwhile, the Army is rushing incoming recruits into training as quickly as it can. Compared with last year, it has cut by 50 percent the average number of days between the time a recruit signs up and enters boot camp. It is adding more than 800 active-duty recruiters to the 5,201 who were on the job last year, as attracting each enlistee requires more effort and monetary incentives.

Driving the manpower crunch is the Army's goal of boosting the number of combat brigades needed to rotate into Iraq and handle other global contingencies. Yet Army officials see worrisome signs that young American men and women -- and their parents -- are growing wary of military service, largely because of the Iraq conflict.
To those who voted for Bush: This is what you voted for; the saber-rattling about Iran had started even before the election. You said you thought he’d keep us safe, mocking John Kerry’s vision of national security as forged through global alliances. So now you’ve got what you wanted; we’re on our own, with exhausted and overextended troops, at least one renegade nuclear power who knows we can’t do shit to stop them the way things stand, and a leader who lives, eats, shits, and breathes the philosophy that might makes right and the end will always justify the means.

Enjoy the Draft.

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