Will the U.S. launch yet another unnecessary, unjustifiable war in the Middle East?

The military obsessed U.S. government needs to rethink their war mentality as it does not seem to be working and most likely never will.

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The definition of insanity: doing the same things over again and expecting a different result. Want a really good example of this madness in action?

Well, that is what this government has been doing for decades, using its massive military power to wage unjustifiable wars against nations in various parts of this world, in particular, the Middle East; and finding that it was unable to defeat them. But that didn’t stop it from trying again.

Let’s start with the Vietnam War, a massive U.S. military action against a relatively small nation that, back in 1964, posed absolutely no threat to America except that it was controlled at that time by a Communist regime. There was no justification of any kind to attack that nation but the U.S. military did and the result was:

58,000 Americans lost their lives and roughly two million Vietnamese died for no valid reason. The mighty U.S. military was forced to leave that country in 1973. Americans breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that this would be a lesson for the government that would prevent such totally misguided actions in the future.

That hope didn’t last very long at all because in October of 2001, the Bush/Cheney regime, not having learned any lesson from the defeat in Vietnam, invaded the nation of Afghanistan as retaliation for the 911 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. Even though the majority of the 911 terrorists were Saudi nationals the attack was made on the nation of Afghanistan. And, after spending trillions over 18 years most of our troops have now exited that country, leaving a small force there.

And, while the U.S. military was engaged in this totally ill-advised, senseless war in the wrong country, Bush Cheney launched yet another totally unjustified, illegal war in Iraq. That senseless war lasted from 2003 to 2011 when U.S. troops, once again, were forced out of this country. But only after more than 600,000 Iraqi civilians were killed and several million were forced to flee their country.

We won’t go into detail about the unjustified attacks on Libya, the U.S. involvement in the Syrian war, or the senseless drone and missile attacks that were carried out by the Obama administration on the countries of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; attacks that killed many thousands of innocent civilians.

And now the next target seems to be Iran. If it comes under a U.S. attack this would continue the obsession with doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Doesn’t this government and its leaders ever learn the lessons from past misguided and unjustifiable wars and try to create a new, far more effective foreign policy that would do everything possible to prevent them?

What about this new, so-called great threat coming from Iran as a result of its shooting down of an American drone. The U.S. military says that the drone was in international waters and that Iran had no right to shoot it down. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, but does anyone doubt that it was in that airspace with a mission to spy on Iran and, possibly, other countries?

So the U.S. insists this drone was over international waters while those in Iran are adamant that it was moving back and forth over that area and Iranian territorial boundaries, and was violating international law. Who’s right? We need the U.N. to immediately gather all pertinent information that both Iran and the U.S. possess to determine what really happened before this tenuous situation continues.

Let’s think about a scenario in which Russia and China were operating spy drones in the skies in international waters off the East and West coasts of this country. Without a doubt, they would be considered a threat against America. If this were the case would the U.S. military shoot them down? It could easily happen by mistake or even deliberately.

We are very close to a flashpoint in which the U.S. could launch an attack on Iran at any time. Those advisers close to Trump like the war hawk John Bolton or Secretary of State Pompeo could be trying to convince this president to do just that and start yet another senseless war. But if they are thinking of doing that they should also understand that it could be a colossal mistake.

Iran is a much bigger country than Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq with a population of 82 million. It has an estimated 534,000 military personnel in the army, navy, air force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It has short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting Israel, Arab states, as well as U.S. military bases in the region and nearby areas.

Iran has stated that, if it is attacked by the U.S. it would take immediate action to do immeasurable damage to the world economy by shutting down the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, located between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Iran’s strategy would involve the use of very large numbers of mines in this strait and very sophisticated missiles against warships, together with a combination of its warships and a great number of small watercraft and speedboats that are also armed with anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.

One thing that Trump better think about very deeply before he would even consider an attack on Iran is that Iran’s closest allies are Russia and China. These three countries have formed a very powerful alliance which, if it acts in unison, would be virtually unstoppable. China and Russia have both expressed great concern over this developing situation in the Middle East.

“We call on all parties to remain rational and restrained, not to take any actions to provoke the escalation of tension in the region, and not to open a Pandora’s box,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China told reporters in Beijing. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters Moscow had repeatedly warned the U.S. and its regional allies about what he called the “unthinking and reckless pumping up of tensions in an explosive region”.

“Now what we see are unending and sustained US attempts to crank up political, psychological, economic and, yes, military pressure on Iran in quite a provocative way. They [the actions] cannot be assessed as anything but a conscious course to provoke war,” 

Ryabkov was quoted as saying. He added that “Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, with thousands of short and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe.”

If a war erupts between Iran and the U.S. the latter nation will almost immediately target Iran’s oil refineries. Does Iran have an effective air defense system to stop most of such attacks? That’s hard to determine but it apparently has a large defense system comprised of various types of surface to air missiles including the very accurate Russian S-300 systems.

Before we end this discussion let’s attempt to determine how we have arrived at this volatile situation. There may be many reasons but one of the biggest lies with the Trump cancellation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement and the massive sanctions that the U.S. has, over quite a few years, placed on Iran; on their financial system and their ability to export oil, both extremely important factors in the state of their economy.

These sanctions are strangling its economy, which is said to be in free fall and is greatly hurting the people of Iran. These continuing sanctions are clearly causing Iran to get to a point where it can no longer take much more and there are those in that country that are strongly calling for retaliation.

And Trump, after aborting the retaliatory strike on Iran, has now decided to increase sanctions on that country, which will increase tensions even more and could ignite a massive confrontation at some point. Does this foreign policy ignoramus of a president have any clue as to what he is doing? Great thinking Mr. Trump; nothing like throwing gasoline on an already raging fire!

The absence of serious, ongoing negotiations to try to prevent such confrontations is simply astounding, incomprehensible. If there are no serious negotiations in a dire situation how can there ever be a solution to the problem at hand?

What to do in this situation? Both sides need to stop the saber rattling and right now. Both sides need to think twice before they make the monumental mistake of attacking the other. Maybe a good way of defusing this confrontation would be the restoration of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

The U.S. government should think deeply about the need to bring an end to the war mentality that has followed the doctrine of doing the same things over again and expecting a different result. That doesn’t work and never will. That’s pure insanity.

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Michael Payne
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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