triple brackets for you, monsieur damon

Lessons to be learned from the confrontation with Iran
Andre Damon, WSWS, Jun 24 2019

On Thursday evening, CENTCOM was ten minutes away from launching a series of air and missile strikes on Iran that risked sparking a massive new war leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the, military, diplomatic and political consequences of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency. While Trump’s foreign policy team, headed by Bolton and Pompeo, “unanimously” supported the attack, wrote the NYT, JCoS Dunford “cautioned about the possible repercussions of a strike, warning that it could endanger Pindo forces.” According to the WSJ, Trump “changed his mind because he had second thoughts about the military and political consequences.” Or as Stratfor put it:

Trump, fearing a much bigger escalation, got cold feet.

While much of the discussion has been centered on Trump’s last-minute decision, the entire episode underscores the recklessness that pervades all aspects of Pindo foreign policy. Discounting Trump’s claim that his decision to call off the bombing was motivated by squeamishness over the loss of 150 Iranian lives, it is evident that Pindostan came within minutes of launching a war whose military consequences it had not seriously examined. The planned enterprise was based on disastrous miscalculations, this one being that Iran would stand helplessly by as CENTCOM launched yet another wave of bombings. But Iran’s downing Thursday of a $130m RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude spy plane, the nominal pretext for the planned strike, had clearly taken Pindo boxtops by surprise. As it turned out, Iran’s downing of the drone seemed at the last minute to have convinced sections of the military, and Trump himself, that the consequences of their planned assault on Iran could be far more serious than they had expected. If they were surprised by this development, what other surprises would have followed had a war begun? The real reason for the reversal, to be blunt, was the fear that Pindo warships could be sunk and Pindo aircraft would be shot down, puncturing the myth of Pindostan’s military invincibility. The Pindo surveillance drone was shot down by a Raad air defense system, an Iranian SAM generally regarded to be far less capable than the Russian-made S-300 and S-400 systems also available to the Iranian military. The clear message was that Tehran was also capable of downing other aircraft, including Pindo F-35 fighters that Trump routinely praises as “invisible,” or even the $2b B-2 Spirit “stealth” bomber. Iran recently deployed a new range of anti-ship missiles, which it claims have the ability to sink Pindo destroyers and carriers in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf. Iranian General Morteza Qorbani warned via RT:

Commit the slightest stupidity, we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea along with their crew and planes.

The strikes against Iran would likely have been carried out by the Lincoln carrier battle group, consisting of at least three destroyers and one cruiser. But under these conditions, CENTCOM was forced to see these ships not just as military assets, but as liabilities. What would be the consequences of Iran sinking a $2b destroyer and killing a substantial portion of its nearly 300 crew? If Iran sank the Lincoln, with 5,000 sailors and airmen aboard, the consequences would be incalculable. As a former member of RGCs told the Times:

What happened in the past 48 hours was extremely important in showing Iran’s strength and forcing Pindostan to recalculate … No matter how you look at it, Iran won.

But the Iranians would be ill-advised to boast. Pindostan came within minutes of launching a war whose consequences had barely been considered. There is no reason to believe that the next incident will not have the catastrophic outcome that were narrowly avoided this time, whether against Iran or another target. One need only recall that after nearly 250 Pindo soldiers were killed in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings, Reagan responded two days later by invading Grenada. The entire Pindo foreign policy establishment are deeply frustrated by the outcome, even if some are prepared to admit that there had been insufficient consideration of the consequences of an attack on Iran. Michael Vickers, Obama’s Under-Sec Def for Intelligence, wrote in the WasPo:

The Trump administration should respond to these recent attacks with strikes of its own on Iranian and Houthi air-defense assets, offensive missile systems and IRGC bases. Failure to hit back will only embolden them further.

Martha Raddaz on ABC This Week pressed the Texas war hawk Mac Thornberry whether “anything less than a military retaliatory strike” would be proportional “after they shot down an $130m drone in an unprovoked attack?” The recklessness of the Pindo threats against Iran can only be explained by the enormous crisis, global and domestic, that confronts Pindo capitalism. Trump does nothing more than give the most grotesque expression to the manic impulses of Pindo imperialism. One moment he is within minutes of launching a missile strike against Iran, then he is talking about making “Iran great again,” and then he is threatening to “obliterate” the country. This level of instability does not have its source in an individual. Trump himself is buffeted by forces that he is not even intellectually capable of understanding. Thirty years of endless war have created a veritable cult of militarism within the Pindo ruling elite, whose guiding assumption seems to be that wars can be waged without drastic global consequences, including for Pindostan itself. There are parallels to the recklessness that prevailed before 1914, not to mention the desperation that led Hitler to launch WW2 in 1939, and just 78 years ago yesterday, Nazi Germany’s catastrophic invasion of the Soviet Union. Pindostan has responded to every foreign policy disaster, from the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq to the bombing of Syria and Libya, by preparing for new and bigger wars. There does not exist any constituency within the Pindo ruling elite or political establishment for opposing war, however catastrophic. Pindo imperialism, as we anticipated in 2003, has a “rendezvous with disaster.” Only the actions of the working class can prevent Pindostan’s capitalists, their generals, and their spies from taking the rest of humanity with them.

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