Switching Focus from Iraq to Iran

Ray McGovern
Consortium News
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is a blow to the neocons who had long dreamt of permanent military bases. But the neocons are now trying to spin the Iraq disaster into another excuse to confront Iran.

You might think that by now I would be so used to infuriating neocon drivel that, to preserve my own sanity, I would avoid looking at the Washington Post or at least its editorial pages.

I have tried. But it seems that after almost a half century in Washington, and particularly after the recent rash of “wars of choice,” it is simply not possible. One has to keep an eye on what bloody mischief the neocons are devising.

The Post’s lead editorial on Sunday is ostensibly about Iraq and blaming President Barack Obama if things get worse after U.S. troops leave in December. But these days Iran is the main concern of the neocons who infect that editorial page.

In the wake of Obama’s withdrawal announcement on Friday, the Post’s neocon editors are worried that:

“Mr. Obama’s decision to carry out a complete withdrawal [of troops from Iraq] sharply increases the risk that … Iran will be handed a crucial strategic advantage in its regional cold war with the United States; and that a potentially invaluable U.S. alliance with an emerging Iraqi democracy will wither.”

The bugaboo of Iran is raised no less than six times in the five-paragraph editorial. One is prompted to ask an innocent question: Which country did the neocons think would profit if Saddam Hussein, Iran’s archrival, were removed and his army destroyed?

America’s neocons apparently hoped that Israel would be the beneficiary, with a U.S.-occupied Iraq serving as a land-based aircraft carrier for applying military pressure on neighboring Iran and Syria. But you don’t start a war on hope.

That Iran would almost surely benefit the most from the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a no-brainer. And that is precisely why, before the attack on Iraq, Israeli leaders were insisting “we do Iran first.”

But the U.S. neocons thought they knew better and that sequencing Iraq before Iran would be an easier sell with the American people. After all, they had already been trained to hate Iraq’s Saddam Hussein because of the first Persian Gulf War in 1990-91. In the early part of the last decade, Iran’s leaders were a much more amorphous target.

The neocons also thought the conquest of Iraq would be easy with American military might crushing not only the Iraqi military but the country’s will to fight. “Shock and awe” would pave the way to a “cakewalk.”

In 2003, the joke circulating in neocon-dominated Washington was whether the next U.S. target should be Iran or Syria with the punch-line: “Real men go to Tehran.”

Also, the neocons’ top allies in the Bush administration – Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – understood Bush’s personal animus toward Hussein. Bush once called Hussein “the guy that tried to kill my dad.” Cheney and Rumsfeld knew an open door when they saw one. Bush, an impressionable fundamentalist Christian-Zionist, was bereft of strategic understanding.

However, eight-plus years later – with nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers dead and about $1 trillion spent, with Iraq torn by sectarian and political violence and with the Iraqi government essentially ushering the U.S. forces out by refusing to extend immunity from Iraqi laws for any U.S. troops who would remain – the neocons must finally face the hard truth: their grandiose scheme was a flop.

Chicken Hawks

It is not only American soldiers who will be coming home from an immoral, illegal and ill-thought-out war. The chickens, too, are coming home to roost. And, without admitting they were really dumb, the neocon chicken hawks are inadvertently admitting soto voce, that they didn’t have a strategic clue.

And they still don’t. It is a safe bet that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud associates are admonishing the neocons who still hold great sway in Official Washington: “See? We told you we should have done Iran first. But it’s not too late.

“Now we have another compelling reason to put the ‘military option’ on Iran right in the middle of the table — and, finally, exercise that option. Or you can go down in history as a bunch of wimps.”

The new compelling reason for war is that Iran’s influence in the region has zoomed in this zero-sum game between “evil” Tehran and the Tel Aviv-Washington “axis of good.” In the words of this Sunday’s Post, “Iran will be handed a crucial strategic advantage,” ironically, because of the disaster in Iraq.

So, there’s no time to waste. To warn still-gullible Americans about the dangers of Iran’s new strategic advantage, it’s imperative to enlist the neocons in the U.S. news media, those running the foreign policy shops for the leading Republican candidates, and the neocon holdovers inside the Obama administration.

Time, also, to revive the specter of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Let’s see if neocon favorite CIA Director David Petraeus can twist enough arms of his subordinates to reverse the unanimous judgment of the U.S. intelligence community that Iran stopped work on a nuclear weapon in 2003.

Petraeus has always risen to the occasion when the neocons have wanted to accuse Iran of meddling in Iraq — evidence or no evidence. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Petraeus’s CIA Steers Obama on Policy.”]

Let’s have him issue warnings about the possibility that Iran will take potshots at U.S. troops as they leave.

And, oh yeah, let’s get him to provide the kind of “intelligence” that will turn a cockamamie plot about Iran supporting an assassination attempt on the Saudi ambassador from admittedly “implausible” status to that of plausible — well, plausible enough for the neocons who dominate the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM). [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot.”]

Chalabi Made Us Do It

Speaking of which: One of the Post’smost prominent neocon columnists, David Ignatius, sought out the neocons’ beloved charlatan Iraq War propagandist Ahmed Chalabi, whom Ignatius describes as “the most effective lobbyist in favor of the 2003 U.S. invasion.”

“You will not be surprised,” wrote Ignatius, “that Chalabi offered no apologies for a war that cost many thousands of American and Iraqi lives and more than a trillion dollars.  Quite the contrary, he lauded the United States for its role in overthrowing Saddam Hussein,” though he criticized the follow-through of the occupation.

Ignatius, too, raised the obligatory specter of Iran, asking Chalabi about reports that he has become “an overly enthusiastic supporter of Iran.” The slippery Chalabi replied that he favored good relations with Iran and “wanted Iraq and Iran to be ‘a meeting ground rather than a battle ground.’”

Is Ignatius, at this late stage in the U.S. history with Chalabi, not yet aware that he tends to play both ends … and then goes with the side that appears to be winning?

Ignatius wants us to believe that the mess in Iraq was pretty much all Chalabi’s fault, ignoring the painful reality that Chalabi could have accomplished zilch if not for the neocon-dominated FCM that eagerly promoted his self-serving lies.

Many of the Iraqi “walk-ins” who lied to U.S. intelligence and the FCM about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD and alleged ties to al-Qaeda had been scripted beforehand by Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress.

Knowing Chalabi (all too well), Ignatius says it should come as no surprise that Chalabi remains adamantly unapologetic for the war on Iraq. But why should Chalabi be subjected to any accountability when almost none of his willing collaborators in the press have been?

Chalabi may have been, as Ignatius claims, “the secret instigator of the Iraq war.” Even so, he would have accomplished little without a mountain of intentional gullibility at the Washington Post and other top U.S. news outlets, a pattern that continues to this day.

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Collectivism: The Doctrine of the Rulers

By Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
April 18, 2010

Individualism as the concept that defines the rights of the individual as the most important instead of those of the masses is not the Collectivismissue of this writing. Collectivism as the idea that the common good is more important than that of a single individual is not the matter of this essay either. The issue of concern is how Collectivism is used to manipulate individuals and masses in order to achieve the nefarious goal of control.

Collectivism is the underline ideology that is common to the many past and modern totalitarian systems of government. Communism, Fascism and Nazism have a series of common features that are the ones to be looked at as supposed to the labels used to mask those features; namely Communism, Fascism and Nazism, to cite a few. These names simply add another layer of fog to what lies beneath them, and that is Collectivism.

In general terms, Collectivism is known as the concept that states the group is more important than the individual and that any particular individual may be ‘sacrificed’ for the greater good of the greater number. This idea is embedded in the educational systems which then feed the minds of those who walk across it for a good third of their lives. We live in Democracies -we are told- and as such, it is completely normal that 51% of the total governs over the rest. The idea of a majority rule, although seemingly normal, was not in the plans of many who came before us. A Democracy as a form of government was in fact rejected by those who founded most of what is today the free western world.

Collectivism was and is used by demagogues and corporations that support them to take advantage of societal mob-like behaviour and way of thinking, in order to pursue and achieve very specific goals. That is why a document called The Constitution was written in most countries around the world. The Constitutions and all the rights and duties they entail, were created to limit abuses the founders of the free world correctly envisioned as probable to occur in a society like the one we live in today.

One of the most famous talking points demagogues use to manipulate the masses is: “We are doing this for the greater good”. What is more amazing than this sentence, is to hear people using it, when describing or justifying collectivist actions -many times without even knowing what it means. This mass brainwashing is part of the manipulated collectivist view; to make people think the way the demagogues want without them even knowing it. Another popular dictate is: “We do what is in the best interest of the so and so people.” Every time the demagogue uses phrases like this one, people cannot help it but to nod their heads in acceptance.

The irony of this way of thinking is that the demagogue, the leader or the head of the Democracy is the one who in the end gets to decide what is done. For example, it is decided that there will be no medical care to people who are 70 or older because it is for the greater good. The leader or demagogue allied with his fervent followers promotes the idea and sells it to the masses, who rapidly accept it as obvious. They of course forget that there will come a time when they themselves will be 70 years of age.

But if a group is composed of individuals, where did the word group and collective good idea come from? Where does the word Forest come from? Can the group exist without individuals? Can the forest exist without trees? The word group, is an imaginary one, just as forest is. I cannot see the forest but I can see the trees. Can anyone see the group? The abstraction of a group is what Collectivism as an ideology takes advantage of to sacrifice the most important unit of that supposed group, the Individual. In the end, however, the abstract group itself is also sacrificed. The difference is that this process of sacrifice is done one individual at the time, instead of a one time mass sacrifice to the whole group.

Although both collectivists and individualists seek to get the best for themselves and the rest -good health, peace, security, justice- they differ in the way all those goals are achieved. The collectivist says ‘we use force if necessary’ -not always physical force- but coercion, for example. Their thought is almost always: ‘We are smart. Those dumb people out there are not; and for their own well-being, we are obligated to rule over them.’ This is what the Neocons think like: ‘Democracy has served us well, therefore we must spread it around the world at all cost’. Then a law is passed, a presidential decree is signed and all of a sudden people wake up naked not knowing why.

Take for example the payments to a social security system. In many countries people are obligated to contribute to a social security fund in order to finance a program that allegedly provides financing to bring health care to those who do not have the means to pay for it. Needless to say what happens next, when it is clear that today social security systems are completely bankrupt and unable to provide the necessary care people so urgently need, not even when they are well funded. What is promoted and provided is sick care, based on the idea that synthetic pharmaceuticals are the means to treat and cure disease. But if one asks people on the street about it, most of them would agree that it is a great idea to obligate the public to give a portion of their income to finance social security, health care, pension funds, and so on.

The difference then between the collectivist and the individualist approaches is that individualists use other methods to bring people on board when trying to achieve a goal. Instead of coercion, persuasion is used. The first sign of a collectivist mind, or one that was brought into collectivism, is the thought that there has to be a law for everything. There has to be a law for those dumb people who do not wear seat belts, there has to be a law for those who smoke in their cars, there has to be a law for those who criticize the government, and so on. The individualist instead, believes in freedom of choice. Is it wrong to smoke? Who am I to decide for others? I, of course, am free to have my opinion and to express it, but an individualist does not thrive on forcing people to do what he thinks is better.

Now, what happens when there are no limits to this world view where ‘I know best’, and therefore we do what I want for the greater good? Let us think about other examples. Who could be against preserving the forests -group of trees-, keeping lakes and rivers clean from pollutants, preserving all forms of life, maintaining a sane economic and financial system? No one, right? Let’s say theoretically we pass a law that says land cannot be used for agriculture or growing livestock because it is in the best interest of the greater mass to conserve the land and the trees? It is for the greater good, is it not? Well, what does it do to keep a group of trees up if there is a lack of food to feed the masses we are supposed to be saving? How about theoretically we pass a law that bans CO2 because it is a pollutant, even though we are all made of Carbon and plants and trees -including those we use to feed ourselves- need CO2 to live? It is reasonable, is it not? Let us say that as a way to keep a healthy economic and financial systems we write a presidential decree that allows the government to tax the people in order to finance its never ending policy of spending. In the process we allow a private entity to create money out of thin air and charge the people 30% interest on the loan of the currency?

Someone has to pay for the roads and parks and security, right? However, we see a rapidly degrading infrastructure, governments on the edge of the precipice due to their outstanding debt and the fastest wave of criminality and impunity in government and on the street. But it is OK, because it is for the greater good, right? Let us simple be taxed to death. Is it not in the best interest of all to charge a tax in order to fund public schools? Of course, most people immediately say, not knowing that their very own children are being indoctrinated through this public school system. And if someone does not want to ‘educate’ their children in the collectivist public system, there are laws created to punish parents who decided it is better for their children to be home schooled. There are laws to be enforced and as a consequence monies to be collected. There is very little to no room in today’s form of government for voluntary compliance, as every law and rule is enforced with legalized violence by the government. What could it be more violent than to snatch someone’s children because of the ‘revolutionary’ idea of educating them at home? Surely schools know them better than the parents and therefore it is necessary to send them there!

Collectivism used by demagogues and corporations to support the falsehood that government; especially big government is the solution to all problems, that it is so constructive and the thing we look at for guidance and salvation, is the smoke screen, the bait people bite as dumb fish and which eventually makes us perish through our own mouths. The collectivist way of thinking is what allowed Socialist, Communist and Fascist governments to appear and prosper, and in the process people’s rights and humanity are stolen.

The ideology of Collectivism finds thrives on creating reasons for its existence and what it does. That is where Social Engineering comes along to model the very existence of every human being to become dependent. Along with it, comes the engineering of public opinion, which is the method used to justify the actions of the collectivists; and there is when we hear, ‘this is for the greater good’ or ‘it is in the best interests of the people’. Although sometimes is thought that a country with no thinking individuals is a fertile ground for Collectivism and collectivists, the truth is a scenario with no thinking men and women is a direct consequence of Collectivism, and not a previous state of affairs. The origin of Collectivism lies way back, when people simply stop caring start focusing on ‘the greater picture’ and forget that such an abstract concept could not exist if it was not for them as individuals. It gets to a point when people effectively think they are indeed dispensable and that their sacrifice will help the greater mass.

Collectivism works today on the premise that there is a guy up there who is in charge of all -a president or prime minister- and therefore everything is all right. It also works so smoothly, because people are used to having others make decisions for them. In fact, many people would not be able to survive if it depended on themselves to make their own decisions on matters like health, economics, politics and others. This dependency was created by the collectivist minds that guide the system through the different stages of life. So the problem does not necessarily lies on the man up there -we all know he is a puppet- but on the individual consciousness. It is not a matter of a good and a bad man, but of a system that must set limitations to those who try to become rulers and not servants.

As stated before, people are indoctrinated from a very young age to welcome and accept Collectivism, and with it big government. In turn, a government that creates and maintains control through the educational system assures itself of a continuous acceptance of the ideology through several generations. It takes a lot of critical thinking, reading and study of history -real history- to break loose from the idea we are embedded with from the moment we are born. Waking up to this reality, but not waking others up
-allowing collectivists to maintain control- is an example of how one becomes accomplice of the system. If on the other hand we spread the knowledge of this reality, and help family and friends see through the smoke screen -Democracy, Socialism, Communism, Fascism- there will come a time when collectivists will be so out in the open, and so many people will have taken possession of their own lives, that the system itself will collapse.