CLINTON FAILS TO PULL OUT BIG WIN
By Juan Cole
** Brandishes Nukes at Iran; Israeli Spying on U.S. for Nuclear Secrets **
April 23, 2008
Hillary Clinton's win in Pennsylvania just was not big enough to allow her to hope to win the elected delegate count. She is increasingly using dark and exaggerated rhetoric and 2/3s of Democrats complain that she has gone too negative (less than half say that about Obama). Her exaggerations yesterday extended into the realm of international politics in a most unfortunate way. It seems clear to me that she cannot win the nomination via elected delegates and that she is hoping to win by scaring the super delegates about Obama. This strategy is counterproductive for the Democratic Party and for the country. Clinton needed to win by well into the double digits in Pennsylvania (which is how she began in the polling there months ago) in order to remain credible. Ten points doesn't do it. (One reader pointed out that it seems actually to be 9.2%, not double digits at all). Obama actually won Texas, which will be a headline in June when all the counting is done there (don't ask). It is over. She should stop before more damage is done. [NOTE: Here are the official figures from Pennsylvania's secretary of state: Clinton 54.6%; Obama 45.4%. That's 9, not 10 percentage points: 9.2 to be exact. —T.W.]
The Israeli spy ring that penetrated the U.S. Pentagon to steal high-tech secrets including nuclear ones was bigger than just Jonathan Pollard. It is an open secret in U.S. security circles that no foreign country spies on the U.S. more intensively than Israel. And, apparently, none has been more successful in actually prying loose top secret documents. Sy Hersh's sources alleged to him that secrets that went to Israel were either in turn picked up by Soviet moles in Israel or were sold on the black market and ended up with the Soviet Union.
The damage that Israeli spying has done to U.S. security is immense, not only because of such leaks but also because of Israeli reverse engineering of U.S. technology and the pirating of it. Further, the nuclearization of the Middle East that the Israelis initiated has the potential to drag us all into Armageddon.
The Israeli Right is always going on about threats to Israel's existence, even though it is the most powerful country in the Middle East. But no one ever brings up its strangulation of the Palestinian nation, its siege of Gaza, its dispossession of the West Bankers. The right makes an imagined future threat the basis for actual victimization of others in the present. America's security is deeply threatened by the ongoing Israeli colonization projects in the Middle East, as should have been clear for some time.
How dangerous the phantasms of the Right really are is underscored by Hillary Clinton's remarks yesterday: "In an interview with ABC's 'Good Morning America,' Clinton was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.
"She replied: 'In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them. That's a terrible thing to say but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish, and tragic.'"
Clinton has unfortunately fallen into a typical Washington fear-mongering fantasy. Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. As of last fall, U.S. intelligence determined that it was not trying to get a nuclear weapon. There is no realistic likelihood of Iran having a bomb 'in the next ten years.' Israel on the other hand has hundreds of bombs and has threatened to use them.
(Paul George points out that in an interview with Keith Olbermann, Clinton actually alleged that if Iran developed nukes it would be the only such state in the Middle East. Actually, Israel was the first and if you count Pakistan as both Middle East and South Asia, it would be the second.)
So the statement seemed incommensurate with the known facts. It was counter-productive because Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei has denounced nuclear weapons. Khamenei says that nuking civilians is contrary to the Islamic law of war, which only allows warriors to kill other warriors:
"'Their other issue is [their assertion] that Iran seeks [a] nuclear bomb. It is an irrelevant and wrong statement, it is a sheer lie. We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules. We have announced this openly. We think imposing the costs of building and maintaining nuclear weapons on our nation is unnecessary. Building such weapons and their maintenance are costly. By no means we deem it right to impose these costs on the people. We do not need those weapons. Unlike the Americans who want to rule the world with force, we do not claim to control the world and therefore do not need a nuclear bomb. Our nuclear bomb and our explosive powers are our faith, our youth and our people who have been present on the most difficult scenes with utmost power and faith and will continue to do so.'"
Khamenei's quaint chivalry in this age of total war stands in contrast to Clinton's chilling contemplation of genocide against 70 million Iranians in retaliation for something they would and could have had no part in deciding. Mutual Assured Destruction is a security underpinning of the contemporary nuclearized world, but it is a diplomatic weapon that works best by allusion.
If you were an Iranian and you heard Clinton talking like this, would it make you more or less interested in acquiring your own nuclear weapon? That is, Clinton's rather bloodthirsty pandering to what she thinks the Israel lobbies want to hear is likely actually to produce the opposite of the desired reaction in Iran itself and is most unwise.
Clinton also does not mention that Israel is already protected by MAD because it has several hundred nuclear warheads (see the beginning of this essay). Senator Clinton is by now just flailing around fantasizing about incinerating children in playgrounds in Isfahan.
Mark 8:36 is relevant here, and I commend it to the good senator: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"