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The flight of the Reaper: the Lieberman amendment and war against Iran

Posted by Charles II on July 16, 2007

As MercRising readers know, the United States is engaged in a covert war against Iran– covert from the American voter, that is.

For two years, the US has conducted overflights and (directly or by contract) engaged in missions of sabotage, assassination, and intelligence-gathering. [Update: see Juan Cole for additional links] Now, Arthur Silber rightly takes to task all sane people for having failed to respond to the latest step toward war, a Senate resolution (S.9002, the Lieberman amendment to the Defense Reauthorization) ordering a semi-monthly military report on Iranian attacks on US interests (via Avedon). 

Based on a single episode in which Iranian Special Forces (Qods) are alleged to have organized an attack resulting in the death of 5 servicemen, as well as vague allegations of weapons “tied to Iran,” it provides a blueprint to war. Despite its explicit language forbidding it to be construed as an authorization of war, all the generals have to do is invent enough evidence, and the Congress will allow itself to be swept along. Why? Because they have already publicly agreed that Iran is committing outrages against the US without conceding that the US is committing outrages against Iran.

However, let’s be clear. The Lieberman amendment is probably simply window dressing to try to bring the American people along toward war. The following is, I think, a clearer signal (CJ Hanley, AP, on AOL):

 The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It’s outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

MQ-9 Reapers will make up aviation history’s first robot attack squadron, which the Air Force plans to deploy in Afghanistan soon and in Iraq by next spring.

The Reaper is loaded, but there’s no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.

Why is this significant? Because in regions in which one has absolute air superiority, it allows one to substitute 50 year old computer jockeys in Nevada for 25-year old pilots in Iraq. The US air force is already close to maxed out. So, this is a means of adding air power on the cheap. 

Notice that the article assumes that the US will be in Iraq, and that it will retain a hige airbase north of Baghdad– with sufficient troops to defend the airbase. 

There is no mystery to why Democrats are going along on this. The one thing upon which imperial Washington agrees is that lesser nations cannot be allowed to raise their heads. Should one breaks free, others are sure to want to do likewise.

The Senate is too important to take the time to inquire into whether the assistance that is alleged to be coming from Iran is real or, if real, whether it is the result of family and tribal loyalties rather than concerted government action. It is too pure to question whether Iranian attacks on the US might be stimulated by US attacks on Iran.

But, yes, write them, call them, tell them that this will not do.

Added are what I consider key talking points:

1.  Be careful to concede that the Lieberman amendment says that it is not authorization for war.

2.  The US has committed acts of war against Iran as detailed by Seymour Hersh. These include overflights and special forces missions inside Iran (e.g., here, here, here).

3.  The allegations in the Lieberman amendment are vague.  Arms “tied to” Iran means what?  Stolen from a weapons depot by the US funded MEK and smuggled into Iraq?  And what is meant by the claim that Qods participated in funding and planning the attack that ended with five Americans dead, four after being captured and tortured?  Does it mean that someone’s cousin’s brother-in-law mentioned that shift changes occurred at such-and-such a time and, by the way, here’s an AK-47 and a lamb to celebrate your recent marriage? 

4.  If one looks at Iran’s oil fields, the government is not able to organize much of anything. It’s a mess of competing factions, inhibited from any real creativity by the mullahs and ridden with corruption. People are sick of gas shortages and the rusty economy and have already demonstrated against the government. It’s inconceivable to me that any Iranian wants war. 

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7 Responses to “The flight of the Reaper: the Lieberman amendment and war against Iran”

  1. Karen said

    We’re going to be bombing civilians on the other side of the world from the safety of Nevada?!

    Where’s the morality?

  2. If this is anything like the other high-tech stuff built by Republican campaign contributors, it’s not going to perform very well. (Remember the not-so-smart-bombs of the first Gulf War? The ones that kept hitting civilian bomb shelters instead of military installations?)

  3. Charles said

    Morality? Efficacy? What matters is convincing people in the Beltway that the Imperium can strike with impunity. Recall that anti-war sentiment is broad only because of ca. 30,000 Americans who have been killed or wounded. The millions of Iraqis killed, maimed, displaced, tortured, or simply driven mad by war count for nothing.

  4. Karen said

    War is immoral – but the idea that a bunch of over-the-hill wannabe-warriors are going bring mayhem down upon people and a country half a world away is despiccable. You have to twist yourself into a pretzel to believe there is anything honorable about fighting a war that way. It’s bullies and thugs being tyrants.

  5. Charles said

    “Bullies and thugs being tyrants” is a very good description of the Bush Administration, Karen.

  6. Hotel Break Review

    Thanks, Interesting read.

  7. Jeff Brenner said

    yes, you’ll call us tyrants, until the atomic bombs of Iran fall on your garden, and then you’ll cry why, wake up, it’s a dangerous world, and other covet the land of the usa…..

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