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A War of Self-Destruction

Posted on Aug 4, 2008
AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Iranian protesters burn a U.S flag in a demonstration marking the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

By Chris Hedges

An attack on Iran, which Israeli and Bush administration officials appear set to carry out if Iranian uranium enrichment is not halted, would ignite a regional war in the Middle East and lead to economic collapse and political upheaval in the United States.

“In short and simple terms, we would be plunged into a depression that would make the Great Depression of the 1930s in which I spent my childhood look like boom times,” said William R. Polk, former professor of history at the University of Chicago and a member of the Policy Planning Council under President Kennedy. “Industries would fail, banks would collapse, government revenues would dry up, universities would have to close, health care, even as limited as it now is for roughly 75 million Americans, would virtually cease. In short, something like [what] the South suffered at the end of the Civil War would plague the country.”

The passage of vast amounts of oil and liquefied gas through the Persian Gulf would be disrupted. Iranian attacks, carried out with rocket- and bomb-equipped speedboats and submarines, would be deadly and effective. A classified Pentagon war game in 2002 simulated these swarming attacks by Iranian speedboats packed with explosives in the gulf; the Navy lost 16 major warships, according to a report in The New York Times. Iranian oil, which makes up 8 percent of the world’s energy supply, would instantly be taken off the market. And oil would jump to over $500 a barrel and perhaps, as the conflict dragged on, to over $750 a barrel. Our petroleum-based economy would come to a halt.

Israel would be hit by Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. Hezbollah, with its new store of Iranian-supplied rockets that allegedly can reach any part of Israel, including Israel’s nuclear plant at Dimona, would enter the conflict. Israel would lash back. Terrorist attacks on U.S. targets would become frequent. U.S. casualties in Iraq would mount as the Iranians rained missiles down on U.S. bases and installations, including our imperial city, the Green Zone. Chaos and mayhem would grip the Middle East. The world financial markets would go haywire.

“Even at today’s price, as you know, 14 airlines have gone out of business while others are hovering on the brink of bankruptcy and most have curtailed service and laid off personnel,” said Polk, one of the country’s leading scholars of the Arab world. “At double or triple today’s price, none could fly unless nationalized. A whole range of other industries would be quickly drawn into the quicksand. Ironically, war would push America into a form of socialist economy.”

The U.S. economy is already tottering. We recently witnessed the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history, and there are fears that as many as 150 banks could fail over the next 12 to 18 months. There will be 6.5 million foreclosures over the next five years, according to Wall Street analysts. The government is furiously pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into private corporations to keep them afloat. The Congress bailed out the shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These bizarre “government-sponsored enterprises” own or guarantee half the mortgages in the country—some $5.1 trillion. The Federal Reserve evoked rarely used emergency powers to put billions of taxpayer dollars at risk to stop the meltdown of a non-bank, Bear Stearns, which it never regulated. More than $300 billion has been written down so far. Losses, by the time we are done, could exceed $1 trillion.

The already staggering debt generated by the war in Iraq would mushroom with an attack on Iran. Fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, we would soon be struggling to pay off a debt of at least two or three times the present amount. This is a weight the U.S. economy cannot bear, especially as the dollar tumbles against the euro and other major currencies. The government has borrowed abroad roughly a quarter of our annual national income in order to pay for the Iraq debacle. We have been told for the first time by a sovereign fund (South Korean, one of the world’s largest) that it will no longer buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the final cost of the war in Iraq, once all the hidden costs are added up, could be as high as $7 trillion.

“Financial capitalism is crashing,” wrote independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. “So the lights are on late in Washington’s Federal Reserve, SEC and Treasury Department trying to figure out how socialism (your tax dollars and credits) can once again bail out these big-time gamblers with our money. ... Reckless, self-enriching capitalists get on your knees and thank the rescuing Washington socialists, for without them, you would surely be in chains.”

A war with Iran would also have grave political consequences. The specter of millions of Americans driven out of their homes, no longer able to afford basic necessities, out of work and enraged, would, as it has throughout history, embolden messianic right-wing and proto-fascist movements. Given the potential for social unrest, basic freedoms would be curtailed and in some cases abolished in the name of order and national security. The radical fringes of the Christian right could rise up with a vengeance. They would happily ally themselves with an assortment of oddballs, lunatics and corporate behemoths from Blackwater mercenaries to frightened capitalists at Halliburton. It was economic collapse, along with a climate of fear and instability, that was used to build the fascist and communist movements that plagued Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union during the last century. These same forces led to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. We are not immune to these distortions.

But maybe those who advocate a war with Iran know all this. Maybe this is what they want. Maybe they understand that a war with Iran would finally kill off our weakened and anemic democracy. Maybe they see this as the dawn of a new era, an era when the last impediments to a global totalitarian capitalism can finally be removed and we can all be ground under the corporate jack boot, from Shanghai to New Delhi to Ohio. There are huge corporations that make obscene profits from human misery. They run our health care industry. They run our oil and gas companies. They run our bloated weapons industry. They run Wall Street and the major investment firms. They run our manufacturing firms. They also, ominously, run our government.


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By Sylvia Barksdale, August 6, 2008 at 6:31 am Link to this comment
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Hedges definitely paints a picture as scary as all get-out with his, “A War of Self Destruction”.  Indeed, when this war arrives, it will be one of self destruction.  Personally, I can’t envision an all out war on Iran in the near future.  If the country is ignorant enough to elect John McCain as the next president, it will probably come during his third year.  [This way, he will believe that he’s ensuring himself a second election.]  I do believe that Bush is showing Iran a play of power on the outskirts of the country, as he did with Iraq before he declared a phony war and consequently murdered over a million humans.

Our nation is on the brink of a depression as I write.  Another war of choice would only tip it over the abyss and into a living hell.  Bush has already brought our once great nation to its knees.

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By Leefeller, August 6, 2008 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Quite well said by She,

We have “no devices for slowing or stopping the mad intentions of the few.” One would suppose Congress would be the first stop gap.  Accountability needed to be made by using impeachment, but the enforcers are in on the hog waller, Pelosi and company, forget the Senate. 

So we have color coded scare the shit out of the ignorant masses, this constant threat, really worked quite well, keeping the free hand of the elite unscathed, only some of us see it for what it is, the middle finger. 

Tao Walker said it quite well, “we are all Indians now

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By hippy pam, August 6, 2008 at 6:21 am Link to this comment


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By Shenonymous, August 6, 2008 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

Well we all have our heroes, and Hedges is not one of mine.  I see no real point to re-hypothesizing what everybody who reads the news knows. If they don’t read or watch TV or listen to the radio then they are dunderheads out of the picture anyway. Being involved in many, many conflicts does not necessarily make one see any better.  It just makes one’s views become even more entrenched for we as a species are always looking for things that support our own views.  I don’t agree that Hedges speaks reality even if he may see it.  The words get filtered through his myopic belief system.  I have seen death up close and I have watched people I love die.  Not in a war situation, but dying is dying.  Yes it is a kind of Stanley Kubric world and a Kurt Vonnegut world too.  It is surreal when there are no devices for slowing or stopping the mad intentions of the few.  KDelphi, I agree with some of what you say also, and it is damn frustrating that the “poor” have no voice for those who see they need one.  But that is a perennial problem, they will never have a voice in the way you seem to envision it.  We who do speak out and who do vote have to make the voice for them, see their needs, and do something about it.  It is a similar argument for the masses of the uneducated who are so ignorant and become apathetic about their world.  A vicious circle.  That bus you are talking about is just a metaphor that sounds insightful but the poor are not in the equation.  The poor is an abstraction just as the “middle class” is.  It is a grouping of individuals and it is individuals that need to be helped on an individual basis, unless….there are government programs to do so.  Programs that educate everybody, give all decent health care, and decent wages, and a decent economy that can provide food and sustenance for real human beings.  I mean, there is no going to hell in a handbasket, the handbasket has already arrived in hell.

It does not do this country or the world any good to rant about what the effects of a war with Iran “would” bring.  It takes action to stop any movement in that direction.  And all we can do here is sit back and type on our computers about what ifs.  You can have your Hedges. He does more than sound the bell.  He is rather rabid and over the edge.  Just being heard is not enough.  Boycotts, protest parades, campaigning for and getting elected politicians who will work on behalf of the poor and middleclass otherwise get rid of them attitude are just a few ways to be involved in your world.

Well KDelphi if it is already too late and the United States is already engaged in Iranian encounters, then what are we doing here?  You are right, we need to engage w & Co. here in skirmishes of our own, keep them busy with impeachment, keep them busy with public protests about everything from Iraq to the price of toilet paper, because whatever happens we still have to wipe our collective ass.

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By KDelphi, August 6, 2008 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, I agree with most of what yu say—but don’t you realize we are already doing little skirmishes into Iran? we already blockade them, shoot at their boats, and call them part of the “Axis of Evil”. I think we should keep w & Co. busy defending themselves from impeachment proceedings, so they will have less time to plan mischief (strange word for death and destruction, eh?)

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By KDelphi, August 6, 2008 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

As far as I can see, what Hedges is describing, has already happened, although to a lesser degree then what he predicts would happen ie: Iran. Only people who can afford to buy a hybrid, don’t drive for a living, or have to worry about keeping the elec./ac on (and heat in the winter) are not concerned about fuel prices. Chris Hedges (I havent read his latest book—-till it goes on sale) knows from which he speaks—he has been involved in many , many conflicts—we never declare war anymore—(“War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning”) and is a bit of a doomsayer about such things, because he sees them through the lens of reality..most people I know who have been in battle eventually describe it similarly.Unless you’ve been very close to death (and seen those yu loved in the same situation, at the same time), it is impossible to know hwo you might respond. I respect Hedges immensely.  What he is describing is basically “The Shock Doctrine”, which was not only obviously in force in Baghdad, but, also on a smaller scale in New Orleans and 9/11. Did W & Co. participate in or cause those tragedies—I dont think so—but they see them as “divine opportunities”. It is NOT just imcompetence, and, as long as “faith-based” charities eventually have to take over, it relieves teh govt of its responsibiities. I asked a current soldier, in harms way, what he meant by giving people their “freedom”—he said, “Freedom to go to McDonald[‘s without getting blown up”.Disaster capitalism at its most bizzre and skewed—Clockwork Orange, cognitive dissonance, I thought- People are dying for—-what?? Some people in this country are still doing great (investing in non-health care, the war, Blackwater, former Halliburton’s $10 bottles of water for the troops—if they show up with it at all)—and BIG OIL (how is it not treason to get subsidies and not pay taxes for a war if you’re a big corp., but it is if you’re a “peacenick”?).Many are doing OK. We hear “oh, the middle class” (which is appropriate in that we need a middle class to have a democracy—well, “sortve” one)—what do you think this is doing to the poor? Or DO you? You know, the word—POOR! That word that no candidate ever mentions? The ones paying the heaviest price for all this crap? Dying in the streets? They cant “donate to campaigns”; usually cant afford to go vote, since we have no decent public transit in most cities—so no one addresses them. When things are MADE “tough” the helpless area alwasy thrown under the bus first. In a “capitalist” society (capitalism for us, socialism for big corp.) many assume that, if you’re poor, it must be your own damn fault. It takes “hard work”—yeah, like Dubya? If someone is “smart and motivated” (doesnt always work anyway—anyone can have an accident or a shitty upbringing) “they can do anything"in the USA! (LOL) Well,what if they are NOT smart—they didnt choose to be! They didnt ask to be born here, and neither did anyone else.You didnt. And most of the elite did little or nothing to earn the position they are in now. This yoyo form of govt has got to go—if we’re not already FUBAR

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By Shenonymous, August 6, 2008 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

Seems to me the Bush administration has already left this country in ruins. It is present tense.  Just look at everything, the US Treasury to begin with, the economy stupid, the mortgage and housing industry, the price of food, the price of gas which now affects the price of everything, the loss of jobs in the auto and airline industries, and elsewhere I haven’t heard of any big hiring halls going on, and the price of residential energy has gone out of sight. What else is left.  This country is ruined and anybody even considering McCain has got to be out of their bloody gourd. I don’t think basically McCain is one of the “kleptocrats” but he has sold his soul to the powers of the Republican party just to be on the presidential ticket.  I have a nagging theory that the reason why they let him become their candidate is because he is the only one that can lose and not be too affected by that loss because he is an old sick geezer:  A sacrificial lamb as it is said.  They know their chances this time are in the proverbial craphouse.

Well Afghanistan is where the war, if there was to be a war, should have been oil or not.  We still keep wondering why it wasn’t.  But we know, just read Sodium’s posts on the Happy Oil Dependence Day, Sheer article for a brief synopsis.  As for Iraq, there is no sky, it all fell down.  Reason why the Iraqi casualties are down drastically is because millions have been killed and millions more have left the country.  Can’t kill what isn’t there.

Don’t be fooled by that $3/gal of gas.  It is an election ruse.  They think a little euphoria will buy them some votes.  The crap is about to hit the fan.  By the way, where exactly is it $3.00 a gallon?

Iran is not going to happen regardless of how much we wring our tragic hands.  It is another Bush scare tactic to try once again to put this country in a mental befuddlement (a different kind of chaos theory) to try to confuse voters.

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By Sepharad, August 5, 2008 at 11:23 pm Link to this comment
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Chris Hedges’ predictions are pretty scary exaggerations (but only slight ones) about what the U.S. might expect if it attacks Iran, and while I suspect him of fear-mongering and react very strongly against being the possibility of being manipulated, it’s worth it if it keeps us from doing something even more stupid than invading Iraq.

Apart from Chris’s nightmare scenario, there are better reasons to not invade Iran. When my friend took his youngest son back home to Tehran to enroll him in post-grad studies at the university there, he returned distraught, son in tow, saying religious lunatics were destroying his beloved country. He also said, however, that there are many middle class, highly educated people there and a large percentage of university students who are growing ever tireder of the mullah follies.

So who are we mad at? The government or the people? If we like the Iranians (and I for one do, based on the many we’ve met and spent time with here), why on earth would we invade them? They are their own government’s worst enemy. Students are already hanging images of Ahmadinejad in effigy, so why should we make him their hero?

The Israelis should get themselves a really effective missile defense system and if we have technology on such that they don’t we should give it to them. They should also get all their nuclear subs way way out of Iranian range, just in case. Israel is in the most danger, and I doubt they will attack Iranian nuclear sites just now as they are smart enough to know what is and is not possible at the moment. They still want peace, and a strike at Iran might make that impossible for another 100 years. 

What we have to do is squeeze Russansa and China into persuading their Iranian friends. The Euros are as upset we are and may have a few cards to play. l;

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By cyrena, August 5, 2008 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment

Response to: G.Anderson, August 4 at 7:10 am
Part 1 of 2

It seems so obvious that you would believe that the Bush adminstration would be fully aware of the consequences of their actions.
But then again, maybe the collapse of our current system has been their goal all along.
Because if there is a collapse then that would enable them to rebuild things in their own image, without the freedoms that the Neo Cons have found to be so much trouble.

G. Anderson, this pretty much says it, though most have appeared to miss it, by remaining of the “either or mentality”. In other words, we have those among us here, who will denounce *in entirety* all that Chris Hedges brings up, if only because it’s reasonable enough to view him as mostly a doomsday sayer. (just happens to be where Chris is). I agree that he definitely has that flavor of the very worst case scenario.

The trouble is that there are at least ELEMENTS of truth to what he puts out there, and the opposite camp would like to denounce it all. That’s dangerous. But as we hear from them, (specifically the imperialists like Marshall and issy wise) we know that they will never recognize that these dangers actually do exist, because the imperial mindset only accepts that whatever might be the root of the problem is ALWAYS the ‘other guy” (in this case Iran), and all we have to do is wipe them out, overthrown their regime, and all will be well.

Yeah, that’s worked really well for the past half century since the CIA overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah.

So, since THEY choose to ignore that many of the things that are noted here, (and specifically by Polk, who happens to be an excellent historian) have ALREADY OCCURRED here, and even a cursory look at history provides copious documentation of these very same events all over the globe, depending on which recent decade one might choose to examine. Hitler happened to be ‘democratically elected’. Stalin, Mussolini, the same. Then there were all of the CIA assisted coups that turned multiple other nations into military/facist/theocratic/totalitarian regimes. Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Columbia, and that’s just South America. Then we have the current effects of what the CIA did to Iran, and Iraq under Saddam, (again..compliments USA).

We’ve also got our ‘allies’ the Saudis and the Egyptians. Who here is under the totally misguided impression that the nearly 40 year dictatorship in Egypt, or the House of Saud are some friendly type Kings who have all of the peasants in their best interest?

More to the point perhaps, why do so many of us continue to cling to the common sense reasons to explain away these potential dire nightmares, when the thugs in power have ALREADY PROVEN – THAT THEY DO NOT EMPLOY THIS COMMON SENSE?

For me, what they’ve already DONE, and yes…accomplished, should convince anybody that they obviously do not have these same concerns in mind. In short, the plans to attack Iran have been out of the box and sitting on the table right beside the same plans for Iraq, and for just as long. They don’t care that there is no money, or that this war HAS bankrupted the country, (and the few that have profited from it aren’t seeing that either). They don’t care that we ‘don’t have enough troops’. We didn’t have enough troops to destroy Iraq either, but they did it anyway, and the contractors helped.

An then we hear some say that well, the war in Iraq didn’t destabilize the Middle East, (the ‘region) and Afghanistan didn’t destabilize it. Well, I guess ‘destabilization’, like everything else, is in the eyes of the beholder eh? If one happens to reside in the Middle East (Iraq) or South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan) one might certainly consider their lives to have become living nightmares that make them envy the dead. How many millions dead and displaced in and around Iraq? How many still being genocided in the occupied territories of Palestine? And who exactly within the US, seems to care?

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By cyrena, August 5, 2008 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

Part 2 of 2 response to G.Anderson, August 4 at 7:10 am

What does a destabilized society do? They fall under the control of a totalitarian set up, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing here in the US, because it *is* and *has been* the agenda of these thugs since the coup that brought them to power. Now it would be understandable for many to dismiss this, IF it had not already begun to destroy us. But Chris isn’t exaggerating about the closed down airlines, or other massive unemployment, or the diminishing medical services, or the price of food, or what it is costing the masses to support wars.

Do they really believe that China and all of the other are just gonna give us a ‘pass’ on the jillions we owe them? And if the bean counters would look up from their manufactured numbers on government statistics, and actually pay attention to the reality surrounding them, they’d see the decline right in front of their faces. Just here in my own state, which represents something like the 8th largest economy in the world, the repug governor has just decided that all state employees will have their wages whacked to the minimum. NOT the federal minimum, but the previous state minimum, of $6.35 an hour. In California. Says we have to ‘pay our bills” – meaning all of the contractors. Well yeah, we do have to pay our bills, and there are no ‘contractors’ providing services for people driven into the streets.

Our physical infrastructure is totally dilapidated, and we’ve never invested in correcting it. Our social-professional infrastructure is totally broken, because that too is a normal occurrence of a nation under attack. If these nay sayers paid even the slightest attention to even RECENT history, they would have witnessed the fleeing of the entire professional society of Iraq. The doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, etc, etc have fled. The former members serving the civil bureaucracy have fled, and the country is torn to bits, with the exception of course, of the US Capitol of in Baghdad. This is exactly what happens when any formerly democratic society is overthrown by any regime intent on a total control. Seems like they’d figure that out by now, since history has more than a few examples. (and no, I’m not saying that Iraq was a politically open or democratic society, but most societies that come under such attack have generally been..which is why they aren’t expecting it.)

So yeah, Chris does have a tendency to sound a bit like chicken little, but that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) be a clue to totally ignore it all, especially in light of the OBVIOUS. An there’s something very, very, very frightening about those who will consistently avoid facing the facts. Unless that is, they are part of the small minority that are profiting from the insanity that is killing the rest of us.

And yes,  we MUST assume that the Dick Bush thugs well knew the consequences of their actions, and that it very much IS their goal, just as it has been for any of the other authoritarian regimes of history. They wouldn’t be the first militaristic kleptocrats to steal the resources of an entire nation, and leave it in ruins. So why do we think ‘it can’t happen here?” Especially as we see that the process has already begun?

This has been an exercise in perfecting Hitler’s experiment beyond anything he could possibly have imagined. Creating a whole new world in their own image/ideology.

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By Marshall, August 5, 2008 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

By silly_article, August 5 at 4:07 pm #

“During Afghanistan, and when we invaded Iraq, the masses didn’t see that gasoline would be so expensive with prices going even higher.”

What do the recent high gas prices have to do with Afghanistan or Iraq?  Iraq is pumping more oil than at any time since the war started… what, five years ago, and Afghanistan doesn’t have oil. 

“Also, if you are an Iraqi living in Iraq at the time and you are non-military, yes, the bloody sky is falling to pieces and your options aren’t many.”

Sortof like if you were Shiite under Saddam.

“The sky is falling for the middle people”

Iraqi civilian casualties are down drastically in the last year.  Have you been reading the news?

“America will reap what it sows. Even though we pay 4-5 dollars a gallon for gas”

Yes - your true hope; that America is hurt… by someone… anyone.  BTW: U.S. average gas price is now back down below $3/gal.

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By Shenonymous, August 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

Hedges paints another dramatic picture.  The scenario, with the help of Emeritus Professor Polk, is quite vivid and doubtless an accurate depiction of consequences, if it were to happen at all.  It would make a stunning spreadsheet to list out all those logical results specified.  But let’s stop for a moment since it is all inference at this point.  The media is certainly trying to make it a reality.  Are they part of the problem…again?  Instead of reacting to his journalism I shall ask a few questions. 

First, exactly who are the ones pressing for the war with Iran?  Can we spell out the names of the advocates?  They are sorely missing from this report.  If we had a list then possibly those who oppose this action could approach some reasonable arguments to avoid the alleged dire consequences.  I think I can safely name Lieberman, Wolfowitz, McCain.  Will they declare that idiotic war?  Will Bush?

Second, where are the troops going to come from to sustain a war?  If there is a war it would take as many if not an equal number of troops as there already are in Iraq, and I thought there were not enough military power in Iraq in spite of the rhetoric of downsizing, which we all know is a political ploy because of the presidential election.  Now if it is suggested that those troops that are going to be deployed from Iraq instead of being shipped home would be redeployed to Iran, then there really would be a serious problem. Is that what is being suggested?  And a related question:  Will the United States go at this alone?  How insane.  There are fewer and fewer allies in the Bush Iraq War, who would be America’s allies in a Bush Iran War? Israel and who else?  And this time it won’t be just Iran as it was just Iraq.  The entire Middle East would be involved.

Third, where is the money going to come from to sustain a major war with Iran, because that is what it would be, a major war?  We already have such a huge deficit, and owe our descendents’ collective souls to China; there are no more coins in the realm to afford another war when the one we are already paying for is not over.  Uh, just a side question, wasn’t that war in Iraq going to take another 10 years?  What was it Stiglitz said $7 trillion?  What can you imagine a war with a more sophisticated country like Iran would cost?  Double that?

Hedges article is hypothetical and inflammatory as usual.  But this is stuff we already knew.  Of course there would be grave consequences were the insanity to overtake us.  Is there any fool who would think there would not be?  This is rather another of the Hedges type of hype and I am surprised at how many are once again falling for it.  Seems like the sky is not really falling, the little chicken is just reacting that it might fall without any real hard rocks yet falling on Chicken Little’s head.  This kind of speculation is so spurious that it is laughable.

Can you really imagine this as a reality?  This is August, the election is November, three months, and a new president January, five months.  Do you really think America will allow an administration that has proven a lack of coherent, sound judgment to dump an insane war on a new administration?  I’d ask one more question:  What is really up the sleeve of this adminstration?

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By Paolo, August 5, 2008 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment

Hedges is mostly right. If we attack Iran, all hell breaks loose, not because Iran is big and powerful, but because our leaders think they own the world. They will learn otherwise, but unfortunately they will not be hurt. You and I, struggling to find money to fill our gas tanks and put food on the table, will suffer mightily.

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, the two criminals most responsible for this unbelievably immoral foreign policy, will likely die peacefully years from now in a warm bed. Those they have lied into fighting wars for them—many of them—will die long before that, and horribly.

As a libertarian, I despair of ever seeing either Democrats or Republicans go off the warfare drug. Obama is hardly a “peace” candidate. If anything, he wants to expand the war into Pakistan and Iran. McCain is simply out of his mind; he’ll attack any country, any time, for any made-up reason.

Ron Paul was the only candidate (except possibly Kucinich) who advocated a non-interventionist foreign policy. He got two to ten percent in most Republican primaries; Kucinich got even less in the Democratic primaries.

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By mike112769, August 5, 2008 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

It doesn’t matter who we elect as president. He can send troops, but congress has to fund them. Without congress’ approval, we would not be in Iraq and Afghanistan today. H.R. 1955 WAS NOT passed by the president. It was passed by our so-called congress. So, as I said, it doesn’t matter who is elected president. If we want to fix our country, get rid of the trash in the House and Senate. That’s a start. Impeach Bush and company as a lesson to our future “leaders”. Set term limits on EVERY POSITION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICE! Why should we give someone a job for life? Public service is a temporary sacrifice, not a free ride sucking on the Public teat.
If America starts a war with Iran, it will be the fault of the American people for allowing it to happen.
As far as gas prices go, who gives a damn? Europe has been paying these (relative) prices for decades. They learned a long time ago that the supply of gas is finite. We must ration it. Americans have gotten spoiled. We need to implement energy saving measures across the board.
We, as a country and as a people, desperately need to grow up. We need to take our country back from the politicans. We do not need government babysitters to tell us what to think and when to think it.
It’s not too late for us, but it’s damned close.

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By silly_article, August 5, 2008 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment


I submit that what he says is a little severe; however I wouldn’t be so harsh as to say he is fear mongering or alarmist or manipulating. During Afghanistan, and when we invaded Iraq, the masses didn’t see that gasoline would be so expensive with prices going even higher. Rupert Murdoch said that the good thing about invading Iraq will be that the price of oil will be $20 a barrel. Also, if you are an Iraqi living in Iraq at the time and you are non-military, yes, the bloody sky is falling to pieces and your options aren’t many. You can be a refugee, a militia member fighting coalition troops and/or rival sectarian militias, a member of al queda, an Iraqi policeman/army that risks getting assassinated by your fellow countrymen. You have to protect your house from looters, and your children from kidnappers that will hold them for ransom, or you can simply end up in one of the infinite mass graves. The sky is falling for the middle people, and America will reap what it sows. Even though we pay 4-5 dollars a gallon for gas, we still aren’t experiencing the real tragedies that are felt worldwide as an effect of all this. All the scum on both sides are harnessing this elswhere for their own agendas. Maybe it won’t be a case of “I told you so” on Hedges’s part, at least not for Americans. No we may well just end up blowing Iran to the stone age and then setting up a puppet government there too. I am not going to try to speculate on what will happen but I’ll go ahead and say it will be way worse than things are now.

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By Issywise, August 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment


You say:

“Look, if all these things didn’t happen, it would probably come close to it…when you live like I do in America you won’t ever notice it or believe it because the blood and suffering elsewhere in the world where the sky is actually falling make it possible for you to be apathetic and cynical idlers. It may very well happen; like Hedges says “we aren’t immune to these things.”

I can’t argue with your macro view, but this guy was saying all of the listed things would happen if the US struck at Iran. We shouldn’t be striking at Iran, but the nexus between such a strike and all the extraordinary consequences he asserts will befall us is beyond mere speculation: It was purposeful fear mongering and manipulation—taking advantage of our predispositions to develop anxiety.  It is akin to the color alert system Karl Rove used to manipulate the anxiety of other Americans. It’s dishonest and we ought not let it pass without noticing.

Even if we see the world differently from the “neo-cons”—or perhaps better: because we see the world differently, we ought to stay in practice with exercising judgment and skepticism.

This kind of silly manipulation should be recognized and called out for what it is. This isn’t journalism, or advocacy founded on realities: It is emotionally manipulative propaganda.

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By Marshall, August 5, 2008 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

By Issywise, August 5 at 9:33 am #

Totally agreed.  This article simply plays to the fatalistic fear-mongering of the extreme lefties that frequent this site and it bears no resemblance to reality.  Hedges is an alarmist hack and this article with its sophomoric exaggerations has no place even on this website.

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By mrmb, August 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

France accused over Rwanda genocide.

Now thats news. A member of the international community, a civilized country, an advocate of human rights and democracy. Need i say any more?

I guess the Rwandan officials should not be surprised if they start getting assassinated one by one, or better yet a UN security council resolution will be orchestrated against them and then Rwanda will be invaded so we can actually prosecute the real culprits.

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By Sodium, August 5, 2008 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment
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Subject:Some increments for William Polk’s predictions.

When William R. Polk,the former professor of history at University of Chicago,warns of what is possibly coming, hrough the eloquence,honesty,and moral high ground of Chris Hedges,it will be just wise to listen and take notes.It is simply unwise to do otherwise.

Based on what I saw recently in one Mid-Western state
where I lived,the following increments might be considered the indicators or rather the front-runners
for professor Polk’s predictions:

(1)Many manufacturing industrial sites have already closed for good in my state.

(2)So many people have already lost their jobs and
cannot find new employment.

Since (1) and (2) have already taken place,it is only
reasonable to predict that:

-federal and state government lose tax revenues.

-college education becomes less and less affordable.
and who knows where this may lead to.

-buying health insurance becomes an impossibility.If
hospitals have to live up to their moral code,they have to accommodate the uninsured;and consequently the question becomes how long the hospitals can endure such a dilemma? Under such circumstances, closer of hospitals would become the order of the day.

Finally,add to the above possibilities the following
actions which have taken place:

*Some banks and financial institutions have already collapsed and there were attempts made by the federal government to bail them out.More on the way….

*Some airlines have already cut down the number of flights they have been able to fly and laid off many
of their employees en mass.If this trend continues,
what is going to happen to the airlines industries
would become anybody prediction,not only professor’s

*The federal Reserve Bank keeps printing billions and
billions of paper money to bail out the already collapsed financial institutions,while our debt to foreign countries increases exponentially by the hour.One may ask:how far the Federal Reserve Bank can
keep printing paper money to bail out more bankrupt
institutions,organizations and corporations without
getting bankrupt itself???  In otherwords,its good- -intentioned-actions may lead to losing all of its credibility.



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By dsmith, August 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment
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Bush has a messianic vision of himself saving the world as an instrument of God. There is little doubt this dimwit was coaxed into believing this crap by the likes of Lieberman, Wolfowitz and the Israeli Likuds who have his ear. Remember, this is one dumb son of a bitch who is only interested in the adrenaline rush of war.

I suggest you invest in Gold.

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By xmarks, August 5, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
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This sounds a lot like crying wolf.  There is always another doomsday scenario.  The guy holding the sign “The world will end tonight” is right once but by then who cares.  He’s usually wrong.

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By smchris, August 5, 2008 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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If the latest Rasmussen wasn’t propaganda with intentionally poor research design, McCain might win with only the cooperation of the mainstream media.  If the margin is only three points or so, they can steal it without much complaint—particularly when a poll in August “showed” it was a dead heat.

So if they are pretty sure they can get McCain “elected”, there isn’t really any hurry to get into Iran.  They invade whenever it best suits their time line.  They’ll solidify the supreme court, the Iraq war crimes will become the norm and McCain can invade Iran as business as usual when the time is “right”.  No hurries.  No worries.

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By lastdaywatchers, August 5, 2008 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Jack Stevenson said “I think that we cannot predict the future.”

God Word has a history of doing just that with 100% accuracy

See what it is saying in the May 15th Prophecy by doing a Google search of May 15th Prophecyand you will see for yourself with 100% accuracy

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By silly_article, August 5, 2008 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

Look, if all these things didn’t happen, it would probably come close to it. People are going to tell you the sky is falling all your life and when you live like I do in America you won’t ever notice it or believe it because the blood and suffering elsewhere in the world where the sky is actually falling make it possible for you to be apathetic and cynical idlers. It may very well happen; like Hedges says “we aren’t immune to these things”. The sky fell on the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Russians, Mayans, Sioux, Cherokee(all american natives for that matter,north and south), Incas, Aztecs, Japanese, so so many, and most of Africa. So why can’t this happen to the U.S. ? Because it’s just to much fun playing your xbox and reading your harry potter? Because it’s so great in America that it’s just not going to happen? 

And don’t ever try to blame anything on Ralph Nader. I thought Al “planet has a fever” Gore lost because Bush’s hashasheens manipulated the Florida election? Nader deserved to win, not Al Gore, that’s why people voted for him. You know republicans say the same crap about Pat Buchannan. Democrat’s just have more subtle/less obvious hypocracies. I will be joining Hedges in voting for Nader, not the lesser of two flip flopping,inconsistent,not really a solution,imperialist dorks.

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By Ali Mostofi, August 5, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Like I have said, please let the people of Iran clear this mess by themselves.

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By Jack Stevenson, August 5, 2008 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
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I think that we cannot predict the future.

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By Issywise, August 5, 2008 at 10:33 am Link to this comment


The first two paragraphs of this article claim an attack on Iran:

1. Is a policy that the Bush Administration is “set to carry out” in its last 168 days, even though it hasn’t done it yet, we haven’t had “enough” military to do it for some five years now and there is a national election on-going.

2. Would ignite a regional war in the Middle East. Iraq didn’t; Afghanistan didn’t, but then they were among the Sunni states that predominate in the area, with Iran being the only Shiite state. It’s invasion would set the region aflame?

3. “Would lead to economic collapse and political upheaval in the United States..that would make the Depression seem like boom times.”

4. “Industries would fail,”

5. “banks would collapse,”

6. “government revenues would dry up,”

7. universities would have to close,”

8. “health care…would virtually cease.”

9. “Something like [what] the South suffered at the end of the Civil War would plague the country.”

Far be it from me to suggest left wing ideologues exercise some skepticism while ingesting such a self-reinforcing diet of Chicken Little doom saying.

One should not suspend skepticism even when congregated with others who all expect everybody to agree with one another.

This article should have been met with a derisive snort for its blatant attempt to manipulate our hackles with absolutely absurd predictions. Instead, it has been greeted as an affirmation of what might otherwise be credible policy perspectives.

Keeping oneself agitated should not be necessary to remain involved and determined. The credulity with which this nonsense is accepted is a measure of our own self-deception.

If the goal is to change the direction of our democracy—or whatever it is now, the side that sees with the clearest eyes should prevail. Self-delusion is not a foundation for extending reliance on your perspective. Self-blinding is never a good preparation for battle—ideological or any other kind.  Indulging in self-gratifying silliness is self-defeating.

Invading Iran is a stupid idea—in my humble opinion, but it is not necessary for me for me to sustain that I believe that Elvis and Hitler will come ashore with an army of South American Zombies to kill us all should we allow Iran to be invaded.

Doesn’t anybody else see the unreality of what’s going on? Doesn’t anyone else here see that a little skepticism is necessary when ingesting information with policy implications?

Come on! Let’s have a hand count! All the grown-ups among us stand up and say, “My eyes are open too.”

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By lastdaywatchers, August 5, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

This is to much like saying I told you so

This article is just more proof of what the May 15th Prophecy has been saying with 100% accuracy all along, however unlike this article which is base on speculation (albeit a very intelligent & informed speculation)

However the May 15th Prophecy is base on the 100% guarantee of God Faithful Word

Here is a excerpt from the post titled “Hell And The Economy”


It has been said that President Bush is one of Israel (Judah) greatest friends; they even showered him in the Knesset with a sound round of applause when he visited Israel a few week back

Which further insulted God by their embrace of the Pawn Of Satan

Even though by reason of his policy’s, Hamas who continue to be a torn in the side of Israel (Judah); have been strengthen

Even though by reason of his policy’s, Iran who continue rise up and threaten Judah with alienation; have been strengthen

Even tough by reason of his policy’s, Iraq who continue to weaken the diplomatic and Military capability’s to maneuver; by which the political rise of the Mahdi Army have been strengthen.

With “friends” like that who need Emmys?”

Also from same excerpt regrading any attack on Iran

“Iran will turn the Green Zone into a ashes; unsustainable for living or shelter leaving tens of thousands U.S. casualties (because they are held hostage).”

“They will fly their high speed jet fighters not to fight against the more superior U.S. Air Force, rather they will use them as suicide jet bombers on the Green Zone , the U.S. Naval Fleet and key installations throughout the region”

“Dimona would come under attack day and night; attacks will also occur within the populations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.”

“Iraqi would attack the exposed and more vulnerable U.S. Armed Forces causing even higher casualties; and Turkey would cut off the supply lines”

“All that within the 1st 5 days, and we have yet to talk about the effects the price of gas would do to THE WORLDS ECONOMY; or what China and Russia would do.”

“It’s little wonder why the U.N. atomic chief Mohamed ElBaradei said an attack on Iran would turn the region into a “ball of fire.”“

I told you so or let me say correctly God has told us so

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By lastdaywatchers, August 5, 2008 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

This article is just more proof of what the May 15th Prophecy has been saying with 100% accuracy all along, however unlike this article which is base on speculation (albeit a very intelligent & informed speculation)

However the May 15th Prophecy is base on the 100% guarantee of God Faithful Word

Here is a excerpt from the post titled “Hell And The Economy”


It has been said that President Bush is one of Israel (Judah) greatest friends; they even showered him in the Knesset with a sound round of applause when he visited Israel a few week back

Which further insulted God by their embrace of the Pawn Of Satan

Even though by reason of his policy’s, Hamas who continue to be a torn in the side of Israel (Judah); have been strengthen

Even though by reason of his policy’s, Iran who continue rise up and threaten Judah with alienation; have been strengthen

Even tough by reason of his policy’s, Iraq who continue to weaken the diplomatic and Military capability’s to maneuver; by which the political rise of the Mahdi Army have been strengthen.

With “friends” like that who need Emmys?”

Also from same excerpt regrading any attack on Iran

“Iran will turn the Green Zone into a ashes; unsustainable for living or shelter leaving tens of thousands U.S. casualties (because they are held hostage).”

“They will fly their high speed jet fighters not to fight against the more superior U.S. Air Force, rather they will use them as suicide jet bombers on the Green Zone , the U.S. Naval Fleet and key installations throughout the region”

“Dimona would come under attack day and night; attacks will also occur within the populations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.”

“Iraqi would attack the exposed and more vulnerable U.S. Armed Forces causing even higher casualties; and Turkey would cut off the supply lines”

“All that within the 1st 5 days, and we have yet to talk about the effects the price of gas would do to THE WORLDS ECONOMY; or what China and Russia would do.”

“It’s little wonder why the U.N. atomic chief Mohamed ElBaradei said an attack on Iran would turn the region into a “ball of fire.”“

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By samg, August 5, 2008 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i notice hedges quotes ralph nader on the terrible trouble our country is in. much of that is nader’s fault. if his candidacy hadn’t resulted in gore’s loss and bush’s presidency, none of this would have happened. and i heard hedges say on c-span that he’s going to vote for nader this time. some people never learn.

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By LibertyWatch, August 5, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Be the first one on your block to have your son come home in a box!. . .Whoopee, were all going to die!...

We have never learned from our recent history that the war mongers don’t give a damn about you, or me, or our country. If we don’t stand up against this tyranny we just get what they dish up for all of us to chew on.

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By Paul_GA, August 5, 2008 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

Heaven have mercy on us all.

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By Fahrenheit 451, August 5, 2008 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah, so we’re down to bad cop/good cop eh?  Oh how far we’ve fallen lo these 60 years.  Remember?  No?  Never mind; eat your porridge dear.  In a short time you’ll forget all about it.  Just continue chasing the rabbit down the hole and everything will be fine.  Here; have another cookie.

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By colin2626262, August 4, 2008 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

One prayer can save the world, if it’s said with faith. Please God do not let there be a war with Iran.

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By 911truthdotorg, August 4, 2008 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

This is what will happen to Iran AND Amerika if these monsters attack Iran…and I include Obama as one of those monsters. All hell will break loose worldwide.

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By Kashilinus, August 4, 2008 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The cult of fear appears to be expanding. This article carries appears to take it to extremes. Worst case - Iran develops a nuclear bomb. MAD is still in place. They won’t use it and risk total destruction.
  The oil company “obscene profits” deserves a reality check. Seven percent on gross is not excessive by most measures. If there is a problem, it stems from prior and existing policies that that allowed merger upon merger, creating industrial behemoths with income that is the sum of their components. The damage wrought is not excessive profit, but the rock solid attachment to a singular objective, until the last hole is drilled and the last drop of oil is pumped.
Oil companies don’t realize they are in the energy business. They are in the oil business. And that is their big failure.

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By Higgit, August 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Iran is as much a threat to us today as Iraq was when Bush cited his ‘imminent threat’ nonsense.

Their neocon vision requires a perpetual enemy.  The massive no-bid contracts require constant fear.  The Dubai relocators need the US public to cower and say ‘yes’ to everything Bush throws at them…

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By G.Anderson, August 4, 2008 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

The world is such a large place, and there are so many many fears to entertain in our darkest moments.
For many Iran represents, a fear that they cannot take a pill for, or pray away.

Yet, It never fails to amaze me that reason, for some, is just a disguise for naked aggression and evil intent. The shortest way to control and destroy, what we fear.

When war comes it will comes as a well rationalized decision, of reasonable men, whose calucations, ignore the hell and the sociopathy hidden behind their carefully chosen words.

If only we could percieve them as the raving lunatic’s they are. But like a child molester they cannot afford to show their true selves to the public.

To the Neo Con’s who have so far escaped the law, despite their assualt on the constitution and our freedoms, what happens to the American people or the Iranian people, makes little difference, the ends have always justified the means.

Were the American people die, in a retaliatory Biological attack, or the Iranian people die of radition poisoning, makes little difference to them.

What matters to them is that their oil money remains secure. 

But I think we have much more to fear from the heartless reasonings, of calulating paranoids who have lost their connection to life and emotion. Than we have from the Iranians at this point.

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By Michael Page, August 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
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Aimed to respond at Big B’s message.

Its quite fascinating that people think by more killing of Muslims that the issue will be resolved. As if they are to blame for the woes of America. They are in fact the people that will help most in solving this situation, its what the US wants to take from them that is the problem. The more you kill the more likely the moderate will turn extreme and even though you are not going to fix the US econonmy. The hole the US is in now has been dug by its own approach to Afghanistan, Iraq and coming closer Iran. Actually in Islam there are rules of War its Army Vs. Army are only only to combat each other, and this should be a last option after all efforts of an agreement have failed. Civilians (women, children and elderly), houses, eco system, and animals are to be left alone. Yes, unfortunately some extremists have left Islam and doing it there way. It seems extreme goverenments have followed suit and gone to extremes leaving a scenario of disaster, they need to know they are fighting militias that have no large masses behind them to look after so they take risks but government has forgotten it has other issues to address. The US has poke its stick at a series of “groups” underestimating its reaction, but it hasn’t yet awoken the real Group that will solve this problem for Humanity

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By Dar, August 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The good folks in Wahsington and Tel Aviv don’t care about what happens to the world from an attack on Iran.

They know that they need only START things, and then sit back and let them psin out of control. And countless millions of sheep will shut their mouths to “support the troops”.

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By Kevin James, August 4, 2008 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is always a third scenario and it goes like this:
The war with Iran will weaken the US economy so much that this giant country will starve like the Soviets before their collapse. There will be a fascist regime ELECTED on the promise of returning US to the old glory days. But underneath the pressure of the Right Wing Nationalist Government many minorities will be the first victims. Black Panthers will arm and go underground. Jews will collect their wealth and start migrating again. The weakness of US as the biggest market in the world creates a surplus of goods and energy which will drive the prices down. New alliances will be formed. China and India will rise as will Brazil and Russia and Iran. The Blacks will eventually lead a revolt against the slave-masters and win. The world will see a new day of much more balance and harmony as there won’t be a superpower left. This time all nations will sign the NPT! smile

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By troublesum, August 4, 2008 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

I think war with Iran is certain if McCain is elected.  Reason magazine did a good article on McCain back in April and it is still avialable online:
Should be read by everyone who thinks it doesn’t matter who wins the election.

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By troublesum, August 4, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Justanotheroldman: Justlike90%oftheamericanpeople.

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By c.d.embrey, August 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the US/Israel are dumb enough to use nukes we/they become a pariah. Maybe face nuke retaliation.

If conventional we lose many US Navy ships, maybe a carrier. The straights of Hormuz will be blocked with sunken oil tankers. How do we re-supply our troops in middle east?

In either case no more money from China.

In either case probably a war with Russia.

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By justanotheroldman, August 4, 2008 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Thank God I’m old and in ill health ... I have finally reached the point of not giving a shit what happens!

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By kath cantarella, August 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you want to avoid a war with Iran you need to keep McCain out of the White House. I can’t believe apparently intelligent people are actually weighing up these two choices. It doesn’t matter that Obama is not perfect. McCain is a merciless and seemingly incorrigible warmonger, with a charming facade. A facade which, by any measure, should no longer be fooling sane people, with all the misery caused by his actions at hand.
Is the US still sane? How can McCain, one of the enthusiastic architects of the Iraq war, be level in the polls with clean-slate Obama? Are you THAT fucking racist underneath it all?

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By Alejandro, August 4, 2008 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush and his cabal are so blind and stupid that they actually think they will surive a middle east upheaval. Well, they may; However someone better inform them that not even all the Merc’s. or Secret Service robots they can hire will save them from the wrath that will surely come from the American people. God help um….

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By Marshall, August 4, 2008 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Big B and Blackspeare have a point - the author’s worst case scenario is as likely as Blackspeare’s best case scenario.  And my guess is that since our military is well aware of the potential negative outcomes (yes, we do often learn from mistakes), any attack on Iran is not likely to fit the conventional predictability of the kind of attack this author suggests.

Who’d have imagined, for example, that a direct Israeli attack on Syria would amount to a global non-event as it did?  And of course recent times have already demonstrated Iran in a war scenario with a neighboring country; hardly the hell fire and damnation that these ME regimes routinely promise in advance of possible conflicts.

The real potential for mayhem would be to leave Iran to its nuclear ambitions and wake up one day with the very real potential of a nuclear attack either from Iran itself, or from those who procured its technology for their own ends (as Iran did).  This scenario goes unaddressed in articles like these.  It doesn’t help the author that his anti-capitalist and anti-U.S. sentiments are so thinly veiled, but obviously he has no need to disguise them on a website like this.

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By mrmb, August 4, 2008 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
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I think u got this wrong. The real terrorists are in washington, london, tel aviv and paris.

Former colonial masters, neo colonialists, imperialists, zionists who consider themselves the civilized world, the international community, leaders of the free world, moral beacons, champions of democracy and human rights and etc…. but in reality they are the exact opposite of what they claim to be.

They are thugs, murderers, theives, liars, charlatans dressed up nicely as premiers, presidents and parlamentarians.

Try to see things the way they are. Stop fooling yourself.

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By Sioan Bethel, August 4, 2008 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Was Russia and the Caspian Sea States’ defense pact with Iran last year a bluff or a trip wire? Rest aasured in the latter case that the missile launch timetable will quickly escalate beyond the Middle East region in a pre-emtive frenzy. The nuclear winter will take care of the winners.

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By tina, August 4, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A War of Self-Destruction” is just another way of saying that the “terrorists have won”.

It is stupefying that the GOP plays right into the hands of the terrorists at every turn. They truly cannot do anything right.

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By Nate in Cali, August 4, 2008 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Good stuff Big B and Blackspeare, funny too!

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By Big B, August 4, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Kudos to Blackspeare for the “cup is half full” veiw. I too echo the sentiments that, hopefully, everything will work itself out in the end. I, however, remember that nearly all of the hopes stated were almost exactly what the bushies told us about Iraq (we will be welcomed as liberators!) unfortunatley the Saudis’ still hate the jews, the Sunni still hate the Shia, Israel still has nukes, Pakistan is still insane, Afghanistan is still a proving ground for nutjobs, the jews still distrust ALL muslims, the U.S. still supports all the evil oily monarchs of the gulf, and despite what John McCain thinks, the Planets oil is running out. If all of these problems can be solved by a surgical strike against Iran, I say lets clack our ruby slippers together and warm up those cruise missles!
Yee Haw! If we kill enough Muslims we just might live happily ever after.

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By Blackspeare, August 4, 2008 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Wait a minute, Chris Hedges and all responders to this article have depicted a worse case scenario to this hypothetical military venture.  Perhaps, just maybe we look at a best case scenario just for balance:

A surgical and devastating first strike at Iran’s offensive and defensive capabilities by forces of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia (remember they have AWACs) leads to Iranian military confusion, followed by massive riots that overturn the present regime.  The new leaders immediately request a cease fire as they establish a secular democratic government friendly to the West and reclaim the country’s name as Persia to avoid confusion with Iraq.  Both Saudi Arabia and now Persia increase their oil production such that the price of a barrel of oil drops below $50 with subsequent cost of gasoline in the US falling below $1.25/gal.

This turn of events settles matters in Iraq, forces Syria, Palestine, and Israel to negotiate an end to hostilities.  And to top it off, the USA wins the most gold medals at the Olympics!

Both McCain and Obama introduce legislation to extend presidential tenure beyond two terms so Bush can be re-elected almost by unanimous decree as all Americans take to the highways to see the USA in their SUV Chevrolet as the economy soars!

This is a much prettier picture than the cynical harangue offered by Hedges.

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By Big B, August 4, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

“In a world of swine, only pigs are upward mobile”.
Here is another Hunter S. Thompson quote that i think captures my feelings about this political season. What are we on the true left of the spectrum supposed to do when we see Obama belly up to the big business trough and begin to gobble. This curley tailed son-of-a-bitch has sold out the democratic electorate in record time (we haven’t even had a convention yet) Clinton, Kerry, Pelosi, Reed, and all the other phoney liberals of their ilk, should be very proud.

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By patrickt, August 4, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

This “artricle” is not based on facts.

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By Nate in Cali, August 4, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

This is pretty scary picture you’ve painted Mr. Hedges. While I have no doubt that a war with Iran could send us spiraling out of orbit, I just don’t know HOW it would do so. Much in this short article is vague. In, fact, most of it is. Could you follow this up with a more detailed analyis of Prof. Polk’s conclusions, and why he’s saying these things? Could you, at least, provide a link to an article that explains better his reasons for making such bold (and frightening) statements. No offense, but this is the type of doomsday article I would come to expect from those ultra rightwing elements that, according to you, could be empowered by such a collapse. I wouldn’t mind taking the time to read a longer, more researched piece on this. We’re here, so we’re obviously sold on your good intentions. Again, a more thourough analysis would be much appreciated!

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By purplewolf, August 4, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Total ruination of America/world is the ultimate goal of the Bush/Cheney administration and then they think they can start their PNAC wet dream. Problem with that is, there may be no place left to start over with. As for destroying the Bill of Rights, over 90% of that has already been done by this administration. Throw in/out the Constitution also. The only right we still have left is the right to refuse quartering the enemy-housing them, which would be nil and void when they declare Martial Law. Which is also on the books and has been for some time. And don’t forget all those FEMA relocation centers to process(ha-ha) the illegals trying to exit the country in large numbers when they think something BAD is going to happen. Can’t let those go to waste, remember they were build for a reason, and not what they tell you. If you believe that they are just for relocating the population, ask yourself, where to? Or, you may no doubt become a guest at one of over 600 of these camps if you do not cow down to the new rules.

With all the illegal things and the corruption of the Bush family that has been revealed since Preston Bush aided Hitler, none of them should have ever been allowed to run for public office, more likely they all should have been jailed, this includes the president and his father, grandfather and siblings for all the illegal, underhanded things they have done to date. George W. has wanted to turn America into a dictatorship since before his days as governor of Texas, making it publicly known even at one of his State of the Union speeches. That should have been enough to have he declared a traitor to America and removed from office. Of course he wants to be the dictator, probably heard about all the advantages of being one from bedtime stories told to him by grandpappy Bush in the 1940’s. A true discredit to America and the world, the Bush Legacy.

My mother, even though she gets confused, realizes that we will never be able to mend the rifts done to us and the world by this administration and another war will be the total undoing of what we have left.

As for they paying for the consequences of their actions, when did that bunch ever have to pay for anything they did?

And the drumbeat goes on.

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By ocjim, August 4, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

“We would be plunged into a depression that would make the Great Depression of the 1930s in which I spent my childhood look like boom times,” said William R. Polk, former professor of history at the University of Chicago.”

This sounds like a great deal of exaggeration, like “End Times” predictions, but my total antipathy toward Bush and his record of incompetence-laden disasters, make me pause.

Indeed, Iran has made threats of gulf closures, terrorists attacks, use of lethal weapons, etc. Perhaps they could deliver.

But leave it to the dyslexic duo (Bush and Cheney) who can’t read signs let alone understand history and politics to do the unadvised and/or unthinkable.

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By webbedouin, August 4, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Someone commented that this was a worst possible case presentation.  One might argue, that given the history of the Bush Administration choices, things could turn out much worse.

It is possible that the whole economic house of cards may come down under the weight of its debt before the strike on Iran.  And, oddly enough, that may be the best possible scenario.

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By felicity, August 4, 2008 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Reminds me of a save-the-nation plan devised by Cheney and Rumsfeld and presented to and accepted by the ever-clueless president Reagan whereby in the case of a nuclear war launched by the Soviets against the US, the US would continue to function as a viable nation-state - minus a pres., vice, house-speaker, secretary of state…, all presumed killed in the holocaust.

It went something like this:  Soviet nuclear warheads launched headed for the US; Cheney and Rumsfeld, separately, immediately notified, whisked off to waiting planes, jetted to pre-determined fully ‘stocked’ underground bunkers from where they would ‘run the country.’

Or - If the president wasn’t killed he would be launched aloft in AirForce I which would then traverse the country, east-west and up and down the coasts never landing (but of course continually gassed up in the air by still-functioning ground crews) and ‘run the country’ - no problem. 

Hundreds of thousands of bucks were spent ‘setting up’ these hairbrained schemes and never once did anyone question that a ‘country’ would even exist to be run.  Nor did anyone consider that a Soviet launch would arrive on US soil in about 20 minutes. Nor did anyone have contingency plans for how to cope with mass starvation given that soil contaminated by nuclear-fallout can’t grow anything for about 100 years.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 4, 2008 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

re: Allan Krueger

Allan Krueger you are not a lunatic conspiracy theorist, but rather a conscious concerned being who is aware of the shit storm we are in.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 4, 2008 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

G. Anderson, you may be right on this. The lust for ultimate power has its own weird rationale. War itself is the last global form of slavery, not only for the actual participants, whether conscripts or “volunteers”, but for everybody else, who see vast amounts or resources and treasure wasted to continue the destruction. Constructive War is one of the worst justifications ever invented. The Progress For A New American Century, have a vision alright: a jackboot stomping on the face of anyone who disagrees. It is essentially about control. Fear and intimidation will be used continuously to keep the masses from becoming conscious of the injustice waged against them. The few who own must control the many who do not.

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By Leefeller, August 4, 2008 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

“By the way, if you think Bush and the gang care what you think - think again! It’s things like this that make me proud to be an American!”

When told that most of the American people were against the war,  our fearless Vice President said it so nicely “so!”

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By Allan Krueger, August 4, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

As the lunatic conspiracy theorist that I am - you know that Bush and the gang are cooking up something that they can blame on Iran (maybe the next 9/11). This EMERGENCY will keep Bush in power (election be damned) and allow him to get backing for the sheep who put him in power, for an attack on Iran (jointly with the long out-of-control Israel). Of course they rarely think of the consequences… So, if you think that oil prices are high now, just wait!

By the way, if you think Bush and the gang care what you think - think again! It’s things like this that make me proud to be an American!

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By Leefeller, August 4, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment


Yep that was the movie, wow, so many years ago. after reviewing, the corruption and lies from government, were what I remembered from the movie, which reminds me of our great government today.

How come only some of us have this tainted view of things?

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By thebeerdoctor, August 4, 2008 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

re: leefeller

Are you referring to the Costa Gavras film Z?

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By G.Anderson, August 4, 2008 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

It seems so obvious that you would believe that the Bush adminstration would be fully aware of the consequences of their actions.

But then again, maybe the collapse of our current system has been their goal all along.

Because if there is a collapse then that would enable them to rebuild things in their own image, without the freedoms that the Neo Cons have found to be so much trouble.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 4, 2008 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

re: Big B

Thank you Big B for nailing down this historical perspective. As the late Hunter Thompson once said: “you are not paranoid, they really are after you”.
John McCain was not a war hero. Barack Obama was never really poor. But these “overheated” biographic narratives are convenient devices to sweep up the bewildered voter in to the pageantry of the presidential election, convincing so many who should no better, that this monstrous process has meaning.
The Gulf of Tonkin resolution, James Earl Ray busting out of prison to assassinate Martin Luther King, Jr… these weird events are said to be the truth. And so many more, as you listed, are stated as facts that should not be questioned, like what was 9/11 really about, and why.

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By Leefeller, August 4, 2008 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

Beerdoctor and Big B,

Recalling movies in which events of our Government and elite, remind me. Aside from Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper, is a move I saw many years ago, I believe the name was “z”? It was about corrupt government and a diligent prosecutor.

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By GW=MCHammered, August 4, 2008 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
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It’s clear that this entire administration and congress demand impeachment - even if posthumously.

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By Big B, August 4, 2008 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

While the scenerios in this article are all worst case, one need only pay attention to the happenings of the the last 40 years in America to see that the worst case scenerio is not only plausable, but entirely likley. The people of Nixon’s “silent majority” railed at the hippies belief in conspiracies. Men could not possibly have conspired to assassinate a President, or the major civil rights leaders of the 1960’s. The single event that dragged our nation balls deep into Vietnam, was either staged, or a bald faced lie. The one candidate of change in 1968 was eliminated causing Mayor Daley’s subsequent rape and dismantling of the democratic party at the Orwellian wet dream that was DNC convention. Since then, Watergate, the Heritage Foundation, AEI, deregulation, Iran-Contra, Central and South America, Afghanistan I, Gulf War I, ANYTHING THE CLINTONS TOUCHED, Oklahoma City, WTC I, WTC II, Afghanistan II, Gulf War II, and any adjoining conspiracies caused by or a part of any of these events. When one looks back the ultimate beneficiaries of the post Vietnam Era have been Big Business, the Uuber Rich, the people and entities that Felix Frankfurter called the real power in Washington.
Americans need to realize that these major events of the past 40 odd years DID NOT HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT! Someone was behind the curtain pulling the levers. It is high time the American people pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize that there is one truth about our economic system, Capitalism ultimately leads to totalitarianism. Big businesses don’t just manipulate governments, THEY OWN THEM! We in the Hoy Poly are permitted elections every few years, but because the way the system is set up our only choices are among the wealthy and connected, the only people who can afford to play politics. The system has made sure that we are all a part of a consumer culture that led us to believe we were getting ahead, when we were really just falling into crushing personal and public dept that beholdens us even more to our corporate overlords.
We will go to War with Iran only if it ultimately benefits the super rich corporations and the powers behind them.
I recall a little known film from the early 1970’s that portayed a post war world that, because governments had gone bankrupt fighting wars in the name of corporations, had been “purchased” by these corporations who now ran the world with an iron hand. The people were kept relativly uneducated, living only to aquire the basic nesessities of life and hopelessly addicted to a single worldwide sport that was run by the corporations in order to keep the people’s minds focused on survival. In the end, the corporations grew jealous and turned on each other, first fighting wars through their sports teams and eventually extending into final anarchy.
Does it sound like we are somewhere in the middle of this 21st century remake of “Rollerball”? Maybe we should all just buy some team merchandise from Exxon and start shouting “Jonathan, Jonathan”, and hope for the best.

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By dick, August 4, 2008 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
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Maybe. Israel/USA plan to destroy Iran’s weak defenses totally ,within a few hours, and thus prevent any disruption of shipping in the Gulf. In time the worst will then happen to us.

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By webbedouin, August 4, 2008 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Sounds like a Bush/Cheney wet dream.

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By Fadel Abdallah, August 4, 2008 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Frightening as Chris Hedges predictions are, even if half of these predictions actually materialize, then the current state of human civilization will be drastically change for the worse. Chaos, destruction and death at unprecedented scale will take place and neither America nor Israel will be spared the evil consequences of their own medicine!

That America is on a path of self-destruction has been clear for about a decade. However, another war against Iran will certainly hasten the process!

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By Hank Van den Berg, August 4, 2008 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
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My parents often told me that the reason they immigrated to the U.S. after World War II was thay fascism would never happen in the U.S.  Were they still alive, they would no doubt have second thoughts today.  We are so far along the road to fascism and corporatist rule that it is difficult to see how we can turn things around.  The surveillance is in place, the scapegoats for our problems have all been identified, the major political parties are on board, the public is completely disillusioned with our democratic political system, the Justice Department and the entire judicial branch has been corrupted, we are building more and more jails and prisons around the country even though we already have the highest incarceration rate in the world, our culture (including the most active religious groups) are quite ready to provide the moral justifications for an autocratic regime, our military/industrial complex completely dominates the day to day activities of our federal, state, and local governments, and we are in a state of complete denial about all of these things.  Yes, a major disaster like a war in the Middle East could indeed push us over the top into outright fascism.
The question remains: What can we do to turn this around?  Are there enough thinking people left to prevent the worst-case scenario of war with Iran and a blatant takeover by the military/industrial complex?

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By Jim Yell, August 4, 2008 at 5:57 am Link to this comment
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The arrogant, over privileged and I could go on with a hundred adjectives to describe the type of people who will destroy themselves while being blinded by their lust for ever more power and wealth, the point being that we have been here before.

It was obvious that a World War would be a disaster for everyone before WWI and yet industry was hyped to see what wonders they could sell and the powerful were so full of self-righteousness and blindness to their own vulnerabilities that they said and did many unwise things until all options had been blocked and they were left with total war and no way out but to fight it. Of course, in the course of this conflict most of the old power structures fell and chaos embraced victor and defeated. Business learned nothing except what wonderful profits could be had selling to the military.

The worst price that was paid is citizens realized that they would be used as collateral damage, that being the price of new economic opportunities for people like the Bush family and so many others. A second shock was given to our culture by the outrages of the investment community that left people starving and unemployed even though the factories, material and workers were still in place. All because the investment community did what they have now done again and that is to “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.

Treason in this country starts at the top.

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By thebeerdoctor, August 4, 2008 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

re: nrobi

You are correct on this. In section 899A (2) it states: ‘Violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

Strangely I can not think of a better description of Operation Iraqi Freedom than that. Of course the U.S. government refuses to see the plank lodged in our eye.
As probably many are aware, former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi is advocating that George W Bush be prosecuted for murder. I find it quite remarkable that a man who successfully convicted racist nut job Charles Manson, has now assumed the rule of hell hound on the President’s trail, even after he leaves office. Mr. Bugliosi sees Bush as a monster, which in fact he is, if you value the existence of your fellow humans, and object to their senseless slaughter. Mr. Bugliosi is also quick to point out that it is not only the 4000 plus Americans who have died, but the countless Iraqi men women and children civilians that Bush so casually said was “about 30 thousand or so”. I think the man who dealt with Charles Manson knows what evil is. So many others are afraid to look into that abyss. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in a state of denial, like so many others in the Democratic party. They are living in a state that Robert Jay Lifton referred to as “psychic numbing”.
Ghandi said: There are unjust laws as there are unjust men.
That most certainly applies to H.R. 1955.
“Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Bury the rag deep in your face,
Now is the time for your tears.”

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By David Model, August 4, 2008 at 4:57 am Link to this comment
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An American or Israeli attack on Iran would be catastrophic on many levels but the American economy is going to fail no matter what Bush or Omert does about Iran.

The economy may well have experienced its first quarter of negative economic growth because the official growth rate for the last quarter is .6 and the manipulation of the CPI may very well drop the rate below zero.

Bush has tripled the debt and the deficit is over $500 bilion depending on China, Japan and other countries to prop up the economy with daily investments in American bonds and tresury bills with their excess dollars from a trade imbalance.  The trade imbalance is largely the result of American companies transfering their plants to countries with cheap labour.

In addition, over 50% of the budget is consumed by the two trillion-plus war in Iraq and Afghanistan and at the same time huge tax cuts will reduce government revenue needed to solve the weaknesses in the economy.

The sub-prime mortgage disaster is impacting the financial sector, housing market and all those companies dependent on the housing market.

U.S. has the largest current accounts deficit of any country on the planet.

There is no place for this economy to go but down.

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By samosamo, August 4, 2008 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

I will have to say or guess, that there is a reason why w & dick are driving this country into the ground and money has to be it. All of this money, including the $7trillion, is going into a few people’s pockets(I have concluded that Bill Gates was never the richest man in the world) and damn the rest of the world. Then I suspect that the turmoil in this country will be so great that the operating government at the time will have no trouble not just going to war with other countries but exercising the the nuke option in doing so. It has always been about the money and the only people more addicted to something than the people of the USA are to oil, are the goddamn ‘elites’ who are addicted to money and who actually seem to be having their own internal war to see who comes out with the most, grand theft of huge proportions.
I just got through viewing this video that has Jeff Cohen and Scott Ritter speaking and answering questions together in Oregon. It is rather long, 2hrs+8min, and the video is glared with to much light but it is understandable, taped in January of this year. The striking thing besides the commentary by both of these guys is the 2 separate fields of contention each represents in this country and the world, Jeff Cohen about the issues with the media, Ritter with his usual analysis of the misuse of our military. Worth the watch:

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By nrobi, August 4, 2008 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

Ominously, this is the scenario that is most prevalent in the minds of those who know how and why the government of the United States is running the country.
The shrub and Darth Vader are looking for the chance to invoke martial law and revoke the Constitution and Bill of Rights, so that they can suspend the current election cycle and install a government of, by and for the corporations that are funding their capitalistic avarice. The shrub would like nothing better than to be declared by fiat, president for life and do away with those pesky rights of the citizens of the U. S. 
Should this happen, and mind you it is extremely close to happening, then there would be an uprising of the people as has never been seen in any country in the world.
I, personally do not advocate violence in any form, but to protect the rights of all the generations that follow, there would be justification for the uprising that would follow the imposition of the most defiantly anti-freedom government known to man.
House Resolution 1955, the bill that passed by an overwhelming majority, 404-6, does away with all the rights that are enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution would be overturned in favour of a form of government that is quite the fascist and totalitarian form of government. Our form of government would make the Chinese form of government look like paradise and freedom comparatively.
I am ashamed that 5 members of our country, voted twice to elect the current shrub and his cronies, the neo-conservatives that have ruined this country and taken it down a road to destruction and despair.
If this sounds too pessimistic, then please do not read all the books and articles regarding that abortion of a bill, H. R. 1955, for this is the death knell of the United States as we know it.
Of one thing I am certain, we the American people are no longer worthy of the rights that are in the Bill of Rights, for we have abdicated our responsibility to future generations by not involving ourselves in the political scene, not voting and not caring about how this government is run and by whom it is run. The people who have taken over our government do not care for those of us who are not of their kind and who do not have the money to gain access to the power base of the GOP.
There is no way out except a people’s revolution, and by that I mean, a non-violent and silent revolution that entails not giving in to the demands of those in power. Ghandi-ji is correct in that the only way to defeat those who have power, is to not give in to their demands and show them the power of non-violent and peaceful love.
We in America are at a cross=roads, one way leads to the destruction of the most innovative and life-giving experiment known to mankind, or the other, which leads to the most totalitarian regime that can be imagined. 
Choose you this day whom you will serve, freedom or totalitarianism?  I have made my choice and hopefully it will not come to losing my life, but if so, then so be it, if in the process it provokes and enshrines the freedoms we in America hold so dear.

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By pro choice lib, August 4, 2008 at 3:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree, this is the plan.

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By Paracelsus, August 4, 2008 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

I have not seen a an article in Truth Dig that made as much sense as this one. Bravo!

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