The Growing Iranian Military Behemoth?

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Here’s an excerpt from a great piece in Salon by Glen Greenwald on the looking-glass imbecility of the “Growing Iranian Military Behemoth” –

By Glenn Greenwald

February 04, 2012 “Salon” –

The tranquility of my Saturday morning was disrupted — and that’s putting it mildly — when I read on Glenn Reynolds’ popular right-wing “Instapundit” blog that we can learn important “Lessons About Iran From Hitler.” To know that we have yet another New Hitler in our midst is alarming indeed. Reynolds’ link takes one to an even more jarring warning about the Persian menace, by David Goldman, that extensively compares the fallen Nazi leader to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and argues that because both figures are maniacal monsters presiding over a dying nation, only a full-scale military attack can stop them. ”However much it costs in Iranian blood and well-being, it’s still worth it,” Goldman casually decrees.

Sociopathic calls for aggressive attacks on other nations and cheap invocations of Hitler are not worth commenting on: neocons churn those out reflexively. But what is worth noting is the event Goldman is flagging as proof of Iran’s aggressive intentions: “Iran is planning to double its defense budget even though its currency is collapsing,” he warns. A doubling of its defense budget! Who among us can remain calm in the face of such naked militarism?

That Ahmadinejad claims that Iran will increase its military budget for next year by 127% was widely reported this week. For a variety of reasons relating to Iran’s economic difficulties, that plan is quite infeasible — typical Ahmadinejad blustering — but let’s assume for the moment that it will actually happen. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Military Expenditure Database, Iran’s total annual military spending is $7 billion; an increase of 127% would take it to $15.8 billion — also known as: less than 2% of total U.S. military spending (which was $698 billion for fiscal year 2010). According to Defense News, Iran’s official military budget for 2011 is actually $12 billion; an increase of 127% would bring it to $27.2 billion, also known as: less than 4% of U.S. military spending. Taking the largest number possible for Iranian military spending (the one provided by Defense News), behold the frightening, Nazi-like military threat Iran poses:

These kinds of scary claims about Iran’s military might have been issuing for years. Back in 2006, Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, announced that Iran has the most powerful military in the Middle East, even though Israel has a large stockpile of nuclear weapons, as many as 200, while Saudi Arabia annually spends almost $60 billion on its military (more than 5 times Iran’s current spending) or “10% of GDP on defence, more than double the proportion spent by America.” Both of those Iranian rivals (Israel and Saudi Arabia), and many others in that region, are recipients of vast amounts of sophisticated military weaponry from the U.S. Here is a list of 11 extremely sophisticated weapons that the U.S. — and it alone in the world — possesses. And then there’s the fact that the U.S. basically has Iran completely encircled, as demonstrated by this graph from Juan Cole’s blog, showing U.S. military bases near Iran:

As Cole put it: “Each star is a US base. But just to be clear, Iran is the one that is threatening us.” Indeed: imagine if the blue in that map were the U.S. (rather than Iran), and the large red areas were Mexico and Canada (rather than Iran’s neighbors), and the stars represented Iranian military bases. Then further imagine that Iranian political leaders and media figures routinely told their population that it was the U.S. that was an aggressive, threatening power that had to be stopped: the mocking condemnations of that level of propaganda would be endless. Yet American political officials and commentators feel free to insist, with a straight face, that Iran is an aggressor nation posing a serious threat to the U.S.: such a serious threat, in fact, that war may be necessary to stop it. And there is, tragically, little doubt that if there is an attack on Iran by Israel — with direct U.S. involvement or, more likely, U.S. support and approval — there will be little opposition in either American political party, and even less challenge to the ludicrous claims about the Grave Iranian Threat that will be invoked to justify it.

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    • I’ve heard the Irish don’t care much for them.

      Say what you will about Iran and other Muslim countries, they know how to treat the ladies!

        • There has been some progress in those places to be sure. In general though the mideast is a lousy place to carry your reproductive organs internally.

  1. It is call of the time that all sensible Americans must support Ron Paul for the sake of global safety and peace and for the peace and harmony back in homeland.

    • Agree.

      The measure of Paul’s support is a measure of how many Americans really do believe in freedom – for themselves and others. The typical Republican is as much an authoritarian thug as the typical Democrat.

  2. Uncle Sam Meddling in Baluchistan: Back Off!

    By Yasmeen Ali

    Pakistan Parliamentarians must table a resolution to carve New Mexico away from it’s affiliation in USA and restore it to its pre-geographical entity of the Mexican-American War (1846-48). With New Mexico’s population boasting the highest rate of Hispanics (estimated 46% in 2010), including descendents of Spanish Colonialists and recent immigrants from Latin America, US rule on New Mexico may rightly be deemed as alien rule. The majority of Hispanics claim a Spanish ancestry, especially in the northern part of the state.

    Of course, this will be out rightly rejected by USA who never believed in the motto ,”What’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander”. In complete disregard for this idiom, USA has acted, much like an elephant in a China Shop, causing destruction in the name of democracy, human rights and other similar big sounding slogans. Except, this destruction has been completely selective! Not when it effects America’s own interest. Or those of her “friends”.

    Alan Hart, commenting on US’s veto of Russia and China, in his recent article states,” …how do we explain the fact that all the governments of the Western world, led by America, are on the wrong side of it because of their support for the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong – unending occupation, on-going ethnic cleansing and all? There is a one-word answer. Hypocrisy.” He rightfully questions if is it good policy only if a nation agrees with Uncle Sam & bad policy if it does not?

    Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who recently expressed support for an independent Baluchistan in an article, is to chair a meeting of the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs to deliberate upon Baluchistan, today. “Perhaps we should even consider support for a Baluchistan carved out of Pakistan to diminish radical power there (in Pakistan),” Rohrabacher had written in his article.

    There are signs that London-led project to separate Baluchistan from Pakistan has been given an impetus.” The objectives are many. To name a few: It would weaken a belligerent Pakistan, create a buffer between Pakistan and Afghanistan; secure a strong foothold along the southeastern borders of Iran; and undo China’s long-term plan to link up the Karakoram Highway in the north to the Arabian Sea, by a land bridge running through Baluchistan,” says Ramtanu Maitra in his article “Balochistan: Is US backing London’s plan to dismember Pakistan?

    Selig Harrison, in his article for The National Interest of 3rd Feb 2011, considered to be an expert on Baluchistan for the US, states that an independent Baluchistan must be supported since Pakistan has given Gwader in heart of Baluchistan to China, and therefore, an independent Baluchistan would support USA’ s regional interests and counter Islamist forces . Exactly how the Islamist forces will be countered by an independent Baluchistan is unclear.

    Obama Administration has identified two enemies; China and Iran. The latter, is being perceived as a threat with Iran going nuclear(another perception erected with no facts to back it), leading to imposing resulting sanctions, isolating Iran etc.Whereas USA has opened dialogues with Taliban composed of Wahabis, thereby avowed opponents of majority Shia’ite Iran, to counter this threat. Taliban could not have opened office in Qatar without a nod from UK. A Taliban government in Kabul ensures an opposing force to Iran. However, the question as to how a nuclear Israel is not a threat to the world and a nuclear Iran is, remains unclear and unanswered.

    Baluchistan plays a strong role in China’s future development as a Regional Super Power, rising to a World Super Power. Pakistan minus Baluchistan pulls the rug out from under China’s feet!

    In an article carried exclusively by pakpotpourri2,by Brigadier Shaukat Qadir® ,titled “Another Conspiracy Theory”, quotes a person he simply states as X who he corresponded with regarding the role & involvement in US in Pakistan,writes, “The US has concluded that the Pakistan army is part of the problem, not the solution; and that the interests of the Pakistan army are not identical with those of Pakistan. Consequently, the US has decided that the Pakistan army has to be cut to size and, if in the process of doing so, the Pakistan army is destroyed, so be it. And, I agree”.

    USA has her own interests in the Region. Of that, there is no doubt.

    The elephant is planning to gate crash into another China Shop. The elephant must be stopped. It is a completely incorrect view that by virtue of being a “Super Power”, USA has the right to act “Super Bully”.

    (The writer is lawyer based in Lahore, professor in a University & can be contacted on

  3. Hmmm, let’s see here: Iraq – Saddam Hussein wants to sell oil for something other than petro-dollars – has “weapons of mass destruction” – U.S. military sent in to kick his ass. Muammar Gaddafi wants to sell oil for gold and reestablish a gold dinar as Lybia’s currency – he’s an evil dictator – U.S. military sent in to help “rebels” kick his ass. Bernard von NotHaus – wants to set up a true specie alternative currency based on silver to compete with the fiat dollar – U.S. attorney sent in to steal his assets and kick his ass. Now, here we have Iran that is about the last (if not the only remaining) holdout from having the IMF and London based international banking interests take over their central bank. In other words, the Rockefeller – Rothchilds’ cartel putting their hands up the Iranian leaders’ asses to make their lips move and running their country for them. So a whole bunch of folks around D.C. want to send in the U.S. military to kick some Iranian ass. Is it just me or is there a pattern emerging here?

    • I’ve come to the depressing conclusion that one must hope – for our sake – that the Iranians have managed to develop a bomb. It’s the only trump card – the one thing that will keep the shitheads who run the government here and the shitheads who run the government in Israel from attacking Iran and possibly igniting a catastrophic regional (even world) war. Leaving aside the issue of Iran’s right to possess a defensive nuclear weapon, every bit as much as the Israelis (or the US) have the right to possess hundreds, even thousands of them.

      Notice we don’t hear much shrieking about N. Korea any longer? They possess they means to tell the US to fuck off.

      The more of that, the better.

    • He gives me great hope; there’s a broad bridge between (intellectually honest) liberals like Glenn and libertarians.

      Ron Paul has collaborated with Dennis Kucinich–another honest liberal–in many causes.

      Probably the strongest selling point to pull liberals into the libertarian camp this election is the cause for peace…But I’m not holding my breath, the level of hypocrisy re: war among liberals is simply astonishing. Now that their King, Obama, is in office, suddenly war’s sexy or at least hush-hush.

      Killing brown people’s OK if the white house is occupied by one, I guess. But I stopped plumbing the depths of statists’ logic long ago.


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