US adventurism

A most irresponsible statement has come from General Petraeus, head of US Central Command, in which he has declared that Iran’s nuclear sites can be bombed and that the Pentagon has plans for such a contingency. In an interview with CNN, he went on to add that the impact of a military attack would vary depending on who carried it out and what ordnance “they” had and the capability “they” were able to bring to bear. The ominous “they” could be a reference either to the US military itself; or more like, to Israel which is already itching to target Iran’s nuclear facilities. Interestingly, General Petraeus made no mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal which threatens the entire region.

Given that Petraeus is in charge of the entire West Asia/Middle East region, his statement cannot be taken lightly. It is reflective of a prevailing state of mind within US policy makers – both civilian and military – which sees military solutions for political problems. This is unfortunate, as the use of the military has only aggravated the problem in Afghanistan even as it has effectively destroyed Iraq and its infrastructure. Pakistan continues to suffer as US politicians and the CIA (clearly with Ocala’s consent) support increased drone attacks which so far have killed primarily innocent civilians rather than wanted militants. But it would appear the lives of the locals in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan don’t matter to the US. Published statistics reveal only too clearly the large number of Muslim lives that have been taken by the US military post-9/11. Then there are the Muslims incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay and other prisons in different parts of the world – with no access to justice in a meaningful manner. The shame is that so many Muslim states have aided and abetted in the persecution of their own people simply to appease the US.

Now the scenario is being built up for a US intervention in Yemen, despite the denials coming so far. But Obama has lost all credibility on this count after he has failed to live up to his electoral commitment to close Gitmo and move away from the military centric Bush policies. It would appear he is a prisoner of his Establishment. Perhaps that is why US Generals are holding forth on policy matters which, in democratic countries, are a civilian domain.

On Iran Petraeus also gave a policy direction by stating that there was time for diplomatic means to be used but, unlike Obama who is focusing purely on diplomatic and political means of resolving the Iran-US nuclear stand-off, the General has made it clear that it was a matter of time before the military targeting of Iran’s nuclear facilities may take place. With such adventurism coming from the CENTCOM Commander, the political route of dialogue with Iran already stands undermined.

— The Nation


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