Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

US HOLDS IRANIANS HOSTAGE FOR 26 YEARS AND OTHER NEWS

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I had planned to write more about the Iran hostage crisis, but life got in the way. Life does that, it’s as if reality has volition of its own that transcends my carefully laid plans. Who knew? So I’ll just be quick, this link, and pointing out that the US installed and supported a brutal dictator in Iran from 1953 to 1979. So no surprise that the people of Iran deposed him. And since the coup that installed the Shah was plotted and conducted from the US embassy, not a surprise that militants occupied the embassy after Jimmy Carter foolishly let the Shah come to the US for medical treatments, fuelling rumours that the US planned to reinstall him by force. All of course unknown to most Americans, who have simply erased pre-revolution Iran from their minds.

Reminds me of an anecdote by one of the hostages. After nearly a year in captivity, one of the hostages snapped, and yelled long and hard at one of his guards about the injustice of holding him and his fellow hostages prisoners for nearly a year. The guard listened to it all, and when the hostage was done, the guard simply said: “America held our entire country hostage for 26 years.” The hostage had no reply to that, because, what could he say? Alas those 26 years don’t exist for most Americans, last time I checked the CIA’s official history of Iran … starts in 1979.

I came across a curious article about how science denial works. The short version is that science denial “works” because a lot of people engage in black and white thinking. In this type of thinking ideas (or scientific theories) are either 100% proved … or false. And since nothing in science is 100% proven, there is always something for people to latch onto to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I definitely recommend the article. The only thing I would add is that unfortunately now there are very powerful interests at work exploiting this tendency in human thinking to promote egregious nonsense like ‘intelligent design’ or ‘global warming denial.’ How to get through to such people? Beats me. Teaching critical thinking in schools would be a start, but the very same interests certainly aren’t going to stand for that.

Interestingly enough in this next article on the evolution of bipedalism, one can easily see how black and white thinkers could fool themselves into thinking that the incredibly complicated and as yet not fully understood evolution of humans is flawed. Especially if one was already wedded to the simplistic idea that Fod snapped his fingers and magically created the Universe out of nothing 7,000 odd years ago. No need for complex theories to explain the amazing complexity of life and evolution.

Not much in the news today. Or same ol same ol to be more accurate. So … science! A NASA engineer has come up with theoretical propellantless engine that could reach 99% of the speed of light. Wait, no propellent? Isn’t that basically a perpetual motion machine, thus violating the laws of the Universe? Pretty much, but his idea somehow takes advantage of a loophole in special relativity. My understanding of special relativity is weak, so I basically have no clue about how he claims his ‘helical engine’ concept works. Still, good to know people are thinking about how to get off this freaking rock.

Well, this was interesting. Turns out the Black Plague was killing people thousands of years before the first pandemic, the Plague of Justinian which devastated the Eastern Roman Empire in 541-542 AD. It killed as many as 50 million people in the two centuries that followed. And it all appears to have been the same strain, so why did the plague not cause pandemics prior to the first outbreak? Possibly it did, but so far there’s no historical or archeological evidence for such. So scientists are trying to figure it out. Crowded cities? New rats? Lack of exposure to horses? Wait, what, how is exposure to horses related to plague outbreaks? Apparently they may be naturally resistant to plague, though how that helped prevent pandemics is a little unclear to me. In any event, interesting speculations, read about it here.

Here’s a last fun science headline: ‘MIT’s ‘virtually indestructible’ Cheetah robots can now play soccer.’ Great, indestructible robot cheetahs. Black Mirror tried to warn us about this, but did we listen? Nope. Another sign of the coming apocalypse.

Stay warm everyone, our lake froze this morning. So much for Indian Summer. Hell, so much for fall.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A hunter-killer metal dog from Black Mirror’s episode Metalhead. Credit: Possibly Edemol Shine UK? Used without permission, but since I am plugging their show, hopefully I can be forgiven.)

Written by unitedcats

November 13, 2019 at 6:04 am

Posted in History, Iran, Personal, Science

THE BLITZKRIEG OF OUR TIME? IS TRUMP UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE?

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Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor_Japanese_planes_view2

OK, one last time. All week I have been checking the news obsessively, hoping that the situation with Iran hasn’t deteriorated. And trying to get my head around the Saudi Arabia Abqaiq–Khurais oil facilities attack. I still think it represents a sea change in the region, if not globally. I am also starting to think the attack was brilliant both tactically and strategically. That’s the main reason there has been no response besides threats and power blaming. I’ll likely repeat some things from earlier posts on the topic, but will try to keep it short and to the point.

A year ago Trump effectively went to war with Iran, imposing on Iran the most draconian sanctions ever imposed in peacetime. And Mark Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, presented Iran with a list of twelve demands they must comply with. If they comply,  maybe the US will think about lifting the sanctions. The demands are outrageous, the sort of demands one imposes on a vanquished enemy or a defenceless country. (See Appendix I at bottom.) Iran is neither. And Trump is pretty much going this alone, aside from being cheered on by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

So what’s Iran to do? They can’t comply with the demands, no nation would agree to be another nation’s slave basically. Diplomacy is out, Trump doesn’t want to talk. And while most of the world doesn’t go along with Trump bullying Iran, there’s not a lot they can do besides a certain amount of passive resistance. Iran can’t just go to war with the US, even though it would be perfectly reasonable under the circumstances. That would be national suicide. If they do nothing, the situation continues to deteriorate in Iran, with all the while the possibility that the war will get worse. They basically had their hands tied.

And then the attack happened. Whether it was the Houthis or Iran, the big lesson is that it could happen again. And the west seems unable to defend against the possibility. For a long time people have been pointing out how soft the world’s infrastructure is, let alone things like oil storage and refining. And that the idea that it could all be defended against by a clever attacker was a pipe dream. You can’t defend everything. Which is why wars should be the last resort, not the first.  I wish I could express how paradigm breaking this attack was. It was like Pearl Harbor, but since no one died, few are paying real attention to what is going on. Well, outside of astute military types. The Blitzkreig of our day has been revealed, what to do?

This is why the US nor Saudi Arabia has responded yet to the attacks. Iran and /or the Houthis may well have thousands of drones and cruise missiles aimed at dozens of very soft but very economically valuable targets in the region. And right now, the west has no real way to defend against these attacks. Yes, Trump is sending troops to Saudi Arabia, pretty much an admission that he has no good options. What are the troops going to do, shoot down the next drone attack? Yeah, that’s not going to work.

So what’s going to happen now? If the US or Saudi Arabia were going to retaliate, likely they would have done so. The US doesn’t even have a reason to retaliate, Saudi Arabia isn’t a US allie. And the new Crown Prince’s wars and repression aren’t actually helping America’s interests in the region. As at least one wag has pointed out, Trump is about “America first” except when it comes to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Honestly, Trump’s a fool and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is a madman. I think they will stay the course, and the best thing that could happen is another attack by the Houthis.

We know Iran isn’t going to surrender, that’s for sure. I will keep obsessively monitoring the news and posting as need be. Here is a fantastic article in that it presents a very different picture than the silliness on the MSM. It basically makes the claim that Trump gambled big time when he pulled out of the nuclear agreement with Iran, and now with this attack he has lost. And his only option is to find a face saving way out of the mess he made. I highly recommend it.

Yeah, Trump will admit he made a mistake, and try to fix it. Snort. I guess we’re gonna find out how well sharpies work against drone attacks. Have a great week everyone.

***

Appendix I: Pompeo’s demands, they are both outrageous and insulting to Iran’s sovereignty, and in some cases even divorced from reality.

  1. Iran must “declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program.” They already have. And they had every reason to try and build nuclear weapons when Iraq was attacking them fully backed by the west!
  2. Iran must “stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing,” including “closing its heavy water reactor.”  Iran, like numerous other countries, has a civilian nuclear power program. This is an essential component of such programs, and fully legal and reasonable under the NPT. In other words, this is a deliberately insulting and ridiculous demand. It gets worse, trust me.
  3. Iran must “also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the country.” Basically asking Iran to allow US spies to go anywhere they want, anytime they want. No sovereign nation would agree to this.
  4. Iran “must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further development of nuclear-capable missiles.” Again, this is like telling a nation they can’t build tanks or artillery. No sovereign nation would agree to this, especially since Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia are armed to the teeth with missiles.
  5. Iran is  to “release all U.S. citizens … detained on spurious charges or missing in Iran.” Just imagine if another country demanded that all of its citizens in US jails be released. How would that fly among Trump supporters?
  6. Iran “must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad” All of these groups have widespread popular support, all of them have legitimate causes, and two of them participate in the electoral process. The US routinely supports groups like these all over the planet. Again, a hypocritical and insulting demand.
  7. Iran “must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.” Yes, Iran and Shia Iraq are on good terms. It’s the US who has never respected Iraq’s sovereignty, not Iran.
  8. Iran must “end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.” Iran has proposed a diplomatic solution to Yemen from the beginning, and whatever support they give the Houthis is dwarfed by the arms pipeline flowing into Saudi Arabia. The US’s refusal to recognize the Houthis is the stumbling block, not Iran.
  9. “Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command from Syria.” Iran’s forces are in Syria legally, at the request of the Syrian government. Unlike US forces in Syria.
  10. “Iran must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring Al Qaeda.” Um, no, those are Tehran’s enemies, Iran can’t stop doing what it isn’t doing in the first place.
  11. “Iran must end the IRGC Quds Forces’ support for terrorists and militant partners.” Iran supplies its friends in the region, exactly as the US does.
  12. “Iran cease its threatening behavior against its neighbors.” It’s the US and its allies that have invaded and are waging ongoing war on multiple countries in the region, turning whole countries into failed states. Not Iran.

I got these from this site, much of the above is just a shortened version of theirs, sans much editorial comment. If I made any errors in fact, happy to be shown otherwise.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The attack on Pearl Harbor. Credit: Imperial Japanese Navy. This photograph is in the public domain in Japan because its copyright has expired according to Article 23 of the 1899 Copyright Act of Japan (English translation) and Article 2 of Supplemental Provisions of Copyright Act of 1970. This is when the photograph meets one of the following conditions:

It was published before January 1, 1957.

It was photographed before January 1, 1947.

It is also in the public domain in the United States because its copyright in Japan expired by 1970 and was not restored by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.)

Written by unitedcats

September 23, 2019 at 3:54 am

WHAT ROUGH BEAST II

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DN-SC-87-06412

Well, knock on wood, no US attack on Iran … yet. The quiet before the storm? Nothing has happened yet, but the more I learn about the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facility, the more worried I am. This attack was important in at least four scary ways. It’s a new and possibly game-changing addition to the world’s arsenal. It’s exactly the sort of incident the US has used to justify wars before. It’s an attack on major oil production facilities, which are usually tacitly off limits to the major players. Lastly, this really highlights how vulnerable the world’s infrastructure to, well, smart drones. In that order:

This attack was like something out of a James Bond movie. Drones that flew in and hit their targets with precision. I tend to mostly agree with the just linked article, this has been coming for awhile. The technology is off the shelf, the next gen Scud missile if one wills. Insurgents just got a lot more dangerous. One can bet that military and intelligence people are quietly meeting around the globe to discuss this attack.

The US has a long history of using incidents far more trivial than this attack to justify wars. Going back almost to the beginning of our republic. And there are certainly elements in the power structure in Washington calling for an attack on Iran. Trump’s base has certainly bought the idea that Iran is behind all the problems in the region. Trump likely believes it himself. An attack on Iran could have unexpected consequences. More on that later.

Attacks on major infrastructure are rare. The big players generally avoid it because they are all equally vulnerable. So this either means minor players can now attack economic infrastructure in precision ways, or a major player just really upped the ante. Neither possibility is a good thing. Maybe it’s an attempt by the Houthis’ to force peace talks, like what the IRA did to drive the U.K. to the negotiating table. Economic terrorism. Still, not a happy development.

Lastly, this really highlights just how vulnerable the world’s infrastructure really is. You can deliver small explosive loads accurately over hundreds of miles, this makes World War Two bombing raids look like catapults and arrows in comparison.   Hundreds of tons of explosives dropped willy nilly at great risk and expense, hoping the damage done exceeds the cost. Or a few hundred pounds of high explosive delivered to pinpoint targets to maximize damage at little risk or expense. A new day in warfare has dawned.

What does it all mean? Who knows. Oil prices have spiked some, Iran and the US are trading accusations and denials. One of the big takeaways is … whoever did this could do it again. Which is likely a big factor in why no knee jerk response. Iran or the Houthis or the Taliban or Hezbollah could have thousands of drones ready to launch. Even if they don’t, orders are being issued as I type to acquire them. And Iran has plenty of other military options as well. Unlike the defenseless countries the US has been waging war on since 9/11, Iran has teeth. And powerful friends.

Every day that goes by without further escalation is a good thing. The conspiracy mongers are going nuts, but such is life. I don’t think it’s a false flag attack, false flag attacks are generally trivial in their costs. And as I keep saying, the actual details of who launched it really are academic. The US has already made it abundantly clear that it regards Iran as responsible, and will act accordingly. Maybe that means war. Maybe Trump will X-out Iran on a map with his sharpie. Frack if I know, the world post Supercollider weasel is a strange place indeed.

I’m going to call it a night and hope this post doesn’t require major revision come morning. Hopefully nothing will happen by Friday, and I can get back to aliens and comets. BB all.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The USS Stark struck by two Exocetxocet missiles in 1987 during the Iran-Iraq War. Credit: Unknown. This image is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.)

Written by unitedcats

September 18, 2019 at 4:42 am

Posted in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Trump, War

WHAT ROUGH BEAST

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The_Sandman_a_B-24_Liberator,_piloted_by_Robert_Sternfels

I was working on my interstellar visitor post, then this happened. Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities have been hit by drones, reducing their production capacity by about 50%. Saudi Arabia is the world’s number two producer of oil. So, to put it succinctly, this is a big deal. All hell could break loose Monday when the world’s stock markets open. It’s also possible that this is the first salvo in a much wider war in the region. Or as some are already saying, the End Times have begun. Maybe, hope not.

OK, so why is this attack so important? There’s a lot to unpack here. First, regional background, unstable as hell: Houthi rebels started a civil war in Yemen in 2015, ousting the authoritarian president. Saudi Arabia backed by the west has been waging war on Yemen since, trying to defeat the Houthis and reinstall the ousted dictator. The Saudis fear the Houthis will ally with Iran, though it’s unclear that their war has achieved anything, or even can achieve anything. And Yemen is a terrible failed state at this point with numerous factions in the fight for different goals.

As well, in 2015 Iran signed a humiliating deal with the USA and other major powers. They caved to intrusive western nuclear inspections that made a mockery of the NPT and Iranian sovereignty. Iran problem solved, right? No, along came Trump who backed out of the deal and started a campaign of economic warfare against Iran. Regime change being the goal apparently. Israel is urging the US to attack Iran, and there’s certainly people in Washington who think it’s a great idea.

There have also been other mysterious attacks on some oil tankers in the Gulf recently. And now this, a drone strike does devastating damage to Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity. Not cruise missiles, drones. Small, cheap, could have been launched by any number of nations. Houthi rebels are claiming it was them, Trump is claiming Iran launched the drones. When the markets open Monday oil prices will likely rise, and all sorts of economic hell might break loose. And of course this could spread to other acts of war in the region.

First takeaway, believe no one. Governments always lie.  Could have been Houthi rebels. They could have gotten the drones from Iran, or any number of third parties. Could have been Iran. Doesn’t really matter, since both the US and Israel are going to blame Iran and react accordingly. And anyone else who is happy to see the Saudi’s and/or the US petrodollar hurt may try and figure out how to take advantage of this. That would be China, Russia, and Venezuela for starters. I don’t think North Korea will be shedding any tears over this either. The rest of the world is urging calm, since a catastrophic war that takes out a large part of the world’s oil production will hurt all around.

So, a lot of angry arguing cooks in the kitchen and a stove top grease fire just broke out, what happens now? Do they work together to put out the fire? Or does someone throw flaming grease on someone else. That’s really the only question that matters now. Even if nothing else happens, gas prices are likely to rise, the world’s economies will take a hit, and even temporary gas shortages are possible. If the US or Israel does attack Iran, anything is possible. Oil facilities are very soft targets, and when it comes right down to it, the world economy is very fragile in many respects.

And sadly I know I recently said I hope Trump gets through the rest of his presidency without having to deal with a major crisis. Obviously I should have knocked on wood when I typed that. Maybe this isn’t a major crisis just yet, but it could get there quickly. And we have a man in the White House who thinks he can retroactively change reality using a sharpie. This does not fill me with confidence. At least Bolton is gone, he’d be foaming at the mouth urging an attack on Iran. Someone could slip and fall. I’m hoping cooler heads prevail everywhere.

In any event I’m posting this today because by Monday the situation may have changed. If there are further unpleasant developments, I will post on Monday or Tuesday. If not (fingers and toes crossed,) on Wednesday I will post about Comet Borisov and aliens. Hope everyone is having a good weekend, stay calm and carry on.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: B-24 Liberator, emerging from smoke over the Astra Română refinery, Rumania, during World War Two.  Only Public Domain picture of a refinery under attack I could locate on short notice. Credit: Jerry J. Joswick This image or file is a work of a U.S. Air Force Airman or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain in the United States.)

Written by unitedcats

September 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm

HEAT WAVE

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We survived the heat wave, I hope all my gentle readers did the same. Oh heck, all my readers, who am I to judge? I do like weather, but extreme heat or extreme cold I can live without. Fortunately my garret has an AC unit, so my suffering was limited to the times I ventured forth to obtain beer. Sadly, extreme weather events are the new normal as we proceed with our planetary experiment: ‘What happens when the Earth’s atmosphere is pumped full of greenhouse gases?’ We’re finding out more all the time, and oddly enough very little of it has been good. Who would have guessed? That’s a rhetorical question.

Someone asked me if the current nonsense going on with Iran will lead to war. I am always honored by such questions. The answer is, damned if I know. I don’t think so, the US has been goading Iran since 1979 or so, and it hasn’t led to war yet. Without the Iranian bogeyman it would be a lot harder to justify American militarisation in the region, not to mention it’s a great distraction for Saudi Arabia and Israel’s aggressive foreign policy.  I can predict that a war with Iran would almost certainly be a bad thing with unintended consequences. Always a safe prediction when it comes to wars.

In crime news I was pleased to see that the Jenner beach murders have been solved. A couple sleeping on the beach were shot to death in 2004. A horrible crime, big news at the time. I lived in Northern California then, heck, I’ve slept on beaches there. Basically the killer recently murdered his brother, and while being questioned about that, he essentially confessed to the beach murders. The murders were senseless, the killer had apparently damaged his brain with an LSD overdose. He was sentenced to life without parole. God rest the souls of his victims, I hope his capture and sentencing gives the friends and families of the victims what peace it can.

In today’s ‘What is wrong with people?’ file, some people are keeping leeches as pets. Let me repeat that, some people are keeping leeches as pets. Frankly I find it a bit disgusting, I couldn’t even finish the article. I grew up swimming in lakes with leeches, and I honestly have a hard time seeing the appeal. Some of them have striking colour patterns, but still, it’s a freaking leech. On the plus side, no need to worry about stocking leech food I guess. And another item for my upcoming post on “Things third worlders have a hard time grasping about Americans.”

And on the topic of disgusting creatures, Congress has called for an investigation into the theory that Lyme disease was created as a biological weapon spread by ticks. I note lots of people are taking it at face value, I’m skeptical. Pretty sure Lyme disease has been around a long time, and it’s easily treatable and not debilitating/fatal. And ticks as a vector? They are slow moving and easily defended against. Seems like an odd choice for a biological weapon all around.   And digging just a little on the Interwebs, expert opinion agrees with me. So I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this investigation to find anything. Anything is possible though, money was spent on some pretty crazy stuff during the Cold War.

Did I hear a voice in the back? What about Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD,) that’s certainly debilitating! Well yes, it would be, if it actually existed. Like MSG sensitivity, CLD doesn’t appear to be an actual condition. Or more accurately, whatever it is, there isn’t any scientific reason to link it to Lyme Disease. People convince themselves of all sorts of things, which doesn’t mean their suffering isn’t real, just that science doesn’t know how to treat it yet. And yes, not kidding, double blind studies have yet to find a single human who has a bad reaction to MSG if they don’t know it’s in their food. Food for thought for some I hope.

Looks like India is poised to become the fourth spacefaring nation. They are doing it for the same reasons as Apollo in my last post. Good for them, India’s ambitions are no threat to the world. I actually wish the best for the people of all countries, we’re all in this together. People are people, most of them are decent human beings when push comes to shove. That’s why I am horrified by the current situation in America. So many on the right think liberals are monsters who should be put in zoos, and so many on the left think Trump voters are all knuckle dragging racists. Neither attitude is helping.

OK, that sure wandered. As always comments appreciated, shares as well, envelopes full of portraits of dead presidents on linen paper especially appreciated. Have a safe week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Heat Wave. Credit: Snappygoat image, public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

July 22, 2019 at 4:10 am

ARE WE AT WAR WITH IRAN YET?

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British_supply_convoy_in_Iran,_headed_by_Soviet_BA-10_armored_vehicle

OK, taking a break from my vacation to write two posts. First, about the Iran/Trump kerfuffle, because it is a scary situation that might blow up into an actual shooting war. Second, more on Russiagate, due to popular demand. (I never should have started that Facebook group.) Plus I like writing, I had fun with the new cat species post.

So, Iran. the US has been playing brinkmanship with Iran ever since they overthrew the US sponsored dictatorship that ruled Iran with an iron fist for decades. The nerve, if a nation’s government is good enough for the US, why, it’s good enough for the nation’s citizens! Yes, I’m being facetious. In any event, I will discuss several features of the current situation, primarily the drone shoot down, and Trump’s supposedly cancelled attack. I don’t know how long this article will remain current as the situation is rapidly evolving. Another reason for a quick break from my vacation. In any event the biggest codicil to keep in mind is no one in either administration can be trusted to tell the truth at times like this, so us worms can speculate endlessly and still not know what’s going on. Still, it’s fun to speculate. It’s what worms do.

So, Iran shot down a US drone. That’s about all we know for sure. Was it an unexpected shoot down? I’ve heard this type of drone was designed not to be shot down by the type of missile that hit it. Does this means the Iranians are more capable than expected? Or did the US point the drone at Iran, turn off its electronic countermeasures, and wait for them to shoot it down? Who knows. It wasn’t just any drone either, it was a $100 million plus spy drone, which would argue the drone shoot down was not part of US plans. The only thing that can be safely said is that this isn’t something to get excited about, let alone go to war over. Alas, I have seen a number of “Bomb the Mullahs!” posts and comments on Trump supporter web sites.

Then Trump’s claim that he authorised an attack and then called it off at the last moment. I can’t think of anything good about this one. If true, it’s sort of good news, but it’s also crazy. What if some military assets didn’t get the stand down order? Or maybe the Trump administration was just trying to scare Iran? Maybe, but it’s not like Iran is unaware of imminent US threats, and it’s not like the US has exercised restraint when it comes to bombing people.

Which leads to, why is Trump doing this? The idea that Iran is being aggressive or is behind the tanker incidents literally doesn’t pass the laugh test. Trump claims there will be new sanctions “to prevent Iran from getting the bomb.” Newsflash, Iran gave up their nuclear bomb program long ago, and their peaceful nuclear program is heavily monitored by the international community. That’s what the freaking treaty with Iran did, the treaty that Trump pulled out of!  So dunno, maybe Trump’s usual mindless hostility towards any Muslims not in America’s pocket. It’s the Saudis waging war on their neighbours and destabilizing the region, not Iran. Maybe Trump just wants to drive the price of oil up.

Or possibly this is all cover and distraction for “The deal of the century” in Palestine. That would be where Israel effectively annexes the West Bank, bypassing the Palestinian Authority, by signing a “treaty” with some Palestinian businessmen. In other words, Israel will buy off a few prominent Palestnians to legitimize the final elimination of any possibility for independence and justice for the Palestinian people. Occupation forever. Shades of American treaties with the American Indians. A big enough crisis in the Middle East could give Israel all the cover it needs.

The scary thing about all this is that no one knows how a war with Iran would play out. In the infamous Millenium Challenge 2002 wargame run by the Pentagon, Iran launched a preemptive attack, sinking over a dozen US warships with at least 20,000 dead. At that point the Pentagon halted the wargame, and then rewrote the rules so the US was guaranteed to win the rematch. Not the first time in history that a military leader has cancelled results he didn’t like in a wargame. In the wargame just linked, the Japanese proceeded with their plan despite the wargame outcome, and went on to suffer a crushing war-changing defeat at the Battle of Midway. Could Iran win a war with the USA? Not bloody likely. Could a US attack on Iran go catastrophically bad and lead to major losses to the US? Sure. I certainly don’t want to see the Russian theory that 70 cruise missiles fired at a US carrier would sink it put to the test.

So, the situation continues to unfold. The US is now claiming they launched a cyber attack on Iranian weapons systems. Which would be an act of war of course, but the US has no qualms about waging war and claiming it was justified somehow. In this case it’s especially ludicrous since none of the accusations of Iranian “aggression” are particularly well founded. Our aggression, we brag about it but call it anything but aggression. In any event who the hell knows what is really going on, “The first casualty of war is truth.” Trump is playing with fire though, I can only hope it ends with a whimper, not a bang.

Mostly just another manufactured crisis to distract us while our pockets are picked. It saddens me how over the past few years we’ve been trained to think of the world as being primarily made of threats. It’s not a healthy outlook, but it sure sells weapons. One last link that seems to have a decent overview of the situation. And, you know, should nuclear war breaks out, this is what to do.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: British supply convoy with Soviet escorts in Iran, part of the 1941 Anglo-Russian occupation of Iran. September 1941 The west has been invading and meddling in Iran for a century, this is just one of the more egregious instances. Credit: Unknown. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 25, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Posted in current events, Iran, Trump, War

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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game-of-thrones-starbucks-coffee-cup-mistake-fb6Photo from this website.

This one really is an extemporaneous post. It’s Thursday night, exhausted from a long day of physical therapy, treasure hunting, and politics. The therapy went well, I am slowly but surely recovering the use of my left arm. The treasure hunting, great exercise! Sunshine! Good company! Treasure, no. A 1982 quarter and a rusty 60s matchbox car. Oh well, it was a proof of concept treasure hunt, so in that sense it was a success. The politics. Sigh.

So, I went to a water quality meeting. It was depressing, but at least people are doing something. Or trying to. In a nutshell, Iowa’s environment is being destroyed by out of control factory farm growth. A wonderful example of how capitalism has failed, or been hijacked by moneyed interests, in the USA. In a nutshell, factory farms pass terrible environmental costs onto the public, destroy property values, destroy quality of life, and destroy jobs and family farms. All so a tiny handful of people, often foreigners, can profit. And that a tiny number of rich people can basically screw 3 million Iowans shows just what a farce our “democracy” has become.

Speaking of failed democracy, Alabama has passed the most restrictive “Strip Women of Their Rights” bill yet. It claims it’s about preventing abortion, but of course does nothing of the kind except make abortions dangerous and expensive. If these self styled “Christian” lawmakers wanted to prevent abortion they would pass bills calling for comprehensive sex education, birth control on demand, and Planned Parenthoods everywhere. They don’t, just Evangelical Christians trying to force their medieval beliefs on everyone. Fortunately the law is blatantly unconstitutional so unlikely to ever go into force. And for the record, no, having a heartbeat no more makes a fetus alive than it makes a person alive. One’s heart can be beating just fine while they are legally and actually dead. It’s a functioning brain that makes someone alive, not a heartbeat.

Trump continues to ratchet up tensions with Iran. Even our allies are confused. Hell, I’m confused. Not sure why Trump suddenly got his knickers in a twist about Iran. Nothing has changed I’m aware of. The Mueller Report and other political distractions are no more a danger to Trump than they ever were. Trump’s not going to be impeached, and even if he is, the GOP will be calling all the shots. IE a Trump impeachment is far more likely to benefit the GOP  than the Dems. If Trump somehow gets forced out, we get Pence with a wildly invigorated base willing to rally round him in 2020. The Dems already forming circular firing squad won’t stand a chance.

The big struggle I have been having with my blogging lately is truth decay. I find myself living in a world where facts and opinion have been increasingly conflated. A world where (just for example) a major political party and tens of millions of Americans reject global warming and evolution. And there’s so many others these days, flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, 9/11 truthers, birthers, etc. I don’t want to ridicule or put down such people, I don’t see how that helps. Plus I like having friends and readers. I suspect I have my blind spots too. I guess I am going to resolve this issue by being honest about the facts, and be open to debate if someone wants to challenge them. We had some great climate change and 9/11 truther debates on my old blog. Certainly open to suggestion.

Game of Thrones is almost over. And yes, a Starbucks cup was left in a scene. Meh, these sorts of errors are far more common than most people realize. We just don’t notice them because we aren’t looking for them. No worries. Season 8 is getting some shade though, a lot of fans find it too rushed and shallow. A petition has been launched. They’re kind of right. A huge amount of time was spent setting up a bunch of characters and their character development/story arcs … only to have them come to abrupt squishy ends. Me, meh, the good way outweighs the bad, so enjoying immensely. Looking forward to having it be done so can talk about it.

Tim Conway and Doris Day passed in the last week. I quipped to my housemate that “celebrities always die in threes, I wonder who is next?” I regret my flippancy as I see we lost another celebrity this morning. Grumpy Cat of Internet meme fame as died. RIP little cat, you brought smiles to a lot of faces for seven years.

Shares appreciated. Have a great weekend everyone.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

May 17, 2019 at 6:30 am