Friday, April 11, 2008

Chicken Littles and Other Problems criticizes anti-war Chicken Littles:
In my absence, one, two, three, many Chicken Littles have emerged in full force to warn of imminent "nuclear war with Iran!!!" See the nuclear fire descend from the skies, transforming humankind into a tribe of Radioactive Zombies!!! From some of these blogs, one would almost think they wish it…

Crackpot newspapers like the UK Independent are gleefully writing about the pospects of war which has been an ongoing theme for the last five years. But there is little more to these stories than there was two years ago. While seriously contingency plans do exist (see Hersh, New Yorker 2006) the 'drumbeat' seems to be mostly coming from our side these days. There is a point where the people who need convincing are going to turn down all this static, so that when the real balloon goes up, nobody will listen. ("War?? Chicken Little Says, Get a Grip," 11 April 2008)
I agree that war against Iran is unlikely in the short term, and most of the war drums against Iran in the Western media are in the nature of psychological warfare against Iranian government officials and non-governmental opinion makers (the reformist camp, advocating appeasement of the West, is the weak link in the country), to which anti-war activists and other well-meaning people can unwittingly contribute.

What we need to be fighting against is, instead, the sanctions, "democracy assistance," covert actions, media propaganda, etc. against Iran, but it's next to impossible to get even activists to do so, let alone the general public. Even the shooting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don't get people off their asses. Anti-war sentiments in the USA are broadly held but very shallow.

Here's an example. Commenting on the antiwar "work stoppage" on May Day that San Francisco's ILWU Local 10 proposed, for which the rank and file of the rest of the ILWU voted, ILWU spokesman Craig Merilees said:
It's been agreed that on the first of May, the union will exercise its right to hold a meeting on that day. On the day shift, local unions will have the opportunity, if they wish, to take some of that time to speak out against the war if they feel so inclined (emphasis added, qtd. in Matt Smith, "ILWU to Shut Down West Coast Ports on Socialist Holiday,", SF Weekly, 12 March 2008)
If they wish. If they feel so inclined. And that's from the spokesman of one of the most progressive unions here. Feel the temperature of the anti-war opinion in the USA today.

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