Dale Cummings’ cartoon (above) in today’s Winnipeg Free Press illustrates the fear-mongering hypocrisy surrounding Iran’s nuclear enrichment program that is being propagated by news media and governments world-wide. If all you saw was this cartoon, you would conclude that Iran has nuclear weapons and we should all be very afraid of them.
Well, folks, Iran is not a nuclear power and the world leaders yelling loudest about Iran’s attempts to enrich uranium are more interested in taking down a country that refuses to bow to western imperialism. (And, oh, Iran has oil, lots of oil.)
While there are rogue states with nukes, Iran isn’t one of them. Those who do constitute a rogues gallery of international thugs, many of whose crimes dwarf anything Iran might be capable of.
Nuclear Rogues Gallery
According to Wikipedia, “there are now about 8,200 active nuclear warheads and about 23,300 total nuclear warheads in the world in 2009. Many of the “decommissioned” weapons were simply stored or partially dismantled, not destroyed.”
|Country||Warheads active/total||Rogue Credentials|
|Five nuclear weapons states from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
|United States||2,623 / 9,400||invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq: 1.3 million deaths|
|Russia (former Soviet Union)||4,840 / 13,000||invasion of Chechnya: more than 100,000 deaths|
|United Kingdom||<160 / 185||invasion/occupation of Afghanistan|
|France||~300 / 300]||invasion/occupation of Afghanistan|
|China||~180 / 240||occupation of Tibet|
|Non-NPT nuclear powers|
|India||n.a. / 60-80||third largest army in the world; lacks the good sense to negotiate peace with China and Pakistan and redeploy resources to address widespread national poverty.|
|Pakistan||n.a. / 70-90||poverty stricken pseudo-democracy with the sixth largest armed forces in the world|
|North Korea||n.a. / <10||poverty stricken stalinist dictatorship with world’s 20th largest army|
|States accused of having nuclear weapons|
|Israel||n.a. / 80||61 years of occupying ever growing portion of Palestinian land|
The above table is adapted from Wikipedia: List of States with Nuclear Weapons. The third column contains my shorthand rationale for why these countries are dangerous rogue states who shouldn’t be trusted with nukes.
Of course, no one should be trusted with nuclear weapons. They should be banned and destroyed. Anyone who contributes to their maintainance and/or development is a dangerous pyschopath who should be locked up.
And anyone in a position of political authority who contributes to the rising tide of hysteria, the only purpose of which is to build a case for war against Iran should be removed from office. This would lead to lots of vacancies, including in the office of our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who recently promised that Canada would back “whatever actions are necessary to deal with what is a tremendous threat to international peace and security.”
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked thousands of pages of classified U.S. government documents to reveal the true nature of the U.S. war in Vietnam has begun a personal memoir of the nuclear era, entitled “The American Doomsday Machine.” It promises to be a goldmine of information and analysis. The first installment, U.S. Nuclear Planning for a Hundred Holocausts, is chilling. You want rogues? Ellsberg gives you rogues.
None of this should be considered an endorsement of the government of Iran or its policies. Iran is a theocratic police state where judicial torture and murder are commonplace, women are oppressed and unions are suppressed violently and regularly.
That said, Iran is not anywhere near being in a position to threaten anyone with nuclear weapons.
Let’s recognize Obama’s (and Brown’s and Harper’s and Sarkozy’s, etc., ad nauseam) posturing for what it is. Obama and the others need to set the stage for their ongoing attempts to secure increasingly scarce energy supplies. Obama and others need to divert attention from their failed war in Afghanistan. Obama, in particular, needs to shore up his plummeting approval ratings.
Be very afraid. But don’t fear Iran.