Look at the Facts: Who Is The REAL Nuclear Threat in the Middle East?
by Larry Everest
Tensions, threats, and the danger of a U.S. and Israeli attack on Iran are escalating dangerously. The U.S. and Israel say Iran presents a grave danger because it is enriching uranium and—they claim—may be developing the technical capability to build nuclear weapons. “We’re not going to take any options off the table,” President Obama said in an interview broadcast during the Super Bowl, “and I’ve been very clear that we’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon…”
Nuclear weapons in anyone’s hands are dangerous. And Iran’s Islamic Republic is a repressive and reactionary theocracy driven by its own interests to increase its influence and standing (even while those aspirations are well within the operation of the current oppressive world order). But since the U.S. and Israel have raised the issue of nuclear weapons, it’s only fair to look at what the facts actually show about just who is the biggest nuclear threat to the planet by far.
How much does Iran spend on its military?
How much does the U.S. spend on its military?
$687,105,000,000 (not counting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). This is nearly 100 times what Iran spends.
How many military bases does Iran have outside its borders?
How many bases does the U.S. have overseas?
Officially there are 737 U.S. military bases in 132 of the 190 member states of the United Nations. The actual number may be more than 1,000.
How many nuclear weapons does Iran have?
How many nuclear weapons does Israel have?
Between 75 and 200 nuclear warheads.
How many nuclear weapons does the U.S. have?
Approximately 5,113 active and inactive nuclear warheads and approximately 3,500 warheads retired and awaiting dismantlement. The 5,113 active and inactive nuclear warhead stockpile includes 1,790 deployed strategic warheads, approximately 500 operational tactical weapons, and approximately 2,645 inactive warheads.
Hasn’t Iran “violated its non-proliferation (NPT) obligations”?
Iran and others dispute that claim, but what about Israel? Israel refuses to sign the NPT or allow any of its nuclear facilities to be inspected. On September 18, 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Israel to join the NPT and open its nuclear facilities to inspection. Israel—backed by the U.S.—refused.
Which is the only country to have ever dropped a nuclear bomb?
The United States. In August 1945, it dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, killing 150,000-240,000 people (with many more dying of the effects of radiation for years after).
Isn’t it true that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. has never used nuclear weapons?
Not really. Former Pentagon analyst (turned anti-war activist) Daniel Ellsberg wrote that since then, “Again and again, generally in secret from the American public, U.S. nuclear weapons have been used, for quite different purposes: in the precise way that a gun is used when you point it at someone’s head in a direct confrontation, whether or not the trigger is pulled…. [I]n 1981 I summed up a listing of eleven instances for which there was authoritative evidence in which the American nuclear gun had been pointed,” when a U.S. president “felt compelled to consider or direct serious preparations for possible imminent U.S. initiation of tactical or strategic nuclear warfare, in the midst of an ongoing, intense, non-nuclear conflict or crisis.”
Even if the U.S. has many nuclear weapons, aren’t “our” leaders rational people who seek to avoid conflict, while Iran’s leaders are unstable lunatics who can’t be trusted to possess nuclear weapons? (Or as Obama said in 2009 at Oslo, “modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale.”)
Let’s look at a few of those men threatening the world with nuclear destruction: Daniel Ellsberg exposed that during the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. drew up plans to wage a nuclear war that would have obliterated “most cities and people in the Northern Hemisphere.” Ellsberg wrote, “The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed primarily at the Soviet Union and China, would be roughly 600 million dead. A hundred Holocausts.”
Former U.S. President Richard Nixon nearly started a nuclear war in 1969 by carrying out his “madman” theory of brinksmanship—whereby he made a conscious decision that it would be good if the U.S.’s opponents perceived he was crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons as part of playing nuclear “chicken” with them.
In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan (promoted as an American icon by the leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties) “joked”—“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” He also talked of welcoming Armageddon—the end of the world. Amitabh Pal wrote, “In 1971, he proclaimed to a dinner companion, ‘For the first time ever, everything is in place for the battle of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ.’ In 1980, he told evangelist Jim Bakker on his television program, ‘We may be the generation that sees Armageddon.’”
What about today under Obama? Aren’t nuclear weapons being phased out of the U.S. arsenal and U.S. military planning?
No. The U.S. has reduced the size of its nuclear arsenal, but it’s still enormously destructive and still central to U.S. military strategy. The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance plan prepared by the Obama administration states: “We will field nuclear forces that can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage.” Obama’s defense strategy, called “Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” keeps all three legs of the U.S. nuclear weapons “triad,” enabling nuclear weapons to be launched “from ballistic missile submarines, from underground silos housing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and from B-52 and B-2 bombers.” Obama’s proposed 2013 budget calls for the highest level of spending on nuclear weapons in U.S. history.
Reactionary Islamic fundamentalists are irrational and callous toward human life. But so are those who rule the U.S.—with one major difference being that the rulers of the U.S. have exponentially more capacity to unleash nuclear horrors. Any nuclear attack would be irrational (and immoral) from the standpoint of humanity. But the rulers of the U.S. are driven by the logic and dynamics of their system of global exploitation and oppression. That capitalist-imperialist system is enforced with violence and the threat of violence. And that is why the rulers of the U.S. demand a monopoly on the ability to unleash nuclear devastation.
Sources for this article:
SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Bush’s Amazing Achievement, Jonathan Freedland, New York Review of Books, June 14, 2007
Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance, Arms Control Association
Q&A: Iran nuclear issue, BBC News Middle East, January 12, 2012
A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider’s Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy, Daniel Ellsberg, Truthdig.org, September 10, 2009
Nixon’s Madman Strategy, James Carroll, Boston Globe, June 14, 2005
More Troops in Afghanistan and Preserving U.S. Nuclear Dominance… Is This the Path to Ending the Horrors of War?, Larry Everest, Revolution #187, December 27, 2009
Bombing Iran Is not the Answer, Amitabh Pal, The Progressive, February 3, 2012
Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, January 2012
“U.S. to fight modern wars with Cold War machines, Pentagon says, Robert Burns, Associated Press, February 1, 2012
Questioning Obama’s nuclear agenda, Marylia Kelley, San Francisco Chronicle, February 15, 2012
Larry Everest is a correspondent for Revolution newspaper (revcom.us), where this article first
Global Research Articles by Larry Everest
BBC: Israel’s Secret Nuclear Weapons part 3 of 5
2009 on 2 Dec 2009
Israel has been threatening Europe and Middle East with its nuclear missiles and atomic bombs for decades. BBC shows the fascist so called democratic & modern face of Israel.
People & Blogs
iamsalmangul on 19 Sep 2010
This documentary tells us that Israel has the 6th largest nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the World. Israel is the only peace of land on Earth where UN Inspectors donot go to inspect their nuclear sites. This documentary reveals some great information and underground Israeli Nuclear Program ambitions and weapons and people who have worked to develop them and people who have tried to reach their voice against Israel and its nuclear weapon program but have been silenced.
ISRAEL PLAYS THE PART WELL- OF A POOR THREATENED INNOCENT NATION- OSCAR AWARD WINNER FOR DECADES!
A former CIA officer believes the White House has no interest in a war with Iran and so Israel is now marketing a ‘mindset change’ to the American people.
Press TV talks with Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, about the division between the US and Israel on the issue of a war with Iran.Could the target of the media blitz from Israeli officials be the American public?
Following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Concerning the possible security and economic consequences of a war against Iran, do you think now there is a strong difference of opinion between Israel and the US about this question of a possible attack on Iran because today a lot was said about Mr. Netanyahu’s comments when he said, “We have to make the right decision even if our allies are objecting to it.” Do you the two sides are now adopting very different approaches and do not agree on this point?
Phillip Giraldi: That question kind of depends on how you define the two sides. I believe very much that a lot of these statements being made by the Israelis are being made deliberately targeted towards the Western and specifically the American audience.
And I think what they’re trying to do is condition that audience – the American public and American opinion makers – to be supportive of a military action against Iran if that were ever to take place.
I believe that the White House definitely does not want the United States to get involved in any war against Iran. But it cannot openly say so because too many leading politicians in the United States – the Republican candidates with the exception of Ron Paul for example – are all advocating in one way or another a military option against Iran. This is very much true in Congress and it’s very much true in the media.
So, I think a lot of the statements coming out of Israel are an attempt to condition the public in the US and elsewhere to support this kind of policy.
My real fear is that even though Israel knows deep down that starting a war with Iran is not a good idea, we are approaching a situation with these threats and intimidation going on where some kind of incident or accident could lead to an armed exchange between Iran and Israel that would draw the United States in.
Press TV: Do you think, in the US, the option of a military attack is simply out of the question?
Phillip Giraldi: The option of a military attack is out of the question if it is the United States that were initiating it. I don’t believe that the White House has any interest in starting another war. But what has been reinforced: the issue of Israel actually starting a war is a very serious one.
Press TV: What about the consequences to Israel – can they afford to do that?
Phillip Giraldi: Well, Israel would do it on the assumption that the United States would get involved quickly. And I think that’s a valid assumption and that’s why you’re seeing all of these statements from Israeli leaders saying that Iran is an imminent threat – we have to do something about it. These statements come every week and they’re coming to convince the American public and the Western public that a war is probably an option that should be looked at.
If Israel were to start it, the media and Congress of the United States would immediately jump on the bandwagon and demand from the White House that the US get involved. I’m convinced of that.
Press TV: So you are saying that the US would go for that move if it understands that Israel has made that decision that despite all of the consequences that it may have for the United States itself, that it would approve of that move and get itself involved?
Phillip Giraldi: I believe it would get involved and I cannot see any scenario in which it would not get involved because the media in the United States would immediately be screaming that our poor little ally Israel is doing the job of attacking the Iranian weapons program and we have to help them; and Congress would second that call. I cannot see how it would go any other way.
Youtube Link: http://youtu.be/TGsReGbbwhg
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