Ho-hum, nuclear war. Whatever.

by Rob Horning

12 April 2006


This entire post by the indispensible Billmon is worth reading, but it will probably ruin your day. He makes a convincing case that it’s hardly inconceivable that America may start an unprovoked nuclear war, and not only that, few in America would bother to notice, or be too troubled by it.

What I’m suggesting here is that it is probably naive to expect the American public to react with horror, remorse or even shock to a U.S. nuclear sneak attack on Iran, even though it would be one of the most heinous war crimes imaginable, short of mass genocide. Iran has been demonized too successfully thanks in no small part to the messianic delusions of its own end-times president А for most Americans to see it as a victim of aggression, even if they were inclined to admit that the United States could ever be an aggressor. And we know a not-so-small and extremely vocal minority of Americans would be cheering all the way, and lusting for more.
More to my point, though, I think it’s possible that even something as monstrously insane as nuclear war could still be squeezed into the tiny rituals that pass for public debate in this country the game of dueling TV sound bites that trivializes and then disposes of every issue.

His last point is especially chilling—“news” is a way of wishing things into the cornfield. Is it too cyncical to view the corporate media as a massive rationalization machine designed to stupefy a population and reassure them that the unacceptable is normal? When a population wants reassurance, can we expect the media not to manufacture such a valuable commodity, one which only grows in value as the maniacs in charge of the American government grow more desperate?

One would have thought, also, that the despicable shame of Abu Ghraib would have made Americans want to rid themselves of an adminstration which has brought our national reputation to its lowest point, but instead we responded by reelecting it. So there is no degredation we won’t accept in our hubris and blind confidence that our leaders can’t really be madmen. Torture, pre-emptive unprovoked war declared for false reasons, diplomatic decietfulness: this is the legacy the Bush administration has already built for itself; why won’t it try to hit for the cycle and add nuclear war to the box score?

But anyway, never mind. There are more important things to worry about. After all the X-Men sequel is coming out soon, and Angelina had a baby.

And, via Belgravia Dispatch comes this list, quoted from report by Anthony H. Cordesman and Khalid R. Al-Rodhan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, of all the fun things we can expect after our excellent Iranian adventure:

Х Retaliate against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan overtly using Shahab-3 missiles armed with CBR warheads

Use proxy groups including al-Zarqawi and Sadr in Iraq to intensify the insurgency and escalate the attacks against US forces and Iraqi Security Forces

ť Turn the Shi’ite majority in Iraq against the US presence and demand US forces to leave

Attack the US homeland with suicide bombs by proxy groups or deliver CBR weapons to al-Qa’ida to use against the US

ť Use its asymmetric capabilities to attacks US interests in the region including soft targets: e.g. embassies, commercial centers, and American citizens

Attack US naval forces stationed in the Gulf with anti-ship missiles, asymmetric warfare, and mines

ť Attack Israel with missile attacks possibly with CBR warheads

Retaliate against energy targets in the Gulf and temporarily shut off the flow of oil from the Strait of Hormuz

* Stop all of its oil and gas shipments to increase the price of oil, inflict damage on the global and US economies.

Will any of this rouse us from our collective daydream, or disrupt the debut of Mission: Impossible III? Probably not.

I know it’s unfair to expect the rest of the world to shut down just because our president is threatening to start World War III, and I’m sure to expose myself as a hypocrite when I go right on commenting on other comparatively insignificant things in subsequent posts. But let the record show that on this morning, I’m pretty freaked out.

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