DEBORCHGRAVE Commentary: Hawks on the war path

Commentary: Hawks on the war path

Published: Feb. 8, 2010 at 10:37 AM

UPI Editor at Large

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) — “Clueless in Washington” was how The Economist, a British weekly read by movers and shakers the world over, headlined America’s crisis in governance. Neither the president nor Congress shows any sign of knowing how to tackle the budget deficit.

A $1.6 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year to be followed by $1.35 trillion for the 2011 budget and an authorized increase of almost $2 trillion in the national debt to $14.3 trillion is a road map for a fiscal catastrophe. The last half-trillion-dollar spending bill signed by Obama included more than 5,000 earmarks worth some $7 billion — pork funds forced upon the executive by legislators in return for their votes.

Deficits between now and 2020 are forecast to add up to $30 trillion. The total amount of U.S. dollars in circulation worldwide (known by the Fed as M3) is $14.3 trillion. Some financial and economic experts believe the Obama administration’s remedial measures thus far are tantamount to slightly rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. In his new book “Freefall,” Joe Stiglitz, a member of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, says, “In the Frankenstein laboratories of Wall Street, banks created new risk products without mechanisms to manage the monster they had created,” while innovation simply meant “circumventing regulations, accounting standards and taxation.”

Kevin Phillips, whose latest book — “Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism” — is an equally devastating indictment, writes, “The financial industry will most likely block any far-reaching overhaul, even though it will not be able to put its own broken Humpty Dumpty back up on the wall. That bleak conclusion may not be too far from what Joe Stiglitz himself thinks.”

Obama is floundering as he tries to reset his presidency on economics. Defense is sacrosanct. Either taxes go up or entitlements go down, or both. On Capitol Hill, it’s still burned toast for the president.

For centuries, leaders faced with insuperable domestic problems found escape in foreign distractions. In some cases, the distractions occurred suddenly and fortuitously, such as World War II, which started in Europe and pulled America out of the Great Depression.

Obama isn’t looking for such a distraction, but others have no pangs illuminating what they think is the way out of the “clueless in Washington” dilemma. Right-wing scholar-activist Daniel Pipes, a neocon icon, could not be more blunt: Obama can “save” his presidency by bombing Iran. The fact that this could also cost him the presidency is not deemed worthy of discussion.

Pipes was in good company. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair now says the world may have to take on Iran as the mullahcracy and its Revolutionary Guards are more of a threat today than Iraq was when U.S. and British troops invaded in 2003. Blair, addressing a joint session of Congress, gave President Bush a powerful oratorical assist on the historical need to destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime and its nuclear and chemical weapons. There was also much disinformation about an alleged alliance between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. At one stage, 60 percent of the American people believed the canard Saddam was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 Americans.

While under questioning by a British panel investigating his decision to join the U.S.-led war against Iraq, Blair kept coming back to Iran — no less than 58 times. If Saddam hadn’t been eliminated, Blair said, today Iraq and Iran would be competing in supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups.

Pipes, a powerful voice in Israel’s corner, says Obama “needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him … preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations.” Such an opportunity now exists, to wit: “Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity. It would have the advantage of sidelining healthcare, push Republicans to work with Democrats, make Tea Party-ers jump for joy, conservatives and neoconservatives would swoon ecstatically.”

In 2003 President George W. Bush appointed Pipes to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace. Today he is part of a powerful lobby in Washington that pooh-poohs the repercussions predicted by the Iran war naysayers, a group that includes three former U.S. CENTCOM commanders. Gen. Anthony Zinni, one of the three, says, “If you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.” They can see how one bomb on Iran would trigger the theocracy’s impressive asymmetrical retaliatory capabilities up and down the entire Persian Gulf — and beyond.

To reinforce the war party’s arguments, Pipes also says, “the apocalyptic-minded leaders in Tehran” could eventually “launch an electro-magnetic pulse attack on the U.S., utterly devastating the country.” His detractors dismiss EMP alarmism as flimflam. But they are wrong. EMP is a very real concern of those who ponder future asymmetrical threats.

In his latest book “One Second After,” New York Times best-selling author William R. Forstchen looks at EMPs “and their awesome ability to send catastrophic shockwaves throughout the U.S. within seconds.” One Scud-type nuclear missile, fired from the cargo hold of a freighter off the East Coast, set to explode 75 miles up, could fry everything electrical in one-third of the United States, from every cellphone and computer to aircraft, trains, vehicles, elevators, and the entire government, including the Pentagon.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak disappointed the war hawks by saying the inability to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians is a greater threat to the Jewish state than a nuclear Iran. National security adviser Gen. James L. Jones added Israel is acting “responsibly” on Iran and “we’re working very closely with them.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suddenly cooed too, offering the West its low-enriched (3.5 percent) uranium, then taking it back once enriched at 20 percent. Within 48 hours Iran’s chief obfuscator was barking again, announcing the production of highly enriched uranium at 20 percent and the building of 10 new enrichment sites in 2010. Weaponization requires 90 percent. U.S. Defense Secretary Bob Gates said he is now certain Iran is going for the bomb and it’s time for tough new sanctions. But Russia and China are not aboard.

5 Responses to “DEBORCHGRAVE Commentary: Hawks on the war path”

  • Patriot says:

    Israel has not ruled out nukes and threatens to support a naval blockade (an act of war):

    Arab media: 2 Israeli Navy ships passed through Suez Canal,7340,L-3845182,00.html

    Report: Israeli warships on way to Persian Gulf

  • Patriot says:

    Dr. Steve Sniegoski (author of ‘The Transparent Cabal’ – see http://TINYURL.COM/THETRANSPARENTCABAL for additional) wrote the following in response to the Arnaud de Borchgrave article posted above (no surprise that Forstchen is associated with AEI Neocon favorite Newt Gingrich!):

    DeBorchgrave cites a science fiction book to prove his point on EMP.

    DeBorchgrave writes:

    In his latest book “One Second After,” New York Times best-selling author William R. Forstchen looks at EMPs “and their awesome ability to send catastrophic shockwaves throughout the U.S. within seconds.” One Scud-type nuclear missile, fired from the cargo hold of a freighter off the East Coast, set to explode 75 miles up, could fry everything electrical in one-third of the United States, from every cellphone and computer to aircraft, trains, vehicles, elevators, and the entire government, including the Pentagon.

    Forstchen is not a physicist or any type of scientist, but a fiction writer. And he is a close friend of neocon Newt Gingrich’s who is a strong partisan of EMP, like the hardline neocons. Newt Gingrich close partner on the EMP issue is William Forstchen, who’s a frequent collaborator with Newt on works of historical fiction. Fortschen teaches at Montreat College (near Asheville, NC) which is a small Protestant college and is not exactly the MIT of the Southern Appalachians.

    Fortschen does not even specialize in writing on science topics such as Isaac Asimov. However, one would not cite Asimov to prove faster than the speed of light space travel. In short, science fiction works do not provide balanced analyses of scientific phenomena—they would not be interesting stories if they did.

    From Wikipedia

    William R. Forstchen (born 1950) is an American author who began publishing in 1983 with the novel Ice Prophet. He is a Professor of History and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University with specializations in Military History, the American Civil War and the History of Technology.

    Forstchen’s writing efforts have, in recent years, shifted towards historical fiction and non fiction. In 2002 he started the “Gettysburg” trilogy with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; the trilogy consists of Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat. More recently, they have have published two works on the events leading up to Pearl Harbor and immediately after that attack Pearl Harbor, and Days of Infamy. Forstchen and Gingrich previously collaborated on the alternate history novel 1945.

    In March 2009, Forstchen’s latest work, One Second After, (Forge/St. Martin’s books) was released. Based upon several years of intensive research and interviews, it examines what might happen in a “typical” American town in the wake of an attack on the United States with “electro-magnetic pulse” (EMP) weapons. Similar in plotting to books such as On the Beach and Alas Babylon, One Second After, is set in a small college town in western North Carolina and is a cautionary tale of the collapse of social order in the wake of an EMP strike. Film rights to the book have been optioned by Warner Bros., and it currently is in development as a feature film. The book was cited on the floor of Congress and before the House Armed Services Committee by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), chair of the House Committee tasked to evaluate EMP weapons, as a realistic portrayal of the potential damage rendered by an EMP attack on the continental United States.


    Steve S.

  • Patriot says:

    Steve Sniegoski further wrote:

    Newt and Forstchen Alarmism

    The dynamic duo wrote the following alarmist piece in Newsmax

    Newt Gingrich: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America

    Sunday, 29 Mar 2009 04:23 PM

    Article Font Size

    By: Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen

    A sword of Damocles hangs over our heads. It is a real threat that has been all but ignored.

    On Feb. 3, Iran launched a “communications satellite” into orbit. At this very moment, North Korea is threatening to do the same. The ability to launch an alleged communications satellite belies a far more frightening truth. A rocket that can carry a satellite into orbit also can drop a nuclear warhead over any location on the planet in less than 45 minutes.

    Far too many timid or uninformed sources maintain that a single launch of a missile poses no true threat to the United States, given our retaliatory power.

    A reality check is in order and must be discussed in response to such an absurd claim: In fact, one small nuclear weapon, delivered by an ICBM can destroy the United States by maximizing the effect of the resultant electromagnetic pulse upon detonation.

    An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a byproduct of detonating an atomic bomb above the Earth’s atmosphere. When a nuclear weapon is detonated in space, the gamma rays emitted trigger a massive electrical disturbance in the upper atmosphere. Moving at the speed of light, this overload will short out all electrical equipment, power grids and delicate electronics on the Earth’s surface. In fact, it would take only one to three weapons exploding above the continental United States to wipe out our entire grid and transportation network. It might take years to recover from, if ever.

    This is not science fiction. If you doubt this, spend a short amount of time skimming the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack from April 2008. You will come away sobered.

    Even as the new administration plans to spend trillions on economic bailouts, it has announced plans to reduce funding and downgrade efforts for missile defense. Furthermore, the United States’ reluctance to invest in a modern and credible traditional nuclear deterrent is a serious concern. What good will a bailout be if there is no longer a nation to bail out?

    Fifty years ago, it was not Sputnik itself that sent a dire chill of warning around the world; it was the capability of the rocket that launched Sputnik. The rocket that lofted Sputnik into orbit also could have served as an ICBM.

    Yet for all its rhetoric, the Soviet Union was essentially a rational power that recognized the threat of mutual destruction and thus never stepped to the edge.

    The world is different today. Intercontinental range missiles tipped with nuclear weapons in the hands of leaders driven by fanaticism, leaders that support global terrorism, leaders that have made repeated threats that they will seek our annihilation . . . can now at last achieve that dream in a matter of minutes.

    Those who claim that there is little to fear from Iran or North Korea because “at best” they will have only one or two nuclear weapons ignore the catastrophic level of threat we now face from just “a couple” of nuclear weapons.

    Again: One to three missiles tipped with nuclear weapons and armed to detonate at a high altitude — to achieve the strongest EMP over the greatest area of the United States — would create an EMP “overlay” that triggers a continent-wide collapse of our entire electrical, transportation, and communications infrastructure.

    Within weeks after such an attack, tens of millions of Americans would perish. The impact has been likened to a nationwide Hurricane Katrina. Some studies estimate that 90 percent of all Americans might very well die in the year after such an attack as our transportation, food distribution, communications, public safety, law enforcement, and medical infrastructures collapse.

    We most likely would never recover from the blow.

    Two things need to be done now and without delay:

    1. Make clear in the strongest of terms that, if either Iran or North Korea launches a rocket on a trajectory headed toward the territory of the United States, we will shoot it down. The risk of not doing so is beyond acceptable. And if they construe this as an act of war, so be it, for they fired the first shot. The risk of sitting back for 30 minutes and praying it is not an EMP strike is beyond acceptable, beyond rational on our part.

    2. Funding for EMP defense must be a top national priority. To downgrade or halt our missile defense program, which at last is becoming viable after 25 years of research, would be an action of criminal negligence.

    Surely, with such a threat confronting us, a fair and open debate, with full public access and the setting aside of partisan politics, is in order. In the meantime, a policy must be stated today that we will indeed shoot down any missile aimed towards the United States that is fired by Iran or North Korea. America’s survival, your survival, and your family’s survival might very well depend on it.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. William Forstchen is the author of “One Second After,” an account of a town struggling to survive after an EMP weapon is used against the United States.

    [Editor’s Note: Get William Forstchen’s book depicting a nuclear EMP attack, “One Second After” — Go here now.]

  • Patriot says:

    Newt (the neocon propagandist) on C-SPAN as can be viewed via the youtube linked at the following URL:

    Newt Gingrich: Propagandist for Israel

    Here is the direct link to the youtube:

  • Patriot says:

    Neocon advocate Gingrich mentioned in following article as well:

    The spies who pushed for war

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