Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Ret. General Abizaid on a nuclear Iran

When General Abizaid succeeded Tommy Franks as Commander of CENTCOM in 2003, much was made of his paternal Lebanese heritage, Middle East scholarship and fluent Arabic. He claimed that he “loved” the Arab world, and he was certainly good PR for the Bush administration. His role and complicity in the greater architecture of disaster that is the US destruction of Iraq would however flatly undermine and contradict this claim, and reveal his thorough neocon conditioning. That said, some of his calm recent comments on living with a nuclear Iran are sentiments the current administration would do well to imbibe.

Retired Gen. John Abizaid, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, said all efforts should be made to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but if Tehran did the world could live with it.

“Iran is not a suicide nation,” he said. “I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”

Gen. Abizaid said the U.S. could deter Iran from using such weapons against it. He said the Iranians know the U.S. is far superior militarily.

“I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear,” he said.

Gen. Abizaid also said the U.S. has lived with a nuclear-armed Soviet Union and now Russia, as well as China and other nuclear powers. “There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,” he said.

7 comments on “Ret. General Abizaid on a nuclear Iran

  1. Monte
    20 September, 2007

    Excellent post! Reason shows up once in a while!

  2. Ann El Khoury
    20 September, 2007

    Thanks Monte, and I agree. I’m glad that post-retirement, Abizaid has spoken up here. There are many others in the US administration, both civil and military, who speak reason, and I will strive to feature their voices; not only do they deserve public support, the danger of not highlighting such voices means that the shrill warmongering voices predominate and people may think that that’s all there is, and not hear of dissenting and alternative strategic discourses. We have an important role to play here, and are not passive victims of the neocon hijacking of policy.

  3. Crimson East
    21 September, 2007

    First, its highly unlikely that the imperialist war-mongers will actually listen to a “voice of reason”. Insignificant bumps like “reason” aren’t a good enough reason to give up on super-profits made from exploiting the Third-world.

    Second, the “voice of reason” itself comes from a general who has served with the imperialist invasion of Iraq. There is innocent blood on his hands, and the plunder of Iraq is on his conscience (if he has one).
    He is therefore a criminal (and if he’s an Arab or part-Arab, then he’s also a traitor to the Arab victims of imperialism).

    I remember reading Nixon’s memoirs as a teen. I read them at a time when I had little idea of Nixon’s crimes against the people of the Third World. Honestly, he came across as a good, sensible guy.

    So yes, its quite possible that Abizaid, having tasted innocent blood during his career, now finds it possible to distance himself from the imperialist project. But it doesn’t matter now, does it?

    Who knows, even Bush might retire and become some sort of peace-dove.
    Imagine a day when a retired George W Bush points out the folly of the imminent invasion of Syria or Lebanon or Pakistan or Venezuela (having done Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran during his own illustrious career).

    These guys are like the cat who killed 100 mice and then set off for the Hajj (pilgrimate) to Mecca, seeking forgiveness. :P

  4. Monte
    23 September, 2007

    Yes, it does matter now. As in all blogging, we mostly do not convince those who are dogmatically opposed to us; the battle is for the vast throng in the center. Millions teeter back and forth, unable to connect with truly convincing evidence. Each of us speaks to his or her own circle, and adds one tiny voice.
    For that circle to hear Abizaid’s comment is significant in slowly developing an America that will not put up with the militarism of the present.

  5. Curtis
    23 September, 2007

    Well, coming from someone in Abizaid’s position (or ex-position), I’d say this is about as good as it gets—and I agree with you, Monte, that it’s the “moderates” and “centrists” who’d most benefit from hearing this. You can have the most erudite and well-respected scholars in the known Universe write paper after paper to the same effect, but until a man in a U.S. military uniform says something—sadly enough—a lot of people don’t even bother taking notice.

  6. Ann El Khoury
    23 September, 2007

    Thoughtful observations, and I have also shared Crimson’s skepticism. Do you remember a few months back there was also some discourse on the announcement of five top US generals threatening to revolt if there was action against Iran — no small matter given the efficacy and centrality of the chain of command in the military. I was very encouraged by it at the time.

    Here ’tis

    Btw, that’s a great one about the cat who killed 100 mice and tried to be contrite afterward at Hajj, Crimson, I’ll have to remember that one. It reminds me of a similar quip in English but about acting retrospectively: “like locking the barn door after the horse has already bolted”.

  7. Pingback: Military Intelligence « Complex System Of Pipes

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This entry was posted on 19 September, 2007 by in Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Military, Neocons, News, Nuclear Politics, US Foreign Policy, USA.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"