The corporate media are claiming that Barack Obama has "moved to the center" after defeating Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, but he already was in the center. His shift is starting to make him sound disturbingly right wing. For instance, here are some comments from his infamous AIPAC speech on 6/4/08.
The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race, and raise the prospect of a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists. Its President denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.
But just as we are clear-eyed about the threat, we must be clear about the failure of today's policy. We knew, in 2002, that Iran supported terrorism. We knew Iran had an illicit nuclear program. We knew Iran posed a grave threat to Israel. But instead of pursuing a strategy to address this threat, we ignored it and instead invaded and occupied Iraq. When I opposed the war, I warned that it would fan the flames of extremism in the Middle East. That is precisely what happened in Iran - the hardliners tightened their grip, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President in 2005. And the United States and Israel are less secure.
First, let's correct the factual errors:
1) There is no evidence to support the view that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology, and they have not even suggested "a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists."
2) Iran does not pose a "grave threat to Israel." Israel, unlike Iran, is a nuclear power with an enormous military, paid for by you and me.
3) The main threat of an arms race in the Middle East is Israel's enormous military, not Iran.
Setting aside the factual errors for a moment, there is something more dangerous about Obama's rhetoric. It could help the corporate media create an impression of a broad consensus in our society for an American or Israeli attack on Iran, when no such consensus exists. It also encourages Iranian hardliners to press for a more militaristic stance against our country and to plan retaliation.
The consequences for queer Iranians are terrible. Whenever countries face foreign threats, the right always pushes for cultural conservatism and suppression of dissent. It happened in the time after 911 here, and it currently is happening in Iran.
The US already is in a terribly vulnerable position in the Middle East. We have tens of thousands of troops stuck in Iraq, a country with incredibly strong religious and cultural ties to Iran. Nearly every major Shi'ite and Kurdish political party is an Iranian ally, as are their corresponding militias. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis already support military attacks against the US troops occupying their country. The Bush regime and General "Betray Us" are pursuing an anti-Shi'ite policy in Iraq at the behest of the Saudi Royal Family, which is creating even greater animosity among the majority of the population.
Also, rising petroleum prices already are devastating the US economy. Oil closed at $142.97 on Friday. That means that crude oil prices went up 4% in just one week.
Obama's hyperbolic and irresponsible rhetoric on Iran is only adding to fears of disruption of world oil markets caused by the Bush regime's hyperbolic and irresponsible rhetoric on Iran. A lot of people blame speculators for the rise in oil prices, but the Iraq War, saber rattling with Venezuela, and saber rattling with Iran are giving investors a highly substantial basis for valuing petroleum higher.
This isn't quite the "bubble" the corporate media are telling you it is.
If Iran, one of the world's most important oil producers, is attacked, this will terribly disrupt world oil prices. Such a disruption would be even greater in the highly likely event that Iran retaliated against an attack on its sovereignty. A modest estimate of oil prices would be $250-300 per barrel.
If you don't like gas prices and our economy now...
When you add in the strain on our already overextended military, the Obama/Bush line on Iran is hugely irrational and irresponsible. Our military already is fighting two wars. It would crazy to up the ante to three wars, with the third country much more powerful than the first two combined. You don't have to have any fondness for the heterosexist, rightist, fundamentalist regime in Iran to see that there needs to be a lowering of rhetorical temperature between the US and Iran.
It's nice that Obama is still criticizing the entrance into the war in Iraq, but given his movement towards a pro-war/pro-occupation position in the future, even that is woefully insufficient.