Bolton’s Infatuation with the Subjugation of Iran

By Abdul Cader Asmal, World BEYOND War, May 16, 2019

It is a painful irony for Muslims in America who on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq wrote (Boston Globe Feb. 5, 2003):

“As loyal citizens of this country we believe that for the United States to go to war against Iraq would have catastrophic consequences. For the Muslim world such war-mongering looks like a crusade against Islam that would only reinforce the distorted agenda of extremists and reduce the hope of eradicating terrorism. Given the disinformation about Islam and the contempt with which Muslims are depicted, it might appear unpatriotic for us to challenge the drumbeat to war. On the other hand, our Islamic principles demand that in fearing God we should speak out against what we perceive as grave injustices about to be committed. It would thus be an act not only of disobedience to God but treason against our own country when we fail to express our concerns in what we believe to be in the best interest of our country and the world at large.”

It gives us no comfort that our prophecy has proven to be true. The showdown with Saddam was no cake walk, as predicted by the neocons. On the contrary our occupation led to the wanton degradation of an entire nation and its multicultural society, instigated a brutal Sunni-Shia internecine slaughter with fragmented sects caught in the crossfire, and led to the evolution of Al-Qaeda in Iraq which then morphed into ISIS.

The irony is that, as with Iraq where the evidence was fabricated, so with Iran one is expected to embrace John Bolton’s sweeping unsubstantiated allegations against Iran’s anti-US interests to justify a relentless assault on Iran. Bolton noted, that any attack whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces would justify an aggressive U.S. military response. Thus, an attack launched by a “proxy” of Iran on not just assets but “interests” of the U.S. in the region or “interests” of a U.S. ally in the region, would now be sufficient to trigger a U.S. attack on Iran, even if Iran itself was not directly responsible.

This provides a carte blanche for any “false flag” operation against Iran. With every option on the table Bolton has trumped up the perfect set-up for another unprovoked war or the subjugation of an insubordinate. What is so alarming about the unfolding scenario is that one man, John Bolton, who no one elected, and the Senate did not confirm, has evidently, single-handedly, in a manner befitting Dr. Strangelove pushed the Pentagon to draw up full scale war plans for Iran. This includes: B-52 bombers capable of carrying 70,000 pound of bombs; the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, a flotilla comprised of a guided-missile cruiser, and four destroyers; and Patriot missile system to complete the armamentarium.

Trump said he would tame rogue nations. This war is a fulfillment of his fantasy. It is simply vindictive, totally one-sided, and designed to annihilate a country that refuses to tow the American line, and for that we have the wherewithal to smash it to smithereens.

Such remarks by a “true blue” American might be greeted with indignation or disdain; coming from one with a Muslim background it would smack of treachery. Not so.

I am a proud American and proud Muslim (I do not define myself as a ‘Muslim American’ or ‘American Muslim’ as no other denomination is defined by its religion). However as a Muslim I can no more relate to the barbarity of Isis, any more than I can as an American to the ‘refined savagery’ of my own country’s preemptively contrived subjugation of a sovereign nation.

Joseph Conrad had defined civilization as “refined savagery.” While no one would disagree that ISIS and others of its ilk seek out innocent groups who they can terrorize with gruesome acts of graphic decapitation (how much more savage can one get!) represent civilization’s brutal extreme, we cannot take comfort in the niceties of our own civilization, displaying a “refined savagery” where we use overwhelming force of “impersonal surgical strikes” to pulverize thousands of innocent civilians (of course “collateral damage” is a natural consequence of war), to create millions of homeless and refugees, systematically erase from history the magnificent Persian culture, and reduce it to the same unrecognizable rubble that remains of Iraq, with hundreds of “ground zeros” that no one is left to count or shed tears over. The economic cost and that in American lives is immeasurable.

Tim Kaine declared, “Let me make one thing clear: The Trump administration has no legal authority to start a war against Iran without the consent of Congress.” Rand Paul admonished Pompeo: “You do not have permission for war with Iran.”

Nonetheless if Dr. Strangelove pursues his maniacal obsession for war, it will confirm what the world already knows: the US is invincible. Whether this show of force will coerce North Korea to capitulate, or empower it to go out with a bang taking with it South Korea, Japan and the 30,000 U.S. military deployed in the demilitarized zone, is an enormous gamble. The appeal we made in 2003  praying for what is in the best interest of our country and the rest of our common humanity is an imperative today.


Abdul Cader Asmal is Chairman of Communications of the Islamic Council of New England, and Member of the Board of Directors Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries.

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