You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

March 06, 2008

Crushing The Ants

You may have heard the new Esquire article about Admiral William Fallon, head of the U.S. Central Command, presents him as a hero for standing up to Bush's desire to attack Iran. Chris Floyd points out the portrayal of Fallon's perspective is actually a little more complicated:

Fallon himself has long denied the story which had him declaring, upon taking over Central Command, that a war on Iran "isn't going to happen on my watch." And in fact, the article itself depicts Fallon's true attitude toward the idea of an attack on Iran right up front, in his own words. After noting Fallon's concerns about focusing too much on Iran to the exclusion of the other "pots boiling over" in the region, Barnett nevertheless keeps pressing the point the point and asks: "And if it comes to war?" Fallon replies with stark, brutal clarity:
"Get serious," the admiral says. "These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them."

The article makes clear that Fallon's main concerns about a war with Iran are, as noted, about tactics and timing: Sure, when the time comes – no shuffling on that point – we'll crush these subhumans like the insects they are; but we've already got a lot on our plate at the moment, so why not hold off as long as we can?

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 6, 2008 11:48 PM

the head of CentCom turns to be a warmongering, imperialist douchebag rather than a dirty hippy pacifist? color me shocked.

Posted by: ran at March 7, 2008 02:19 AM

If your only tool is an over-extended military . . . what?

Posted by: Monkay at March 7, 2008 03:48 AM

Iran probably spends 10-15% of GDP on its military, and they probably couldn't last a week against an "over-stretched" US military. And the US still spends maybe 3-4% of GDP on its military. If the US had too, it could easily double spending on arms. And "subhumans"? Not an unfair term for a people who sent children into battle to be slaughted for very slight tactical advantages i.e. clearing minefields the old fashioned way. Great architecture in Esfahan, no doubt, but boy I would not care to live in Iran.

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 05:14 AM

According to the CIA World Factbook, Iran spent 2.5% of its GDP on military expenditures in 2006, you tool.

Posted by: Dunc at March 7, 2008 07:19 AM

Oh, a fact checker. OK, I wuz wrong. But they still be ants : )

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 07:38 AM
"Get serious," the admiral says. "These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them."

Fallon's a closet Chomsky reader. Not surprising.

Posted by: at March 7, 2008 08:01 AM

"An individual ant is not very bright, but ants in a colony, operating as a collective, do remarkable things." Stanford U report

A "collective?" Why, they're...SOCIALISTS!!!
Crush 'em.

Posted by: donescobar at March 7, 2008 08:15 AM


Hey, donescobar, is that you doing the analysis?

Because that's pretty good stuff and I can't help but think that fellow reflects some views that I've seen here on ATR.

It's a little superficial but way deeper than any 5-minute clip on the standard HDTV channels. If standard HDTV players even have 5-minute clips.

Posted by: at March 7, 2008 08:50 AM

I wish.
My one TV "appearance" was on local sports when I coached a university women's soccer club.
Deeper, on TV, is dangerous. Why, it's--heaven forbid--controversial.

Everybody's should read: "Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offhore Shell companies in Cayman Islands allow KBR to avoid Medicare, Social Security deductions," by Farah Stockman, BOSTON GLOBE, 3-6-08 Hundreds of millions of dollars.

OK, OK, try to suppress the shock.
You think it'll make TV news?

Posted by: donescobar at March 7, 2008 09:06 AM

"and they probably couldn't last a week against an "over-stretched" US military"

just so. I mean, it only took us a few days to subdue the Iraqis, and Iran is a less populous, more primitive and poorer country than Iraq was.


Posted by: ran at March 7, 2008 09:40 AM

eh, my contempt for Iran got the better of me, but I do think their military is overrated. And although it's a sad underperformer, they do have a real economy, unlike a lot of places in the neighborhood. That said, they still be ants

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 11:25 AM

Point of order ran -

If your motive is to destroy the infrastructure of Iran and turn it into a chaotic mess full of different factions fighting each other for control of the country, then the US military could probably accomplish that in a month. Maybe less.

Now, if you want to occupy Iran, or even just prop up a government sympathetic to US interests in the region - not gonna happen. Not with a military of any size. The backlash from Iranians would be worse than anything the Iraqis have dished out against American troops because, unlike Iraq, the Iranians are starting from a position where they're overall happy with their government (though many are pushing for reform) and scared to fucking death of the US. Even the most self-deluded neocon can't possibly imagine that US forces would be greeted as "liberators" on the streets of Tehran...

fuck - the self deluded neocons probably DO believe that we'll be greeted as liberators on the streets of Tehran. I need a drink.

Posted by: NonyNony at March 7, 2008 11:30 AM

well, you're right more or less. But the elite all speak English, and they need modern European and US oil technology desperately. Actually, the sight of the foreign minister at Davos speaking English was pretty amusing, so much for Death to America and BP : )

Posted by: xyz at March 7, 2008 12:22 PM

WHY ATTACK IRAN if you can't get the OIL. Iraq proves conclusively and without a doubt, this aministration does NOT know how to secure the OIL.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 7, 2008 04:24 PM

I have been saying for the last two years that bush/cheney are not going to attack Iran. And the reason - bush/cheney are bullies, and bullies only pick on the weak.

Iran is not weak.

Posted by: Susan at March 8, 2008 04:07 AM

nor is it as isolated as saddam was.

Posted by: hapa at March 8, 2008 09:22 PM