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Emergency Across The United States! For 32 Years Now!

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines emergency as follows:

“1: an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action
2: an urgent need for assistance or relief”

What’s in common with both these definitions of emergency is a short time frame. An emergency is something that needs to be dealt with immediately, or terrible things will happen.

national iranian emergencyA problem that unfolds over 32 years, and is dealt with through an ongoing program of negotiations, does not fit that definition. Yet, President Barack Obama has decided to characterize just such a moderate, chronic problem as an emergency.

Yesterday, Barack Obama sent a message to the U.S. Congress, declaring, ” I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to Iran that was declared in Executive Order 12170 of November 14, 1979, is to continue in effect beyond November 14, 2011.”

A national emergency is even larger than an emergency. It’s an emergency that’s taking place all over the country. Can someone tell me what the imminent threat from Iran is, and how it is creating an urgent need across the United States?

President Obama describes the nature of the the emergency as follows: ” relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal, and the process of implementing the agreements with Iran, dated January 19, 1981, is still under way.”

If this is an emergency, can I have my dog’s recurring problem with fleas declared a national emergency too?

8 comments to Emergency Across The United States! For 32 Years Now!

  • Dove

    I certainly don’t see an emergency there. However there are plenty of benefits to declaring one. No doubt the nominal “emergency” provides some legal cover for the covert operations multiple presidents authorized against Iranian interests and continued sanctions. So if your fleas can be treated with bribery, strategic bombing, assassination, or otherwise increasing the scope and budget of the military-industrial complex, yes, that is an emergency and anyone who doesn’t evacuate your house within 24 hours will be assumed to be complicit in the infestation and subject to punishment at a time and place of the military’s choosing.

  • Tom

    It won’t be long before all this hegemony evaporates. i can’t wait. We’d be better served by building vibrant, thriving, cooperative communities in our local areas. Start by just getting to know your neighbors. See what’s going on in their lives. Talk about a community garden next spring and invite them to try it at their house or to help out at a communty site. Take inventory of tools, seeds, and other supplies (like pots, compost and such) and check out local suppliers for whatever you’ll need (plants, seeds, etc).

    We gotta get off of this military-AT-ALL-COSTS agenda we’ve been on (like forever) and start down another road. For one it’s unsustainable in the long run; two, it’s better to have friends than enemies; and three, that’s not “us” at heart – we have to get back to our roots of helping out other countries and ourselves – transition to a fossil fuel less civilization.

    Nah – LET’S HAVE A WAR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJAlIHsXcLY

    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many of us
    There’s so many [x2]

    [Sung]
    Let’s have a war
    So you can go and die!
    Let’s have a war!
    We could all use the money!
    Let’s have a war!
    We need the space!
    Let’s have a war!
    Clean out this place!

    It already started in the city!
    Suburbia will be just as easy!

    [Chorus]

    Let’s have a war!
    Jack up the Dow Jones!
    Let’s have a war!
    It can start in New Jersey!
    Let’s have a war!
    Blame it on the middle-class!
    Let’s have a war!
    We’re like rats in a cage!

    It already started in the city!
    Suburbia will be just as easy!

    [Chorus]

    Let’s have a war!
    Sell the rights to the networks!
    Let’s have a war!
    General Motors get fat like last time!
    Let’s have a war!
    Give guns to the queers!
    Let’s have a war!
    The enemy’s within!

    It already started in the city!
    Suburbia will be just as easy!

  • Bill

    Well, I’m conflicted. I’m not a huge fan of U.S. military adventurism, that’s for sure. But I do think that the author’s apparent ho-humming regarding the state of US/Iranian relations…or, for that matter, of Rest-of-World/Iranian relations…is misplaced. Just because one doesn’t believe that the U.S. should be the world’s policeman doesn’t mean that there aren’t states out there which very much need policing. The evidence that Iran has very bad intentions indeed toward other Middle East states, and toward the U.S., would fill a book (actually, it already has filled several of them). Iran has proven over and over again over decades to be an avid and active supporter of terrorism. I think that the prospect of it possessing nuclear weapons should deeply concern every humanist. That is (or should be) the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what we can and should do about that.

    “Can someone tell me what the imminent threat from Iran is?” Really, Truman? Really?

    • Yes, really. And, by the way, you didn’t identify an imminent threat. You didn’t.

      The United States HAS nuclear weapons.

      We’ve been hearing this “We just discovered that Iran is working on nuclear weapons” story for what, about 10 years now?

      Imminent is a word that means something, and what it means, Bill, is not that you have nagging concerns about something, or that there’s a problem that, if it isn’t dealt with, might eventually get serious.

      Imminent means something is about to happen.

      So, can you answer the question, Bill?

    • Dove

      Speaking for every humanist (if you can so can I) we are concerned that anyone possesses nukes and more frightened of what the greatest powers will do than the least.

      The IAEA report seems to mention research which can be used for defense or other non-violent purpose and does not even suggest a date when a weapon might be ready. Add this to the list of examples where rhetoric and practice does not acknowledge multiple significant uses for items and information despite carefully stated limitations of the items in question and a rational legalistic policy framework to place them in.

      And of course the IAEA itself was completely repudiated when they said Iraq had none. Although I think it had some reports that were similarly favored when they could be spun to suggest Iraq really would like to have a nuclear option. But really, who can be bothered to look down that memory hole?

  • theotherjimmyolson

    I have always maintained that the way to remove any threat from Iran is to sign a mutual defense pact with them. No one would dare attack Iran if the U.S. promised a retaliatory attack on them. And of course it would be nice to have a real ally in the middle east in the unlikely event that the U.S. was attacked

  • Hooligan

    The way I see it, when a cat jumps on the stove and touches a heated burner, he or she will pull away, so there’s no emergency.

    America, though, has stuck her hand on the same burner, gets burned, and leaves it there. Why? Because there’s an emergency!

    My vote would be for staying out of the Middle East as much as possible, but then voters, nations and industries far more influential than I work very hard to ensure that we remain. Probably till we’re bankrupt and have to start bringing the navy home is my guess.

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