David Barsamian speaks at UCLA

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By Ben Cohen
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I went to see author David Barsamian speak at UCLA (the University of California in Los Angeles) last night about his new books 'Targeting Iran', and 'What We Say Goes' (Co authored with Noam Chomsky). Barsamian is a witty, engaging speaker, but his topic was depressing beyond belief. Far from being a plug for his new books, his main aim, it seemed, was to raise awareness of the Bush Administrations naked desire for another war.

In a jam packed room on the centre of campus, Barsamian informed his audience of the United States sordid history in the Middle East, and continued aggression in the region.

'If you want to understand U.S History', he said, 'there's really not much to it. You just have to watch 10 minutes of the Sopranos'.

Despite professions from the Bush Administration that they have our 'security' in mind, the evidence speaks to the contrary. The Bush Administrations ambitions in the region have nothing to do with our security, or providing freedom for the Iranian people said Barsamian. Like Iraq, "Iran has enormous oil wealth, something the U.S desperately wants to control". And what of the 'military super power' the U.S government is so scared about? Barsamian asked the audience to take a guess how much Iran spends on their military. $20 billion, $100 billion, or even $200 billion?

"Iran spends $5 billion a year on their military as compared to the $3/4 of a trillion the U.S spends", he answered. "In one year, Iran spends what the U.S spends a week in Iraq. To put it further into context, $5 billion buys you two B52 bombers".

Iran, he argued, is also a diversion from the disaster in Iraq. "The U.S was looking for a scapegoat-now they've got one. Iran".

Speaking of the 17,000 marines and sailors now placed off the Iranian coast, Barsamian does not think the U.S government is bluffing.

"Some people think the Bush Administration in sabre rattling. I don't. They have a history of violence, they have the weapons and I believe they will use them'.

And what of the repercussions if the U.S attacks Iran?

"The consequences are incalculable", he stated emphatically. "If we are seeing rivers of blood from Iraq, it will turn to oceans of blood if they attack Iran."

Stay tuned to The Daily Banter for an exclusive series of video interviews with Barsamian next week.