Sunday, June 8, 2008

Iran Again...

In case you haven’t noticed, the war drums to attack Iran have started again. First, we heard from Israel’s former defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, that an Israeli attack on Iran’s alleged nuclear sites looked “inevitable.” He said: “The sanctions are ineffective. Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.” (quoted in Robert Naiman, “Israel Threatens War on Gaza and Iran,” The Telegraph, June 7, 2008.) Prime Minister Olmert, in deep political trouble over a bribery scandal, underlined this vow in his comments after visiting Washington, by saying that “Israel and America are of one mind over the possibility of military intervention against Tehran’s nuclear programme..” In the same vein, we heard from Gareth Porter that, despite the powerful opposition from the American military to Vice-President Cheney’s push to attack Iran last summer, the situation has changed sufficiently in recent months to begin worrying again. This is because Admiral Fallon, then head of Centcom, and the main obstacle to a strike against Iran (because Iran might well do more damage to the United States in retaliation than the U.S. could do to Iran), was forced to resign. In his place is the ever-pliant General David Petraeus. This gives Cheney and the Bushies yet another opportunity to strike at Iran before they must leave office.

Now this is almost stupefying to anyone who has been following the Iran situation. To begin with, only months ago, a National Intelligence Estimate was released stating that, in the opinion of every U.S. Intelligence agency, not only was Iran NOT working on a nuclear weapon, but it had ended its nuclear weapons efforts in 2003! Well, you may say, it’s not only the nukes; the Iranians are supplying the Iraqi “bad guys” with powerful weapons to attack Americans in Iraq. But a report on May 15, 2008 detailed not one but two refutations of this claim (“Bogus Claim, al-Maliki Stall US Plan on Iran Arms,” Common Dreams, May 15, 2008). First, our ally (some would say puppet) Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, “refused to endorse charges of Iranian involvement in arms smuggling to the Mahdi Army.” In other words, the man closest to the situation refuted the U.S. claims, repeated endlessly, that Iran is supplying the arms to our enemies. They are not, he said. More important, the same report tells us that the entire American plan to stage a huge public-relations campaign convincing the American public that Iran is really the enemy in our war in Iraq, has fallen apart. Prime Minister al-Maliki first said that actual proof of Iran’s involvement was needed. Second, on May 3 a huge cache of Iranian arms said to have been captured in Karbala turned out to be a dud, as far from the “smoking gun” as it could be. According to Porter, American munitions experts hastening to Karbala to see the longed-for Iranian weapons “found nothing they could credibly link to Iran.” The cache was a bust, and U.S. commanders had to tell reporters that the big event they were expecting had to be cancelled due to a “misunderstanding.” Misunderstanding indeed. The Mahdi army has made Karbala a center of its fight for years, thus making the weapons there of supreme importance. Nonetheless, of 4 anti-aircraft missiles, 45 RPGs, 800 RPG missiles, and 570 roadside explosive devices, not a single item of Iranian origin could be identified. The whole charge against Iran as arms supplier and trainer of our enemies turned to ashes.

You might think that would do it. No Iranian nuclear weapons program. No Iranian arms dealing. But that would be the conclusion in a rational world. This is Bush/Cheney land. This is an America that has long since swallowed the Zionist cool-aid to take Israel’s so-called ‘security’ as its own. And so we get Scott McClellan, onetime press secretary in the Bush White House, telling Keith Olbermann that yes, we should expect the Bush administration to misrepresent what it knows to justify an attack on Iran. For if Dana Perino started making noises similar to those made prior to the invasion of Iraq, McClellan said, “I would be (suspicious). I think that you would need to take those comments very seriously, and be skeptical.”

It is precisely those noises that are reaching a crescendo again. And the additional factor we must now consider is whether, in fact, even Barack Obama has been made a pawn in this game—this time by AIPAC, the America Israel Public Action Committee, one of the most powerful lobbies for Israel in all of Washington. For what Obama was induced (AIPAC and American Jews in general are said to constitute as much as 60% of the contributions to the Democratic Party) into saying when he spoke to AIPAC recently, is that he holds Iran responsible for the rockets Hezbollah launched on Israel in the recent war—“Israel had unilaterally withdrawn from Lebanon only to have Iran supply Hezbollah with thousands of rockets”—adding that “we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing to work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs…(to) help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza.” In short, Obama bought into the entire AIPAC propaganda line: that poor innocent little Israel is threatened by its evil Arab neighbors seeking nuclear weapons, only wants to live in peace, and needs military and financial help from the United States in order to do so. The truth—that Israel is the ONLY nuclear power in the Middle East, that its status as the 5th largest military in the entire world ensures that no combination of its neighbors could threaten it, and that it has been engaged in a policy of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous peoples of Palestine for more than 60 years—could make no appearance in this speech. The nonsense about Iran and its supposed nuclear threat had to be given primacy.

What this could mean is that the Bush administration, now chomping at the bit for one final gotterdammerung (an attack on muslim Iran either by itself or by a well-supported Israel), could find itself in an unassailable position. In a presidential election year, with Senator McCain sounding off daily about how naïve his rival is about war matters, Obama would have little choice but to agree with a strike, or to approve of one after the fact. This would please his masters at AIPAC, but it also could have the disastrous effect of ensuring McCain’s victory. In other words, an October surprise consisting of an air strike on Iran—Middle East intelligence analyst Wayne White has seen plans for such a strike, including “clearing a path of targets against the Iranian Air Force, Kilo submarines, anti-ship missiles and even ballistic missile capability that could target commerce and US warships in the gulf”—could frighten the electorate into, once again, voting for the “war” party, the Republicans.

Then those who support AIPAC and Israeli interests regardless of the crimes being committed against Palestinians could well claim to have goaded the world into yet another war, the consequences of which are fearsome to contemplate, consequences which were so feared even by the macho American military last summer that the generals torpedoed the administration’s attack plans. Indeed, it is to head off such a dire eventuality that a coalition of groups in Washington is promoting a write-in to Congress campaign on June 10. An ad will soon appear to this effect in the major media outlets, calling on Congress not to get dragged into another war, but rather to insist on direct talks with Iran without preconditions.

That used to be the position taken by Barack Obama. It must be forced upon him, and upon all the war mongers, again. Call your congressional rep on or before June 10. The Bush/Cheney madness must not be allowed to hoodwink the American people yet again.

Lawrence DiStasi

Addendum: these are the actual remarks made by Obama to AIPAC, not the prepared remarks I used. You will notice that his actual remarks kowtow even more obsequiously to Israel, including the acceptance of the Bush administration’s discredited assertions:

“Now, there's no greater threat to Israel or to the peace and stability of the region than Iran….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.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    We recently published an interview with leading Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji about his life, his political activism, and the future of his homeland. Based on the content of your blog, we thought you might be interested in checking out the conversation. You can view it at
    Have a great day,
    Boston Review