Iranian-American war?

How a war between America and Iran is being sold, and opposed.

See also
Consequences of attacking Iran” and
The Lobby and Iran” by the current author,
Opposition to war against Iran” at Wikipedia,
and the excellent blog “Race for Iran” edited by
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett.

Polling data are here.


Seymour Hersh,
The Iran Game
[This provides general background.]


David Hirst,
Israel thrusts Iran in line of US fire,
Guardian, 2002-02-02

[T]he US “views Iran through spectacles manufactured in Israel.”

Alan Sipress,
Israel Emphasizes Iranian Threat,
Washington Post, 2002-02-07

As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon arrives today for a White House visit,
Israeli officials are redoubling efforts to warn the Bush administration that
Iran poses a greater threat than the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

Stephen Farrell, Robert Thomson and Danielle Haas,
Attack Iran the Day Iraq War Ends, Demands Israel,
The Times (London), 2002-11-05

ISRAEL’S Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
has called on the international community
to target Iran as soon as the imminent conflict with Iraq is complete.

In an interview with The Times ,
Mr Sharon insisted that Tehran —
one of the “axis of evil” powers identified by President Bush —
should be put under pressure
“the day after” action against Baghdad ends

because of its role as a “centre of world terror”.


Jonathan Wright,
Israeli Ambassador to US Calls for 'Regime Change' in Iran, Syria
Reuters, 2003-04-28

The Israeli ambassador in Washington
called for "regime change" in Iran and Syria on Monday
through diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and
what he called "psychological pressure."

Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said
the U.S. invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
helped create great opportunities for Israel
but it was "not enough."

"It has to follow through.
We still have great threats of that magnitude coming from Syria,
coming from Iran,"
he told a conference of the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League.

Ayalon said he did not advocate or foresee the invasion of Syria and Iran.
"I certainly do not see any aggressive military campaign.
I don't think that would be the right thing. Nobody is suggesting that,"
he said.

But he added: "There are other means that can be exhausted ...
The way to deal with Iran for instance is
to delegitimize its regime
and the way to do that is applying political pressure ...
and to really apply economic sanctions."


Thomas P.M. Barnett made the news in 2008 for an article he wrote in Esquire
which suggested that CENTCOM chief Admiral William Fallon
was challenging the White House policy line toward Iran.
The article was written in such a fashion
that it came close to implying insubordination,
giving the White House an excuse
for firing Fallon over his supposed media statements,
as opposed to the real, underlying, policy differences.

This suggests a natural question:
Just what is Thomas P.M. Barnett’s attitude toward regime change in Iran?
Could it be that he wrote the article with the goal in mind
of giving the White House such an excuse,
of firing Fallon over insubordination
rather than
letting Fallon resign at a time of his own choosing
over a matter of principle?

As it happens, Barnett wrote a book published in 2004,
The Pentagon’s New Map,
in which he stated clearly his own attitude toward such.
On pages 379–383 he gives
“ten steps towards this future worth creating,”
number three of which is the following (but the emphasis is added).

[The Pentagon’s New Map, page 380]
Iran will experience an overthrow of the mullahs’ rule by 2010,
and this still-talented and potentially vibrant pillar of a transformed Middle East
will once again
assume a position of serious standing in global society.
The counterrevolution has already begun,
and it will continue to flare up periodically
until some trigger sets off the big explosion.
Current president Mohammad Khatami
is a would-be Gorbachev awaiting his Chernobyl-like spark,
which America would do well to engineer
by making Iraq the greatest reclamation project the world has ever seen.
If that is not enough, then
Iran must become the main focus of our pressure for change
once Kim is dethroned in North Korea
[that was item number two on Barnett’s global to-do list;
item one is “success in Iraq” (my quotes)],
if only for
the regime’s continued support of
transnational terrorist groups in general and al Qaeda in particular.


Leon Hadar,
Operation Iranian Freedom?
Same director, similar script.
We’re beginning to think we’ve seen this movie before ...

Philip Giraldi,
Deep Background: "an unprovoked nuclear attack" [on Iran]


William Kristol’s editorial for the Weekly Standard,
And Now Iran
We can't rule out the use of military force.

Patrick Buchanan, for the Editors of The American Conservative,
TAC to Standard — Challenge Accepted

by Connie Bruck
New Yorker, 2006-03-06

Patrick Buchanan,
An October Surprise?
The American Conservative, 2006-04-10

Christopher Layne,
Iran: The Logic of Deterrence
Tehran’s quest for nuclear weapons is a rational response to a real threat,
which makes diplomacy a more prudent option than regime change.

[An excerpt from the article (emphasis is added):]

States and the regimes that rule them want to survive,
which means they are very sensitive to external threats to their security.
The Bush Doctrine heightened Iran’s sense of vulnerability,
which resulted in an acceleration of its nuclear program.


Attacking Iran would be a strategic blunder of the first magnitude—
far worse than going to war with Iraq.
[T]he risks to the United States are higher than any benefit that might be gained
by slowing down Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Because of its links to the Iraqi Shi’ites,
Iran has the capability to intervene in Iraq
and put U.S. forces and the entire American project there in serious jeopardy. Tehran can also use its ties to Hezbollah and Hamas
to create instability throughout the region.
And the Iranians have the capacity to create a good deal of trouble for the U.S.
in Afghanistan as well.


Iran is in no position to slug it out toe-to-toe against the U.S.
in a conventional military conflict,
but it has political, economic, and even diplomatic cards
that it can use to make it very costly to the United States
to employ military force
in an attempt to halt or delay Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
More important,
a military strike against Iran would unleash forces
that could trigger a true clash of civilizations,

and would make the Persian Gulf and Middle East
even more unstable and more anti-American than they already are.

Jim Lobe,
Psy-War or Serious?
Washington Mulls Iran Attack

Jim Lobe,
Iran Showdown Tests Power of Israel Lobby

National Review editorial
(Jim Lobe speculates it was “almost certainly written by Michael Ledeen.”)
Iran, Now

Jim Lobe,
Neocons Turn Up Heat for Iran Attack

Seymour Hersh,
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?

William Kristol’s editorial for the Weekly Standard,
Is the America of 2006 more willing to thwart the unacceptable
than the France of 1936?

Do not attack Iran
Washington vs. Tehran
by Zbigniew Brzezinski
International Herald Tribune, 2006-04-26

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.
(By the way, during the Cold War Brzezinski was considered a hawk.
For some distinctions between
fundamentalist Islam and Communism or Fascism,
see these remarks of Brzezinski.)]

Iran’s announcement that it has enriched a minute amount of uranium
has unleashed urgent calls for a preventive U.S. air strike
by the same sources that earlier urged war on Iraq.

If there is another terrorist attack in the United States,
you can bet your bottom dollar that
there will be also immediate charges that Iran was responsible
in order to generate public hysteria in favor of military action.

But there are four compelling reasons
against a preventive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities:
  1. In the absence of an imminent threat
    (with the Iranians at least several years away
    from having a nuclear arsenal),
    the attack would be a unilateral act of war.

    If undertaken without formal Congressional declaration,
    it would be unconstitutional and merit the impeachment of the president.
    if undertaken without the sanction of the UN Security Council
    either alone by the United States or in complicity with Israel,
    it would stamp the perpetrator(s) as an international outlaw(s).
  2. Likely Iranian reactions
    would significantly compound
    ongoing U.S. difficulties in Iraq and in Afghanistan,

    perhaps precipitate new violence by Hezbollah in Lebanon,
    and in all probability
    cause the United States
    to become bogged down in regional violence
    for a decade or more to come.

    Iran is a country of some 70 million people and
    a conflict with it
    would make the misadventure in Iraq look trivial.
  3. Oil prices would climb steeply,
    especially if the Iranians cut their production
    seek to disrupt the flow of oil from the nearby Saudi oil fields.
    The world economy would be severely impacted,
    with America blamed for it.
    Note that oil prices have already shot above $70 per barrel,
    in part because of fears of a U.S./Iran clash.
  4. America would become an even more likely target of terrorism,
    with much of the world concluding that
    America’s support for Israel
    is itself a major cause of the rise in terrorism.

    America would become more isolated and thus more vulnerable
    while prospects for
    an eventual regional accommodation between Israel and its neighbors
    would be ever more remote.

It follows that an attack on Iran would be an act of political folly,
setting in motion a progressive upheaval in world affairs.
With America increasingly the object of widespread hostility,
the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end.

While America is clearly preponderant in the world,
it does not have the power - nor the domestic inclination -
to both impose and then to sustain its will
in the face of protracted and costly resistance.

That certainly is the lesson taught
both by its Vietnamese and Iraqi experiences.

Moreover, persistent hints by official spokesmen that
“the military option is on the table”
impedes the kind of negotiations that could make that option redundant.
Such threats unite Iranian nationalism with Shiite fundamentalism.
They also reinforce growing international suspicions
that the United States is even deliberately encouraging
greater Iranian intransigence.

Sadly, one has to wonder whether in fact
such suspicions may not be partially justified.
How else to explain the current U.S. “negotiating” stance:
the United States is refusing to participate
in the on-going negotiations with Iran
but insists on dealing only through proxies.
That stands in sharp contrast
with the simultaneous negotiations with North Korea,
in which the United States is actively engaged.

At the same time,
the United States is allocating funds
for the destabilization of the Iranian regime
and is reportedly injecting Special Forces teams into Iran
to stir up non-Iranian ethnic minorities
in order to fragment the Iranian state
(in the name of democratization!).
And there are people in the Bush administration
who do not wish any negotiated solution,
abetted by outside drum-beaters for military action
and egged on by full-page ads hyping the Iranian threat.
[The ADL ran several in the NYT and the WP.]

There is unintended but potentially tragic irony
in a situation in which
the obscene language of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
(whose powers are actually much more limited than his title implies)
helps to justify threats
by administration figures who like to hint of mushroom clouds,
which in turn help Ahmadinejad to exploit his intransigence
to gain more fervent domestic support
for himself as well as for the Iranian nuclear program.

It is therefore time for the administration to sober up,
to think strategically,
with a historic perspective and
with America’s national interest primarily in mind.
Deterrence has worked in U.S.-Soviet relations,
in U.S.-Chinese relations,
and in Indo-Pakistani relations.

The notion that
Iran would someday just hand over the bomb to some terrorist
conveniently ignores the fact that
doing so would tantamount to suicide for all of Iran
since Iran would be a prime suspect
and nuclear forensics
would make it difficult to disguise the point of origin.

It is true, however, that
an eventual Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons
would heighten tensions in the region.
Israel, despite its large nuclear arsenal, would feel less secure.
Preventing Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons is, therefore, justified,
but in seeking that goal the United States must bear in mind
longer-run prospects for Iran’s political and social development.

Iran has the objective preconditions in terms of education,
place of women in social affairs
and in social aspirations (especially of the youth)
to emulate in the foreseeable future the evolution of Turkey.
The mullahs are Iran’s past, not its future;
it is not in our interest to engage in acts that help to reverse that sequence.

Serious negotiations require not only a patient engagement
but also a constructive atmosphere.
Artificial deadlines, propounded most often
by those who do not wish the United States to negotiate in earnest,
are counterproductive.
Name-calling and saber-rattling,
as well as refusal to even consider the other side’s security concerns,
can be useful tactics only if the goal is actually to derail the negotiating process.

Several conclusions relevant to current U.S. policy stem from the foregoing:

The United States should become
a direct participant in the negotiations,

joining the three European negotiating states,
as well as perhaps Russia and China
(both veto-casting UN Security Council members),
in direct negotiations with Iran,
on the model of the concurrent multilateral talks with North Korea;

As in the case of North Korea,
the United States
should also simultaneously engage in bilateral talks with Iran
regarding mutually contentious security and financial issues;

The United States should be a signatory party to any quid-pro-quo arrangements
in the event of a satisfactory resolution
of the Iranian nuclear program and
of regional security issues.

At some point in the future, the above could perhaps lead to
a regional agreement for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East,
especially after the conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement,
endorsed also by all the Arab states of the region.
At this stage, however, it would be premature to inject that complicated issue into the negotiating process with Iran.

The choice is either
to be stampeded into a reckless adventure
profoundly damaging to long-term U.S. national interests
to become serious about giving negotiations with Iran
a genuine chance to be productive.
The mullahs were on the skids several years ago
but were given a new burst of life
by the intensifying confrontation with the United States.

The U.S. strategic goal,
pursued by real negotiations and not by posturing,
should be to separate Iranian nationalism from religious fundamentalism.
Treating Iran with respect and within a historical perspective
would help to advance that objective.

American policy should not be swayed by
a contrived atmosphere of urgency
ominously reminiscent of what preceded the intervention in Iraq.

Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter.
This Global Viewpoint article
was distributed by Tribune Media Services International.

Patrick Buchanan,
Of Imperial Presidents and Congressional Cowards

Justin Raimondo,
Steppingstone to War: House passes ‘Iran Freedom Support Act’

William Kristol’s editorial for the Weekly Standard,
“Iran Is Not Iraq”
Much of the U.S. government no longer believes in,
and is no longer acting to enforce, the Bush Doctrine.


Justin Raimondo,
The Next World War: A turning point is reached

The letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
to US President George W. Bush

[Also available here.]

A personal note from the author of this blog:
It is a shame, or worse, that the American elite
seems unable to listen seriously and respectfully
to the opinions expressed in this letter from Iran's president.
(E.g., Condoleezza Rice’s shabby, undiplomatic, and positively idiotic
dismissal of the letter ([1], [2]; for a critique of her approach, see, e.g., Porteous).
What a bimbo!
Condi Rice is an absolute substantive disgrace.
From 9/11 to Iraq to Iran, she has screwed up everything that she has touched.
That no editorial voices have called for her dismissal only shows
how African-American women are above criticism, no matter how well deserved,
in America
(or is it the fact that she is such a lackey of the Zionists?).
It’s a shame that the elite thinks that having “a compelling personal story”
is more important than performance and competence.
The fact that she is America's chief diplomat
only shows how feminism+Zionism are hurting America.)

I think that the Ahmadinejad letter,
together with bin Laden's 2006-01 proposal for a truce,
should be taken seriously as the desire for, and start of,
negotiations on how to end, or at least mitigate,
the current de facto state of war
between the Zionist alliance and significant parts of the Islamic world.
What is keeping that war going is
not capitalism,
not the corporations,
not big oil,
not the evangelical Christians,
but the evil forces of feminism and Zionism,
each of which has its reasons to want to root out Islamic fundamentalism.
It is a disaster for America that
their desire to fight Islamic fundamentalism
has metastasized into America’s.

Justin Raimondo,
Letter From Tehran
The president of Iran wants to talk – why don't we?

Jim Lobe,
Jewish Community Worried About Iran Backlash

While persuaded that
a nuclear Iran would indeed present an "existential threat" to Israel,
[leaders of the U.S. Jewish community] fear that
any negative consequences arising from a U.S. attack
could promote an anti-Semitic backlash
that would also damage Washington's long-term support for the Jewish state.

Georgie Anne Geyer,
In Washington, It Feels Like Early 2003 All Over Again

Laura Rozen,
U.S. Moves to Weaken Iran,
Los Angeles Times, 2006-05-19

Jim Lobe,
Iran the Target of Disinformation Campaign

A story authored by a prominent U.S. neoconservative regarding new legislation in Iran allegedly requiring Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive color badges circulated around the world this weekend before it was exposed as false.

Justin Raimondo,
Fake but Accurate
The War Party fabrication factory is revving up its motor again.
Destination: Tehran

Gareth Porter,
Iran Proposal to U.S. Offered Peace with Israel

Iran offered in 2003
to accept peace with Israel and
to cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups
and pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders,
according to the secret Iranian proposal to the United States.

Jim Lobe,
Pressure Grows on Bush to Engage Iran Directly

Justin Raimondo,
Showdown Over Iran
Washington grudge match: neoconservatives versus Republican realists

Gary Leupp,
Now Introducing, the Office of Iranian Affairs
(Formerly Doing Business as the Office of Special Plans)

Gareth Porter,
Khamenei in Control and Ready to ‘Haggle’
Antiwar.com, 2006-05-30

Gordon Prather,
The Best Congress Money Can Buy

Jim Lobe,
Rice’s Conditional Offer to Iran May Be Problematic

Justin Raimondo,
The Cabal, Outed
The spies who lied us into war are at it again

Seymour M. Hersh,
The American military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy.

New Yorker, 2006-07-10

Inside the Pentagon,
senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans,
according to active-duty and retired officers and officials.
The generals and admirals have told the Administration that
the bombing campaign will probably not succeed
in destroying Iran’s nuclear program.
They have also warned that an attack could lead to
serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States.

James Bamford,
Iran: The Next War
Rolling Stone, 2006-07-24

Even before the bombs fell on Baghdad,
a group of senior Pentagon officials were plotting to invade another country.
Their covert campaign once again relied on false intelligence and shady allies.
But this time, the target was Iran.

House Intelligence Committee Releases Report on Iranian Strategic Threat
Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat

Bush Ensured Iran Offer Would Be Rejected
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2006-08-24

Some in G.O.P. Say Iran Threat Is Played Down
New York Times, 2006-08-24, Section A, Page 1

[Paragraph numbers, emphasis, and comments are added.]

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers
are voicing anger
that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings
about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.

[Naming names, and their ties to Israel and/or AIPAC, is imperative here.
And just why are these executive and legislative branch officials
communicating with the “spy agencies” through the media?
Whether they work for the president or are in Congress,
there are multiple official channels that they can use to communicate with the IC.
At least back in the old days,
the front page of the NYT was not one of those official channels.
Of course, the way things are going these days,
maybe that is now as official as any.
A government run by Sulzberger, Bill Keller, Gail Collins, and the Graham family?
To some extent, that’s the reality
(although they will of course vigorously deny that).]

Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of
playing down Iran’s role in Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel
overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.

The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks,
surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday [08-23].
echo the tensions that divided the administration
and the Central Intelligence Agency
during the prelude to the war in Iraq.

The criticisms
reflect the views of some officials inside the White House and the Pentagon
who advocated going to war with Iraq
and now
are pressing for confronting Iran directly over
its nuclear program and ties to terrorism,
say officials with knowledge of the debate.
[A track record of being wrong.
And they’re still in power, without penalty, making the same arguments.
Hey, if it’s good for Israel, who cares if it’s good for America?]


Some policy makers also said they were displeased that
American spy agencies were playing down intelligence reports —
including some from the Israeli government
of extensive contacts recently
between Hezbollah and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
“The people in the community are unwilling to make judgment calls
and don’t know how to link anything together,”

one senior United States official said.

[Some questions:
  1. Precisely what gives he/she the confidence that
    his/her judgment is superior to that of the people in the IC?
  2. Was he/she right on Iraq?
  3. Why does he/she think intelligence reports from Israel
    are superior to those of the US?
  4. Is that “senior United States official”
    who thinks he/she is more competent than America’s IC
    a Jew?
  5. What is his/her relation to AIPAC?
  6. Is this “senior United States official” in fact an Israeli mole?
  7. How much of Washington
    (the executive branch, the Congress, the media)
    is more loyal to Israel than to the United States?

U.S. Spy Agencies Criticized On Iran
GOP-Led Panel Faults Intelligence
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Washington Post, Thursday, August 24, 2006; Page A01

A key House committee
issued a stinging critique of U.S. intelligence on Iran yesterday,
charging that the CIA and other agencies
lack "the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make judgments"
on Tehran's nuclear program,
its intentions or even
its ties to terrorism.

[For a (page A17) rebuttal to this article, see 2006-09-14-WP.]

The Neocons Ride Again
Priming us for war with Iran
by Justin Raimondo

Hoekstra’s Hoax: Hyping Up the Iran ‘Threat’
by Ray McGovern

Another US intelligence test
By David Isenberg
Asia Times Online, 2006-08-29

One might think that after all the post-mortems on politicization of intelligence leading up to the US invasion of Iraq, members of the US Congress might have learned a few things about not rushing in where angels fear to tread.
But you would be wrong, if a recent report from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is any example.

Share the Evidence On Iran
By Micah Zenko
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2006-08-29

To counter the growing chorus of skeptics,
President Bush should do in the case of Iran
what he did with regard to the Iraq NIE after the invasion:
declassify the key judgments in the document and the dissents from it.

Groups Push For Sanctions, Fear U.S. Will Falter on Iran
by Ori Nir
Forward, 2006-09-01

Jewish organization are seeking to mobilize the international community,
through direct meetings with foreign diplomats
and by lobbying the Bush administration,
to impose sanctions on Iran for defiantly carrying on with its nuclear program.

Neocons Discredit Intel in Haste to Attack Iran
by Gareth Porter

Episcopal bishops hit ‘inappropriate’ speech
By David R. Sands
Washington Times, 2006-09-08

Some leading Episcopal bishops have sharply criticized
the decision to invite former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami
to speak at the Washington National Cathedral,
the seat of the presiding bishop of the church's American branch.

Citing the Iranian regime's stance on
women's rights, homosexuality and Israel,

Bishops John Lipscomb of Florida, Edward Little of Indiana
and Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island
said in a statement earlier this week that
the event was "ill-conceived and inappropriate" and
should be called off.

[According to many reports (e.g.),
the United States is approaching a state of war with Iran.
At this time,
I would think that promoting peace would be first on clergymen’s minds,
and that dialogue with responsible Iranian leaders, such as Khatami,
would be seen as a way of promoting that peace and understanding.
Evidently such thoughts do not occur to these Episcopal bishops.
To them, political correctness is more important than peace.
The attitude of all too many Christians these days is:
“Kill a Muslim for PC.”
(Paralleling the Cold War slogan: “Kill a commie for Christ.”)]

U.N. Inspectors Dispute Iran Report By House Panel
Paper on Nuclear Aims Called Dishonest
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Washington Post, Thursday, September 14, 2006; Page A17

U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained
to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday
about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities,
calling parts of the document "outrageous and dishonest" and
offering evidence to refute its central claims.
Privately, several intelligence officials said
the committee report included at least a dozen claims that were either
demonstrably wrong or impossible to substantiate.
"This is like prewar Iraq all over again," said David Albright, a former nuclear inspector who is president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "You have an Iranian nuclear threat that is spun up, using bad information that's cherry-picked and a report that trashes the inspectors."

[I raised some questions about the identity, loyalty, and motives
of those generating this alarmist material at 2006-08-24-NYT.
But this article, or rather how the Post placed it, raises a new issue.
Note that the Post’s original article, leading with
A key House committee
issued a stinging critique of U.S. intelligence on Iran yesterday
appeared on Page A1,
while the (current) article disputing that “stinging critique”
appears on Page A17.

This is precisely the same game the Post played leading up to the Iraq War:
Place all the alarmist material on page A1, but
bury material which would rebut that alarmism deep inside the paper.

Now they’re still playing that same trashy, war-mongering game.

How does Washington let the Post get away with such trashy games
without letting them hear about it?

As to the Post, if they continue doing it,
it is no longer possible simply to blame it on the underlings.
After all, the Post’s editorial page is as war-hungry as its news sections.
It would be easy to place the blame on the man at the top: Donald E. Graham.
But the problem of war-mongering media
(what we might call “The Blue Press,” a take off on “The Yellow Press,”
but with the color changed to reflect the color of Israel’s flag)
is broader and more systematic than that.
Consider how the other major paper in Washington, the Washington Times,
is even more outrageously a voice for Israel than the Post.
No, I think we have to look for something systemic in our society
that makes so much of the media so obviously a shill for AIPAC and the ADL.
(A good, but slightly dated, discussion of this subject
is in the chapter on the media in Paul Findley’s
They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby.)]

Nuclear Agency for U.N. Faults Report on Iran by U.S. House
New York Times, 2006-09-15; Section A, Page 3

[Here the NYT reports on the letter from the IAEA
rebutting what the NYT reported in 2006-08-24-NYT.
Again, a key point is that the original alarmist reporting
appeared on Page 1 as the number two lead for the day,
while the (current) article refuting much of that alarmist reporting
appears on Page 3.
The same comments about situation apply as in the WP case.]

In a replay of Iraq, a battle is brewing over intelligence on Iran
By Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott
McClatchy Newspapers, 2006-09-15

U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say
Bush political appointees and hard-liners on Capitol Hill
have tried recently
to portray Iran's nuclear program as more advanced than it is and
to exaggerate Tehran's role in Hezbollah's attack on Israel in mid-July.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Remarks
at the American Council on Foreign Relations


[This is the Iranian government’s transcript
of a Q&A session between Ahmadinejad and the Council on Foreign Relations
which took place on 2006-09-20.

Note that the “News Briefing” for this session available at the CFR web site
does not link to a transcript.
In fact, so far as I can tell
(e.g., visit cfr.org and search on "Ahmadinejad transcript")
the CFR does not make available a transcript of this important talk
anywhere on their web site,

although they do make available transcripts
of many other (perhaps most) of their sessions with newsmakers.
In other words, the CFR does not wish for the American people
to be able to read Ahmadinejad’s own words
and make a judgment for themselves on what he is saying,
notwithstanding that he is a key figure
in one of America’s most important relationships—
that with a state that President Bush has declared part of an “Axis of Evil,”
and which is clearly being threatened with American attack
if it does not bow to external pressure.
Instead we are supposed to be able to read only
the spin put on his words by America’s Jewified elite.
How much more proof do you need that
America’s elite will do anything to ensure that
only the version of the news acceptable to Jews reaches the American public?
1984 come to life.]

Iran’s Leader Relishes 2nd Chance to Make Waves
New York Times, 2006-09-21

[For the NYT original, click here;
for a non-NYT web version, click here.

Here is an excerpt from the NYT story:]

[Ahmadinejad] traced the history of 50 years of unfilled deals
with the United States, Germany, France and others —
skipping over the Iranian revolution and the hostage-taking that followed —
and concluded,
“How can we rely on these partners.”

Iran War, Diplomacy on Parallel Tracks
by Jim Lobe

US-Iran Shootout Is Inevitable
by Leon Hadar

[T]his line of thinking, which assumes that
Iran is now in a position to threaten US interests
in the Middle East and around the world
and thus deter the Americans from using their military power,
also explains why
the Bush administration will probably end up doing exactly that –
taking military action against Iran.
In a way, the Bush administration's policies have created
the conditions in which
such an American move becomes almost inevitable.

[So, from “a self-fulfilling prophecy” to “self-fulfilling actions”.]

Consult America – Before the Next War
by Patrick J. Buchanan

Coming Soon: Gulf War III
by Gordon Prather

Now, September 2006,
every would-be mover and shaker in our nation's capital knows that
Gulf War III will begin shortly after President Bush can claim,
however implausibly,
that international "diplomacy" has failed
to get the Iranian mullahs to give up their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Why Bush Will Nuke Iran
by Paul Craig Roberts

The neoconservative Bush administration
will attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons,
because it is the only way the neocons believe
they can rescue their goal of U.S. (and Israeli) hegemony in the Middle East.

The U.S. has lost the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Generals in both war theaters are stating their need for more troops.
But there are no troops to send.

item 2006-09-27-PIPA in my post on The Iraq War
for a poll of Iraqis which has implications
for what the consequences of an American attack on Iran would be.

Meet the “Whack Iran” Lobby
Exiles peddling shaky intelligence,
advocacy groups pressing for regime change,
neocons bent on remaking the Middle East.
Sound familiar?

By Daniel Schulman
Mother Jones, 2006-10-06

Nuclear Strike on Iran Is Still on the Agenda
What will Congress do?
by Jorge Hirsch
Antiwar.com, 2006-10-16

Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change
Scott Ritter, interviewed by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now! 2006-10-16

The path that the United States is currently embarked on
regarding Iran
is a path that will inevitably lead to war.
Such a course of action will make
even the historical mistake we made in Iraq
pale by comparison.

[See also 2006-11-20-Ritter.]

The Next War
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006.
Originally from Harper’s Magazine, October 2006.
By Daniel Ellsberg.
Harper’s, 2006-10

[The conclusion:]

We face today a crisis similar to those of 1964 and 2002, a crisis hidden once again from the public and most of Congress. Articles by Seymour Hersh and others have revealed that, as in both those earlier cases, the president has secretly directed the completion, though not yet execution, of military operational plans—not merely hypothetical “contingency plans” but constantly updated plans, with movement of forces and high states of readiness, for prompt implementation on command—for attacking a country that, unless attacked itself, poses no threat to the United States: in this case, Iran.

According to these reports, many high-level officers and government officials are convinced that our president will attempt to bring about regime change in Iran by air attack; that he and his vice president have long been no less committed, secretly, to doing so than they were to attacking Iraq; and that his secretary of defense is as madly optimistic about the prospects for fast, cheap military success there as he was in Iraq.

Even more ominously, Philip Giraldi, a former CIA official, reported in The American Conservative a year ago that Vice President Cheney’s office had directed contingency planning for “a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons” and that “several senior Air Force officers” involved in the planning were “appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objection.”

Several of Hersh’s sources have confirmed both the detailed operational planning for use of nuclear weapons against deep underground Iranian installations and military resistance to this prospect, which led several senior officials to consider resigning. Hersh notes that opposition by the Joint Chiefs in April led to White House withdrawal of the “nuclear option”—for now, I would say. The operational plans remain in existence, to be drawn upon for a “decisive” blow if the president deems it necessary.

Many of these sources regard the planned massive air attack—with or without nuclear weapons—as almost sure to be catastrophic for the Middle East, the position of the United States in the world, our troops in Iraq, the world economy, and U.S. domestic security. Thus they are as deeply concerned about these prospects as many other insiders were in the year before the Iraq invasion. That is why, unlike in the lead-up to Vietnam or Iraq, some insiders are leaking to reporters. But since these disclosures—so far without documents and without attribution—have not evidently had enough credibility to raise public alarm, the question is whether such officials have yet reached the limit of their responsibilities to our country.

Assuming Hersh’s so-far anonymous sources mean what they say—that this is, as one puts it, “a juggernaut that has to be stopped”—I believe it is time for one or more of them to go beyond fragmentary leaks unaccompanied by documents. That means doing what no other active official or consultant has ever done in a timely way: what neither Richard Clarke nor I nor anyone else thought of doing until we were no longer officials, no longer had access to current documents, after bombs had fallen and thousands had died, years into a war. It means going outside executive channels, as officials with contemporary access, to expose the president’s lies and oppose his war policy publicly before the war, with unequivocal evidence from inside.

Simply resigning in silence does not meet moral or political responsibilities of officials rightly “appalled” by the thrust of secret policy. I hope that one or more such persons will make the sober decision—accepting sacrifice of clearance and career, and risk of prison—to disclose comprehensive files that convey, irrefutably, official, secret estimates of costs and prospects and dangers of the military plans being considered. What needs disclosure is the full internal controversy, the secret critiques as well as the arguments and claims of advocates of war and nuclear “options”—the Pentagon Papers of the Middle East. But unlike in 1971, the ongoing secret debate should be made available before our war in the region expands to include Iran, before the sixty-one-year moratorium on nuclear war is ended violently, to give our democracy a chance to foreclose either of those catastrophes.

The personal risks of doing this are very great. Yet they are not as great as the risks of bodies and lives we are asking daily of over 130,000 young Americans—with many yet to join them—in an unjust war. Our country has urgent need for comparable courage, moral and civil courage, from its public servants. They owe us the truth before the next war begins.

Getting Serious About Iran: For Regime Change
by Amir Taheri
[Note that Taheri is a documented fabricator.
But then what would you expect from the American Jewish Committee?]

Commentary Magazine, 2006-11

[The concluding paragraph:]

A more robust and coordinated American posture
on the economic, diplomatic, political, and moral fronts
would create forceful pressure on the current [Iranian] leadership
and inspire new courage in its opponents.
There is no denying that the mechanics of regime change
are a delicate and often highly chancy matter,
and that
the historical record offers examples of failure as well as of success.
But there is also no denying that the game is worth the candle.
Accelerating the collapse and replacement of
this aberrant tyranny, a curse to the Iranian people and to the world,
will strike a blow
against anti-Western and anti-democratic forces all over the globe,
safeguard America’s strategic interests in the Middle East and beyond,
and add another radiant page
to the almanac of American support for the cause of freedom.

[Commentary’s description of the author:]

Amir Taheri was the executive editor of Khayan, Iran’s largest daily newspaper, from 1972 to 1979.
The author of ten books, he is a frequent contributor
to publications in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
His article, “The Real Iraq,” appeared in our June issue.

[Commentary mentions none
of the documented instances of deceit by Taheri.]

Getting Serious About Iran: A Military Option
By Arthur Herman
Commentary Magazine, 2006-11

[The concluding section:]

That the regime in Tehran is indeed hated, and also radically unstable, is a point on which both advocates and opponents of American action can agree.
In this connection, it is important to bear in mind that Iran is rent by ethnic divisions and rivalries almost as fierce as those that divide Iraq or such former Soviet republics as Georgia and Russia itself.
Almost half of Iran’s population is made up of Kurds, Baluchis, Azeris, Arabs, and Turkomans.
Unlike the Persians, who are Shiites, most of these minorities are Sunni.
Thus, Iran is a country ripe for constitutional overhaul, if not re-federation.
Unless the current regime and its backers are willing to change course,
decisive military action could open the way for an entirely new Iran.

The key word is “decisive.”
What has cost us prestige in the Middle East and around the world is not our 2003 invasion of Iraq but our lack of a clear record of success in its aftermath.
Governments in and around the Persian Gulf region are waiting for someone to deal effectively and summarily with the Iranian menace.
Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and others—
all feel the pinch of an encroaching power.
The longer we wait, the harder it will be to stop the Iranian advance.

In 1936, the French army
could have halted Hitler’s reoccupation of the Rhineland
with a single division of troops, but chose to do nothing.
In 1938, Britain and France
could have joined forces with the well-armed and highly motivated Czech army
to administer a crushing defeat to the German Wehrmacht
and probably topple Hitler in the bargain.
Instead they handed him the Sudetenland, setting in motion the process
that in 1939 led to the most destructive war in world history.
Do we intend to dither until
suicide bombers blow up a supertanker off the Omani coast, or
a mushroom cloud appears over Tel Aviv,
before we decide it is finally time to get serious about Iran?

[Commentary’s description of the author:]

Arthur Herman, a new contributor,
has taught history at George Mason University and Georgetown University.
He is the author of, among other books,

The Idea of Decline in Western History,
How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and, most recently,
To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World (2004),
nominated in 2005 for the Mountbatten Prize in naval history.
Mr. Herman thanks Chet Nagle and J.R. Dunn
for help and advice in the writing of this essay.

Operation Comeback
By Joshua Muravchik
Foreign Policy, November/December 2006
(also available from AEI)

[An excerpt, with emphasis and some comments added:]

Neoconservatives have the president’s ear, but they also have lots of baggage.
To stay relevant, they must
admit mistakes,
embrace public diplomacy, and
start making the case for bombing Iran.

TO: My Fellow Neoconservatives
FROM: Joshua Muravchik
RE: How to Save the Neocons

Our intellectual contributions helped to defeat communism in the last century
and, God willing,
they will help to defeat jihadism in this one.
Muravchik shows either his ignorance or his malevolence
(actually, it’s the latter)
by ignoring the reasons for jihad.]


Prepare to Bomb Iran.

Make no mistake,
President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities
before leaving office.

It is all but inconceivable
that Iran will accept any peaceful inducements
to abandon its drive for the bomb.
Its rulers are religio-ideological fanatics who will not trade
what they believe is their birthright to great power status
for a mess of pottage.
Even if things in Iraq get better,
a nuclear-armed Iran will negate any progress there.
Nothing will embolden terrorists and jihadists more than a nuclear-armed Iran.
[What bullshit.
What will “embolden terrorists and jihadists” far more
is an unprovoked attack on Iran.]

The global thunder against Bush when he pulls the trigger will be deafening,
and it will have many echoes at home.
It will be an injection of steroids for organizations such as MoveOn.org.

[What a shame, and a problem,
that the peace movement is associated with the left.
I have spoken recently to various church members of my acquaintance,
asking why there is no religion-based peace movement
that shows much evidence of existance
(in particular, perhaps, supported by their church;
contrast, for example, the abundance of synagogues
that seem to have a passionate desire for the U.S.
to enter into an interminable conflict in Darfur).
They, fairly uniformly, respond:
“There’s no need for one. Just voting Democratic will be enough to bring peace.”
There are two problems with that answer:
  1. It ignores the fact that
    the Democratic Party is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reform Judaism,
    just as
    the Republican Party is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orthodox Judaism.
    American Jews, of any branch, have a proven unwillingness
    to disagree with the policies of the government of Israel.
    And, as Bugs would say, “This means war!”.
  2. There are many of us, including myself,
    who would like to support a peace movement
    without having to support
    the socially liberal positions of the Democratic Party.
    There needs to be a peace movement whose goals are restricted to that,
    so that one may endorse it whatever ones views are of, say,
    affirmative action or feminism.

We need to pave the way intellectually now
and be prepared to defend the action when it comes.
In particular,
we need to help people envision what the world would look like
with a nuclear-armed Iran.
Apart from the dangers of a direct attack on Israel
or a suitcase bomb in Washington,
it would mean
the end of the global nonproliferation regime and
the beginning of Iranian dominance in the Middle East.

War of Aggression Thwarted?
by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com, 2006-11-11

[Y]ou believe ...
a Democrat-controlled Congress
will prevent Bush’s looming war of aggression against Iran?


Bush’s looming war of aggression against Iran—
which is to use as a template his war of aggression against Iraq—
was not an issue in the recent Congressional elections.
In fact,
the pollsters and media elite never even mentioned
that huge elephant in their living rooms to the voters.

[If this doesn’t represent a media/political conspiracy,
I don’t know what does.
Talk about groupthink!]

A Conversation with Ehud Olmert
(An interview with) Lally Weymouth
Washington Post, 2006-11-12

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Weymouth: How do you see the threat posed by Iran?

This is the first time in many years
that the official leader of a major nation with more than 70 million citizens
has talked publicly and officially
of the liquidation of another nation that is a member of the United Nations.
[Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad
is a man who is ready to commit crimes against humanity,
and he has to be stopped.

When Hitler began to talk about the liquidation of the Jewish race,
people heard it.
But they hardly did anything to stop it.
And then for generations,
nations and leaders had to explain why they didn't speak up.
So we have to have a world campaign to emphasize the moral commitment
that no one will be able to ignore what he says
and what the possible ramifications may be.

There is also the process of negotiations.
My position is clear:
If there can be a compromise
that will stop Iran short of crossing the technological threshold
that will lead them into nuclear capabilities,
we will be for such a compromise.
But I don't believe that Iran will accept such compromise
unless they have a very good reason to fear the consequences of not reaching it.
In other words: Iran must start to fear.

Iran Hawks Reorganize
Meet the Iran Enterprise Institute.
Its name might sound familiar.

By Laura Rozen
American Prospect, 2006-11-13

Netanyahu: It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany;
Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust

By Peter Hirschberg
Ha’aretz, 2006-11-14

Drawing a direct analogy between Iran and Nazi Germany,
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu asserted Monday that
the Iranian nuclear program posed a threat not only to Israel,
but to the entire western world.
There was “still time,” however,
to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons,
he said.

“It's 1938 and Iran is Germany.
And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs,”

Netanyahu told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly, repeating the line several times, like a chorus, during his address.
“Believe him and stop him,”
the opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“This is what we must do.
Everything else pales before this.”

Bomb Iran
Diplomacy is doing nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear threat;
a show of force is the only answer.

By Joshua Muravchik
Los Angeles Times, 2006-11-19

WE MUST bomb Iran.
[Emphasis in original.
For an intelligent and appropriate response,
see 2006-11-27-Kwiatkowski.]

The Case for Engagement
by Scott Ritter
Nation, 2006-11-20 issue (posted on web 2006-11-03)

[An excerpt; emphasis and comments are added.]

In our haste to lash out at those who attacked us on September 11, 2001,
we forget that Iran not only condemned the attacks,
as did its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon,
but that it nearly fought a war against Afghanistan’s Taliban
and their Al Qaeda allies in the late 1990s.
There is no greater potential ally in the struggle against Sunni extremism
than Shiite Iran,
a point made over and over by everyone I talked to,
especially those affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard.


The Bush Administration speaks of the need
to move quickly on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambition and
to roll back the forces of terror represented by the Islamic Republic.
The repeated and explicit demand of the Administration is for regime change,
as evidenced in the March 2006
“National Security Strategy of the United States,”
where Iran is named repeatedly as the number-one threat to the United States.
The alleged Iranian threat espoused by Bush is based on fear,
and arises from a combination of ignorance and ideological inflexibility
[and a great deal of lobbying and propaganda by the Israel Lobby].
The path
that the United States is currently embarked on regarding Iran
is a path that will lead to war.

(Indeed, there are numerous unconfirmed reports that
the United States has already begun covert military operations inside Iran,
including overflights by pilotless drones
and recruitment and training of MEK, Kurdish and Azeri guerrillas.)
Such a course of action would make even the historic blunder of the Iraq invasion pale by comparison.
When we talk of war,
we must never forget that we are talking about
the lives of the men and women who serve us in the armed forces.
[Not to mention the lives of countless non-Americans.]
We have a duty and responsibility to insure that
all options short of war are exhausted
before any decision to enter into conflict is made.
On the issue of Iran,
the United States hasn’t even come close
to exhausting the available options.

The solution to this problem is clear.
The most logical course would be
to put Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a flight to Tehran,
where she could negotiate directly with the principal players on the Iranian side, including Supreme Leader Khamenei.
If Administration officials actually engaged with the Iranians,
they would have an eye-opening experience.
Of course, Rice would need to come with a revamped US policy, one that
  • rejects regime change,
  • provides security guarantees for Iran as it is currently governed and
  • would be willing to recognize Iran’s legitimate right to enrich uranium
    under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
    (although under stringent UN inspections,
    and perhaps limited to the operation of a single 164-centrifuge cascade).

Rice would undoubtedly be surprised
at the degree of moderation (and pro-American sentiment)
that exists in Iran today.
She might also be shocked to find out that
the Iranians are more than ready to sit down with the United States
and work out a program for stability in Iraq,
as well as a reduction of tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

In addition to significantly reducing the risk of a disastrous conflict,
such a visit would do more to encourage moderation and peace in the region
than any amount of saber-rattling could ever hope to accomplish.
it would do more to help America prevail in the so-called Global War on Terror
than any war plan the Pentagon could assemble.
In the end, that is what defines good policy—
something sadly lacking in Washington today.

[See also 2006-10-16-Ritter.]

Israel’s Domestic Political Game Raises the Danger of a U.S.-Iran War
by Tony Karon

Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?
New Yorker, 2006-11-27 (posted on web 2006-11-20)

We Must Do What?
by Karen Kwiatkowski
LewRockwell.com 2006-11-27

[A response to 2006-11-19-Muravchik.]

Message of H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the American People

[This is the (English-language) version from Ahmadinejad’s web site in Iran.]

Ahmadinejad's letter to Americans
[This is the version at CNN.]
CNN, 2006-11-29

Iran’s President Criticizes Bush in Letter to American People
New York Times, 2006-11-30

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 29 — Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the American people on Wednesday that he was certain they detested President Bush’s policies — his support for Israel, war in Iraq and curtailed civil liberties — and he offered to work with them to reverse those policies.

The call came in the form of a six-page letter in English, published online and addressed to “noble Americans” that discussed “the many wars and calamities caused by the U.S. administration.” It suggested that Americans had been fooled into accepting their government’s policies, especially toward Israel.


Israel’s Bad Influence
by Charley Reese
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-06

Who Is Planning Our Next War?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-09

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

[O]n 2006-12-30, retired Gen. Oded Tira,
who headed up all Israeli artillery units,
burst into print with this admonition:
“As an American air strike in Iran is essential for our existence,
we must help (Bush) pave the way
by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly)
and U.S. newspaper editors.

We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one
and unrelated to the Iraq failure.”

[Isn’t it interesting how interested in and knowledgeable about
American politics are so many Israelis?]

“Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran,” writes Tira.
Thus, Israel and its U.S. lobbying arm
“must turn to Hillary Clinton
and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party
so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran.”

“The Americans must act,” Tira concludes.
“If they don’t, we’ll do it ourselves ...
(and) we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack.”

According to UPI editor-at-large Arnaud De Borchgrave,
Tira’s line tracks the New Year’s Day message of Likud superhawk “Bibi” Netanyahu, the former prime minister.
Said Netanyahu, Israel
“must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front
first and foremost on the U.S.
The goal being to encourage President Bush
to live up to specific pledges
he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons.
[To whom did he make those pledges?]
We must make clear
to the (U.S.) government, the Congress and the American public
that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world,
not only Israel.”

Israel’s war, says Bibi, must be sold as America’s war.


Needed today are courageous men and women of both parties
who will introduce and pass a congressional resolution stating,
“In the absence of a direct Iranian attack on U.S. forces or personnel,
or an imminent threat of such an attack,
President Bush has no authority
to launch a pre-emptive strike or a preventive war on Iran.”

If we are going to war, let us do it constitutionally, for once,
and not leave it up solely to George W. Bush and Brother Cheney.

Distracting Congress from the Real War Plan: Iran
by Paul Craig Roberts
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-10

The only purpose of the surge is to distract Congress
while plans are implemented to widen the war.

Weapons inspectors have failed to find a nuclear weapons program in Iran.
Most experts say it would be years before Iran could make a weapon
even if the Iranian government is actively working on a weapons program.
Since the danger, if any, is years away,
why is Israel so determined to attack Iran now?

The answer might be that Israel has the chance now.
The Bush administration is in its pocket.
The White House is working with neoconservatives,
not with the American foreign policy community represented by the Iraq Study Group.
Neoconservative propagandists are in influential positions in the media.
The US Congress is intimidated by AIPAC.

The correlation of forces are heavily in Israel’s favor.

The ‘Surge’ Is A Red Herring
by Paul Craig Roberts
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-12

Bush’s “surge” speech is a hoax,
but members of Congress and media commentators are discussing the surge
as if it were real.

I invite the reader to examine the speech.
The “surge” content consists of nonsensical propagandistic statements.
The real content of the speech is toward the end
where Bush mentions Iran and Syria.

Bush makes it clear that success in Iraq does not depend on the surge.
“Succeeding in Iraq . . . begins with addressing Iran and Syria.”


The “surge” is merely a tactic to buy time
while war with Iran and Syria can be orchestrated.
The neoconservative/Israeli cabal feared that the pressure that
Congress, the public, and the American foreign policy establishment
were putting on Bush to de-escalate in Iraq
would terminate their plan to achieve hegemony in the Middle East.
Failure in Iraq would mean the end of the neoconservatives’ influence.
It would be impossible to start a new war with Iran after losing the war in Iraq.

The neoconservatives and the right-wing Israeli government
have clearly stated their plans
to overthrow Muslim governments throughout the region and
to deracinate Islam.
These plans existed long before 9/11.

Near the end of his “surge” speech,
Bush adopts the neoconservative program as US policy.
The struggle, Bush says,
echoing the neoconservatives and the Israeli right-wing,
goes far beyond Iraq.
“The challenge,” Bush says,
is “playing out across the broader Middle East. . . .
It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time.”
America is pitted against “extremists”
who “have declared their intention to destroy our way of life.”
“The most realistic way to protect the American people,” Bush says,
is “by advancing liberty across a troubled region.”

This, of course, is a massive duplicitous lie.
We have brought no liberty to Iraq, but we have destroyed their way of life.
Bush suggests that Muslims in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine
are waiting and hoping for more invasions to free them of violence.
Did Bush’s invasion free Iraq from violence or did it bring violence to Iraq?

[A precise answer to that question is that
the American invasion created the conditions
that allowed the Muslims to engage in sectarian war.]


The crystal clear truth is that fanatical neoconservatives and Israelis
are using Bush
to commit the United States to a catastrophic course.

Still One More Card to Play
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-12

... Bush has yet another card to play, an ace up his sleeve.
What might that be?

Midway through his speech, almost as an aside,
Bush made a pointed accusation at and issued a direct threat to – Tehran.

To defend the “territorial integrity” of Iraq
and stabilize “the region in the face of extremist challenge,”
Bush interjected,
“begins with addressing Iran and Syria.”

“These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents
to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq.
Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops.
We will disrupt the attacks on our forces.
We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria.
And we will seek out and destroy the networks
providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

Now, any networks
providing “advanced weaponry and training” to jihadists and insurgents
are outside Iraq.
Otherwise, they would have been neutralized by air strikes already.

So, where are they?
Answer: inside Syria and Iran.
And Bush says we are going to “seek out and destroy” these networks.

Which suggests to this writer that, while the “surge” is modest,
Bush has in mind a different kind of escalation –
widening the war by attacking the source of instability in the region:

“I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group
to the region,” said Bush.
“We will deploy ...
Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.”

But there is no need for more carrier-based fighter-bombers in Iraq.
And the insurgents have no missiles against which
anyone would need Patriot missiles to defend.
You only need Patriots if your target country has missiles
with which to retaliate against you.

What Bush signaled in the clear Wednesday is that
air strikes on Iranian “networks” are being planned.
That would produce an Iranian response.
That response would trigger US strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities,
for which Israel and the neocons are howling.

And should this scenario play out,
what would Hillary, Biden, Kerry, McCain, Giuliani,
and even Pelosi and Obama do?
Hail Bush as a Churchill.
At first.

And Bush would have another legacy than a lost war in Iraq.
Like Menachem Begin, only big-time, he would have his own Osirak.

Did the U.S. just provoke Iran?
By Juan Cole
Salon, 2007-01-12

Thursday’s raid on the Iranian consulate is more evidence that
President Bush is ready to escalate the conflict.

The Logic of a Wider Mideast War
By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews.com, 2007-01-14

[T]here are ... strong reasons to suspect the Iraq War may soon spill over
to Iran and possibly Syria.

It's All About Iran
Washington wants war...
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-15

Stop the Next War
Before it starts. Support H. J. Resolution 14.
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-19

Intelligence vs. Evidence
The Axis of Deception is lying us into war – again
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-22

Wayne White,
who worked as a top analyst for the State Department’s own intelligence agency,
has also revealed the frightening scope of this administration’s war intentions:
I’ve seen some of the planning....
You’re not talking about a surgical strike.
You’re talking about a war against Iran
that likely would destabilize the Middle East for years.
We’re not talking about just surgical strikes against an array of targets inside Iran.
We’re talking about clearing a path to the targets by taking out
much of the Iranian Air Force,
Kilo submarines,
anti-ship missiles that could target commerce or U.S. warships in the Gulf,
and maybe even Iran’s ballistic missile capability.

Forget the Iraqi civil war:
the consequences of a U.S. military confrontation with Iran
could prove particularly deadly to our troops in Iraq,
where they are sitting ducks for Iranian attacks. As White puts it:

“I’m much more worried about the consequences of a U.S. or Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure,”
which would prompt vigorous Iranian retaliation, he said,
than civil war in Iraq, which could be confined to that country.

Numerous reports that the president is determined to confront Iran,
one way or another,
before leaving the White House have to be taken seriously....

One wonders, then, why House Joint Resolution 14 –
legislation recently introduced by Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.)
which explicitly forbids a U.S. attack on Iran,
except in response to
a "demonstrably imminent" attack on U.S. forces or interests –
has yet to attract more than a dozen or so co-sponsors.
Unlike the weak palliatives offered up on the Iraq question by the Democrats,
the Jones resolution is a binding one.

Although I started making inquiries last week,
I have yet to get an answer from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office
as to her position on H.J. Res. 14.
It's now quite popular to be antiwar when it comes to Iraq,
but Iran is a different story altogether.

Hillary Clinton,
who seems on track to grasp the Democrats' presidential nomination, has criticized the Bush administration for being too soft on Tehran,
and Howard Dean takes the kooky "Objectivist" position that
the Iraq war is a case of attacking the wrong enemy,
the right one being Iran.

Unless the Democrats
and the fast-rising antiwar faction of the Republicans in Congress
are willing to go on record
as explicitly forbidding an attack on Iran,
the presidential exercise of the military option
will hang over our heads like a veritable sword of Damocles.

Israelis prepare public for conflict with ‘genocidal’ Iranian regime
By Anne Penketh in Herzliya, Israel
The Independent, 2007-01-22

Senior Israeli politicians and analysts
appear to be preparing the public for military conflict with Iran....

Escalation of US Iran military planning part of six-year Administration push
by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
RawStory.com, 2007-01-23

[Nothing original here,
but a review of the role Iran has had in the eyes of some
all the way back to 1992.]

Mideast Strategy Increasingly Targets Iran
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-26

Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq
Administration Strategy Stirs Concern Among Some Officials
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post, 2007-01-26

[A news article reporting how
U.S. government policy is pushing toward conflict with Iran:
(emphasis is added)]

The wide-ranging plan has several influential skeptics
in the intelligence community, at the State Department and at the Defense Department
who said that they worry it could push
the growing conflict between Tehran and Washington
into the center of a chaotic Iraq war.

Senior administration officials said the policy is based on the theory that
Tehran will back down from its nuclear ambitions
if the United States hits it hard in Iraq and elsewhere,
creating a sense of vulnerability among Iranian leaders.
[What a loony theory!
They might respond in many other ways.
The only thing this policy is guaranteed to accomplish
is to increase hostilities between the U.S. and Iran,
an outcome which will only aid Israel.
But what else is U.S. policy about?]

But if Iran responds with escalation,
it has the means to put U.S. citizens and national interests at greater risk
in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.


A senior intelligence officer was more wary of the ambitions of the strategy.

“This has little to do with Iraq.
It's all about pushing Iran's buttons.
It is purely political,”
the official said.
The official expressed similar views about other new efforts aimed at Iran,
suggesting that the United States is escalating toward an unnecessary conflict
to shift attention away from Iraq and
to blame Iran for the United States’ increasing inability
to stanch the violence there.


In interviews, two senior administration officials separately
compared the Tehran government to the Nazis and the Guard to the “SS.”
They also referred to Guard members as “terrorists.”
Such a formal designation could turn Iran's military
into a target of what Bush calls a “war on terror,”
with its members potentially held as enemy combatants
or in secret CIA detention.

Homage to Herzliya
The Lobby wants war with Iran
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-26

[An excellent article.]

Expanding the War to Iran: Another ‘Urban Legend’?
by Leon Hadar
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-27

Bush Is About to Attack Iran
Why Can't Americans See it?
by Paul Craig Roberts
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-27

On Iran, Bush Faces Haunting Echoes of Iraq
New York Times, 2007-01-28

But the debate over whether the United States should stick to diplomacy
or take more forceful action is bound to begin right away,
and will sound familiar.
even while accusing the administration of failing to engage with Iran,
are positioning themselves to sound tough.

“To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons,
we need to keep all options on the table,”
former Senator John Edwards recently told an Israeli security conference.
“Let me reiterate — all options.”

The danger of Bush's anti-Iran fatwa
The president's decision to use force against Iranian "agents" inside Iraq
could snare innocent pilgrims, and raises the risk of open warfare.
By Juan Cole
Salon.com, 2007-01-30

Hysteria at Herzliya
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-01-31

When Congress finally decides on just the right language
for its “non-binding resolution” deploring Bush’s leadership in this war,
it might consider a resolution to keep us out of the next one.

For America is on a collision course with an Iran of 70 million,
and the folks who stampeded us into Iraq are firing pistols in the air again.

At the annual Herzliya Conference,
U.S. presidential aspirants, neoconservatives, and Israeli hawks
were all invoking the Holocaust and warning of the annihilation of the Jews.


Wrote the Financial Times’ Philip Stephens of Herzliya,
“I gave up counting the times I heard the words ‘existential threat’
to describe Iran’s nuclear program capability.”

A few weeks back, according to UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave
Netanyahu declared that Israel
“must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front
first and foremost on the United States –
the goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges
he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons.
We must make clear
to the [U.S.] government, the Congress, and the American public
that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world,
not only Israel.”
[Pledges made to whom, and when?]

Israel’s war is to be sold as America’s war.

The project is underway.
According to Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor of the Guardian,
Israeli media are reporting that
the assignment to convince the world of the need for tough action on Iran
has been given to Meir Dagan, head of Mossad.


Yet is the hysteria at Herzliya justified? Consider:

Not once since its 1979 revolution has Iran started a war.
In any war with America, or Israel with its hundreds of nuclear weapons,
Iran would not be annihilating anyone.
Iran would be risking annihilation.

Not only has Iran no nukes, the Guardian reported yesterday,
“Iran’s efforts to produce highly enriched uranium … are in chaos.”
That centrifuge facility at Natanz is
“archaic, prone to breakdown,
and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.”

There is no need for war.
Yet, Israelis, neocons, and their agents of influence
are trying to whip us into one.
Senators who are seeking absolution for having voted to take us into Iraq
ought to be confronted and asked
just what they are doing to keep us out of a war in Iran.

U.S.-Iran tensions could trigger war
By JIM KRANE and ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writers
Associated Press, 2007-01-31

Iran Clock Is Ticking
By Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews.com, 2007-01-31

While congressional Democrats test how far they should go in challenging George W. Bush’s war powers, the time may be running out to stop Bush from ordering a major escalation of the Middle East conflict by attacking Iran.

Military and intelligence sources continue to tell me that preparations are advancing for a war with Iran starting possibly as early as mid-to-late February. The sources offer some differences of opinion over whether Bush might cite a provocation from Iran or whether Israel will take the lead in launching air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But there is growing alarm among military and intelligence experts that Bush already has decided to attack and simply is waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region – and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home.

One well-informed U.S. military source called me in a fury after consulting with Pentagon associates and discovering how far along the war preparations are. He said the plans call for extensive aerial attacks on Iran, including use of powerful bunker-busting ordnance.

Another source with a pipeline into Israeli thinking said the Iran war plan has expanded over the past several weeks. Earlier thinking had been that Israeli warplanes would hit Iranian nuclear targets with U.S. forces in reserve in case of Iranian retaliation, but now the strategy anticipates a major U.S. military follow-up to an Israeli attack, the source said.

Both sources used the same word “crazy” in describing the plan to expand the war to Iran. The two sources, like others I have interviewed, said that attacking Iran could touch off a regional – and possibly global – conflagration.

“It will be like the TV show ‘24’,” the American military source said,
citing the likelihood of Islamic retaliation reaching directly into the United States.

Bush's Trash Talk About Iran
By Robert Dreyfuss
TomPaine.com, 2007-02-01

Where Congress can Draw the Line: No War with Iran
by James Fallows
Huffington Post, 2007-02-02

The Blame Game
By Gareth Porter
American Prospect, 2007-02-02

Bush's campaign to pin the Iraq quagmire on Iranian meddling won’t wash.

A political bombshell from Zbigniew Brzezinski
Ex-national security adviser warns that Bush is seeking a pretext to attack Iran
by Barry Grey
World Socialist Web Site, 2007-02-02

Why is the US press silent on Brzezinski's warnings of war against Iran?
by Barry Grey
World Socialist Web Site, 2007-02-03

[A very pertinent and important question.
Here is the full text of the article; some of the emphasis is added.]

The major national newspapers and most broadcast outlets failed even to report
Thursday’s stunning testimony
by former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter,
is among the most prominent figures within the US foreign policy establishment.
He delivered a scathing critique of the war in Iraq and warned that
the policy of the Bush administration
was leading inevitably to a military confrontation with Iran
which would have disastrous consequences for US imperialism.

Most significant and disturbing was Brzezinski’s suggestion that
the Bush administration might manufacture a pretext
to justify a military attack on Iran.
Presenting what he called
a “plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran,”
Brzezinski laid out the following series of events:
“Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks,
followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure,
then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran,
culminating in, quote/unquote,
‘defensive’ US military action against Iran...”
[Emphasis added (by Gray)].

Thus Brzezinski opined that
a US military attack on Iran would be an aggressive action,
presented as though it were a defensive response to alleged Iranian provocations,
and came close to suggesting, without explicitly stating as much,
that the White House was capable of
manufacturing or allowing a terrorist attack within the US
to provide a casus belli for war.

It is self-evident that
such testimony at an open congressional hearing
from someone with decades of experience in the US foreign policy establishment
and the closest ties to the military and intelligence apparatus
is not only newsworthy,
but of the most immense and grave import.

Any objective and conscientious newspaper or news channel
would consider it an obligation to inform the public of such a development.

Yet neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post
carried so much as a news brief on Brzezinski’s testimony
in their Friday editions.
Nor did USA Today or the Wall Street Journal.
All of these publications, of course, have well-staffed Washington bureaus
and regularly cover congressional hearings—
especially those dealing with such burning political questions as the war in Iraq.

There is no innocent explanation for their decision to suppress this story.
The Washington Post on Thursday published a large page-two column and photo on Henry Kissinger’s appearance the previous day
before the same Senate committee.
The former secretary of state under Richard Nixon gave testimony
that was generally supportive of the Bush administration’s war policy.

Moreover, the Post’s web edition carried an Associated Press report on Brzezinski’s appearance.
That article introduced subtle but significant changes
to Brzezinski’s speculative scenario of the road to war with Iran
which had the effect of underplaying the sharpness and urgency
of Brzezinski’s critique of the Bush administration.
It omitted the suggestion that a terrorist attack within the US
could become the justification for war,
and it removed the quotation marks from Brzezinski’s talk
of a “defensive” war against Iran.

The World Socialist Web Site on Friday telephoned
the New York Times, the Washington Post,
the Wall Street Journal and USA Today
to ask for an explanation for their failure to report Brzezinski’s testimony.
None of the newspapers returned our calls.

[But note the LA Times did run
a slightly modified version of this testimony
as an op-ed on 2007-02-11: “A road map out of Iraq”.]

As for the television news outlets,
the “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS showed a clip of Brzezinski
laying out his war scenario before the Senate committee,
without making any comment.
“NBC Nightly News” ignored the story entirely.

The suppression of this damning critique of the Iraq war,
the conspiratorial methods of the Bush administration,
and its drive to an even wider war in the Middle East
is one more demonstration of
the corrupt and reactionary character of the American mass media.
It indicates that the establishment media is preparing once again,
as in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq,
to serve as a sounding board for the administration’s war propaganda and lies.

[I am hardly a socialist,
but I have to agree with almost all of the opinions expressed in this column.
The one exception I would make is that what this non-coverage demonstrates
is not the “reactionary” character of the news media,
but rather its Zionist control.]

What to Ask Before the Next War
Don't Let the People Who Brought Us Iraq Define the Questions
By Paul R. Pillar
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2007-02-04

12 Consequences of Attacking Iran
by Jon Basil Utley
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-07

How Not to Inflame Iraq
New York Times Op-Ed, 2007-02-08

Javad Zarif is the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations.

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

[T]he United States administration is — unfortunately —
reaping [in Iraq] the expected bitter fruits of its ill-conceived adventurism,
taking the region and the world with it to the brink of further hostility.
But rather than face these unpleasant facts,
the United States administration is trying to sell
an escalated version of the same failed policy.
It does this by
trying to make Iran its scapegoat and
fabricating evidence of Iranian activities in Iraq.

The United States administration also appears to be trying to
forge a regional coalition to counter Iranian influence.
But even if it succeeds in doing so,
such a coalition will prove
practically futile,
dangerous to the region as a whole and
internally destabilizing for Iraq.
By promoting such a policy,
the United States is fanning the flames of sectarianism
just when they most need to be quelled.

Coalitions of convenience
like the one the United States government now contemplates
were a hallmark of American policy in the region in the 1980s and 1990s,
and their effect then was to contribute to
the creation of monsters like Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Short memories may be responsible for this ill-advised return to old habits.

But who can forget that
Saddam Hussein used the very same scare tactic,
invoking the “Iranian threat”
to extort money, loyalty and military hardware from the region and the world,
only to turn them later against his suppliers?
Who cannot remember that
to contain the supposed “Shiite Crescent” after the 1979 Iranian revolution,
the extremism of the fundamentalist Salafi movement
was nourished by the West—
only to transform later into Al Qaeda and the Taliban?
Why should the same policy in the same region produce any different result now?


The Persian Gulf region is in dire need of
a truly inclusive arrangement for security and cooperation.
Only through such regional cooperation,
with the necessary international support,
can we contain the current crisis and prevent future ones.
I wrote in these pages almost four years ago that
the removal of Saddam Hussein provided a unique opportunity to finally realize
the long sought objective of regional confidence-building and cooperation,
as well as to reverse the dangerous trend of confrontation, exclusion and rivalry.

We have lost many valuable opportunities to effect this arrangement,
with hundreds of thousands of innocent lives shattered in the interim....

The American administration can also contribute to
ending the current nightmare—and preventing future ones—
by recognizing that occupation and the threat or use of force
are not merely impermissible under international law,
but indeed imprudent in purely political calculations of national interest.
As authoritative studies have repeatedly shown,
no initiators of war in recent history have achieved the intended results;
in fact, in almost all cases, those resorting to force
have ultimately undermined their own security and stature.

Rice Denies Seeing Iranian Proposal in '03
Remark Adds to Debate on
Whether U.S. Missed Chance to Improve Ties With Tehran
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post, 2007-02-08

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pressed yesterday on
whether the Bush administration missed an opportunity
to improve relations with Iran in 2003,
when Tehran issued a proposal calling for
a broad dialogue with the United States, on matters including
cooperation on nuclear safeguards,
action against terrorists and
possible recognition of Israel.

Although former administration officials have said
the proposal was discussed and ultimately rejected by top U.S. officials,
Rice, who was then national security adviser,
said she never saw it.

This story is continued with

2007-02-14: Ex-aide says Rice misled Congress on Iran
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent, Reuters

2007-02-14: Is the Bush Administration Lying About Iran?
by Ari Berman, The Nation

No war with Iran
by Norman Robbins
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2007-02-09

Is Bombing Iran Bush’s Call?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-09

In aborting Iran’s nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”

Some version of this threat against Iran has lately been made by
John McCain, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Mitt Romney.

Yet, if an attack on Iran is among “options ... on the table,”
who put it there?
Who gave President Bush the authority to attack Iran?
And when was it granted?
And are all options also “on the table”
if North Korea continues to test nuclear weapons?

What makes these questions other than academic is that
Bush is putting in place military assets
that will enable him to order and effect the rapid nuclear castration of Iran.
But scarcely a peep of protest has been heard
from our congressional leadership.


Bush is putting in place forces to enable him to order
an all-out attack on Iran's
navy, air force, and anti-aircraft, anti-ship and land-based missiles –
and all its known nuclear facilities.

as there is no indication Iran is preparing
any attack on U.S. forces or facilities, or the homeland,
such a U.S. attack would be the first strike in a preventive war –
like the ones Japan executed at Port Arthur in 1904 and Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Only Bush could claim Iran had been repeatedly warned of what he would do.

So, we return to the question: Does Bush have the authority to do this?
If so, where did he get it,
as Congress alone is empowered in the Constitution to declare war?


[M]ember[s] of Congress today apologizing
for having voted Bush a blank check for war on Iraq
might better tell Bush, by joint resolution,
that he has no blank check for a war on Iran.

Or is this Congress, too, terrified of crossing the War Party?

[The fact that Congress has not, and probably will not,
pass such an anti-Iran-War resolution
is not due to pressure from “Texas oilmen,”
but proof positive, as if any more were needed,
that AIPAC controls the American political scene.
God help us all.]

Next Stop: Tehran
by Philip Giraldi
American Conservative, 2007-02-12

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The White House denies plans to attack Iran,
but the signs all point in that direction.


As for casus belli,
an attack might be preceded by a Gulf of Tonkin type incident
in which Iran fires on or otherwise interferes with a U.S. warship.
As two carrier groups
will basically fill the shallow and narrow waters of the Persian Gulf,
the potential for an incident is obviously very high.

At least as significant as the military buildup is
the intensifying rhetoric surrounding the Iranian threat.
President Bush has guaranteed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the U.S.
will defend Israel against Iran and
will not engage Tehran in negotiations.
At the 2006 annual meeting of AIPAC
[Note the depictions of giant flags. Remind you of anything 1930ish?],
the principal Israeli lobbying group,
Vice President Dick Cheney stated in his keynote address,
“We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”
There have been similar, and frequent, iterations of that theme
by Rice, Hadley, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and, most recently,
by the Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns addressing an audience in Israel.
Those who hope that Democrats will stop the rush to war need only note
the repeated excoriation of Iran by party leaders like
Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Charles Schumer.
Howard Dean has declared that
the U.S. attack on Iraq was directed against the “wrong enemy”
while Iran is “the right enemy.”
Dean’s DNC,
which reportedly receives more than half of its funds from Jewish sources,
would be understandably reluctant to oppose war against Iran.

Former [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman
urge an expeditious attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities—
arms inspector Scott Ritter has called the drive to attack Iran a policy
“made in Israel.”
And outspoken former Israeli Brigadier General Oded Tira
has called on the Israeli lobby to
engage Democratic hawks and exploit media connections
to bring about action against Iran:
President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran.
As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence,
we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party
(which is conducting itself foolishly) and U.S. newspaper editors.
We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one
and unrelated to the Iraq failure.

Tira joins other advocates of war with Iran in recognizing
the power of the mainstream media to prime the public for an attack.
Four separate Iran groups working within the U.S. government—
and staffed by many of the same individuals who brought about the Iraq War—
will likely preface military action against Tehran with
a series of leaked stories to latter-day Judith Millers
demonizing the designated enemy.
As with the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq,
ideologically driven intelligence centers
relying on dubious sources like the terrorist group Mujahadeen e Khalq
have been established at the Pentagon and elsewhere
to offer alarmist assessments of Iran.

The propagandizing effort has already begun.
A late-2006 series of largely fictional Israeli-generated stories
in Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspapers of London
hyped the Iranian threat.
Most recently, the Times reported that
Israel is preparing for its own attack on three key Iranian nuclear facilities.
The planning reportedly includes use of nuclear devices
to eliminate deeply buried facilities,
a refinement to the story added to encourage the United States to attack instead,
as the U.S. believes it could take out the targets without using nuclear weapons.

Wake Up!
The Next War Is Coming

by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-13

[W]hy not stop it, Senator Rockefeller?
Stop the war against Iran before it starts.

You are chair of the intelligence committee.
You don’t have to be stonewalled,
as previous chair Sen. Bob Graham was in September 2002.
Yes, he voted against the war in Iraq
because he knew of the games being played with the intelligence.
But he failed to play a leadership role;
he didn’t tell his 99 colleagues they were being diddled.
It’s time for some leadership.

War with Iran?
A series in three parts
By Ken Silverstein

A few days ago,
I spoke with a person who is intimately familiar with the official debate on Iran.
This person told me that
the Pentagon has completed its targeting of hundreds of Iranian sites;
and although he did not believe that a strike is imminent or inevitable,
he does believe that the White House considers itself
to have addressed and overcome
all significant obstacles to a military strike.

So is a military confrontation with Iran coming?

Over the past few days,
I’ve contacted a number of academics, think-tank analysts,
and former government officials
and asked them whether they think military action against Iran
is or is not likely.
I also asked them about the probable consequences of a military confrontation.

Today I’m running responses from independent analysts—
experienced policy experts who study the Middle East.
Tomorrow’s responses will come from former members of the CIA,
and on Thursday we’ll wrap up
with opinions from people working at major think tanks.

2007-02-13: Part one of an online forum: the independent analysts

A. Richard Norton
Wayne White
Bahman Baktiari

2007-02-14: Part two of an online forum: the CIA officials

Milt Bearden
Anonymous Former CIA Official #1
Frank Anderson
Anonymous Former CIA Official #2

2007-02-15: Part three of an online forum: the think-tankers

Steven Simon
Anthony Cordesman
Patrick Clawson

The way the author, Silverstein, describes Patrick Clawson
is typical of how Jews conceal Jewishness, even when it is highly relevant.
Here is (part of) Silverstein’s description of Clawson (emphasis is added):
Patrick Clawson is deputy director for research of
the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Now let’s see how some others describe WINEP (again, emphasis is added):

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
was founded in 1985 by Martin Indyk,
a former research director
for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee

who later became United States ambassador to Israel.


The establishment
of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985
greatly expanded the pro-Israel lobby's influence over policy as well.
WINEP's founding director, Martin Indyk,
had previously been research director of AIPAC
which, then as now, focuses much of its efforts on Congress.
Indyk developed WINEP into a highly effective think tank devoted to
maintaining and strengthening the US-Israel alliance
through advocacy in the media and lobbying the executive branch.

Source Watch

In their controversial 2006 paper about
the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy,
the respected realist scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote that
part of the “Lobby's” success
stems from its efforts to extend its reach beyond Beltway politics
and into the domain of policy institutes.
“The Israeli side also dominates the think tanks
which play an important role in shaping public debate as well as actual policy.
The Lobby created its own think tank in 1985, when Martin Indyk
[who would later become an influential Mideast adviser to President Bill Clinton]
helped to found the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).
Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel,
claiming instead to provide
a ‘balanced and realistic' perspective on Middle East issues,
it is funded by individuals deeply committed to advancing Israel's agenda”
(“The Israel Lobby,” London Review of Books, March 23, 2006).

Right Web

To cloak an organization
founded by a former research director of AIPAC and
dedicated to “maintaining and strengthening the US-Israel alliance”
as “conservative,” without any other description,
can only be considered as a clear attempt to deceive the public
on what the agenda of this organization,
and surely its deputy director of research,
really is.

US Briefing on Iran Discredits the Official Line
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-14

The first major effort by the George W. Bush administration
to substantiate its case that
the Iranian government has been providing weapons
to Iraqi Shi’ites who oppose the occupation
undermines the administration’s political line by showing that
it has been unable to find any real evidence of an Iranian government role.

Contradicting recent claims by both
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
that U.S. intelligence had proof of
Iranian government responsibility for the supply of such weapons,
the unnamed officials who briefed the media Sunday admitted that
the claim is merely “an inference” rather than based on a trail of evidence.


The argument for Iranian official responsibility assumes
that such weapons [“EFPs”] are so tightly controlled
that Shi’ite groups could not purchase them in small numbers
on the black market in Iran, Syria or Lebanon.
It is well documented, however, that
the Shi’ites have resorted to black market networks to obtain EFPs.

What Sort of Greeting Should We Expect in Iran?
An interview with Wayne White
by Scott Horton
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-14

‘Made in Iran’ isn't proof of complicity
By Susan Taylor Martin
St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, 2007-02-15

In Iraq, anyone can make a bomb
Improvised explosive devices don't require international conspiracies.
By Andrew Cockburn
Los Angeles Times, 2007-02-16

Iran’s Chance: U.S. Troubles in Iraq Create Opening for Regional Shift
New York Times, 2007-02-18

[Not specifically about war potential,
this is a good overview of Iran’s relations with its neighbors
(note to neocons: they’re not all bad).]

Iran’s Obsession with the Jews
Denying the Holocaust, desiring another one.
by Matthias Küntzel
Weekly Standard, 2007-02-19

[A more apt title would be “The Neocons’ Obsession with Iran.”]

The Axis of Evil: And Then There Was One
Will the North Korean model be applied to Iran?
by Leon Hadar
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-19

Iran - Ready to attack
by Dan Plesch
New Statesman, 2007-02-19

Regime Change Is the Reason,
Disarmament the Excuse

An interview with Scott Ritter
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-20

Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector and author of
Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change,
says it is a deception that
the U.S. government is concerned about Iran’s nuclear program or that
they mean to use diplomacy to put an end to it,
but instead is
determined to have regime change in that country regardless.
He also discusses some of the likely consequences if America does attack.

So What if Iran Is Interfering in Iraq?
Faulty premises will lead us to another war
by Michael Perry
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-21

U.S. War with Iran would be Navy, Air Force show
DefenseNews.com, 2007-02-21

[A preview of what war with Iran might entail,
especially the naval part thereof;
but the author minimizes the ability of Iran to retaliate against
U.S. forces in Iraq and U.S. interests worldwide.]

Old Europe and the Mullahs
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-22

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Several currently debated House and Senate resolutions
are attempting to create conditions whereby
the White House must go to Congress if it wishes to attack Iran,
though it is widely believed that
such legislative fixes will go nowhere
because of opposition being organized by
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).


Given the current lull,
it might almost seem as if the war party has finally had a reality check
and is backing down,
but to assume that such is the case would be premature.
This respite is in the nature of a smokescreen,
a tactical shift intended to mask
the strategic decision that has already been made
to strike thousands of targets in Iran.

Many elements can still come together to start a war sooner rather than later.
It is now being widely reported that the United States is carrying out
so-called “black operations” inside Iran by special forces
as well as forays that have included
bombings and assassinations by dissidents that the Pentagon supports.
Iran has yet to respond to these operations aggressively, and if it does,
there is potential for an armed clash in which
the US will be likely to claim interference with the right of “hot pursuit”
while chasing “terrorists.”
Also, the Persian Gulf is becoming particularly crowded with US warships.
There is potential for another Gulf of Tonkin-like incident
with Administration figures presumably prepared
to cite an incident involving Iranian warships or coastal defenses
as a pretext for a massive counter-strike.

It also is pointless to hope for something
from the new Democratic majority in Congress
as the neocons also know that
the domestic politics of the situation is on their side
in spite of the fact that the American people do not want another war.
Recently, many presidential aspirants, both Republicans and Democrats,
have addressed Israeli audiences to pledge that
Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
The majority and minority leaders in both the House and Senate
have also spoken in the same vein,
rattling their sabers at Iran.
Congressman Gary Ackerman now heads the Middle East Sub Committee
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
while Ileana Ros-Lehtinen chairs the Middle East Sub Committee
of the House International Relations Committee
[this seems impossible—she is a Republican.].
Both are regarded as passionate supporters of Israel,
so much so that
when Ackerman recently held committee hearings on the Palestinians
he pointedly refused to allow any Arabs to participate.
[What a bigoted son of a bitch!]
All the speakers were either American Jews or Israelis.
[What a treasonous son of a bitch!]

The recent formation of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus
should also be noted
as well as
AIPAC’s highlighting of the threat from Iran
at its 2006 convention in Washington,
an event that featured Vice President Dick Cheney as keynote speaker.
More recently,
Senator Hillary Clinton addressed an AIPAC gathering in New York City.
Neither was shy about threatening Iran.
AIPAC’s formulation that
the option of force “must remain on the table” when dealing with Iran
has been repeated like a mantra
by numerous politicians and government officials,
not too surprisingly as
AIPAC writes the briefings and position papers
that many Congressmen unfortunately rely on.

Knowing that to cross the Lobby is perilous,
Congressmen from both parties squirm and become uneasy
when pressured by AIPAC to “protect Israel,”
even if it means yet another unwinnable war for the United States.
The neocons know full well that
if a war with Iran were to be started either inadvertently or by design,
few within America’s political system
would be brave enough to stand up in opposition.

[AIPAC has consistently
opposed all efforts to bring about a rapprochement with the Muslim world
aggressively fanning the flames of war with that world.
Their interests are those of Israel, not those of the United States,
a fifth column if there ever was one.

But, it must be said,
all too many Americans share their desire to transform the Middle East
in a direction more favorable to
Zionism, Christian or otherwise, feminism, or more generally “progressivism.”]

Talking Points for the Next War
by Michael T. Klare and Tom Engelhardt
Antiwar.com, 2007-02-26

Dems’ Me-Too Iran Talk
by Gareth Porter
TomPaine.com, 2007-02-26

Who Will Stop The Next War?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
American Conservative, 2007-02-26

Persian Gulf of Tonkin Incident
by Leon Hadar
American Conservative, 2007-02-26

Spoiling for another fight, the United States may try to provoke Iran.

From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
by Craig Unger
Vanity Fair, 2007-03

The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war
have been using the same tactics—
alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on W.M.D.—
to push for the bombing of Iran.
As President Bush ups the pressure on Tehran,
is he planning to double his Middle East bet?

Iran’s Very Bad N-Word
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-01

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Sen. [Lindsay] Graham [R-SC] ...
sounded as if he had just come from a briefing by the Israeli extreme right
who, with Cheney,
are pushing hard for a U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Graham said he thought economic sanctions could work and that
they were “the only thing left short of military action.”
For Graham it was very simple.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust and,
if Iran got nuclear weapons, it could use them against Israel.
The clear implication was that
we should bomb the Iranians
if sanctions don’t bring them to heel.

Seldom have I heard an American senator so openly press the U.S.
to mount an attack on a major country
simply because it could be perceived as a threat to Israel.

Neoconservative Eliot Cohen's new position at the State Department
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2007-03-05

As they have done many times before,
neoconservatives, with Iran in their sights,
have installed one of their own at State
to block any war-avoiding rapprochement.

The Redirection
Is the Administration’s new policy
benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

by Seymour M. Hersh
New Yorker, 2007-03-05

[An excerpt:]


In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated,
the Bush Administration,
in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations,
has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy.
The “redirection,”
as some inside the White House have called the new strategy,
has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran
and, in parts of the region,
propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite,
the Bush Administration has decided, in effect,
to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East.
In Lebanon,
the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government,
which is Sunni,
in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah,
the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran.
The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations
aimed at Iran and its ally Syria.
A by-product of these activities has been
the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam
and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq,
most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military
has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites.

Pelosi’s Betrayal: “Antiwar” Democrats cave on Iran
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-14

Pelosi’s Capitulation
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-20

[An excerpt.]

If George W. Bush launches a preemptive war on Iran,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bear full moral responsibility for that war.

For it was Pelosi who quietly agreed to strip out of the $100 billion funding bill for Iraq
a provision that would have required President Bush to seek congressional approval before launching any new war on Iran.

“Conservative Democrats as well as
lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel
had argued for the change in strategy,”
wrote The Associated Press’ David Espo and Matthew Lee.

“Rep. Shelley Berkley [who is Jewish], D-Nev., said in an interview
there is a widespread fear in Israel about Iran,
which ... has expressed unremitting hostility to the Jewish state.

“‘It would take away perhaps the most important tool the U.S. has
when it comes to Iran,’
she said of the now-abandoned provision.

“‘I don’t think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table
if you’re trying to get people to modify their behavior
and normalize in a civilized way,’
said Gary Ackerman [who is Jewish] of New York.”


If Bush now launches war on Iran,
he can credibly say Congress and the Democrats gave him a green light.
For Pelosi, by removing a provision saying Bush does not have the authority,
de facto concedes he does have the authority.

Bush and Cheney need now not worry about Congress.

They have been flashed the go sign for war on Iran.

The Coming War With Iran
Is it inevitable?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-26

The Real ‘Existential Threat’
War with Iran augurs a global conflict
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-30

Brinkmanship Unwise in Uncharted Waters
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-03-31

Craig Murray’s Blog
by Craig Murray

How I know Blair faked Iran map
Former Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Head of the Foreign Office's Maritime Section
Daily Mail, 2007-04-01

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis
How a bid to kidnap Iranian security officials sparked a diplomatic crisis
By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent, 2007-04-03

A failed American attempt to abduct
two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq
was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to
Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?
by Noam Chomsky and Tom Engelhardt
Antiwar.com, 2007-04-06

Diplomacy at Its Worst
New York Times, 2007-04-29

[Paragraph numbers are added.]

In May 2003, Iran sent a secret proposal to the U.S. for settling our mutual disputes in a “grand bargain.”

It is an astonishing document, for it tries to address a range of U.S. concerns about nuclear weapons, terrorism and Iraq. I’ve placed it and related documents (including multiple drafts of it) on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground.

Hard-liners in the Bush administration killed discussions of a deal, and interviews with key players suggest that was an appalling mistake. There was a real hope for peace; now there is a real danger of war.

Scattered reports of the Iranian proposal have emerged previously, but if you read the full documentary record you’ll see that what the hard-liners killed wasn’t just one faxed Iranian proposal but an entire peace process. The record indicates that officials from the repressive, duplicitous government of Iran pursued peace more energetically and diplomatically than senior Bush administration officials -- which makes me ache for my country.

The process began with Afghanistan in 2001-2. Iran and the U.S., both opponents of the Taliban, cooperated closely in stabilizing Afghanistan and providing aid, and unofficial “track two” processes grew to explore opportunities for improved relations.

On the U.S. side, track two involved well-connected former U.S. ambassadors, including Thomas Pickering, Frank Wisner and Nicholas Platt. The Iranian ambassador to the U.N., Javad Zarif, was a central player, as was an Iranian-American professor at Rutgers, Hooshang Amirahmadi, who heads a friendship group called the American Iranian Council.

At a dinner the council sponsored for its board at Ambassador Zarif’s home in September 2002, the group met Iran’s foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi. According to the notes of Professor Amirahmadi, the foreign minister told the group, “Yes, we are ready to normalize relations,” provided the U.S. made the first move.

This was shaping into a historic opportunity to heal U.S.-Iranian relations, and the track two participants discussed further steps, including joint U.S.-Iranian cooperation against Saddam Hussein. The State Department and National Security Council were fully briefed, and in 2003 Ambassador Zarif met with two U.S. officials, Ryan Crocker and Zalmay Khalilzad, in a series of meetings in Paris and Geneva.

Encouraged, Iran transmitted its “grand bargain” proposals to the U.S. One version was apparently a paraphrase by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran; that was published this year in The Washington Post.

But Iran also sent its own master text of the proposal to the State Department and, through an intermediary, to the White House. I’ve also posted that document, which Iran regards as the definitive one.

In the master document, Iran talks about ensuring “full transparency” and other measures to assure the U.S. that it will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran offers “active Iranian support for Iraqi stabilization.” Iran also contemplates an end to “any material support to Palestinian opposition groups” while pressuring Hamas “to stop violent actions against civilians within” Israel (though not the occupied territories). Iran would support the transition of Hezbollah to be a “mere political organization within Lebanon” and endorse the Saudi initiative calling for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Iran also demanded a lot, including “mutual respect,” abolition of sanctions, access to peaceful nuclear technology and a U.S. statement that Iran did not belong in the “axis of evil.” Many crucial issues, including verification of Iran’s nuclear program, needed to be hammered out. It’s not clear to me that a grand bargain was reachable, but it was definitely worth pursuing -- and still is today.

Instead, Bush administration hard-liners aborted the process. Another round of talks had been scheduled for Geneva, and Ambassador Zarif showed up -- but not the U.S. side. That undermined Iranian moderates.

A U.S.-Iranian rapprochement could have saved lives in Iraq, isolated Palestinian terrorists and encouraged civil society groups in Iran. But instead the U.S. hard-liners chose to hammer plowshares into swords.

A High Price to Pay for Ignorance
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-02

Commander’s Veto Sank Threatening Gulf Buildup
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-16

Adm. William Fallon,
then President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM),
expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan
to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf
from two to three
and vowed privately
there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM,
according to sources with access to his thinking.

Poll: 71% of Israelis want U.S. to strike Iran if talks fail
By Aluf Benn
Haaretz, 2007-05-18

[The full text; emphasis is added.]

Fully 71 percent of Israelis believe that
the United States should launch a military attack on Iran

if diplomatic efforts fail to halt Tehran’s nuclear program,

according to a new poll.

The survey, commissioned by Bar-Ilan University’s BESA Center
and the Anti-Defamation League, found that

59 percent of Israelis
still believe the war in Iraq was justified,

while 36 percent take the opposite view.

Some 65 percent believe that the United States is a loyal ally of Israel,
with only 11 percent saying the opposite.
A slightly higher proportion, 73 percent,
described U.S. President George W. Bush as friendly.
Forty-eight percent attributed U.S. support for Israel
to strategic considerations, while
30 percent credited American Jewry and
17 percent cited shared values and a shared democratic tradition.

Regarding America’s importance to Israel, there was near consensus:
91 percent said that close relations with the U.S. are vital to Israel’s security.
Some 51 percent of respondents predicted that
the U.S. will ultimately impose an agreement on Israel and the Palestinians,
while 43 percent disagreed.

In addition,
52 percent of respondents
described American Jewish support of Israel as “sufficient,” while
33 percent did not.
About half of all Israelis believe that American Jewry
is in danger of disappearing due to assimilation, the poll found.

For comparison a May 2007 poll for the NYT found that:
“Sixty-one percent of Americans say
the United States should have stayed out of Iraq.”

Now why would 59% of Israelis still believe the Iraq war was justified,
while 61% of Americans think the opposite?
Doesn’t that tell you all you need to know about why the U.S. went to war?
(Note to the die-hard Democratic deniers:
It wasn’t about oil, nor the “military-industrial complex.”)

Note, by the way, this item is posted in both
Israel and the Iraq War,
Iranian-American war?

Prisoner of Her Desires
New York Times Op-Ed, 2007-05-24

Reuel Marc Gerecht,
a former Central Intelligence Agency officer,
is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

[A 1200 word op-ed.
Here is the last paragraph (emphasis is added):]

Neither the Europeans nor the Americans
will find any common ground with the clerical regime
as long as Mrs. Esfandiari languishes in prison.
Until she is freed, it will remain clear that
the regime understands nothing other than brute force.

[In other words, yet another attempt by a Jewish author,
published as a NYT op-ed (compare 2002-09-26-Pollack),
to drive America into war with a segment of the Muslim world.
Anyone who reads the media knows that
the Iranian government is quite correct in at least one of its basic assertions:
that the U.S. is engaged in an officially sanctioned campaign,
covert, semi-covert, and overt,
to destabilize it
(see, e.g.).
They have every right to act in self-defense.
The U.S. foreign policy towards the Muslim world,
directed by AIPAC and their stooge in the administration, Cheney,
is only harming America, while it pleases Israelis.]


Cheney Attempting to Constrain Bush's Choices on Iran Conflict:
Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush

by Steven C. Clemons
Washington Note, 2007-05-24

Bush sanctions ‘black ops’ against Iran
By Tim Shipman
Telegraph (UK), 2007-05-27

The Case for Bombing Iran
by Norman Podhoretz
Commentary, 2007-06

[The article’s beginning and end; emphasis is added.]

Although many persist in denying it,
I continue to believe that what September 11, 2001 did
was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war.
I call this new war World War IV,
because I also believe that what is generally known as the cold war
was actually World War III, and
that this one bears a closer resemblance to that great conflict
than it does to World War II.
Like the cold war,
as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize,
the one we are now in has ideological roots,
pitting us against Islamofascism,
yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated
first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and
then in the shape of Communism;
it is global in scope;
it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and
it is likely to go on for decades.

What follows from this way of looking at the last five years is that
the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood
if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right.
Instead we have to see them as fronts or theaters that have been opened up
in the early stages of a protracted global struggle.
The same thing is true of Iran.
As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology
against which we have been fighting since 9/11,
and as
(according to the State Department’s latest annual report on the subject)
the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism’s weapon of choice,
Iran too is a front in World War IV.
Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it
the potentially most dangerous one of all.

[F]or all their retrospective remorse
over the wholesale slaughter of Jews back then,
the Europeans seem no readier to lift a finger to prevent a second Holocaust
than they were the first time around.

Not so George W. Bush, a man who knows evil when he sees it
and who has demonstrated an unfailingly courageous willingness
to endure vilification and contumely
in setting his face against it.
It now remains to be seen whether this President,
battered more mercilessly and with less justification
than any other in living memory, and
weakened politically by the enemies
of his policy in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular,
will find it possible to take
the only action
that can stop Iran from following through
on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel.

As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he will.

Rice Plays Down Hawkish Talk About Iran
New York Times, 2007-06-02

Lieberman Backs Limited U.S. Attacks on Iran
New York Times, 2007-06-10

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman,
an independent who strongly supports the war in Iraq
(who “happens” to be Jewish),
said today that
unless Iran stops training Iraqis to carry out anti-coalition attacks,
the United States should launch cross-border attacks into Iran.

“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action
against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq,”
Mr. Lieberman said in an interview on the CBS News program “Face the Nation.”

This could be achieved mostly with air attacks, Mr. Lieberman said, adding,
“I’m not talking about a massive ground invasion of Iran.”

The comment from Mr. Lieberman of Connecticut,
who is sometimes a swing vote in the closely divided Senate,
went far beyond the official position in the Bush administration,
which has warned Iran about supporting Iraqi insurgents
but also recently held high-level talks with Iranian officials.
There was no immediate White House reaction.

[There they go, the Jews trying to get us into war with Iran.
Once we start these “limited attacks”, the Iranians will respond,
then we will escalate, and on and on.
It will be full scale war,
with the Iranians having a wide variety of ways
to harass and “terrorize” the United States.
All because of Israel.
Forget the talk about “big business” and “big oil,” pointy-headed Democrats.
It’s all about Israel.
(Cf. 2007-06-13-Raimondo.)

As to Lieberman and his pals trying to blame the Iranians,
remember that Iraq is their neighborhood,
with their co-religionists, the Shiites, in the majority in Iraq.
What nerve he and his pals have complaining about Iranian meddling in Iraq,
when you look at the meddling the U.S. has done.

Note also how the U.S. invasion of Iraq,
so loudly advocated by Jews in the media,
from Jacob Weisberg to Marty Peretz to Tom Friedman on the left
to Kristol to Krauthammer to Podhoretz to various Kagans, Cohens, and Kaplans on the right,
has led seamlessly to an attempt to escalate to war with Iran,
now advocated by Jews ranging from 2006-11-19-Muravchik to 2007-05-24-Gerecht to 2007-06-Podhoretz to 2007-06-10-NYT-Lieberman.
Somebody should give Mel Gibson a prize for accurate punditry.

The moral: Stop AIPAC now!

Accusations Pave Way for Assault on Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-13

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Sometimes it really is déjà vu all over again.
Those who have hoped for a peaceful resolution
of the outstanding issues between the United States and Iran
must have been discouraged to watch the June 5 Republican presidential candidates’ debate.
With the honorable exception of Ron Paul,
the Republicans lined up firmly in support of
a policy to stop Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon
using whatever means are necessary to do so,
including the American nuclear arsenal.
All except Paul derided Iran as the main source of terrorism in the world.
Rudy Giuliani repeated the now familiar
“you shouldn’t take any options off the table”
when asked about the possible use of nuclear weapons against Iran
and stated that he even opposes Iran’s acquisition of “nuclear power.”
Duncan Hunter said flatly that
he “would authorize the use of tactical nuclear weapons” against Iran.
The top Republican candidates united in their view that
the Democrats would be soft on the issue of Iran,
a charge that lacks validity as
the leading Democratic candidates for president
are as bellicose as the Republicans
when it comes to Tehran’s ambitions.

And the media is doing its bit to help the cause,
just like in the lead-up to Iraq,
this time by completely ignoring the issue.
The New York Times’ coverage of the debate did not even mention Iran,
stressing instead disagreements on immigration policy.
The Washington Post also was silent,
as if the general agreement by presidential candidates
to use nuclear weapons to bomb a sovereign nation
that has not attacked the United States
is not newsworthy.

It is arguable that the candidates are
just polishing up their pro-Israel credentials
and are not to be taken seriously when they speak about Iran,
a subject on which they appear to know little or nothing.

It’s All About Israel
What’s behind the calls for the U.S. to bomb Iran?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-13

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The concept of [nuclear] parity
between the Israelis and their Arab-Muslim antagonists
may soon be legitimized,
in spite of the Western taboo against straight talk on this issue,
when the regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf expires
and gives way to an openly Islamist government
that possesses as many as 55 nukes.
Then, perhaps,
the idea of negotiating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East
won’t seem so radical after all.

[No way, Raimondo.
Here’s my prediction:
When and if that should happen,
the pressure on American politicians would be overwhelming
that the U.S. enter into open military conflict
with yet another Muslim state (Pakistan)
to eliminate the threat of nuclear weaponry emanating from it.
It’s not enough that
we are in open warfare with much of Iraq and Afghanistan,
and on the way to war with Iran.
American Jews would demand
that we enter into conflict with a nuclear-armed Islamist Pakistan.
And if that should happen, would Indonesia be far behind
(in starting a nuclear program,
and thus putting it also on the road to war with America)?]


The current propaganda campaign on behalf of striking Iran
a campaign given a big boost by the Republican candidates for president,
who, except for Ron Paul, favor hitting Iran with nukes –
is all about Israel.
It’s as simple as that.

The question before the house is this:
should the United States exhaust itself militarily,
economically, and psychologically
in order to ensure indefinite Israeli domination of the Middle East?
To the Israel Lobby, this is a no-brainer: of course it should.
Anything less than
unconditional support for Israel’s strategic objectives
would be anti-Semitic and “hateful.”

[There they are again:
the by-now meaningless cheap shot of “anti-Semitism” and
the totally unsubstantiated charge of being “hateful.”]

To which an increasing number of policy wonks, such as Brzezinski,
and ordinary Americans, such as myself, answer:
we won’t be intimidated any longer.
It’s high time
the central premise of American policy in the Middle East is challenged
and the specialness of the “special relationship” is held up to scrutiny.
This latest demand –
that the U.S. expend its resources, including the lives of its young people,
in yet another war on Israel’s behalf

has nothing to do with defending the Jewish state
against what Pollak admits is the canard of nuclear incineration at Iranian hands,
and everything to do with
keeping the Israeli boot firmly on Arab and Muslim necks.
And that cause is not worth a single American life.

On the Escalator to War With Iran
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-15

[Its beginning:]

These are the “birth pangs” of a “new Middle East,”
said Condi Rice last summer, as Israel pounded Lebanon.
the new Middle East may make us all pray for the return of the old.

Hamas is today engaged in savage street-fighting with Fatah for control of Gaza.
If Hamas prevails, it could convert this Palestinian enclave
into a terrorist base camp between Israel and Egypt.

In northern Lebanon,
Islamic jihadists are battling the army for control of a Palestinian refugee camp.
Scores are dead.

On Wednesday, a seventh parliamentarian was assassinated with his son
in a Beirut car bomb attack.

In Samarra, the Golden Mosque was attacked again on Wednesday,
collapsing the two minarets that survived last year's bombing.
Gen. David Petraeus is grim about the consequences of what he says
was an al-Qaeda attack to escalate the Sunni-Shi'ite war.

With Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan
convulsed by ever-widening civil wars,
a new danger is that the United States, tied down in two of those wars,
may be about to lash out and launch a third – on Iran.

Let’s Get Serious
What do liberal hawks actually want to do regarding Iran?
by Ezra Klein
American Prospect, 2007-06-14

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

“Israel is again staring down a possible existential threat,”
[Ken Baer] wrote,
“and the United States is once more
facing a serious challenge to its interests in the region.”
So the threat is to Israel,
as well as to unspecified American interests in the region
that face a “serious challenge.”

New Iran Arms Claim
Reveals Cheney-Military Rift

by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-21

Ahmadinejad: "I am not anti-Semitic"
by Juan Cole

[An excerpt:]

This quite false charge that he [Ahmadinejad] is genocidal
is being promoted by Right-Zionists in and out of Congress
as a preparatory step to getting up a US war against Iran on false pretences.
I don’t want to see my country destroyed
by being further embroiled in the Middle East for the wrong reasons.
If the Israeli hardliners and their American amen corner want a war with Iran,
let them fight it themselves and leave young 18 year old Americans alone.

Tom Lantos, Warmonger
The pious old hypocrite wants to gin up a war with Iran
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-27

[As a point of information,
Lantos is Jewish and the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the House.]

Neoconned Again?
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-06-27

That the rhetoric used to justify war against Iraq
sounds eerily similar to
the case being made to start a war against Iran and Syria
is not purely a coincidence.
Many of the advocates of a muscular policy
against countries regarded as outside the pale or perceived as a threat to Israel
come from the same circle of
neoconservatives, “resident scholars,” and sound-bite experts
who move seamlessly from
think-tank to advocacy group to academia and back again.
The pundits who made the case that led to the Iraq catastrophe
are continuing to urge a larger, greater war
that would engulf the entire Middle East,
though many of them are now arguing that negotiations should precede nuking,
if only to prove that diplomacy does not work.


The new drumbeat on Iran
by Stephen Kinzer
The Guardian (UK), 2007-07-11

The Bush team’s latest rationale for bombing Iran
is even lamer than all the previous ones.
But hey, Joe Lieberman buys it. Comforted?

[I think Mr. Kinzer is wrong in one respect.
Lieberman, and the people that he represents,
are the ones that are selling this theory,
their motivation being this,
and Bush & Co. are the ones who [have been forced to] buy it.]

Is War With Iran Inevitable?

by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-07-13

[The original, as well as being longer, contains many links.]

We didn’t just invade Iraq – when we launched “Operation Iraqi Freedom”
the American people not only signed on to
an occupation that resembles, in many respects,
Israel’s occupation of Palestine,

we also bought into a serial war strategy,
the first of which was Gulf War I.
Gulf War II landed us in our present predicament.
Gulf War III – involving, at a minimum, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon –
is about to break out, and no one seems willing to stand against it.

Indeed, the third Gulf War has already begun,
and all that remains is for the aerial phase of it to commence.
The presence of three U.S. carriers in the Gulf
is a prelude to a much larger operation, and, as if on cue,
accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq have escalated,
with the US military now echoing
earlier assertions by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney
that the Iranians stood behind the Iraqi insurgency.
We are, of course, never allowed to see the “evidence” for this claim,
and, in the long, anguishing reappraisal
of the “intelligence” that rationalizes a strike at Tehran
the real paucity of concrete facts backing up these statements
will doubtless come out....

The political build-up to the actual fireworks
reached a crescendo of hypocritical cant in the Senate the other day,
with the passage of an amendment – 97 to nada –
deploring alleged Iranian perfidy in Iraq,
including purported attacks on U.S. soldiers.
This, while we hold their diplomats hostage in a bizarrely inverted replay
of the 1970s Iranian hostage crisis that brought down Jimmy Carter.
Perhaps the regime-changers in Washington are hoping
the same fate awaits Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
If so, they are bound to be disappointed:
such provocations only enhance the authority of Iranian hard-liners,
and make the prospect of conflict with the U.S. more likely.
On the other hand, maybe that’s exactly the point ...

The bipartisan band is striking up a war tune,
as “antiwar” Senator Carl Levin co-sponsors with Joe Lieberman
the Iran Amendment to the defense appropriations bill,
joining with Republican Senators McCain, Kyl, and Graham
in a rousing chorus of rattling sabers.
The amendment accuses Iran of murdering American soldiers,
and of committing other acts of war:
it is, in effect, a declaration of war,
and Senator Lieberman was quite clear about this
on the Senate floor the other day.


How to Talk to Iran
By James Dobbins
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2007-07-22

Israel’s Jewish Problem in Tehran
So why hasn’t Iran started by wiping its own Jews off the map?
by Jonathan Cook
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-04

US Can’t Topple the Mullahs
by Stephen Zunes
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-08

In the Debate Over Iran, More Calls for a Tougher U.S. Stance
By Robin Wright
Washington Post, 2007-08-08

Fourteen months after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered to talk to Iran,
the failure of carrot-and-stick diplomacy
to block Tehran‘s nuclear and regional ambitions
is producing
a new drumbeat for bolder action,
including the possible use of force.

The emerging debate --
evident in an array of new reports, conferences and commentaries --
is still in the early stages,
but some of the language
urging the Bush administration to be more aggressive during its final 17 months
is reminiscent of
arguments from think tanks and commentators
that shaped the case for invading Iraq.

[The article goes on to quote Podhoretz, Kristol, Rubin, et al.]

U.S. Weighing Terrorist Label for Iran Guards
New York Times, 2007-08-15

The Bush administration is preparing to declare that
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is a foreign terrorist organization,
senior administration officials said Tuesday.

If imposed, the declaration
would signal a more confrontational turn
in the administration’s approach to Iran and
would be the first time that the United States has added
the armed forces of any sovereign government
to its list of terrorist organizations.

The Revolutionary Guard is thought to be the largest branch of Iran’s military.
While the United States has long labeled Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism,
a decision to single out the guard
would amount to an aggressive new challenge
from an American administration that has recently seemed conflicted over
whether to take a harder line against Tehran over its nuclear program
and what American officials have called its destabilizing role in Iraq.

According to European diplomats,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned of the move in recent conversations with European counterparts,
saying that a delay in efforts to win approval from the United Nations Security Council for further economic sanctions on Iran
was leaving the administration with little choice but unilateral action.

A move toward putting the Revolutionary Guard on the foreign terrorist list
would serve at least two purposes for Ms. Rice:
to pacify, for a while,
administration hawks who are pushing for possible military action,
to further press America’s allies
to ratchet up sanctions against Iran in the Security Council.

[Come on, newspaper of record:
Just who are those “administration hawks”?
Let me guess that one of them is the über-warmonger (or is that monster?)
Eliot A. Cohen -- note especially this.]


Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy
by Gareth Porter
The Huffington Post, 2007-08-16


[I]t is now clear that at least Vice President Dick Cheney
is conspiring to push through a specific plan for war with Iran.
And Senator Joe Lieberman is an active part of that conspiracy.

US steps closer to war with Iran
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Asia Times, 2007-08-18

The Bush administration has leaped toward war with Iran by, in essence,
declaring war with the main branch of Iran's military,
the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),
which it plans to brand as a terrorist organization.

Tougher on Iran
The Revolutionary Guard is at war with the United States. Why not fight back?
Washington Post Editorial, 2007-08-20

George W. Bush: A CIA Analysis
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-22

[Some excerpts; emphasis is added.]

It is as though I'm back as an analyst at the CIA,
trying to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran.
The putative attacker, though, happens to be our own president.


I have to reveal a trade secret,
which punctures the mystique of intelligence analysis.
Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs
to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues
is available in open media.

It helps to have training from past masters of media analysis,
which began in a structured way
in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s.
But, truth be told, everyone with a high-school education can do it.
It is not rocket science.

[An elaboration on this subject is
You, Too, Can and Should Be an “Intelligence Analyst”.’]


Cheerleading in the MSM
Yes, it is happening again.

The lead editorial in Tuesday’s Washington Post
regurgitates the unproven allegations
that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is “supplying the weapons
that are killing a growing number of American soldiers in Iraq;”
that it is “waging war against the United States
and trying to kill as many American soldiers as possible.”

Designating Iran a “specially designated global terrorist” organization,
says the Post,
“seems to be the least the United States should be doing,
giving the soaring number of Iranian-sponsored bomb attacks in Iraq.”

It’s as though Dick Cheney is again writing the Post editorials.

The latest is also rubbish. And [R. James] Woolsey knows it.
And so do the reporters for the Washington Post,
who are aware of, but have been forbidden to tell,
a highly interesting story.

The NIE That Didn’t Bark
The National Intelligence Estimate on if and when Iran is likely to have the bomb has been ready since February. It has been sent back four times – no doubt because its conclusions do not support what folks like Cheney and Woolsey are telling the president.

The conclusions of the most recent NIE on the issue (early 2005) was that Iran could probably not have a nuclear weapon until “early to mid-next decade,” a formula memorized and restated by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell at his confirmation hearing in February.

One can safely assume that McConnell had been fully briefed on the first “final draft” of the new estimate, which has now been in limbo for half a year. It is a safe bet that the conclusions of the new draft resemble those of the 2005 estimate all too closely to suit Cheney.

It is a scandal that the congressional oversight committees have not been able to get hold of the new estimate, even in draft. For it is a safe bet it would give the lie to the claims of Cheney, Woolsey, and other cheerleaders for war with Iran and provide powerful ammunition to those arguing for a more sensible approach to Iran.

The Next War Draws Nearer
by Scott Horton
Harper’s, 2007-08-23

Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran
by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane
Raw Story, 2007-08-28

The United States
has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning
a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities,
as well as government buildings and infrastructure,
using long-range bombers and missiles,
according to a new analysis.

The paper,
"Considering a war with Iran:
A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East"
(PDF) –
written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert
Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and
Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament - ....

AEI to Roll Out “The Iranian Time Bomb” Sep 10
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2007-08-28

[An excerpt:]

Just four days after the American Enterprise Institute will launch its September 6 “All or Nothing” campaign to save the Surge,
it will debut “Freedom Scholar” Michael Ledeen‘s forthcoming book,
The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots’ Quest for Destruction
(St. Martin’s Press),
a rehash of neo-con arguments for “regime change” –
by military force, if necessary – in Tehran.

Who's Killing American Soldiers in Iraq?
Iran or the White House?
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-28

[Emphasis is added.]

Anyone who doubts that the war party is firmly focused on Iran
need only take note of the August 21 lead editorial in the Washington Post,
which had the heading
“Tougher on Iran:
The Revolutionary Guard is at war with the United States.
Why not fight back?”
The Post,
which regularly features neocons like Charles Krauthammer on its editorial page,
was a principal cheerleader for the Iraq war.
Its editorial accepts at face value Pentagon claims that
  • advanced munitions provided by Iran
    killed one third of the U.S. troops who died in Iraq last month
  • 50 members of the Guard operating south of Baghdad
    are “facilitating training of Shi’ite extremists.”
The Post concludes that
the Revolutionary Guard is “trying to kill as many American soldiers as possible”
and coyly recommends increasing military pressure
while labeling the Iranian group as a terrorist organization
to facilitate subjecting it to more economic pressure.

The Post’s assertion that Iran is already at war with the U.S.
has a familiar ring to it.
It has already been used by
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)
and was originally coined by the Israel lobby.
The big problem with the Washington Post is that it, in knee-jerk fashion,
is accepting any Pentagon attempt to implicate Iran in Iraq as fact.
It is also advancing the premise that
any time an improvised explosive device is used to kill an American
Iran must be behind the attempt.
The Washington Post then uses
its extremely unreliable “fact” from the Pentagon
to make a leap to the premise that
the Iranians are “trying to kill as many Americans” as possible.
This is dangerous language and may be total fiction,
as one might readily assume that
if the Iranians and their allies were really in earnest
about wanting to kill even larger numbers of American soldiers
they could do so.

What passes for thinking at the Post is ridiculous,
but it serves the purposes of an administration
that appears to be paving the way for a new war
before President Bush leaves office.

The Post editorial demonstrates that
it’s not just Fox News beating the drum for war with Iran.
The belligerent posturing by the Pentagon and its poodles in the media
is all too familiar given the U.S. experience in Iraq, and
it is often the “liberal media”
that takes the lead in disseminating the propaganda.

[The significant question here is:
Just whose propaganda is it?

Giraldi suggests that it is the Bush administration’s,
and the liberal media is merely disseminating it.
I think the truth is otherwise:
All the relevant power centers in America are resonating to
marching orders that were, perhaps unwisely,
made public here.]

One of the more astonishing claims
that has surfaced from Pentagon sources in the past two weeks
is that
the Iraqis have apparently learned to aim their mortars better
when they fire into the Green Zone, where the U.S. embassy is located.
That know-how must come from Iran,
at least if one believes the logic employed by the Department of Defense,
ignoring the fact that Iraq had a large army
that included artillery and mortars prior to three years ago.
Where are all those mortarmen?
They are now unemployed thanks to the U.S. occupation.
An independent source in Iraq suggests that
the explanation for the more accurate shooting is twofold.
First, there are numerous informants inside the Green Zone
who are collaborating with the insurgents and militias and
who are helping direct the shooting using cell phones,
not unlike forward artillery observers.
Second, the insurgents are increasingly embedded
in formerly secure neighborhoods close to the Green Zone
in spite of the “surge,”
making the triangulation of the rounds a lot less complicated.

One last comment
on the gullibility of Washington’s self-styled “newspaper of record”
is necessary.
If the Iranians are interfering inside Iraq,
and it is perfectly possible that they are,
where is the evidence?
Doesn’t the Washington Post editorial staff
wonder what the Pentagonese “facilitating training” actually means
before using it in a leading editorial advocating something close to war?
If a large group of 50 Guardsmen is operating south of Baghdad
and supplying Iraqis with advanced shaped-charge munitions,
where is the evidence?
Why haven’t the U.S. Army and the Iraqi security services
caught one of the Iranians?
Where are the weapons?

The New York Times, former home of the redoubtable Judith Miller,
is not much better than the Post.
Its recent coverage of Pentagon claims that Iran is targeting U.S. troops
was similarly accepting of the official line.
In response to numerous complaints about the poor journalism,
its public editor conceded that there should have been “more context.”
Maybe he should have said “content.”
Nearly all of the U.S. mainstream media
has bought in to Sen. John McCain’s line that
the only thing worse than going to war with Iran is a nuclear-armed Iran.

Such thinking, which results in only neither-nor scenarios,
eliminates all other options for resolution of the conflict
and can only lead to war.

Other evidence is also mounting that an attack on Iran is impending.
Former CIA officer Robert Baer,
writing in the Aug. 18 issue of Time magazine,
notes that the current neocon line of thinking is that
the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
constitutes the “one obstacle to a democratic and friendly Iran.”
This is reminiscent of the assertion that Saddam Hussein
was the one obstacle to a friendly and democratic Iraq.
Baer regards the assertion as the latest neocon delusion,
but he also notes, unfortunately, that it informs the White House thinking.
When Baer suggested to his administration source that
the opposite might happen and
a strike on Iran might unify the country behind the clerical regime,
he was told that the Revolutionary Guard’s improvised explosive devices
are a “casus belli for this administration.
There will be an attack on Iran.”

The facts don’t seem to matter at all to the Bush White House
and the true believers still clustered around the mainmast
as the ship of state goes down.
Iran is surely not a model that anyone would seek to emulate,
a fact that is confirmed by opinion polls conducted worldwide.
The polls, which rank countries based on “favorable impressions,”
consistently place Iran at the bottom together with the United States and Israel.
But Iran’s evident disagreeableness does not mean
that it is a threat to the United States or to anyone else
that would justify war.
There is no actual hard intelligence
confirming that Iran has a nuclear weapons program
or that it would even use such a weapon if it acquired one.
There is no solid evidence
that Iran is interfering in Iraq or Afghanistan,
just essentially unsourced comments
from the Pentagon and the American media.
On the contrary, one might easily argue that
it is the United States that is interfering in both countries
after having invaded them.

Both the Afghan and Iraqi governments
claim to have good, positive relationships with Iran,
contradicting many of the American claims and
heightening the impression that
the White House is seeking to create a pretext
for a new war in the Middle East.

[Fitting the Brzezinski scenario.]

War With Iran
It's already started
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-29

[The beginning and end of this column, sans links:]

For months we at Antiwar.com
have been monitoring the situation between Iran and the United States,
parsing the words of administration spokesmen
for any hints of when and how hostilities between the two countries might begin.
We’ve been running reports from insiders saying
that the Cheney faction is pushing for an attack,
that Bush is quite amenable but is biding his time, and
that an assault on Tehran is imminent.
Now the president has come out openly with his warlike intentions.
In a speech delivered Tuesday,
he reiterated recent charges by Washington
that Iran is arming and training Iraqi Shi’ite groups
who are launching attacks on American forces in Iraq,
and he announced:
I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq
to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.

Translation: The bombing begins shortly.

A recent blog item on LewRockwell.com
does much to confirm this well-grounded suspicion.
In a letter to Rockwell,
a former Hillsdale College student describes
the celebratory attitude toward war held by
Hillsdale lecturer Victor Davis Hanson and his fellow neocons
(Bill Kristol, Midge Decter, Harvey Mansfield),
adding this chilling anecdote:
At one point during his class ...
Hanson related a story where he was in the Oval Office ...
discussing the matter of Iran [with the president].
Hanson closed his story by saying that
Bush vowed to do something about Iran before his term expired.


The Democrats’ failure to defund the Iraq occupation has led, inexorably,
to the likelihood of a border “incident” with Iran that will –
tragically, and almost inevitably –
result in a conflict that will draw in every country in the Middle East,
roiling the Muslim world.

[Zbigniew Brzezinski made exactly the same prediction.]

The compromises, the craven capitulations, the excuse-making
for Democrats whose hearts were and are supposedly in the right place
but who succumbed, in the end, to the lure of pork over principle

[No, Mr. Raimondo; in the beginning, middle and end,
I believe they are quite simply, as Ralph Nader has said,
puppets of Israel (cf.),
whose command is the Israeli prime minister’s wish

(see also).]

have brought us to this –
to the prospect of yet another war,
albeit a much bigger and potentially more destructive one.

[The Democrats certainly haven’t done much of anything
to prevent a conflict with Iran from developing,
but let’s not forget that
the Bush administration will actually initiate it, and
the media has only served as an enabler for this war.
What explains the fact that all three, GOP, Democrats, and media,
have advanced the prospects for this war, American interests notwithstanding?
Again, the answer lies here.]

The president's escalating war rhetoric on Iran
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2007-08-29

Antiwar Radio: Charles Goyette Interviews Ray McGovern
Charles Goyette Interviews Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-29

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern discusses
the likelihood of war with Iran and
his hope that the US military would simply refuse,
the Democrats refusal to check the President’s war powers since
pleasing the Israel Lobby is more important to [them]
than stopping another aggressive war,
the fact that the CIA says
Iran is years away from the ability to make a nuclear weapon,
the fact that the CIA knew for certain that
Iraq had no weapons before the war,
why they invaded, and
how to withdraw from Iraq.

Outsourcing the Case for War With Iran
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2007-08-29

On the heels of President George W. Bush’s latest threats against Iran
for its “murderous activities” in Iraq,
the Weekly Standard
has obligingly published a 30-page report by Kimberly Kagan,
spouse of Surge co-architect and
American Enterprise Institute (AEI) fellow Frederick Kagan
and director of an entity called The Institute for the Study of War
[Oh no! Yet another Kagan, mongering for war.
Will someone please turn off that replicating machine?]
Iran’s Proxy War Against the United States and the Iraqi Government” .
The report seems intended to back up
a series of Bush’s assertions from his American Legion speech in Reno Wednesday
about alleged Iranian support for and arming of “Shia extremists.”
The coincidence of the speech and the report
suggests some co-ordination between the White House and the Standard
since the report itself would be the kind of product
that would normally be put out by the State Department and/or the Pentagon.
It would not be surprising if Cheney alludes to it
in his next public appearance or media interview.


[Kimberly’s] brother-in-law is Robert Kagan,
one of neo-conservatism’s leading thinkers.
Which once again helps illustrate just how small and incestuous
the neo-conservative elite is, what with
the Kristol-Himmelfarbs,
the Podhoretz-Decter-Abrams,
the Kagans,
the Gaffneys (Frank and Devon) siblings, and
the Ledeens (Michael, Barbara, and Simone),
to the most prominent.
It’s no wonder that they are so susceptible to groupthink.
[It’s not groupthink so much as puppets all reacting to a common puppet master,
who gave his marching orders here.]

Showdown Over Iran
We can stop the coming war with Iran –
but concerned Americans must act quickly
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-31

Bush Puts Iran in Crosshairs
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-31

Not another warning about war with Iran!
Well, suck it up.
President George W. Bush’s speech Tuesday [08-28]
makes clear his plan to attack Iran,
and how the intelligence, as was the case before the attack on Iraq,
is being “fixed around the policy.”
It’s not about putative Iranian “weapons of mass destruction” –
not even ostensibly.
It is about the requirement for a scapegoat for U.S. reverses in Iraq,
and the felt need to create a casus belli
by provoking Iran in such a way as to “justify” armed retaliation –
perhaps extending to an attempt to destroy its nuclear-related facilities.


Bottom Line

In my view, air strikes on Iran are inevitable,
unless grassroots America can arrange a backbone transplant for Congress.

Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran
by Sarah Baxter, Washington
Sunday Times (UK), 2007-09-02

THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for
massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran,
designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days,

according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center,
said last week that US military planners
were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,”
he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest,
a conservative [??] foreign policy journal.
He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded:
“Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action,
the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.”
It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.


Abizaid: World Could Abide Nuclear Iran
Associated Press, 2007-09-17

[Emphasis is added.]

Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,
but failing that,
the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran,
a recently retired commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Monday.

John Abizaid,
the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years,
said he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms,
the United States could deter it from using them.

“Iran is not a suicide nation,” he said.
“I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational,
but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”

The Iranians are aware, he said,
that the United States has a far superior military capability.

“I believe that we have the power to deter Iran,
should it become nuclear,”

he said,
referring to the theory that
Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike
by using a nuclear weapon against the United States.

“There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran,”
Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies,
a think tank.
“Let’s face it,
we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union,
we’ve lived with a nuclear China, and
we’re living with (other) nuclear powers as well.”


Why Bush won't attack Iran
Despite saber-rattling, and the Washington buzz that a strike is coming,
the president doesn't intend to bomb Iran.
Cheney may have other ideas.
By Steven Clemons
Salon.com, 2007-09-19

[The conclusion of the article:]

What we should worry about, however, is the continued effort by the neocons to shore up their sagging influence. They now fear that events and arguments could intervene to keep what once seemed like a “nearly inevitable” attack from happening. They know that they must keep up the pressure on Bush and maintain a drumbeat calling for war.

They are doing exactly this during September and October in a series of meetings organized by the American Enterprise Institute on Iran and Iraq designed to reemphasize the case for hawkish, interventionist deployments in Iraq and a military, regime-change-oriented strike against Iran. And through Op-Eds and the serious political media, the “bomb Iran now” crowd believes they must undermine those in and out of government proposing alternatives to bombing and keep the president and his people saturated with pro-war mantras.

We should also worry about the kind of scenario David Wurmser floated, meaning an engineered provocation. An “accidental war” would escalate quickly and “end run,” as Wurmser put it, the president’s diplomatic, intelligence and military decision-making apparatus. It would most likely be triggered by one or both of the two people who would see their political fortunes rise through a new conflict -- Cheney and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

That kind of war is much more probable and very much worth worrying about.

Turning Ahmadinejad into public enemy No. 1
By Juan Cole
Salon.com, 2007-09-24

Demonizing the Iranian president
and making his visit to New York seem controversial
are all part of the neoconservative push for yet another war.

Once More into the Breach
The neocon propaganda machine rolls toward Iran.
by Justin Logan
American Conservative, 2007-09-24

Dress Rehearsal for War
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-09-26

Ahmadinejad’s visit revives the War Party’s sinking fortunes.

Sanctions Won't Stop Tehran
By Selig S. Harrison
Washington Post, 2007-10-02

[The conclusion; emphasis is added.]

In place of economic and military pressure,
the United States should seek to defuse the Iranian nuclear danger
through bilateral and multilateral dialogue
that addresses Iranian and U.S. security concerns
from Dimona to the Strait of Hormuz
and, eventually,
includes all of Iran's key regional neighbors, including Israel.

Shifting Targets
The Administration’s plan for Iran.
by Seymour M. Hersh
New Yorker, 2007-10-08

The Big Lie: ‘Iran Is a Threat’
by Scott Ritter
CommonDreams.org, 2007-10-08

[The beginning and end:]

Iran has never manifested itself as a serious threat
to the national security of the United States,

or by extension as a security threat to global security....


A careful fact-based assessment of Iran clearly demonstrates that
it poses no threat
to the legitimate national security interests of the United States.
However, if the United States chooses to implement
its own unilateral national security objectives
concerning regime change in Iran,
there will most likely be a reaction from Iran
which produces an exceedingly detrimental impact
on the national security interests of the United States,
including military, political and economic.
But the notion of claiming a nation like Iran to constitute a security threat
simply because it retains the intent and capability
to defend its sovereign territory in the face of unprovoked military aggression
is absurd.
In the end, however, such absurdity is trumping fact-based reality
when it comes to shaping the opinion of the American public
on the issue of the Iranian “threat.”

Military Resistance Forced Shift on Iran Strike
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2007-10-19

Cheney Raises the Rhetoric Against Iran
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2007-10-22

[An excerpt:]

In the harshest speech against Iran
given by a top Bush administration official to date,
Vice President Dick Cheney Sunday
warned the Islamic Republic of “serious consequences”
if it did not freeze its nuclear program and accused it of
“direct involvement in the killings of Americans.”

“Given the nature of Iran’s rulers,
the declarations of the Iranian president, and
the trouble the regime is causing throughout the region –
including the direct involvement in the killing of Americans –
our country and the entire international community cannot stand by
as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions,”
Cheney warned in a major policy address to the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

“The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course,
the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences,”
he added.
“The Untied States joins other nations in sending a clear message:
We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”


The forum chosen by Cheney to deliver his speech
was in many ways as significant as its timing and context.
WINEP, a generally hawkish think tank, was founded some 20 years ago
by the research director [Martin Indyk]
of the highly influential lobby
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
and is funded by many of the same donors.

[For some details, see this
or this web page, using a page search on WINEP.]

AIPAC, in turn,
has led a high-powered effort to persuade Congress
to impose tough new sanctions against Iran
and foreign companies that do business with it,
and, more recently,
to have Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard declared a “terrorist” organization.

As Cheney himself noted Sunday,
his own national security adviser, John Hannah,
once served as WINEP’s deputy director.
While WINEP does not take specific positions on pending legislation or policies,
it is generally regarded as at least sympathetic to AIPAC’s efforts
and often provides the research AIPAC uses in its lobbying activities.

A Boost for Diplomacy
Tough sanctions against Iran are the alternative to military action
Washington Post Editorial, 2007-10-26

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

THE BROAD package of sanctions against Iran
announced yesterday by the Bush administration
offers a badly needed boost to the campaign
to stop Tehran‘s nuclear program by nonmilitary means.
For more than two years, the administration has supported
negotiations by European governments,
U.N. Security Council resolutions and
multilateral sanctions
aimed at stopping Iran’s apparent drive for a nuclear bomb.
It has also offered
broad bilateral negotiations in exchange for a freeze,
an offer repeated yesterday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


If this diplomatic offensive fails,
President Bush or his successor is likely to face
a choice between
  • accepting Iran’s acquisition of the means to build nuclear weapons
  • ordering military strikes to destroy its facilities.
That’s why it is senseless and irresponsible
for those who say they oppose military action --
including a couple of the second-tier Democratic presidential candidates --
to portray the sanctions initiative as a buildup to war by Mr. Bush.
We’ve seen no evidence that the president has decided on war,
and it’s clear that many senior administration officials
understand the package as the best way to avoid military action.
It is not they but those who oppose tougher sanctions
who make war with Iran more likely.

[More lies from the Graham family
(in this case, that of the false alternative).

There is a third (to my mind, far superior) alternative:

Sit down in bilateral negotiations with the Iranians,
with all issues on the table.
See exactly what they want from the United States
in return for verifiable proof
that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

A question for Messrs. Graham and Hiatt:
Just what do you have against such negotiations?

And please, spare us the “it would reward terrorism” line.
The U.S./Israel alliance
has done more than enough damage to Muslim civilians
to render such a high-and-mighty, holier-than-thou,
“we’re the white hats, you’re the black hats” line absurd.
It’s way past time for the U.S. and Israel
to sit down with the Muslims, in Iran, Syria, and Palestine,
and talk about all the issues,
without any preconditions
or posturing in the cloak of innocence and moral purity.

A response to the question above (if not to the above particular asking of it)
appears in 2007-12-05-WP-Editorial.

A similar objective for the negotiations was proposed on 2008-05-18 by Ray Takeyh.]

Yet More Condi Rice Diplomacy
by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com, 2007-10-28

Attacking Iran for Israel?
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-10-31

[Emphasis is added.]

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is at her mushroom-cloud hyperbolic best,
and this time Iran is the target.

Her claim last week that
“the policies of Iran constitute perhaps
the single greatest challenge to American security interests
in the Middle East and around the world”
is simply too much of a stretch.

To gauge someone’s reliability, one depends largely on prior experience.
Sadly, Rice’s credibility suffers in comparison
with that of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
Mohammed ElBaradei,
who insists
there is no evidence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iran.

If this sounds familiar,
ElBaradei said the same thing about Iraq before it was attacked.
But three days before the invasion,
American nuclear expert Dick Cheney told NBC’s Tim Russert,
“I think Mr. ElBaradei is, frankly, wrong.”

Here we go again.
As in the case of Iraq,
U.S. intelligence has been assiduously looking
for evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran;
but, alas, in vain.

Burned by the bogus “proof” adduced for Iraq –
the uranium from Africa,
the aluminum tubes –
the administration has shied away from fabricating nuclear-related “evidence.”

Are Bush and Cheney again relying on the Rumsfeld dictum, that
“the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”?
There is a simpler answer.

Cat Out of the Bag
The Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Sallai Meridor,
let the cat out of the bag
while speaking at the American Jewish Committee luncheon on Oct. 22.
In remarks paralleling those of Rice,
Meridor said Iran is the chief threat to Israel.

Heavy on the chutzpah, he served gratuitous notice on Washington that
effectively countering Iran’s nuclear ambitions
will take a “united United States in this matter,”
lest the Iranians conclude, “come January ‘09, they have it their own way.”

Meridor stressed that
“very little time” remained to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
How so?

Even were there to be a nuclear program hidden from the IAEA,
no serious observer expects Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon
much sooner than five years from now.
Truth be told, every other year since 1995
U.S. intelligence has been predicting that
Iran could have a nuclear weapon in about five years.

It has become downright embarrassing – like a broken record,
punctuated only by so-called “neoconservatives” like James Woolsey,
who last summer publicly warned that
the U.S. may have no choice but to bomb Iran
in order to halt its nuclear weapons program.

Woolsey, self-described
“anchor of the Presbyterian wing of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs,”
put it this way:
“I’m afraid that within, well, at worst, a few months – at best, a few years –
they [the Iranians] could have the bomb.”

The day before Meridor’s unintentionally revealing remark,
Vice President Dick Cheney reiterated,
“We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

That remark followed closely on
President George W. Bush’s apocalyptic warning of World War III,
should Tehran acquire the knowledge to produce a nuclear weapon.
The Israelis appear convinced
they have extracted a promise from Bush and Cheney
that they will help Israel nip Iran’s nuclear program in the bud
before they leave office.

Never mind that there is no evidence
that the Iranian nuclear program is any more weapons-related than
the one
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld persuaded
President Gerald Ford to approve in 1976
for Westinghouse and General Electric to install for the shah

(price tag $6.4 billion).

With 200-300 nuclear weapons in its arsenal,
the Israelis enjoy a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East.
They mean to keep that monopoly
and are pressing for the U.S. to obliterate Iran’s fledgling nuclear program.

Anyone aware of Iran’s ability to retaliate realizes
this would bring disaster to the whole region and beyond.
But this has not stopped Cheney and Bush before.

The rationale is similar to that revealed by Philip Zelikow,
confidant of Condoleezza Rice,
former member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board,
and later executive director of the 9/11 Commission.
On Oct. 10, 2002, Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia:
Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?
I’ll tell you what I think the real threat is –
it’s the threat to Israel.
And this is the threat that dare not speak its name ...
the American government doesn’t want
to lean too hard on it rhetorically,
because it is not a popular sell.

The political offensive against Iran coalesced
as George W. Bush began his second term,
with Cheney out in front
pressing for an attack on its nuclear-related facilities.

During a Jan. 20, 2005, interview with MSNBC,
just hours before Bush’s second inauguration,
Cheney put Iran “right at the top of the list of trouble spots,”
and noted that negotiations and UN sanctions
might fail to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Cheney then added with remarkable nonchalance:
“Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy
that their objective is the destruction of Israel,
the Israelis might decide to act first,
and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”

Does this not sound like the so-called “Cheney plan”
being widely discussed in the media today?
An Israeli air attack;
Iranian retaliation;
Washington springing to the defense of its “ally” Israel?

A big fan of preemption,
Cheney has done little to disguise his attraction to Israel’s penchant to preempt,
such as Israel’s air strike against the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981.

Ten years after the Osirak attack, then-Defense Secretary Cheney
reportedly gave Israeli Maj. Gen. David Ivri, commander of the Israeli air force,
a satellite photo
of the Iraqi nuclear reactor destroyed by U.S.-built Israeli aircraft.
On the photo Cheney penned,
“Thanks for the outstanding job on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981.”

Nothing is known of Ivri’s response,
but it is a safe bet it was along the lines of
“we could not have done it without U.S. help.”

Indeed, though the U.S. officially condemned the attack
(the Reagan administration was supporting Saddam Hussein’s Iraq at that point),
the intelligence shared by the Pentagon with the Israelis
made a major contribution to the success of the Israeli raid.

With Vice President Cheney calling the shots now,
similar help may be forthcoming prior to any Israeli air attack on Iran.

It is no secret that
former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
began to press for an early preemptive strike on Iran in 2003,
claiming that Iran was likely to obtain a nuclear weapon
much earlier than what U.S. intelligence estimated.

Sharon made a habit of bringing his own military adviser
to brief Bush with aerial photos of Iranian nuclear-related installations.

More troubling still, in the fall of 2004,
retired (Lt.) Gen. Brent Scowcroft,
who served as national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush
and as chair of the younger Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board,
made some startling comments to the Financial Times.

A master of discretion with the media,
Scowcroft nonetheless saw fit to make public his conclusion that
Sharon had Bush “mesmerized,” that
he had our president “wrapped around his little finger.”

Needless to say,
Scowcroft was immediately removed from the advisory board.

An Unstable Infatuation

George W. Bush first met Sharon in 1998,
when the Texas governor was taken on a tour of the Middle East
by Matthew Brooks, then executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Sharon was foreign minister and
took Bush on a helicopter tour over the Israeli-occupied territories.

An Aug. 3, 2006, McClatchy wire story by Ron Hutcheson quotes Matthew Brooks:
“If there’s a starting point for George W. Bush’s attachment to Israel,
it’s the day in late 1998,
when he stood on a hilltop where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount,
and, with eyes brimming with tears,
read aloud from his favorite hymn, ‘Amazing Grace.’
He was very emotional.
It was a tear-filled experience.
He brought Israel back home with him in his heart.
I think he came away profoundly moved.”

Bush made gratuitous but revealing reference to that trip
at the first meeting of his National Security Council on Jan. 30, 2001.

After announcing he would abandon
the decades-long role of “honest broker” between Israelis and Palestinians
and would tilt pronouncedly toward Israel,
Bush said
he would let Sharon resolve the dispute however he saw fit.

At that point he brought up
his trip to Israel with the Republican Jewish Coalition
and the flight over Palestinian camps,
but there was no sense of concern for the lot of the Palestinians.

In Ron Suskind’s Price of Loyalty, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill,
who was at the NSC meeting, quotes Bush:
“Looked real bad down there,”
the president said with a frown.
Then Bush said it was time to end America’s efforts in the region.
“I don’t see much we can do over there at this point,”
he said.

O’Neill also reported that Colin Powell,
the newly minted but nominal secretary of state,
was taken completely by surprise
at this nonchalant jettisoning of long-standing policy.

Powell demurred, warning that
this would unleash Sharon and
“the consequences could be dire, especially for the Palestinians.”
But according to O’Neill, Bush just shrugged, saying,
“Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things.”
O’Neill says that Powell seemed “startled.”

It is a safe bet that the vice president was in no way startled.

What Now?
The only thing that seems to be standing in the way of
a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities
is foot-dragging by the U.S. military.

It seems likely that the senior military have told the president and Cheney:

This time let us brief you
on what to expect on Day 2, on Week 4, on Month 6 –
and on the many serious things Iran can do to Israel,
and to us in Iraq and elsewhere.

CentCom commander Adm. William Fallon is reliably reported to have said,
“We are not going to do Iran on my watch.”
And in an online Q&A, award-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest
recently spoke of a possible “revolt”
if pilots were ordered to fly missions against Iran.
She added:
“This is a little bit of hyperbole, but not much.
Just look at what Gen. [George] Casey, the Army chief, has said ...
that the tempo of operations in Iraq
would make it very hard
for the military to respond to a major crisis elsewhere.
Beside, it’s not the ‘war’ or ‘bombing’ part that’s difficult;
it’s the morning after and all the days after that.
Haven’t we learned that (again) from Iraq?”

How about Congress? Could it act as a brake on Bush and Cheney?
Forget it.

If the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
with its overflowing coffers [and tight control over much of the media]
supports an attack on Iran,
so will most of our spineless lawmakers.
Already, AIPAC has succeeded in preventing legislation
that would have required the president
to obtain advance authorization for an attack on Iran.

And for every Fallon, there is someone like
the inimitable, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney,
a close associate of James Woolsey and other “neocons.”

The air campaign “will be easy,” says McInerney,
a Fox News pundit who was a rabid advocate of shock and awe over Iraq.
“Ahmadinejad has nothing in Iran that we can’t penetrate,” he adds,
and several hundred bombers, including Stealth bombers,
will be enough to do the trick:
“Forty-eight hours duration, hitting 2,500 aim points to take out
their nuclear facilities,
their air defense facilities,
their air force,
their navy,
their Shahab-3 retaliatory missiles, and finally
their command and control.
And then let the Iranian people take their country back.”

[That’s the loony part.
The belief that if we neutralize their conventional military assets,
as itemized above,
that that would cause
the Iranian people to reject their current governing structure.
Let’s be clear:
That belief has nothing whatsoever to do with
anyone’s military training or experience.
It does seem to be associated with the neocons.
One wonder if Gen. McInerney really believes that line, or, to some extent,
is saying it for the money.
The neocons have plenty of money backing them.]

And the rationale?
Since it will be a hard sell to promote the idea, against all evidence,
of an imminent threat that Iran is about to have a nuclear weapon,
the White House PR machine is likely to focus on other evidence showing that
Iran is supporting those “killing our troops in Iraq.”

The scary thing is that Cheney is more likely to use
the McInerneys and Woolseys than
the Fallons and Caseys
in showing the president how easily it can be done.

It is not as though we have not had statesmen wise enough
to warn us against foreign entanglements,
and about those who have difficulty distinguishing between
the strategic interests of the United States and
those of other nations, even allies:
A passionate attachment of one nation for another
produces a variety of evils.
Sympathy for the favorite nation
facilitates the illusion of an imaginary common interest
in cases where no real common interest exists,
infuses into one the enmities of the other, and
betrays the former
into participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter
without adequate inducement or justification.

- George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran
That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know

By John H. Richardson
Esquire, 2007-11 (posted 2007-10-18)

Two former high-ranking policy experts from the Bush Administration
[Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann]
say the U.S. has been gearing up for a war with Iran for years,
despite claiming otherwise.
It'll be Iraq all over again.

Republican Senator [Chuck Hagel]
Calls for Unconditional Talks With Iran

by Jim Lobe

'Invade and Bomb With Hillary and Rahm'
Why war with Iran is likely
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-02

Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-09

Is World War III on Hold?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-13

IAEA Again Verifies Iranian Compliance
by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-17

[A fascinating expose of how Zionist-dominated media is mangling facts
to put us on a course for war with Iran.]

A Conservative View of Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-20

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The turmoil in Pakistan might have one positive result:
the need to strengthen the American presence in neighboring Afghanistan
could narrow the White House’s options
and permanently derail plans to attack Iran.
Nevertheless, the likelihood of a war
that will be a catastrophe for both belligerents,
almost certainly for the entire Middle East, and
possibly for the world at large,
remains at a high level.
War might even be regarded as inevitable
because it is the only option remaining for decision-makers in Washington,
who have effectively closed the door
on other approaches that might reduced the level of hostility.

Contrary to the repeated assertions by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
an endless series of threats emanating from Washington
is not diplomacy.

[While it is common in many circles
to ascribe the malignant tactics of the War Party
to members of the Bush administration, in fact
the media is at least as culpable.
In the current situation, for example,
note that a WP 2007-10-26 editorial also clearly
(mis)described sanctions as “a diplomatic offensive”
(see the initial phrase of this paragraph).]

The United States is refusing to negotiate with Iran, and
the only obstacle to a war from the U.S. side is
the resistance coming from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
and some military and naval officers,
most notably the Central Command’s Admiral William Fallon,
who are heavily outnumbered
by those in the administration and outside it who are pro-war.
Anti-Iranian resolutions pass by large majorities in Congress.
Both parties and nearly all the presidential candidates
assert the necessity of war to disarm Iran and
have placed no impediment on its initiation,
the mainstream media is as acquiescent as it was in the run-up to Iraq,
[“Acquiescent” is an understatement.
In many cases (the usual suspects: Podhoretz, Kristol, Muravchik, Ledeen, etc.),
they are leading the charge for war.]

and the latest Zogby poll indicates that
even a thin majority of the public
has been convinced by the war hysteria and is supportive of conflict.
Powerful lobbying groups
like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
continue to resist talks and urge a military resolution.
It may be that few in the White House and Congress
actually want to pull the trigger on Iran
because they are gun shy after the debacle in Iraq,
but the danger of a larger war growing out of a relatively minor incident
is very real,
as is the possibility that
a nervous Israel will play some part in initiating a major conflict
that will draw the United States in.
[Nervous, or crafty, cunning, and manipulating?]

One of the strongest constituencies
supporting military action against the perceived Iranian threat
is voters who describe themselves as politically conservative.

Most also identify as Republicans.
To a certain extent, this support derives from
a desire to support “their president”
rather than from any serious consideration
of what the probable consequences of yet another war in the Middle East
might be.

It also likely stems from a more general belief that the United States
should have a strong and assertive defense policy in a troubled world,
coupled with the irrational fear that “Islamofascism”
is a global force that threatens national security.
Those who see an existential struggle join with the Christian Armageddonists
to welcome an “end days” conflict that pits good against evil,
but they are likely a small minority even among conservatives.

As is often the case,
conservatives should look to the example of President Ronald Reagan
to see how global conflict should be managed.
Reagan won the Cold War against a powerful nuclear armed adversary
through calculated steps that
increased bilateral cooperation on security issues
while at the same time
ratcheting up pressure on the shaky Soviet economy.
The radically different imperialistic foreign policy of the Bush administration
is difficult to reconcile with
the cautious internationalism embraced by Reagan and his Republican predecessors,
which proceeded carefully and sought to avoid involvement in other people’s quarrels.
Bush rarely exhibits other traditional conservative values, such as
a preference for smaller and less intrusive government,
fiscal responsibility,
rule of law, and
regard for the Constitution.
He has convincingly demonstrated that he is not an heir to the Reagan tradition.
George W. Bush, like his father before him,
fraudulently claims the conservative label solely for his own political convenience.

[I think that is a tad too harsh on the Bushes.
On the other hand, I agree with all his condemnation
of the Mideast polices of the Bush/Cheney administration.]

Traditional Republican conservatives and foreign policy realists
believe above all that
war should genuinely be a last resort, not a first option,
and that
war must absolutely be in response to
unambiguous threats to a vital national interest.
It is the White House’s embrace of
permanent war and nation-building in the Middle East
that should be most troubling,
as it has already meant the deaths of thousands of American soldiers.
Fiscally responsible conservatives should also be concerned about
borrowing what will eventually amount to trillions of dollars
to finance wars of choice.
This has resulted in
a plummeting dollar, higher interest rates, and increased energy costs,
which has given China the keys to the U.S. economy.

[There is a more direct reason for that:
The Chinese are willing to work hard and well
for lower wages than Americans will accept.]

Concerning Iran, the United States intelligence community
has yet to complete a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE),
though the report is scheduled to be issued by the end of this month.
Unlike other recent NIEs,
it will not have key judgments released in unclassified form,
which means that the public and even many government officials
will not know what it says.
There is every indication that the delay in the preparation of the report
was due to concerns by the administration that it was not “strong” enough.
The White House will undoubtedly seek to use the document
to buttress its case for action against Iran.

From the conservative viewpoint,
it would be far better if the administration were to use the NIE
to undertake a careful assessment of the Iranian relationship
and respond to that assessment realistically.
No one doubts that the United States and Iran
have genuine differences that include
possible nuclear proliferation,
regional dominance,
support of terrorism, and
Iran’s proper role as a neighbor of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

These differences cannot be resolved with a bombing campaign.
They should be dealt with through diplomacy,
without any preconditions,
and it is up to the United States to jump-start the process because
the United States has more to lose from another war,

most particularly in economic terms.
Far from an extreme or radical position,
positive and comprehensive diplomatic engagement with Iran
was a key recommendation of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and
was also endorsed recently by Efraim Halevy,
the former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.
Conservatives should also eschew
the demonization and disinformation campaign against Iran,
which has muddied the waters and made negotiations more difficult.
Iran has a legitimate, elected government, like it or not,
and it should be treated with respect.
The United States should step back and
make a serious and dispassionate estimate of the genuine threat posed by Iran
without using the words “Hitler” or “Nazis,” or mentioning the year 1938.

who believe that there must be a “casus belli” to justify a conflict or
who are practicing Christians and believe a war must be “just”
should particularly note the lack of evidence
suggesting that Iran is preparing to attack anyone.
The intelligence community believes that
Iran might well have a secret nuclear weapons program,
even though there is no evidence to support that suspicion.
But even if Iran is seeking nuclear weapons,
there is broad consensus that the program is likely not far advanced,
is suffering from technical problems, and
is susceptible to internationally sanctioned steps
to slow it down further
as long as the United States takes the lead
and abandons the role of school bully.

Conservatives should also be skeptical about other claims,
as much of what appears in the media is false or misleading.
Iran has a vested interest in stabilizing both Iraq and Afghanistan,
and the accounts of Tehran’s involvement in both countries,
most recently described as
“conducting operations in our battle space” in Iraq,
have been grossly overstated and frequently based on dubious intelligence.
While Iran is undoubtedly both able and willing
to make the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Iraq uncomfortable,
the allegation that it has been deliberately “killing our soldiers,”
which is the latest congressional pretext for going to war,
is not supported by hard evidence.
That Iran would have any interest or ability
to provide a weapon of mass destruction to a terrorist group
is speculation piled on top of speculation.
It is unsupported by evidence, and observers of Iran have frequently noted that
the regime of the mullahs
has consistently behaved cautiously in support of its perceived national interest
and is not suicidal.
Even if Iran does obtain one or two crude nuclear weapons,
it is difficult to imagine
how Tehran could pose a serious threat to the United States in the near term,
because it can be both deterred and contained.

Finally, conservatives should believe that America comes first.
They should insist that
the United States’ interaction with Iran be based on our national interests,
not Israel’s, Saudi Arabia’s, or any of the other countries’ in the region,
though those interests and concerns can be instrumental in shaping U.S. policies.
Any serious analysis of the growing conflict with Iran will reveal that
there are serious issues between Tehran and Washington,
but the “existential crisis” that has been fueling the talk of war
is largely false in nature,
a concoction of outside interests, including
lobbies, interest groups, the media, and the military-industrial complex.

Evidence on Iran doesn't seem to matter
Japan Times, 2007-11-24

Intelligence on Iran
The new U.S. assessment has some good news --
but the reaction to it could be bad.

Washington Post Editorial, 2007-12-05

[Its conclusion; emphasis is added.]

Democrats and some Republicans are arguing that
now is the time
for the Bush administration to begin a broad dialogue with Iran --
and drop a precondition that the regime first suspend uranium enrichment.
It’s an odd time to recommend such a concession:
The latest European Union talks with Iran last week were a disaster,
in which a new hard-line envoy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
withdrew the previous, inadequate Iranian compromise proposals.
Were the Bush administration
to abandon its insistence on a suspension of enrichment,
Mr. Ahmadinejad would declare victory over the relative moderates in Iran
who have recently criticized his uncompromising stance.
[To the Post,
the U.S./Iranian relation seems to be a zero-sum game.]

That’s not to say
the United States should never attempt to negotiate directly with Iran
about its nuclear program.

before doing so,
the administration should have some indication that
the Iranian regime is prepared to
comply with binding U.N. resolutions and
seriously address other U.S. concerns.

A report by U.S. intelligence agencies is an unsatisfying substitute
for a signal that has yet to come from Tehran.

[So, before entering into negotiations,
the Graham/Hiatt regime wants something from Iran.
But that’s what negotiations offer the promise of obtaining,
in a win/win way for both parties.
I don’t see why anything Iran has done is so nefarious
that Iran doesn’t deserve to be negotiated with,
without preconditions.
To demand things even before negotiations is,
in the common parlance
(even if such elite types as Messrs. Graham and Hiatt
don’t feel the need to use the phrase),
to make non-negotiable demands.
And I, like, I think, much of the rest of the world,
feel that that the U.S. has no right to make such demands
without first attempting to negotiate the U.S./Iran differences.]

Iran: Why Won't We Take Yes For An Answer?
Israel's amen corner tries to spin the NIE report
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-12-07

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.
The context is the 2007-12-03 NIE on Iraq
and the reaction thereto.]

What we are witnessing is
a serious rebellion within key military, diplomatic, and intelligence circles
against our Israel-centric policy in the Middle East.
Critics of the status quo
such as Michael Scheuer and professors Mearsheimer and Walt
prefigured this realist “surge”
by daring to break the taboo against stating the obvious:
our unconditional support for Israel has
crippled our efforts to combat Islamist terrorism,

threatened our security on account of our required access to oil, and
cost us far more in moral and political capital
than the “special relationship” was ever worth.

Here we have a real divergence between American and Israeli interests,
and those who shaped the NIE report were determined that, for once,
the US government was going to go to bat on behalf of the former.
Israel cannot afford to cut the Iranians any slack:
we, on the other hand, are able to put the issue in perspective.
In this case, geography is destiny.


The pushback against the NIE’s “high confidence” verdict
is already well underway,
and you can bet it will be attacked from every possible angle:
it’s not a sure thing,
here’s the parts they left out,
it was written by Bush-hating axe-grinding bureaucrats
who are anti-Semites to boot –
expect the works.
When that barrage fails to make much of a dent in
the growing realization that their entire scare campaign was purest hooey,
the Lobby will switch tactics and assert that
this just proves we need to impose harsher sanctions.
After all, the sanctions worked, didn’t they?
The NIE says the Iranians were pressured into abandoning their program
because of the high costs imposed from outsiders, including the sanctions:
yet what will be the effect of punishing them for compliance?
If they get the same results from not complying,
then it’s all sticks, and no carrots.

Those who want to isolate Iran – let’s call them “isolationists,”
just for the sheer fun of turning the War Party’s favorite epithet on its head –
have one thing in mind,
and that is in ginning up a war.
Isolation is just what the Iranian militarist faction wants:
it feeds into their narrative of humiliation and injured pride.
Our own War Party benefits from this isolationist policy, too,
because Iran is singled out as a pariah among nations, and thus fair game.

It’s time to lift the economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran,
and, not only that, but
we must begin to establish normal relations.
That means more than negotiations:
it means
  • unilaterally dropping the campaign to demonize the Iranian regime,
  • publicly renouncing the goal of “regime change,” and
  • beginning the process that will end
    with the return of American diplomats to Tehran.
For as long as the cold war lasted,
we maintained an embassy in Moscow, and in all the Eastern bloc countries:
in this context, twenty-eight years after the Iranian hostage crisis,
our absence from Tehran is inexplicable.

That’s for starters.
An opening of relations, both diplomatic and economic,
would pave the way for
a comprehensive settlement of the outstanding issues between the US and Iran,
including not only the nuclear question but
Tehran’s relations with Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon.
None of this can happen, however,
until and unless
there is resistance to the power of the Lobby,
which has thus far
successfully superimposed Israeli interests on US policy initiatives,
effectively making us Israel’s instrument in the region.

The resistance is on the rise, that’s the real meaning of the NIE,
and that is cause for celebration –
and yet much more remains to be done.
The national security community has done its part,
and now it is time for the politicians to step up to the plate
and show their own independence
from the most powerful lobby in the foreign policy realm.
As a species, politicians are hardly known for their courage –
and yet, now more than ever,
we need patriots to come forward and make their views known.
HR 1400, introduced by Rep. Lantos and passed by the House in late September,
bars all Iranian products in the US
and greatly narrows the range of allowable exports.
This must be rescinded, at the very least,
in response to this new information:
or are we saying that the Iranian people must be punished
no matter what their government does?

Where are the presidential candidates on this?
Only two have said all along that Iran poses no threat to us,
and that we must trade goods, not threats,
with a nation of some 50 million souls.
Only two have spoken out and said the Iranian people are not our enemies,
and denounced the rush to war:
Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.
Will at least some of the other Democrats now step up to the plate
and give us their unvarnished assessment
in light of this new evidence from our own government?
I’m afraid they must be talking in awfully low voices,
because I can hardly hear a peep out of any of them....

Bush's real lie about Iran

Despite recent claims otherwise,
the White House
has rebuffed negotiations with Iran at every turn
a major strategic blunder.

By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
Salon.com, 2007-12-07

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.
An expanded version appeared as a 12-11 New York Times op-ed:
“How to Defuse Iran”.]

The latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program
raises questions once again
about the Bush administration’s veracity in describing a nuclear threat.
But President Bush’s worst misrepresentations about the Iranian nuclear issue
do not focus on
whether Tehran is currently pursuing a nuclear weapons program
when Bush knew
the U.S. intelligence community was revising its previous assessments.

the real lie is the president’s claim that
his administration has made a serious offer
to negotiate with the Islamic Republic,

and that
Iranian intransigence
is the only thing preventing a diplomatic resolution.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear activities started in the fall of 2003,
initiated not by the United States,
but by the “EU-3” -- Britain, France and Germany.
Iran, for its part,
agreed to suspend its nuclear activities as talks proceeded.
But, contrary to Bush’s statement at his press conference this week,
the United States did not “facilitate” these negotiations.
the Europeans had launched the talks to fill a diplomatic vacuum,
after the Bush administration
cut off its post-9/11 dialogue with Iran over Afghanistan
rebuffed an Iranian offer to negotiate
a comprehensive resolution of U.S.-Iranian differences

earlier that year.

On the day the EU-3 and Iran announced the opening of their negotiations,
one of us was in Paris,
meeting with a senior advisor to then-French President Jacques Chirac.
This official said forthrightly that
the point of the European effort was
to “drag” the Bush administration into talks with Iran
that it had refused to enter on its own.
For more than two years,
the Europeans tried to “drag” the administration in,
but to no avail.

In the spring of 2005, in the face of European pleas for U.S. support,
President Bush grudgingly approved token gestures:
modifying the U.S. trade ban against Iran
to permit the sale of spare parts for civilian airliners, and
dropping his previous veto
of Tehran’s application to the World Trade Organization.
But still he refused to join negotiations.
Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 2005 --
before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office,
after Tehran had suspended its nuclear activities for almost two years --
Iran resumed nuclear development.

Finally, in 2006,
faced with a breakdown in international support
for sanctioning the Islamic Republic,
the Bush administration reluctantly agreed
to join the EU-3, Russia and China in nuclear negotiations with Iran,
if Tehran would again suspend its nuclear activities.
But the administration negated the impact of its decision
by effectively gutting the major powers’ offer to negotiate.

On their own,
the Europeans had crafted an incentives “package” for nuclear talks in 2005,
intended to clarify the benefits that could flow to Iran
from a negotiated settlement.
This package included provisions for
economic and technological cooperation with Tehran.
It also contained a substantial section on regional security,
including offers of
a security guarantee and
recognition of a regional role for the Islamic Republic.
But to have real significance,
such offers needed to be endorsed by the United States --
Europe could not, on its own, assure Iran’s security needs,
especially as President Bush and other senior U.S. officials
publicly challenged the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy.

when the Bush administration finally decided to back
a multilateral offer for nuclear negotiations with Iran in 2006,
it refused to endorse the incentives package
unless the language dealing with regional security issues was removed.

Senior British, French, German and EU officials have told us
they recognized that removing these provisions
would render the package meaningless from an Iranian perspective.
Nevertheless, the Europeans went along --
judging that having Washington join an offer of talks with Tehran
was critical to preventing a complete diplomatic breakdown,
and calculating they could eventually persuade the Bush administration
to support the provision of strategic incentives.

Now, some of these same officials tell us
that this was a profound “miscalculation” --
the administration remains adamantly opposed
to putting strategic incentives on the diplomatic agenda with Iran.

And to this day,
President Bush
refuses to endorse statements by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
that “regime change” is no longer part of the administration’s Iran policy.

The diplomatic efforts of our European allies and other international partners
to broker serious negotiations with Iran are doomed to fail
until this deficit in U.S. policy is corrected.
The Iranian leadership --
a collective in which Ahmadinejad is not the most powerful player --
wants a strategic “deal” addressing Iran’s core interests:
security, the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, and Iran’s regional role.

Even with Ahmadinejad in office, Tehran has tried repeatedly --
through discussions with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana
and other channels --
to elicit some indication that
Washington would be willing to consider
Iran’s security interests and regional role
as part of a negotiating agenda,
but President Bush has consistently refused to allow this.
It is in this context that
the significance of Bush’s real lie about Iran is exposed:

The Bush administration has never offered to negotiate with Tehran
on any basis
that might actually be attractive to the Islamic Republic’s leadership.

The chances that President Bush
will fundamentally change his policy toward Iran,
even in light of the latest NIE, seem slim.
opposition Democrats are not defining a genuine alternative.
Beyond criticism of President Bush’s “saber rattling,”
Democratic presidential candidates offer, for the most part, only
vacuous rhetoric about “engaging” Iran.
But are Democrats prepared to endorse negotiations with Iran,
even if Tehran has not resumed suspension of its nuclear activities?
More important,
are Democrats willing to offer security guarantees to the Islamic Republic,
as part of a negotiated settlement of bilateral differences?

Among Democratic presidential candidates,
only Barack Obama has indicated that he might be prepared to go that far,
and even he has not been willing to argue consistently
for a fundamental reorientation of America’s Iran policy.

Yet this is precisely what the situation requires:
a reorientation of U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic
as profound as the one with U.S. policy toward China
effected by President Nixon in the early 1970s.
At that time, China,
which had tested its first nuclear weapons less than a decade before,
was in the midst of the Cultural Revolution.
President Nixon, however,
recognized the importance of engaging a Chinese leadership that,
although still headed by Chairman Mao,
was prepared to formulate its foreign policy
on the basis of national interest.
Almost three decades after the [1979] Iranian revolution,
the potential for the United States to engage the Iranian leadership
on the basis of Iran’s national interest --
and by doing so generate enormous benefits to America’s strategic position --
remains unrealized.

[Yes, the Bush administration has not negotiated with Iran as it should have.
But it is only reflecting a consensus within the media/political complex.
Which editorial page, and which politician,
is calling for the sort of engagement recommended above?]

How to Defuse Iran
New York Times Op-Ed, 2007-12-11

[An expanded version of their Salon article,
“Bush's real lie about Iran”.]

New U.N. Iran Resolution Considered
Draft Measure Would Impose New Sanctions on Military Unit, Bank
By Robin Wright
Washington Post, 2007-12-11

[This article’s final paragraph
contains the following quote from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
(emphasis is added):]

“[T]the key is still
to get Iran to stop its enrichment and reprocessing
so that we can begin negotiations
to meet the legitimate need for civilian nuclear power.”

[Boy, is this policy wrong.
Why should Iran stop its enrichment and reprocessing
before negotiations?
If the U.S. wants Iran to do that,
then it should be willing to enter into negotiations
to achieve that (U.S.) goal.

In other words,
what the U.S. wants should be
the result of negotiations,
not the precondition for negotiations.]


Rice and Gates Divided over Iran's Role in Iraq
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-03

A State Department official’s assertion in late December that
Iran had exerted a restraining influence on Iraqi Shi’ite militia violence
signaled a major divergence of views between
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
over how to portray Iran’s role in Iraq.

'A Heartbeat Away' From War
With Iran and Pakistan

by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-09

[An excerpt:]

The Iranian “provocation” in the straits of Hormuz
has set the stage for a new “crisis” manufactured wholly by the War Party,
the rationale for which
is uncritically accepted by our passive “mainstream” media.
We are expected to believe that
five minuscule speedboats “menaced”
the USS Hopper, a destroyer armed with missiles;
the cruiser USS Port Royal; and
the USS Ingraham, a frigate.
That’s rather like five gnats “menacing” a trio of elephants.

[Normally I cite and repeat Raimondo’s writings with approval,
and my implicit endorsement.
But not in this case.
Raimondo has this completely wrong.

Modern U.S. warships,
although bristling with
offensive weaponry, sensors, and sophisticated command-and-control systems,
have, literally, a very thin skin.
Unlike their thickly armored World War II predecessors,
they are exceedingly vulnerable to explosives that reach them.
Those Iranian speedboats,
even though they may only displace a fraction of a ton
compared to a 10,000 ton cruiser,
can easily destroy the much larger warship,
either by getting close enough to explode themselves in a suicide attack,
like the attack that nearly sunk the USS Cole,
or by launching any of the
widely available, very lethal, and very hard-to-defend-against
anti-ship missiles,
like those that recently nearly sunk the Israeli corvette INS Hanit off Lebanon
and, in the 1980s,
the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf
and did sink the HMS Sheffield in the British-Argentine Falklands War.

That those Iranian speedboats were gnats
compared to the vastly larger U.S. warships
is totally irrelevant.
All it takes is several hundred pounds of the right kind of explosive,
properly placed,
to sink a multi-billion dollar, 10,000 ton cruiser.

As to the command-and-control aspect,
the first requirement of any naval commander in peacetime would seem to be
to protect his men and the vastly expensive and significant ship
for which he is responsible.
If he failed to take protective action,
and his ship is sunk and numerous sailors are killed,
who will defend him for not having protected his ship and crew?
If he feels his ship is in danger, he must take out the threat.

(For a subsequent article showing how serious this threat is,
see 2008-01-12-NYT-Shanker.)

The point is, I believe, the necessity for the U.S. to either
reduce its presence in the Persian Gulf or
reduce the current Iranian/U.S. animosity,
so much of which seems to be due to the unwillingness of the U.S. elite (e.g.)
to enter into negotiations with Iran,
without expecting Iran to accede to demands
(called “preconditions” by the U.S.)
even before negotiations begin.
At the very least,
U.S./Iran diplomatic relations should be restored,
so that incidents such as this, and ways to prevent them in the future,
may be discussed diplomatically, rather than through the media.]

Iran, Again
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-11

The War Party is pushing us into attacking

Iran Encounter Grimly Echoes ’02 War Game
New York Times, 2008-01-12

[Its beginning (emphasis is added):]

There is a reason American military officers express grim concern
over the tactics used by Iranian sailors last weekend:
a classified, $250 million war game in which
small, agile speedboats swarmed a naval convoy
to inflict devastating damage on more powerful warships.

In the days since
the encounter with five Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz,
American officers have acknowledged that they have been studying anew
the lessons from a startling simulation conducted in August 2002.
In that war game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States,
lost 16 major warships — an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels —
when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf
in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.

“The sheer numbers involved overloaded their ability,
both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack,”
said Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper,
a retired Marine Corps officer who served in the war game
as commander of a Red Team force
representing an unnamed Persian Gulf military.
“The whole thing was over in 5, maybe 10 minutes.”

US, Iran One Misstep From the Edge
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2008-01-15

White House Criticizes Envoy Over Iran
New York Times, 2008-01-30

White House officials expressed anger on Tuesday about
an appearance in which
the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad,
sat beside the Iranian foreign minister
at a panel of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran,
and the Bush administration has limited its official high-level dealings with Iran
to discussions about Iraq, primarily in Baghdad....

Mr. Khalilzad was still in Europe and could not be reached for comment.
His spokesman, Richard A. Grenell,
characterized Mr. Khalilzad’s appearance beside Mr. Mottaki as
just a multilateral conversation with the moderator.”

“There was no separate meeting or separate conversation or handshake
with the Iranian foreign minister,” Mr. Grenell said.
But administration officials said that White House officials, in particular,
were angry about the episode....

The in-fighting reflects
continuing disagreements within the Bush administration
about how to deal with Iran,
and just where to draw the line on engaging its nemesis,
particularly when the administration’s Iran policy appears to be in disarray.
Many State Department officials say privately that they think
the administration should directly engage Iran, and without preconditions,
a view that is not shared by the White House.

[Isn’t that pathetic?
Refusing to negotiate with Iran, for no good reason.
And clearly strictly for political reasons.
And while this story strictly blames the White House for opposing negotiations,
in fact that anti-negotiation position is also
advocated by Washington’s most powerful newspaper.
The White House and the Washington Post editoral page
disagree on much else,
but they march in virtual lockstep when it comes to
war with Iraq and non-negotiations with Iran.
Why is that?
A coincidence or a hidden hand?
Well, no one can prove anything, but I think it is painfully obvious that
the hidden hand is, of course, the desires of Israel.]

Accept Iran's Regional Role, Says French Envoy
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2008-02-05

The Man Between War and Peace
By Thomas P.M. Barnett
Esquire, on web 2008-03-05

[The contents of this article, together with my comments,
have been moved to my post “The military and war with Iran”.]

Delusional Bush Dances Toward War
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2008-04-01

Countering Iran
Tehran's 'special groups' in Iraq
are just one element of a regional threat.

Washington Post Editorial, 2008-04-13

[An example of how the WP keeps beating the anti-Iranian drum.]

Is War With Iran Imminent?
by Justin Raimondo

This time, it's more than a rumor…

Secret Bush "Finding" Widens War on Iran
Democrats Okay Funds for Covert Ops
CounterPunch.org, 2008-05-02

[Cf. 2008-07-07-Hersh.]

Six weeks ago,
President Bush signed a secret finding
authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that,
according to those familiar with its contents,
[is] “unprecedented in its scope.”

Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area –
from Lebanon to Afghanistan –
but is also far more sweeping
in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines –
up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.
[This would copy Israeli tactics.]
This widened scope clears the way, for example,
for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq,
the cultish Iranian opposition group,
despite its enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups.

Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction
to Jundullah, or “army of god,”
the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan –
just across the Afghan border --
whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports
cutting his brother in law’s throat.


Assassins of Peace
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-05-05

The "war on terrorism" now consists of
a worldwide campaign to fund the "good" terrorist groups

Condi Stomps the Mullahs
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2008-05-06

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The war drums are again beating.
It’s beginning to look like
the neocons have cranked up their useful idiots in the Bush administration
for a fall offensive, target Iran.
And maybe also Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians.

The bad guys’ list,
which is remarkably similar to a roll call of Israel’s enemies,
seems to have expanded both vertically and horizontally
at a time when the U.S. military is using paper clips and chewing gum
to hold together its efforts in Iraq.

[Speaking about idiots,
how many leftists still believe that this is a “war for oil.”?
Note that the Dems have no problem stopping Bush’s proposals
for, say more drilling in Alaska and off America’s coasts,
but are impotent when it comes to stopping the Iraq War.]


In George Orwell’s 1984
there was an obligatory “Two Minutes Hate” every day in which
the enemies of the Oceania state were pilloried.
Iran currently endures much more than the required two minutes.

One of the most discouraging aspects of the new wave of Iran bashing
is the climbing on board by the so-called realists in the Bush administration.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
is frequently cited as a force for reason and restraint,
presumably reflecting the misgivings of some flag officers
for a broadening conflict in the Middle East.
But the more demonstrative of those officers,
most particularly in the person of Adm. William Fallon,
have been removed and replaced
by those more amenable to the wishes of the administration,
namely Gen. David Petraeus,
whose moral code appears to be limited to
whatever the White House tells him to think.


Meanwhile, the chief of operations for the senior U.S. military staff,
Lt. Gen. Carter Ham,
broadened the indictment of Iran, citing Tehran’s support for the Taliban:
“There is indication that the Iranian support of the Taliban has continued.”
Ham did not provide any details of what Iran sends or how much,
a hallmark of accusations directed against the mullahs.
Nor does he appear to be aware of the fact that the
Sunni Taliban and Shi’ite Iranians are hardly close friends,
having a long and bitter history that features massacres on both sides,
including the killing of 11 Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif in 1998
by the Taliban.


But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tops the field.
Known for her inability to articulate a foreign policy
based on U.S. national interest,

Rice sits on the political fence most of the time,
a Gucci boot dangling on either side,
but recently it was believed that she was preaching moderation.
Not so any more.
The worst national security adviser and worst secretary of state in memory
has now added to her laurels.
Her understanding of what is taking place in the Middle East
places her only one notch above
the comprehension level exhibited by her boss.

Last Tuesday,
Rice spoke in Washington at the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee.
She said,
“But perhaps of deepest concern,
the leaders of Hamas are increasingly serving as
the proxy warriors of an Iranian regime that is
destabilizing the region,
seeking a nuclear capability, and
proclaiming its desire to destroy Israel.”
[How can any sensible American accept such a misleading statement?
Hamas is not doing what it is doing
because the Iranians want to harm America and/or Israel;
Hamas is doing what it is doing
because of Israel’s actions.]

Rice also described a new “belt of extremism” that includes
the Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah in Lebanon,
militants in Iraq, and
“radicals even increasingly in places like Afghanistan.”
[Just wait,
with a little more prodding from the likes of the WaPo EdBd,
Pakistan will rebel against American pressure too.]

Per Secretary Rice,
that it is “supported overwhelmingly by Iran and to a certain extent Syria,
but particularly Iran,
gives this conflict a regional dimension it has not had before.”

Rice’s problem is that she is spokesman for a worldview that has blinders on.
For her, there are no degrees of bad guy,
and as they are all terrorists anyway,
it is impossible to talk to them.
All who oppose U.S. or Israeli policy are subsumed into the same enemy,
which conveniently reduces foreign policy to
a simple formula that neatly lumps together
a whole range of groups with different antecedents and objectives.

[Now where could she have gotten such an idea?]
It is a vision that guarantees failure
and that actually makes more terrorists than it succeeds in eliminating,

as Rice’s own annual report on terrorism concedes.
While Rice’s ignorant message
was undoubtedly reassuring to the American Jewish Committee,
it should not comfort the vast majority of Americans who are not threatened by
Hamas, Hezbollah, Iraqi militants, Syria, or the Taliban.
Nor are Americans threatened by Iran
unless U.S. policymakers and their neocon drivers make it so
by firing the first shot.
And there is no hope from the Democrats.
Barack will do whatever it takes to make The Lobby like him
[see, e.g., this and this],
and Hillary’s finger is already on the trigger.
Eighty million Iranians will be obliterated
as soon as that 3 a.m. phone call comes in.
One presumes that John McCain will not even wait for the phone call.

Neocons and the truth: Bitter enemies to the end
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2008-05-08

War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think
by Philip Giraldi
The American Conservative Blog, 2008-05-09

There is considerable speculation and buzz in Washington today suggesting that
the National Security Council has agreed in principle
to proceed with plans to attack
an Iranian al-Qods-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants.

The camp that will be targeted is one of several located near Tehran.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was the only senior official
urging delay in taking any offensive action.

The Prime Directive
U.S. war plans targeting Iran are all about "protecting" Israel
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-05-12

[Its beginning:]

It looks like the War Party is victorious,
at least according to Philip Giraldi writing on The American Conservative blog:
“There is considerable speculation and buzz in Washington today
suggesting that
the National Security Council has agreed in principle
to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian al-Quds-run camp
that is believed to be training Iraqi militants.
The camp that will be targeted is one of several located near Tehran.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
was the only senior official urging delay
in taking any offensive action.”

Alarm bells ought to be going off across the nation.
The presidential candidates ought to be debating
whether or not this is the right course.
Obama, the “antiwar” candidate, ought to be speaking out.

Instead, what we hear is… silence.
If ever there was a scoop, then this is a major one.
Yet not a word is being spoken about it in the “mainstream” media.
So much for the supposedly highly competitive nature of the news business.
While I’m a very big fan of The American Conservative
hey, they made me an associate editor! – one has to wonder:
why do we have to read this on their blog and nowhere else?

Of course, the reason could be because it’s not true,
but my sources are telling me that this isn’t just “speculation and buzz” –
it’s for real.
War is imminent.
The markets sense it, too,
which is why the price of oil keeps climbing to record levels.


Charles Goyette Interviews Scott Ritter
Antiwar.com, 2008-05-14

Scott Ritter, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq and author of Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change,
discusses the Chicago city council’s attempt to bring attention of the possibility of war with Iran to the Illinois congressional delegation,
the effectiveness of city council’s antiwar resolutions,
Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ attempt to focus attention on Iraq instead of Iran,
Cheney’s role,
the chances he’s giving that the U.S. will attack Iran,
Iran’s influence in Iraq,
the bad Ho Chi Minh Trail analogy,
Iran’s possible response to a U.S. military attack,
the scenario of a what a war between the U.S. and Iran would look like,
Iran’s air defense system,
why a U.S. strike on Iran would be the worst thing for Israeli national security,
the president’s lack of constitutional authority to go to war,
and takes questions from callers.

A Sensible Path on Iran
By Zbigniew Brzezinski and William Odom
Washington Post, 2008-05-27

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Current U.S. policy toward the regime in Tehran
will almost certainly result in an Iran with nuclear weapons.
The seemingly clever combination of the use of “sticks” and “carrots,”
including the frequent official hints of an American military option
“remaining on the table,”
simply intensifies Iran’s desire to have its own nuclear arsenal.
Alas, such a heavy-handed “sticks” and “carrots” policy may work with donkeys
but not with serious countries.
The United States would have a better chance of success
if the White House abandoned its threats of military action
and its calls for regime change.

Consider countries that could have quickly become nuclear weapon states
had they been treated similarly.
Brazil, Argentina and South Africa had nuclear weapons programs
but gave them up, each for different reasons.
Had the United States threatened to change their regimes if they would not,
probably none would have complied.
But when “sticks” and “carrots”
failed to prevent India and Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons,
the United States rapidly accommodated both,
preferring good relations with them to hostile ones.
What does this suggest to leaders in Iran?

To look at the issue another way, imagine if China,
a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
and a country that has deliberately not engaged in a nuclear arms race
with Russia or the United States,
threatened to change the American regime
if it did not begin a steady destruction of its nuclear arsenal.
The threat would have an arguable legal basis,
because all treaty signatories promised long ago to reduce their arsenals,
eventually to zero.
The American reaction, of course,
would be explosive public opposition to such a demand.
U.S. leaders might even mimic the fantasy rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

A successful approach to Iran has to accommodate
its security interests and ours.
Neither a U.S. air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities
nor a less effective Israeli one
could do more than merely set back Iran’s nuclear program.
In either case, the United States would be held accountable
and would have to pay the price resulting from likely Iranian reactions.
These would almost certainly involve destabilizing the Middle East,
as well as Afghanistan, and serious efforts to disrupt the flow of oil,
at the very least generating a massive increase in its already high cost.
The turmoil in the Middle East resulting from a preemptive attack on Iran
would hurt America and eventually Israel, too.

Given Iran’s stated goals --
a nuclear power capability but not nuclear weapons,
as well as an alleged desire to discuss broader U.S.-Iranian security issues --
a realistic policy would exploit this opening to see what it might yield.

The United States could indicate that it is prepared to negotiate,
either on the basis of

no preconditions by either side
(though retaining the right to terminate the negotiations
if Iran remains unyielding
but begins to enrich its uranium beyond
levels allowed by the Non-Proliferation Treaty);

or to negotiate on the basis of

an Iranian willingness to suspend enrichment
in return for
simultaneous U.S. suspension of major economic and financial sanctions.

Such a broader and more flexible approach
would increase the prospects of an international arrangement being devised
to accommodate Iran’s desire for an autonomous nuclear energy program
while minimizing the possibility that
it could be rapidly transformed into a nuclear weapons program.
Moreover, there is no credible reason to assume that
the traditional policy of strategic deterrence,
which worked so well in U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and with China
and which has helped to stabilize India-Pakistan hostility,
would not work in the case of Iran.
The widely propagated notion of
a suicidal Iran detonating its very first nuclear weapon against Israel
is more the product of paranoia or demagogy
than of serious strategic calculus.
It cannot be the basis for U.S. policy,
and it should not be for Israel’s, either.

An additional longer-range benefit
of such a dramatically different diplomatic approach
is that it could help bring Iran back into its traditional role of
strategic cooperation with the United States in stabilizing the Gulf region.
Eventually, Iran could even return to
its long-standing and geopolitically natural pre-1979 policy of
cooperative relations with Israel.
[Cf. Treacherous Alliance by Trita Parsi.]
One should note also in this connection Iranian hostility toward al-Qaeda,
lately intensified by al-Qaeda’s Web-based campaign urging a U.S.-Iranian war,
which could both weaken what al-Qaeda views as Iran’s apostate Shiite regime
and bog America down in a prolonged regional conflict.

Last but not least, consider that

American sanctions have been deliberately obstructing
Iran’s efforts to increase its oil and natural gas outputs.

That has contributed to the rising cost of energy.
An eventual American-Iranian accommodation
would significantly increase
the flow of Iranian energy to the world market.

Americans doubtless would prefer to pay less for filling their gas tanks
than having to pay much more to finance a wider conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
was national security adviser in the Carter administration
and is the author, most recently, of “Second Chance.”
William Odom, a retired Army lieutenant general,
is a former director of the National Security Agency.
Both are affiliated with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Chronology of a Lie:
Iran and EFPs

CounterPunch.org, 2008-06-04

Preparing the Battlefield
by Seymour M. Hersh
New Yorker, 2008-07-07

The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.

[Cf. 2008-05-02-Cockburn.]

Late last year,
Congress agreed to a request from President Bush
to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran,
according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources.
These operations,
for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars,
were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush,
and are designed to
destabilize the country’s religious leadership.
The covert activities involve
support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups
and other dissident organizations.
They also include gathering intelligence about
Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.

Clandestine operations against Iran are not new.
United States Special Operations Forces
have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq,
with Presidential authorization, since last year.
These have included seizing members of Al Quds,
the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard,
and taking them to Iraq for interrogation,
and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror,
who may be captured or killed.
But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran,
which involve the Central Intelligence Agency
and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC),
have now been significantly expanded,
according to the current and former officials.
Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding,
and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.

Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified,
must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way
and, at a minimum,
must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders
in the House and the Senate
and to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees—
the so-called Gang of Eight.
Money for the operation
can then be reprogrammed from previous appropriations,
as needed, by the relevant congressional committees,
which also can be briefed.

“The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and
trying to undermine the government through regime change,”
a person familiar with its contents said, and involved
“working with opposition groups and passing money.”
The Finding provided for a whole new range of activities in southern Iran
and in the areas, in the east, where Baluchi political opposition is strong,
he said.


The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen,
were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure
to undertake a military strike against Iran,
the person familiar with the Finding told me.
Similarly, a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror said that
“at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders”—
the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world—
“have weighed in on that issue.”

The most outspoken of those officers is Admiral William Fallon,
who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command,
and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In March, Fallon resigned under pressure,
after giving a series of interviews
stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran.
For example, late last year he told the Financial Times that
the “real objective” of U.S. policy was to change the Iranians’ behavior,
and that
“attacking them as a means to get to that spot
strikes me as being not the first choice.”

Admiral Fallon acknowledged, when I spoke to him in June,
that he had heard that there were people in the White House
who were upset by his public statements.
“Too many people believe
you have to be either for or against the Iranians,”

he told me.
“Let’s get serious.
Eighty million people live there, and everyone’s an individual.
The idea that they’re only one way or another is nonsense.”

When it came to the Iraq war, Fallon said,
“Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet.
Some of them were very stupid.”


One irony of Admiral Fallon’s departure is that he was, in many areas,
in agreement with President Bush on the threat posed by Iran.
They had a good working relationship, Fallon told me,
and, when he ran CENTCOM, were in regular communication.
On March 4th, a week before his resignation,
Fallon testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee,
saying that he was “encouraged” about
the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Regarding the role played by Iran’s leaders, he said,
“They’ve been absolutely unhelpful, very damaging,
and I absolutely don’t condone any of their activities.
And I have yet to see anything since I’ve been in this job
in the way of a public action by Iran
that’s been at all helpful in this region.”

Fallon made it clear in our conversations that
he considered it inappropriate to comment publicly about
the President, the Vice-President, or Special Operations.
But he said he had heard that people in the White House had been
“struggling” with his views on Iran.
“When I arrived at CENTCOM, the Iranians were funding every entity inside Iraq.
It was in their interest to get us out, and so they decided to kill as many Americans as they could.
And why not?
They didn’t know who’d come out ahead, but they wanted us out.
I decided that I couldn’t resolve the situation in Iraq
without the neighborhood.
To get this problem in Iraq solved,
we had to somehow involve Iran and Syria.
I had to work the neighborhood.”

Fallon told me that his focus had been not on the Iranian nuclear issue,
or on regime change there,
but on “putting out the fires in Iraq.”
There were constant discussions in Washington and in the field
about how to engage Iran
and, on the subject of the bombing option, Fallon said,
he believed that “it would happen only if the Iranians did something stupid.”

Fallon’s early retirement, however, appears to have been provoked
not only by his negative comments about bombing Iran
but also by his strong belief in the chain of command
and his insistence on being informed about Special Operations
in his area of responsibility.
One of Fallon’s defenders is
retired Marine General John J. (Jack) Sheehan,
whose last assignment was as
commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, where Fallon was a deputy.
Last year, Sheehan rejected
a White House offer to become the President’s “czar”
for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“One of the reasons the White House selected Fallon for CENTCOM was that
he’s known to be a strategic thinker
and had demonstrated those skills in the Pacific,”
Sheehan told me.
(Fallon served as commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific
from 2005 to 2007.)
“He was charged with coming up with
an over-all coherent strategy for Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan,
and, by law,
the combatant commander is responsible for all military operations
within his A.O.”—area of operations.
“That was not happening,” Sheehan said.
“When Fallon tried to make sense of
all the overt and covert activity conducted by the military
in his area of responsibility,
a small group in the White House leadership shut him out.”

The law cited by Sheehan is
the 1986 Defense Reorganization Act, known as Goldwater-Nichols,
which defined the chain of command:
from the President to the Secretary of Defense,
through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
and on to the various combatant commanders,
who were put in charge of all aspects of military operations,
including joint training and logistics.
That authority, the act stated,
was not to be shared with other echelons of command.
But the Bush Administration, as part of its global war on terror,
instituted new policies that undercut regional commanders-in-chief;
for example,
it gave Special Operations teams, at military commands around the world,
the highest priority in terms of securing support and equipment.
The degradation of the traditional chain of command in the past few years
has been a point of tension
between the White House and the uniformed military.

“The coherence of military strategy is being eroded
because of undue civilian influence
and direction of nonconventional military operations,”
Sheehan said.
“If you have small groups planning and conducting military operations
outside the knowledge and control of the combatant commander,
by default you can’t have a coherent military strategy.
You end up with a disaster, like the reconstruction efforts in Iraq.”

Admiral Fallon, who is known as Fox,
was aware that he would face special difficulties
as the first Navy officer to lead CENTCOM,
which had always been headed by a ground commander,
one of his military colleagues told me.
He was also aware that the Special Operations community would be a concern.
“Fox said that there’s a lot of strange stuff going on in Special Ops,
and I told him he had to figure out what they were really doing,”
Fallon’s colleague said.
“The Special Ops guys eventually figured out they needed Fox,
and so they began to talk to him.
Fox would have won his fight with Special Ops but for Cheney.”

The Pentagon consultant said,
“Fallon went down because, in his own way,
he was trying to prevent a war with Iran,
and you have to admire him for that.”


'Bomb Bomb Iran'? Not Likely.
By David Ignatius
Washington Post, 2008-08-03

[The middle and the conclusion; emphasis is added.]

[DNI Mike] McConnell and [JCS Chairman Michael] Mullen
also informed the Israelis that
the United States would oppose overflights of Iraqi airspace to attack Iran,
an administration official said.
The United States has reassured the Iraqi government that
it would not approve Israeli overflights,
after the Iraqis strongly protested any potential violation of their sovereignty.


Reassuring the Israelis of U.S. resolve toward Iran
will be a tricky challenge for the next administration.
[Is that a requirement for the next administration?]
A pro-Israel think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,
has already tried to

lock in a consensus policy
through a high-level task force
that included advisers to both presidential campaigns.

The June 2008 report of the institute
advocated “preventive military action” against Iran and warned:
“An American commitment to deterrence,
especially if seen by Israelis as a substitute for prevention,
is itself likely to spur Israel to consider independent action.”
Among the signatories were Anthony Lake and Susan Rice,
senior advisers in the Obama campaign,
even though Obama is nominally committed
to seeking diplomatic talks with Iran.

The crunch on the Iranian nuclear issue will come next year,
when there are new governments in Israel and the United States --
and a volatile presidential election scheduled in Iran.
For now the United States and its allies, including Israel,
seem willing to pursue the diplomatic track.
But if that doesn’t work --
and there are no signs yet that Tehran is willing to bend --
all the deadly options will remain on the table.

[Some diplomatic track.
The U.S. refuses to directly negotiate with everything on the table.]

September Surprise
by Justin Raimondo

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

According to this report by veteran Washington Times correspondent
Arnaud de Borchgrave,
the close cooperation of the Israelis with the Georgian military
in the run-up to President Saakashvili’s blitz of South Ossetia
was predicated on

a Georgian promise
to let the Israelis use Georgia’s airfields
to mount a strike against Iran.

The main problem for Tel Aviv, in making its threats against Iran at all credible, has been the distance to be covered by Israeli fighter jets,
which would have a hard time
reaching and returning from their targets without refueling.
With access to the airfields of “the Israel of the Caucasus,”
as de Borchgrave – citing Saakashvili – puts it,
the likelihood of an Israeli attack entered the world of real possibilities.

Israel asks U.S. for arms, air corridor to attack Iran
By Amos Harel and Aluf Benn
Haaretz, 2008-09-10

[Its beginning:]

The security aid package
the United States has refused to give Israel for the past few months
out of concern that Israel would use it
to attack nuclear facilities in Iran included
a large number of “bunker-buster” bombs,
permission to use an air corridor to Iran,
an advanced technological system and
refueling planes.

[The (apparent) American rejection of this package
explains why the Graham/Weymouth editorial page has been so frantic
to maintain US support for the Saakashvili regime in Georgia:
Georgia provides an ideal staging area (check a map) for air attack against Iran,
obviating the need for aerial lanes through Iraq.]

Five ex-secretaries of state urge talks with Iran
Examiner.com (AP), 2008-09-15

[An excerpt.]

Five former secretaries of state,
gathering to give their best advice to the next president,
agreed Monday that the United States should talk to Iran.

The wide-ranging, 90-minute session in a packed auditorium at The George Washington University,
produced exceptional unity among
Madeleine Albright,
Colin Powell,
Warren Christopher,
Henry A. Kissinger and
James A. Baker III.


The Bush administration has dragged its feet
on even minimal contact with Iran under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
a course the five former secretaries of state implicitly criticized.

Nor did they suggest the United States should keep its distance
out of concern for Israel,
which Ahmadinejad has said “one day will be wiped off the map.”

“The military options are very poor,” Christopher said.
“And we have to tell the Israelis that.”

Kissinger, for his part, said he favored negotiations with Iran
but that the United States should spell out its objectives at the outset.
And that, he said, included a stable Middle East.


Powell, who served President Bush from 2001-2005,
sought to allay suspicions that Russia was turning into a second Soviet Union,
even though it acted “brutally” in its conflict last month with Georgia.

It was “foolhardy,” he said,
for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to “light a match”
with a military operation in South Ossetia
to forcibly reassert [h]is authority over the breakaway region.

Iran: And the Beat Goes On
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-09-26

The beating of war drums, that is

Top Obama Adviser Signs on to Roadmap to War with Iran
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2008-10-23

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the op-ed
by former Sens. Daniel Coats and Charles Robb in the Washington Post today,
entitled “Stopping a Nuclear Tehran.”
It is the summary of a report issued last month
by an organization called The Bipartisan Policy Center
(at whose website you can find the full report), and
it amounts to a roadmap to war with Iran
to which
a senior Middle East adviser in the Obama campaign — namely, Dennis Ross —
has apparently signed on.


While Coats and Robb
were the co-chairs of the task force that produced the report,
“Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development,”
the main authors appear to have been
the Center’s project director, Michael Makovsky, and
Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI),
who listed the report as his work on the AEI website earlier this month.
Makovsky, of course, is the younger brother of David Makovsky,
the former head and currently senior fellow at
the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP),
which has acted more or less as a “think tank” for the so-called “Israel Lobby”
over the 20-some years since it was created
as a spin-off of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Michael, who reportedly emigrated to Israel in 1989,
served under Doug Feith at the Pentagon where he was part of the team
that helped manipulate the intelligence to facilitate the path to war in Iraq.
Rubin, of course, also worked in Rumsfeld’s office at the same time.

Now, you would expect a report like this, which is clearly aimed at the transition team of an incoming president,
from hard-line neo-cons with a distinctly Likudist bent like Makovsky and Rubin,
or, for that matter, task force member Steve Rademaker,
the spouse of AEI’s Danielle Pletka,
who also worked under John Bolton in the State Department.
But what really drew my attention to the report
when I first heard about it two or three weeks ago,
was the fact that Dennis Ross, who is a senior foreign-policy to Barack Obama,
also signed on to the report as a task-force member.

[A key point to me,
as a Christian interested in reaching a compromise with Iran, is that,
while the committee's "co-chairs",
and identified authors of the Post's op-ed,
were Christians (Coats and Robb),
the people who actually wrote the report, among the bold-face names above,
are all Jews, and thus, prima facie,
had a special interest in the goals of Israel.
This fits with the age-old pattern, discussed by Kevin MacDonald,
of Jews using Christians as front men to present their agenda.]


[Lobe lists what he considers some key parts of the report,
and concludes his column with:]

In other words,
if Tehran is not eventually prepared
to permanently abandon its enrichment of uranium on its own soil —
a position that is certain to be rejected by Iran ab initio —
then war becomes inevitable, and all intermediate steps,
even including direct talks if the new president chooses to pursue them,
will amount to going through the motions
(presumably to gather international support for when push comes to shove).
While I would certainly not be surprised
if such an approach were adopted by a McCain administration,
what is a top Obama adviser doing signing on to it?

Bipartisan Policy: Bomb-Bomb Iran
by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com, 2008-10-25

With Iran, Obama Needs More Carrot, Less Stick
by Scott Ritter
Truthdig.com, 2008-11-13


NYT's Roger Cohen visits Iran
and views Israeli and US militarism from the other side

by Philip Weiss
MondoWeiss, 2009-02-23

Call to 'Resist and Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2009-03-07

[An excerpt.]

A new report on how the United States should “resist and deter” Iran’s alleged ambitions to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability by a think tank closely tied to the so-called “Israel Lobby” has been endorsed by two key officials who are expected to exercise major influence on Iran policy in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

The new report, which comes amid a major administration review of U.S. policy toward Iran, is likely to be very closely read in European and Middle Eastern capitals due to its endorsement by Dennis Ross, who serves as Special Adviser on the Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Robert Einhorn, the senior State Department official on non-proliferation matters.

While both men resigned from the 17-member task force that helped draft the report after they were asked to join Obama’s presidential transition team, WINEP stressed that they had formally endorsed an early draft which was not substantially different from the final product.

Other members of the task force, which was convened by WINEP’s director, Robert Satloff, and its deputy director of research, Patrick Clawson, included a number of prominent neo-conservatives, such as Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and some who served in senior posts under President George W. Bush, including former under secretary of state for arms control and international security, Robert Joseph; his immediate subordinate, Stephen Rademaker; and the former chairman of the Defense Science Board, William Schneider.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, a liberal Democrat who heads the House Subcommittee in the Middle East and South Asia, and Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees who has been a reliable supporter of the “Israel Lobby,” also signed on to the report.

Ross’s endorsement, however, is particularly notable. While the State Department has been vague about what his precise responsibilities will be, it is understood that he is responsible for developing a diplomatic strategy for dealing with Iran, particularly in how to marshal regional and international pressure on Tehran in support of Washington’s positions

The WINEP-Weenies' Insane Iran Advice
by Gordon Prather
Antiwar.com, 2009-03-07

A Convenient Scapegoat
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-03-11

The American Rome Is Burning - So Let's Attack Iran
by Eric Margolis
Huffington Post, 2009-03-11

Obama and Israeli Leader Make Taped Appeals to Iran
New York Times, 2009-03-21

Invoking art, history and “the common humanity that binds us,” President Obama offered a “new day” in America’s relationship with Iran, using a videotaped message released on the Internet to make an unusual appeal directly to Iranians for a shift away from decades of confrontation.

The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, issued an audio statement on Friday appealing to “the noble Iranian people on behalf of the ancient Jewish people.”

Both messages suggested that there was a place for Iran as an equal in the international community. Mr. Obama warned Iran’s leaders that their country’s access to what he called its “rightful place in the community of nations” would not be advanced by threats or by “terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions.”

As they have in the past when confronted with conciliatory words from Washington, Iranian officials welcomed the overture but stressed that it needed to be followed up with concrete actions to address past grievances, like the American-backed 1953 coup against a democratically elected Iranian government.


Why Are Democrats Undermining Obama's Diplomatic Plans for Iran?
The Congress members calling for the U.S.
to set a time table for Iran to suspend its uranium-enrichment program
are missing the point.

by Matthew Yglesias
The American Prospect, 2009-04-02

Have We Already Lost Iran?
New York Times Op-Ed, 2009-05-24

[This extremely important article should be read in its entirety
to show the opportunity we are portentuously missing;
but for those in a real hurry, here is an excerpt.]

Even more disturbing is President Obama’s willingness to have
Dennis Ross become the point person for Iran policy at the State Department.
Mr. Ross has long been an advocate of what he describes as
an “engagement with pressure” strategy toward Tehran,
meaning that
the United States should project a willingness to negotiate with Iran
largely to elicit broader regional and international support
for intensifying economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.

[So much for diplomacy and negotiations
to reduce the differences and sources of hostility between us.]

In conversations with Mr. Ross before Mr. Obama’s election,
we asked him if he really believed that
engage-with-pressure would bring concessions from Iran.
He forthrightly acknowledged that this was unlikely.
Why, then, was he advocating a diplomatic course that, in his judgment,
would probably fail?
Because, he told us, if Iran continued to expand its nuclear fuel program,
at some point in the next couple of years
President Bush’s successor
would need to order military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets.
Citing past “diplomacy” would be necessary
for that president to claim any military action was legitimate.

[In other words,
this “move” towards diplomacy with Iran is all a sham,
just to provide a fig leaf of cover before military action is taken.
But what else did you expect from Hillary and
Mr. Jewish People Policy Planning Institute?
(The axis of feminism and Zionism.)]

War With Iran: Has It Already Begun?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-03

Obama talks peace with Iran, but what's he doing under the radar?

Ahmadinejad won. Get over it
By: Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
Politico.com, 2009-06-15

Iran’s Election: None of America’s Business
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-15

So far, we're staying out of it – but for how much longer?

The "Bomb Iran" contingent's newfound concern for The Iranian People
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2009-06-16

Who Put the ‘green’ in the Green Revolution?
by Daniel McAdams
LewRockwell.com, 2009-06-19

The United States, of course.

As in the previous “color revolutions” that seem to tirelessly capture the romantic imagination of US journalists, elites, and the propagandized population, the warm embrace of the US empire is firmly guiding the “spontaneous” Iranian uprising against last week’s election results.
While I do not and should not– nor should any other American — care in the slightest who rules a country some seven thousand miles away, when the fingerprints of the US empire show up on these dramatic events overseas it is very much my business.

Several commentators have already dredged from the memory hole press reporting at the time on a presidential “finding” on Iran, which is the formal method for the president to initiate covert actions against another country. Back in 2007 — plenty of lead time for this election — the president met with the Congressional Star Chamber, the “gang of 8″ House and Senate leaders, and was granted the authorization to use some $400 million for among other things, as the Washington Post reported, “activities ranging from spying on Iran’s nuclear program to supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics….”

Arch neo-conservative Kenneth Timmerman spilled the beans on activities of the other arm of US meddling overseas, the obscenely mis-named National Endowment for Democracy, in a piece written one day before the election, stating curiously that “there’s the talk of a ‘green revolution’ in Tehran.” Interesting. I wonder where that “talk” was coming from. Timmerman did not appear to be writing from Iran.

Timmerman went on to write, with admirable candor and honesty, that:
“The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting ‘color’ revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques.
“Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.”

Yes, you say, but what does a blow-hard propagandist like Timmerman know about such things? Well, he should know! His very spooky Foundation for Democracy in Iran has its own snout deep in the trough of NED’s “open covert actions” against the Iranian government.

Iran’s Green Revolution
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-19

Why is Obama dissing Mousavi?

Iran’s Green Revolution: Made in America?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-22

No way, no how

The Iran Crisis and 4th Generation Warfare
by William S. Lind
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-23

Iran: It’s All About US
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-26

How to Press the Advantage With Iran
New York Times Op-Ed, 2009-09-29

[The conclusion:]

INSTEAD of pushing
the falsehood that
sanctions will give America leverage in Iranian decision-making

a strategy that will end either in frustration or war —
the administration should seek
a strategic realignment with Iran
as thoroughgoing as that effected by Nixon with China

This would require Washington to take steps, up front,
to assure Tehran that
rapprochement would serve Iran’s strategic needs.

On that basis, America and Iran would forge
a comprehensive framework for security as well as economic cooperation
something that Washington has never allowed
the five-plus-one group to propose.

Within that framework, the international community would work with Iran
to develop its civil nuclear program,
including fuel cycle activities on Iranian soil,
in a transparent manner rather than
demanding that Tehran prove a negative —
that it’s not developing weapons.
A cooperative approach would not demonize Iran
for political relationships with Hamas and Hezbollah,
but would elicit Tehran’s commitment
to work toward peaceful resolutions of regional conflicts.

Some may say that this is too high a price to pay
for improved relations with Iran.
But the price is high only for those who attach value to failed policies
that have damaged American interests in the Middle East
and made our allies there less secure.

[Stephen Walt discusses this op-ed here.]

Our Two-Faced Iran Policy
Engage -- and terrorize
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-10-23

Iran’s Politics Stand in the Way of a Nuclear Deal
New York Times, 2009-11-02


Iran’s leadership has once again equivocated after agreeing to a deal that would ease its nuclear standoff with the West. But this time, that may be as much a product of the nation’s smoldering political crisis as it is a negotiating tactic, political analysts and Iran experts said.

Tehran has yet to state publicly why it objects to the deal, in which it would ship its low-enriched uranium out of the country for additional processing and eventual return as fuel rods for a civilian reactor. But Iran experts say the very caustic, and very public, nature of the debate in Iran over the proposed nuclear deal suggests that the deep divisions cemented by the summer’s disputed presidential election have complicated, if not undermined, the ability to resolve such a major issue.

“Since the 1979 revolution it is rare for the political elite to disagree so openly with an issue of this significance,” said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, a political scientist at Syracuse University.


Fool Me Twice
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-12-03

On House Res 2194
“The smallest minds ... selfishest souls ... and cowardliest hearts
that God makes”

by Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com 2009-12-16


Nuclear Poker with Iran
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2010-01-05

On New Year’s Day, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki
issued an ultimatum to the West:
Accept a swap of part of our 2-ton stockpile of low-enriched uranium
for your higher-enriched uranium for our U.S.-built reactor,
or we start enriching to 20 percent ourselves.

Though the White House is on the defensive
for its initial nonchalant response to al-Qaeda’s attempted bombing
of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day
and has a need to show toughness,
to dismiss Iran’s proposal out of hand may be a mistake.

For, bluster aside, this deal appears consistent with the twin U.S. goals:
no nuclear-armed Iran, no war with Iran.
Moreover, Iran’s take-it-or-leave-it deal
is a variant on an idea first hatched by the White House —
to offer Iran uranium that cannot be used for a bomb
for the uranium Iran has been producing.

What would Iran give up?
Part of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU),
which if raised to weapons grade,
would be sufficient for one or two nuclear devices.

What would Iran get?
Fuel for a reactor that has been operating under U.N. safeguard
and produces medical isotopes for the treatment of cancer and thyroid conditions.
The reactor’s fuel runs out in 2010.

What would America gain?
First, a reduction in Iran’s uranium stockpile.
Second, we would confirm that
when we say we have no wish to prevent Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear power,
we mean it.
Third, we would deal cards to those in Tehran who argue,
“We can do business with Obama.”
the deal might put the United States and Iran on one of the last exit ramps
before crippling sanctions lead to war.


Iran Uses Fear of Covert Nuclear Sites to Deter Attack
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2010-01-11

Nothing more dangerous than a recovering "realist?"
By Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2010-01-25

From Realism to Regime Change:
Questioning Richard Haass

by Flynt Leverett, Hillary Mann Leverett, and Henry Precht
Monthly Review, 2010-01-26

From the "Iraq Liberation Act" to an "Iran Liberation Act"?
by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
Monthly Review, 2010-01-27

Iran and Obama's State of the Union Address:
Back to the Future?

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
Monthly Review, 2010-01-28

Iran Accepts Third Party Enrichment Deal Terms
US State Department Rejects Acceptance as Not an Official Response
by Jason Ditz
Antiwar.com News, 2010-02-02

Who Wants to Bomb Iran?
www.foreignpolicy.com, 2010-02-08

Meet the men calling on Barack Obama
to launch airstrikes against the Islamic Republic.

Above All, Avoid Folly
by Paul R. Pillar
security.nationaljournal.com, 2010-02-16

“The consequences of a military strike against Iran would be
widespread, very costly, and highly damaging to U.S. interests.”

Given the direction the larger public debate on this subject has taken,
by far the most important contribution that could be made to that debate
is to point out that
a military attack on Iran in the name of nuclear nonproliferation would be
utter folly.
Recognizing that is more important than any discussion of the finer points
of how a particular type of sanction or diplomatic initiative
might or might not work.

That initiation of a war with Iran
(and that’s exactly what it would be;
the notion of a precisely limited surgical strike
is incompatible with our operational requirements
and even more so with
how the Iranians would perceive the action and react to it)
is on lists of policy options,
alongside Security Council resolutions and other such standard fare,
is scary.
It also is a measure of how defective the debate on Iran has become,
or how much it has become hijacked by
those who may not be focused completely on
the best interests of the United States.
The prime defect of the debate is not only that
it has focused myopically on Iran’s nuclear program
and even more narrowly on the issue of uranium enrichment
(despite a modest amount of broadening
since the stolen Iranian presidential election),
but also that it presumes
prevention of an Iranian capability to produce a nuclear weapon
to be a sine qua non.
We hear otherwise serious people saying that
if diplomacy failed to prevent such a capability,
then we would have no choice but to resort to military force.
We would have just as much choice
as at previous junctures in the history of nuclear proliferation,
when the proliferators included
Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China on the eve of the Cultural Revolution,
and the producer of the first “Islamic bomb,” Pakistan.
To contend that something is fundamentally different in the case of Iran
is to say that
the principles of deterrence somehow do not apply in the Persian Gulf
or that
the leaders of the Islamic Republic are uniquely suicidal
in a way that none of those other regimes—
or any other regimes in modern times, for that matter—
have been.

The consequences of a military strike against Iran would be
widespread, very costly, and highly damaging to U.S. interests.
A sample of what to expect can be gleaned from
a recent simulation organized by the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution,
which began with an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Before long there were
Iranian missiles fired against Saudi Arabia as well as Israel,
a skyrocketing of oil prices after closure of the Strait of Hormuz, and
a worldwide Iranian terrorist campaign against the United States,
amid other chaos and mayhem.
The mess was still escalating as the simulation ended,
despite the professed desires of the Iranian, Israeli, and U.S. teams
not to escalate.
This did not even get into
other serious consequences of a real strike (either Israeli or U.S.),
which would include an immediate political boost to Iranian hardliners,
long-term poisoning of U.S. relations with all Iranians
(rather like the 1953 coup, only probably worse),
and more widespread animosity against the United States.
And yet I have heard influential participants in the current discourse
claim that
the Iranian reaction to a strike against nuclear facilities
would be to lie low and do nothing.

Last but not least, a strike would not prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon.
The act of war would provide the most dramatic argument and incentive
for the Islamic Republic to press full steam ahead toward that objective.
(In that regard the reaction would be similar to
that of Iraq after Israel struck its nuclear reactor at Osirak.)
Whatever delay or setback to the Iranian efforts
one might hope a military strike to achieve
would be minimized by
the inevitable intelligence gaps regarding existing nuclear facilities,
and by the fact that
the most important ingredients of the nuclear program
are in the heads of Iranian scientists and engineers
and not facilities that can be bombed.

Some Straight Thinking About Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-02-18


So the big question about Iran is not
whether or not it has the knowledge and resources to build an atom bomb.
It does or will soon.
The real issue is
whether the United States is actually threatened by that knowledge
and what should be done in terms of positive policies
to discourage an expanded nuclear program.
The United States should first of all recognize that,
as the world’s only superpower,
it controls the playing field.
It is up to Washington
to take the first steps to defuse the crisis that is building
by offering Tehran the security guarantees that might undercut
the influence of those in its government who seek a nuclear weapon deterrent.
Punishing Iran is no solution.
It will not work,
closes the door to diplomacy,
and will only make the worst case scenario
that much more likely.
Opening the door to a rapprochement
by eliminating the threatening language coming out of Washington
and creating incentives for cooperation
is a far better course of action.

Many Voices Calling for War with Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-03-04

Wanting to go to war with Iran has created some very strange bedfellows.
Leading neoconservative Daniel Pipes’ assertion that
President Barack Obama can salvage his presidency and get reelected
by attacking Iran
is about as low as it gets, suggesting as it does
that an act of war can and should serve as
a diversion from a failed domestic agenda.
The soldiers and civilians who would inevitably die in such a conflict
might not agree with Pipes that all is fair in politics.
They would no doubt consider themselves betrayed and manipulated
by a venal and disconnected political leadership, but no matter.
It would not be a first time a neocon would consider a non-neocon casualty
little more than a disagreeable statistic.


The United States national interest as it relates to the Middle East quagmire
would appear to be of no concern to Fred Hiatt
and the others who manage the [Washington] Post’s editorial and op-ed pages.

[Ain’t that the truth?]

How not to contain Iran
By Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2010-03-05

What's in a word?
By Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2010-03-12

Nuking the Mullahs
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-04-08

Crippling, Crushing, and Suffocating Iran
by Robert Dreyfuss
Nation, 2010-04-28

Papering the War Against Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-04-29

Not Another War, Mr. President!
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-05-19

Iran nuke deal: US not taking yes for an answer

[Compare President Lincoln’s statement to his secretary of state:
One war at a time, Mr. Seward.”]

Shaping the Story on Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2010-05-20

The Coming Iran War
by M. J. Rosenberg
Huffington Post, 2010-05-28

[This has been moved to “The Lobby and Iran.”]

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
Race for Iran, 2010-06-09

As we predicted in a May 2009 Op Ed in The New York Times
before the Islamic Republic’s controversial presidential election—
the Obama Administration has already “checked the box” to show that
engaging Iran doesn’t work.
Now it has started the process of “checking the box” to show that
the “broadest and toughest” sanctions
ever imposed on the Islamic Republic
don’t work.

And that will leave the Obama Administration
with no other options except
formal adoption of regime change
as the explicit goal of its Iran policy—and/or
military strikes against the Islamic Republic.

Who's Really Misreading Tehran?
Foreign Policy, 2010-06-14

Wishful thinking and bad analysis has inflated Iran's Green Movement
into something it certainly is not:
a viable alternative to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

An Iran-US Grand Bargain
by Richard Javad Heydarian
Foreign Policy, 2010-06-18


The Obama administration has tirelessly sought to legitimize its isolation of Iran through heavy sanctions by creating a global coalition around its agenda. But Iran in fact enjoys very amicable, even intimate, ties with BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations and other emerging powers, such as Indonesia and Turkey. This has induced the Obama administration to play the diplomatic card even more aggressively. The recent nuclear deal with Tehran brokered by Turkey and Brazil has made it even more difficult for the Obama administration to coordinate the isolation of Iran, for this was tantamount to discrediting the diplomacy of the emerging powers.


[W]hat the Obama administration should realize is that
Iran is really seeking a comprehensive deal with the United States.
In recent discussions between Iran and the United States —
together with other Western powers —
Iran consistently emphasized the need for negotiations and agreements
not only on the nuclear issue, but also on
a range of other security and economic interests of Iran in the region.

For instance,
Iran seeks the full recognition of
its legitimate interests, influence, and status in the region
while it seeks a security guarantee from the allies.
Additionally, Iran is interested in
accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO),
assistance with its civilian nuclear program,
and even better trade and investment arrangements with the West.
If the United States and Europe
lift investment, financial, and trade sanctions,
Iran would be able to tackle its internal economic woes.
Economic issues dominated the last presidential elections.
Iran’s canny nuclear diplomacy shows its immense interest
in avoiding sanctions that could hurt its economic condition.

So far,
the allies have made the resolution of the nuclear standoff a precondition
for any future discussion of Iran’s broader interests.
This has not encouraged Iran to comply with the demands of western powers.

With its leverage over Hamas, Hezbollah, and Shi’ite forces in Iraq,
as well as its virtual control over the Hormuz Strait,
Iran is central to regional affairs.
Iran’s cooperation with the West is key to
at least some semblance of regional stability,

as a pre-requisite for a more substantive regional peace.

If Iran and the United States achieve a rapprochement,
assuming Israel or others do not sabotage it,
the resulting stability could help consolidate
democratic movements, institutions, and values in the region.
A great obstacle to democratization in the Middle East has been
the relentless centralization of power and militarization.
A workable arrangement between the two major powers in the region
would undoubtedly undercut the prevalence of such regrettable trends.

[End of article]

If Iran came close to getting a nuclear weapon, would Obama use force?
By Steven Simon and Ray Takeyh
Washington Post Outlook, 2010-08-01

[An excerpt:]

As it contemplated the use of force,
the administration’s decision-making would be further complicated by
the need for a plan to unwind military hostilities
and make sure a confrontation did not escalate out of control.
[And just why should any knowledgeable person think such a plan is possible?]
The White House would have to signal to Tehran that
the U.S. military objective was not to overthrow the clerical regime
but to enforce the will of the international community
by disabling Iran’s nuclear program.
[“International community” be damned!
An attack is an attack, and it would be clear who is doing the attacking:
Israel and/or the United States.
Retaliation would be inevitable, and very possibly,
without any natural stopping point.
Does anyone remember how, say, World War I started,
and what its consequences were (World War II, for one)?]

The message would need to make clear that for the United States,
hostilities would end with the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities,
but that if Iran retaliated, Washington would press its attacks
until Tehran could no longer respond.
[“Until Tehran could no longer respond.”
But what about responses from the global Shiite community?]

A sobering thought not just for the mullahs,
but also for a U.S. administration that would have to carry out the threat.

Administration planners
might be tempted to assume that reason would prevail in Tehran --
that a chastised and crestfallen theocracy
would confine its response to organizing large demonstrations
while basking in the allegiance of a more unified nation
and that privately,
Iran’s leaders would concede to the logic of power
and desist from a conflict that their country could not win [cf.].

But prudence would lead the national security team
to counsel the president to plan for a potentially prolonged conflict.
The Iranian regime may find heightened nationalism useful
in diverting attention from the deficiencies of its rule,
but to mollify its public, the theocratic leadership may be pressed into
a more open confrontation with the “Great Satan.”
Caution and circumspection evaporate in a tense atmosphere,
and the uncertainty surrounding Iran’s response to a strike
would seriously burden the president’s decision-making.

U.S. Strike On Iran: Still A Bad Idea
by Patrick Disney
Wonk Room, Think Progress, 2010-08-02

The Obama administration is still sleepwalking on Iran
By Stephen M. Walt
walt.foreignpolicy.com, 2010-08-06

One rather obvious way
of preventing, or at least hindering, Israel from attacking Iran
is to inform them, in advance,
that any of their planes crossing Iraq
will be subject to being shot down.

What Would an Attack on Iran Really Achieve?
by Matt Duss
The Wonk Room, Think Progress, 2010-08-11

“You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult
controlling atomic bombs,”
[Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu] said.
“When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of
the reins of power and the weapons of mass death,
then the world should start worrying,
and that’s what is happening in Iran.”
As I’ve written before,
the idea that Iran is “a messianic apocalyptic cult”
is simply unsupported by any serious examination of Iran’s past behavior.
I would hope Netanyahu is smart enough to know this,
(as I know for a fact a number of close advisers are).
And while I’m not at all interested in parsing
the numerous offensive, threatening statements
bout both Israel and Jews from Iran’s leaders over the years,
I don’t see how the continuing existence of
a 3000 year old Iranian Jewish community

demonstrates the “eliminationist anti-Semitism” of the Iranian government.


To state what should be pretty obvious,
the [Goldberg] article represents a new stage in an ongoing attempt
to pressure President Obama into a more belligerent posture toward Iran,
with the stated reasoning (no alternative view is entertained by Goldberg)
that only by threatening war can Obama convince the Iranians
that he’s “serious” about stopping their nuclear program
and chill the Israelis out.
It’s worth pointing out, though, that
this approach clearly failed during the Bush administration —
belligerence only seems to have convinced the Iranians
that they needed to accelerate their program.

It’s also important to understand that,
if Obama does succumb to this pressure and escalates his anti-Iranian rhetoric,
the very same people who are now insisting that
it’s the only way to avoid war with Iran
will later insist that
the preservation of American credibility requires going to war with Iran.

How Propaganda Works: Exhibit A
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2010-08-12

An Israeli Attack on Iran
would reduce Barack Obama to a One-Term President

by Juan Cole
Informed Comment, 2010-08-15

Why Not to Bomb Iran
New York Times Blog, 2010-08-17

The Israel Lobby Swims The Atlantic
by Grant Smith
Antiwar.com, 2010-08-18

Jeffrey Goldberg’s current cover story in The Atlantic,
The Point of No Return,” achieved massive distribution
across a broad spectrum of old and new media in the United States.

The Senate investigation ultimately failed
in its efforts to regulate secret foreign media manipulation and lobbying.
The AZC transformed into AIPAC, and
today The Atlantic is virtually alone
among remnants of the battered magazine industry
in its return to profitability.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s prolific work no doubt helps propel that bottom line.
But readers should remember the origin of
deceptive waves of content that washed ashore in American magazines.


Obama should test Iran’s nuclear offer
by Graham Allison
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2011-10-07


The Washington Post Gets Tough With Iran
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2012-05-31

Entangled With Israel
By Philip Giraldi
theamericanconservative.com, 2012-09-03

A guarantee of support for a strike against Iran
overlooks the lessons of the First World War.

Israel’s attempt to steer American foreign policy has been nowhere more evident than in the sustained campaign to move the United States in the direction of war with Iran, a war that serves no American interest unless one believes that Tehran is willing to spend billions of dollars to develop a nuclear weapon only to hand off the result to a terrorist group.

The most recent overtures by the Israeli government have pushed the United States to make a declaration that negotiations with Iran have failed and will not be continued. For Israel, this is a necessary first step towards an American military intervention, as failed negotiations mean there is no way out of the impasse but by war, if the Iranians do not unilaterally concede on every disputed point.

Two recent op-eds have elaborated the argument, promoting the necessity of convincing the Israelis that the United States is absolutely serious about using military force against Iran if the Iranians seek to retain any capacity to enrich uranium. One might note in passing that this new red line, sometimes also called the abstract “capability” to create a nuclear weapon, has been achieved by moving the goal posts back considerably. At one time Iran was threatened with a military response if it actually acquired a nuclear weapon (which is still the official position of the Obama administration), but earlier benchmarks within that policy saying that enrichment should not exceed 20 percent or that the enrichment should not take place on Iranian soil have been abandoned in favor of what now amounts to zero tolerance. Those who note that Iran, which is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is under IAEA inspection, has a clear legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes have been ignored in favor of those who believe that Iran is somehow a special case.


If the United States commits to unconditional support for an Israeli attack on Iran, it will be a surrender of one of the defining attributes of national sovereignty: the power to choose when and where to go to war. Amos Yadlin suggests at one point that President Obama go to Congress and get approval in advance to take military action “to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a military nuclear capability.” Such a pre-approval for war certainly raises constitutional issues, but it also creates a virtual casus belli because Iran already has the “capability” to enrich uranium for potential military uses. A guarantee precludes any consideration that the United States might actually have an overriding national interest to avoid a war. It denies that the United States should be able to exercise complete sovereignty over the issue of Iran, and it also freezes the status quo, as if new ways of looking at the problem of the Iranian nuclear program could not evolve over the next few months.

Washington should make no commitment to anyone
about what it will do vis-à-vis Iran in 2013
no matter what inducements are offered.
As the 19th-century British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston put it,
“We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies.
Our interests are eternal and perpetual,
and those interests it is our duty to follow.”
Let America’s actual interests dictate U.S. foreign policy.

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