Friday, CNN’s senior political analyst did at segment on Presidential
candidate Rudy Giuliani, observing that the Republican Party
wants the 2008 Presidential campaign to turn on the question
of terrorism. It makes sense given the declining prospects
for the party, worn down by endless scandals and a tanking
economy. The question is, how far is the GOP prepared to go
to change the subject? Noting the stepped up agitation for
launching a military attack on Iran, one blogger noted the
previous day, “This campaign is getting scarier by the second.” Especially
as one of the former New York mayor’s foreign policy advisors
is: “None other than Norm Podhoretz, the longtime Commentary
editor who recently suggested that we'd be nuts not to immediately
On Sept. 6th,
the New York Sun predicted that this week the Bush administration “will
step up its diplomatic campaign against Iran in an effort to
thwart its quest for a nuclear bomb, in anticipation of the
coming meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.” It
seems the Administration’s tactical problem in reviving up
the campaign for action against Teheran is how to head off
action by the Agency seeking to secure cooperation from the
Iranians. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei recently
revealed that Iran has agreed to cooperate in providing requested
information on its nuclear development program. He has suggested
that the Iranians should be given more time. ElBaradei told
the New York Times, "This is the first time Iran
is ready to discuss all the outstanding issues which triggered
the crisis in confidence.” However, the U.S. State Department
is planning a full court press for a third resolution in the
Security Council, against Iran.
familiar? How about the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, which
launched when Baghdad announced its intention to allow UN inspectors
in to search for nuclear weapons that the Administration said
existed and which we now know didn’t?
sometimes repeats it self as a farce; in this case it threatens
peace is at risk," said ElBaradei, because of "new
crazies who say, 'let’s go and bomb Iran.'"
problem on Iran awaiting the Bush administration on Iran may
lead to a military option,” wrote Eli Lake in the Sun. “President
Bush has said repeatedly that he neither rules in nor rules
out a military attack on Iran's known nuclear facilities, using
the phrase ‘all options are on the table’ when asked whether
the Pentagon is planning to bomb Iranian nuclear targets.”
In May, Podhoretz
wrote in Commentary, "I hope and pray that President
Bush will do it.” The President himself said recently that
Iran has put the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear
holocaust” and predicted action against Iran would come “before
it is too late.”
to be outdone when in comes to bellicosity, Sen. Joseph Lieberman
(I-Conn) chimed in, "If [the Iranians] don't play by the
rules, we've got to use our force, and to me, that would include
taking military action to stop them from doing what they're
the idea that the neo-conservatives have been driven to the
or that the “realists” are now in charge of U.S. foreign policy.
The people who brought us the invasion and occupation of Iraq
are very much in position and working hard on a new military
conflict, this time with Iran. Elliott Abrams, Podhoretz’s
son-in-law, is deputy national security adviser to President
George W. Bush. Another vocal advocate for action against Iran,
David Wurmser, is Vice-President Dick Cheney’s deputy assistant
for national security affairs.
wait for the major mass media in the U.S. to adequately inform
the public of the danger of a military attack on Iran. Almost
totally ignored on its pages and on the airwaves was the Sept.
2nd report in the London Times that “The Pentagon has
drawn up plans for massive air strikes against 1,200 targets
in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability
in three days, according to a national security expert.” According
to the paper’s correspondent, Sarah Baxter, Alexis Debat, director
of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, told
a recent public meeting
of conservatives that the plan was not for “pinprick strikes” against
Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire
Iranian military," he said.
The same day,
another British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported that
the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation had recent completed
a “war game” stimulation of the effects of attacking Iran.
story that did attract some attention was the report that the
government did not goad the Bush Administration into attacking
Iraq in 2001, that in fact the Israelis saw it as a diversion
from what should be on the agenda: taking out Iran. Word these
days amongst the conservatives and their neo-cousins is that
Tel Aviv went along with the propaganda campaign leading up
to the war on Iraq on the assumption that it was only a preliminary
step. “The word among the neocon family is Cheney believes
Bush will stick to his pledge not to leave office 16 months
hence with Iran's nuclear facilities unscathed,” right wing
columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave wrote in June. On Aug.
8th, former CIA operative Robert Baer wrote in Time magazine, “Officials
I talk to in Washington vote for a hit on [Iran] within the
next six months.”
wrote in Commentary,"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
... the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's
weapon of choice (and) a front in World War IV."
isn't the first time the Bush administration has fumed over
actions,” wrote Thomas Omestad in U.S. News and World Report Sept.
7th. “Before the Iraq war, he concluded that he had no evidence
to back the U.S. claim that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear
weapons program. (ElBaradei's conclusion was subsequently borne
out by postwar investigation.) The administration initially
opposed his renomination as director general of the IAEA, then
in the Sun, “a Bush administration official, who asked
to remain anonymous, said the IAEA was in danger of losing
its status of being an honest broker in the Iran nuclear standoff. ‘We
have committed to the diplomatic route for four years now,’ the
official said. ‘The last thing we need is for the director
of the IAEA himself to start shielding Iran from diplomatic
Kasten, another of Giuliani's "senior foreign policy team members," who
supported aiding the Indonesian military during its violent
occupation of East Timor, started the myth that the UN Population
Fund supports forced abortion, and argued that countries should
be stripped of aid if they do not vote in lockstep with the
U.S. in the UN General Assembly, according to Steven C. Clemons
on the website Washington Note.
to the rest of the globe in the language of violence,” Chris
Hedges recently observed on the website truthdig. “The
proposed multibillion-dollar arms supply package for the Persian
Gulf countries is the newest form of weapons-systems-as-message. U.S.
Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns was rather blunt
about the deal. He told the International Herald Tribune
that the package ‘says to the Iranians and Syrians that the
United States is the major power in the Middle East and will
continue to be and is not going away.’”
call for U.S. hegemony over the rest of the globe is making
enemies of a lot of people who might be predisposed to support
us, even in the Middle East,” wrote Hedges. “And it is terrifying
those, such as the Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians, whom we have
demonized. Empathy and knowledge, the qualities that
make real communication possible, have been discarded. We
use tough talk and big weapons deals to communicate. We
spread fear, distrust and violence. And we expect missile
systems to protect us.”
the Administration get away with launching a new war in the
Middle East before
the 2008 Presidential election in order to influence its outcome
or to fulfill a pledge made to its neo-conservative backers
before our war in Iraq? There are a lot of persuasive arguments
being made why it can’t. Among them are the potential of Iran
closing the Straits of Harmuz, retaliatory attacks by Shiites
in Iraq, a wave of violent reactions across the region, and
a worldwide increase in acts of terror. All are possible; only
the last one is a certainty. The world will become a far more
dangerous place for us all.
thing is certain. Should the White House decide to take such
step, it is unlikely, at this point, to be constrained by domestic
opposition. There is no idespread sentiment for war against
Iran. According to a March poll, 57% of people in the U.S.
believe Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy.
20% don’t see Iran as an imminent threat and only 15% support
military action. However, there is practically no opposition
in Congress. A Democratic Party majority, already too cowed
to end the carnage in Iraq, doesn’t even want to talk about
Iran. Earlier this year there was talk about a resolution requiring
the President to “consult” with Congress before attacking Iran.
The House Democratic Party leadership dropped the idea.
little war with Iran, which few Democrats oppose, has the potential
to ignite a regional inferno,” writes Hedges.
the Media (oh, the “liberal” media)? So far, is AWOL.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member Carl Bloice is a writer in
San Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating Committee
of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
and formerly worked for a healthcare union. Click
here to contact Mr. Bloice.