The American corporate news outfits are largely ignoring the likelihood of a Cheney/Bush attack on Iran, even while they provide all the time and space the White House desires for pre-attack demonizing of Iraq’s neighbor.
If you look at the places where real news now appears, however, the view is very different. The great preponderance of information suggests that our military will begin a war with Iran very soon, though at this point there is no solid information on specific timing. Some, such as former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, suggest the bombs may, or probably will, start falling within a few days.
Other observers, including some former government officials and intelligence officers say simply “soon.”
The corporate press and the big cable television outfits have reported that there is an ongoing “debate” over whether to bomb or not, and even Fox has said that Dick Cheney is the leading cheerleader for an attack.
Cheney, of course, seems never to have lost a supposed “debate” in the White House over any important matter. He may allow a bit of chatter, but, in the end, he rules.
Some of the biggest corporate newspapers have called the very idea of an attack on Iran “lunatic.” The New York Times, Washington Post and Baltimore Sun are among the papers that have used that word.
It’s obviously mad – genuinely insane — to argue that this country should or is in a position to take on another inevitably disastrous armed conflict.
The United States is suffering a crippling shortage of military personnel and equipment, and bleeding economically because of the illegal occupation of Iraq. Upward of 70 percent of the population wants to withdraw from the criminal, gut-tearing mess there. A majority of Americans don’t seem to care about the lives of innocent civilians in the Middle East, but they have made it clear the continuing deaths and maiming of young Americans is unacceptable. In pouring resources into Iraq, the administration has lost almost all of the gains made in Afghanistan a few years ago. The rational arguments against staying in Iraq, let alone attacking Iran, are overwhelming.
But when has sanity passed through the gates of the White House since Bush/Cheney entered?
Here are just a few of the facts and comments, which are accumulating at an accelerating rate:
–On Aug. 28, George Bush revealed that he had authorized the American military in Iraq to “confront Tehran’s murderous activities.” He justified the rather unspecific threat in a bellicose speech that also repeated the now familiar, unproven charges that Iran is arming Iraqi “insurgents,” and preparing to make nuclear weapons. Most corporate news outfits in this country ignored the speech, but it was widely reported abroad. The Guardian in Britain did a creditable job, as usual.
— On the same day, American troops raided a hotel in Baghdad and arrested several Iranian officials, including an employee of the Iranian embassy and six members of Iran’s electricity ministry who were in Iraq to discuss contracts for building power stations. U.S. newspapers did report that action. All the Iranis were released and no credible reason was given for the action. On the face of it, it was pure provocation.
–Early in August, the Bush administration declared Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, its elite military unit, a “specially designated global terrorist” organization. U.S. allies were seriously upset by the move, saying it unilaterally and unnecessarily escalated conflict with Iran and could lead to armed conflict. (And a number of observers said, “That’s the idea.”)
Officials in Washington said the declaration by the White House will allow the government to go after the Iran army corps’ financial operations -– as in bank accounts. This was reported by the bigger U.S. newspapers, but generally hidden in back pages.
The Pew Global Attitudes polls show, by the way, that people around the world regard us as a bigger threat to world peace, and something more akin to terrorists, than the Iranis.
— People who follow the news are aware that Bush/Cheney officials and supporters have been out on the circuit, demonizing Iran in the same way they plumped for the Iraq invasion. One of the buckets of lies was dumped by John Bolton—remember him?—during a speech to a bunch of big-buck business people in California a few days ago. Now again working for right wing propaganda mills such as the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, Bolton argued for an air attack on Iran to “remove the nuclear threat” (which United Nations inspectors say doesn’t exist and may never exist) AND to bring about a “regime change.”
That speech got little or no coverage in most areas of the country, despite Bolton’s closeness to George Bush and his administration, which he served in a couple of positions, including ambassador to the U.N., but it reached the people who count to the administration.
— Jean Bricmont, a professor of physics in Belgium and a member of the Brussels Tribunal, a foundation-funded tribunal of distinguished individuals which examines war crimes, stated flatly in an article for Counterpunch that “All the ideological signposts for attacking Iran are in place.”
–Rowley, a former FBI agent who was honored by Time Magazine in 2002 for blowing the whistle on failures of the agency at the time of the 9/11 attack, is in regular contact with other former agents and intelligence officers. She said in an email to some peace activists within the last few days that “when the campaign to bomb Iran is rolled out in just a few more days—and there seems little doubt that it will be rolled out at this point, it’s going to be a QUICK campaign leaving little time for people to wake up and get mobilized and to get others mobilized…”
— Paul Craig Roberts, a very conservative economist—widely described as the “father of Reaganomics”—and a nationally syndicated columnist, recently published an article called “The War Criminal in the Living Room.” He was referring to George W. Bush on television, in case you didn’t see the connection.
In his article, Roberts listed point after point to demonstrate the intent of attacking Iran; aircraft strike forces deployed of Iran, deployment of missiles and planes near Iran greatly increased, refitting of B2 stealth bombers to carry 30,000 pound “bunker buster” bombs, alteration of official war doctrine to allow a first-strike nuclear attack against Iran and other non-nuclear countries, and much more.
“The Bush administration has made its war plans for attacking Iran and positioned its forces without any prior approval from Congress,” Roberts wrote. “The ‘unitary executive’ obviously doesn’t believe that an attack on Iran requires the approval of Congress. By its absence and quietude, Congress seems to agree that it has no role in the decision.”
Roberts also said flatly that “The ‘Iran issue’ has been created by the administration, not by Iran.” And, near the end of his piece: “Whatever form of government Bush is operating under, it is far outside an accountable constitutional democratic government.”
None of the items mentioned here is anything like conclusive in itself. Probably no three or four such reports are conclusive. But these are just a tiny percentage of the reports, speeches, magazine and newsletter articles that have appeared in the past two to three weeks indicating that an attack on Iran will take place, and probably soon.
The weight of the information and highly informed opinions is very great.
Additionally, of course, the Bush crowd often has gone outrageously on the attack when public opinion and objective facts have been against them. Creating a crisis and trading on fear has worked for them many times in the past.
On Sept. 11, what the corporate press still is calling the Petraeus report on “progress” in Iraq is due. Most newspapers and even some broadcasters have reported that the report is, in fact, being written by the White House, yet the corporate media continue to play the White House propaganda game by pretending in most reports that Gen. David Petraeus, military commander in Iraq, is the author.
Polls and other reports strongly suggest that the contents of that report won’t matter much to the public; most of us are long past believing anything the administration has to say on the subject.
Further, several reports have beaten the White House to the punch by declaring that the situation in Iraq fails to meet the latest set of the administration’s own “benchmarks.” The Associated Press reported Sept. 4 that Baghdad has failed to meet 11 of the 18 political and security goals that Bush said were necessary. The U.S. Government Accountability Office said Iraq had met only three of the 18 goals.
How do you counter such facts and get the American public behind your perpetual war? Why, by making the crisis even bigger, of course, and manufacturing a new and still more horrific threat. By escalating the endless war.
To all who read this: I beg you to contact your members of Congress, and the White House, and tell them you will not tolerate an attack on Iran. Guarantee every member that any support for an Iran attack will mean you will work hard with others to eject them from office. Don’t be shy, don’t be coy. Don’t scream, but don’t shy away from expressing anger at the possibility of a new war.
Call, write, email, but do it today. Please. You can find your members of Congress in your local telephone directory under Government Offices. Or you can telephone this switchboard and get their office numbers in Washington: 1-800-614-2803. Or you can Google their names and find their web sites; the web sites carry contact, including email, information.
If all the noise about a coming attack is wrong, wonderful. If not, we must do what we can to stop the insanity.