The casus belli for “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, the invasion of Iraq, was a fraud. We know that now. Even though there was no threat whatever to the United States from Iraq, the decision was made by Richard Cheney in consultation with his junior associate, George W. Bush, to invade and occupy Iraq, a country which had been decimated by an economic embargo and whose army had been cut by two-thirds since 1991. Once the predatory decision had been made, it was necessary to fabricate a plausible justification for it, to “fix the intelligence around the policy”, to use the British phraseology. This required months of a carefully calibrated propaganda campaign to misinform the American public and pressure the U.S. Congress and Senate for the authorization to attack. At the UN in the Security Council, a similar mendacious strategy was underway. At the same time, the White House was suggesting that it did not actually need authorization from the Congress or the UN to initiate hostilities. Why not? Because G.W. Bush is POTUS 43, the commander-in-chief, and as such he can do as he pleases when it comes to national security affairs. The same argument will be made if and when the U.S. attacks Iran.
Let’s be clear. Oil-rich Iraq had nothing to do with the national security of the United States. From the very start, going back to Saddam’s attempted annexation of Kuwait in 1990, Iraq was and remains a political football. What has been done to Iraq by successive Administrations in the name of the American people--beginning with H.W. Bush and “Operation Desert Storm” in 1991 and continuing with Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright and the murderous economic sanctions on Iraq throughout the 1990’s, and highlighted by the bizarre 1998 “Iraq Liberation Act” of Congress, which passed 360-38 in the House of Representatives and by unanimous consent in the Senate, and finally in 2003, the invasion of Iraq itself, endorsed by the Democratic leadership on Capital Hill--all of this was based upon American domestic politics and constant pressure from the U.S. Israel Lobby, and not on the legitimate national security concerns of the the United States. What is happening now in 2007 is more of the same, to wit, more politics: the Democrats, many of whom were cheerleaders for the war when it began, are trying to make whatever political mileage they can from the obvious disaster this war has become. There are some intellectually honest individuals, like Congressman John Murtha and Senator Chuck Hagel, but they are the exceptions.
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney and what is left of his dwindling gang of “neocons” want to attack Iran, in a last gasp of recklessness and myopia. Bush Jr. is on board, as before, for reasons which remain unclear and unimportant. But the scenario employed to take out Iraq will not work. Why not? Because Cheney and Bush have been exposed as duplicitous. They have hardly an ounce of credibility left. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” has degenerated into a nightmare and many of the “neocon” operatives who carried it out from the Pentagon and from the White House have wisely fled the scene of the crime. One of them, I. “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff as well as a counselor to the President, has been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with covering up the White House disinformation campaign. In short, the same dog won’t hunt.
Still, attacking Iran is on Tel Aviv’s wish list, as clearly evidenced by AIPAC’s “Policy Conferences” in Washington from the last 3 or 4 years, so something has to be worked out before Cheney and Bush leave office. Actually, the situation is not looking all that bad on Capital Hill for reinstating “the clash of civilizations”, despite the Iraq fiasco. The me-too Democrats, in particular those running for President in 2008, and especially the Republicans running for President, are on record that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Iran. To translate, under the right circumstances, Democratic leaders, and all Presidential contenders, will go along with a U.S. attack on Iran. It just requires the right setup. The White House has only to prepare the bogus circumstances, like it did prior to “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Fine and dandy. Once again, the Democrats are enabling Cheney and Bush to launch another unprovoked war. It was your country.
But there may be an unforeseen problem for the war party. Two months ago, on April 25th, the London Sunday Times reported (”US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack” by Michael Smith & Sarah Baxter) that a handful of generals and admirals would not obey White House orders to attack Iran, but would resign in the face of such an order. This is astonishing and unprecedented, if true. It appears that a significant number of U.S. military officers have concluded that the two gentlemen in charge at the White House are not playing with a full deck. What does it mean for the warmongers? How will the White House, in cooperation with their “neocon” brain trust, railroad America into another unnecessary war? The largely overlooked and unheralded article in the London Sunday Times provides a good clue. “A second US navy aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS John C Stennis arrived in the Gulf last week, doubling the US presence there. Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh, the commander of the US Fifth Fleet, warned: ‘The US will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or US troops come under direct attack.’” Read that again. The scenario is in place.
Taking the vice admiral’s statement at face value, this indicates that the White House has ordered the U.S. fleet to attack Iran in the event Iran takes action against any country in the region. An instant war trigger. No need for Congress to act. The me-too Democrats and the brain dead Republicans can relax, sit back and enjoy it. There is no alliance, formal or informal, and no treaty which would require the U.S. to attack Iran in the event Iran “targets” other countries in the region. The only reason Iran would target anybody would be in the event Iran had been targeted first, and Iran was attempting to launch a counter-attack, in other words, defending itself. Get the drift? It is entirely possible that a nuclear-armed Tel Aviv, acting “on its own” but in coordination with Dick Cheney, Elliot Abrams, David Wurmser and maybe even with George W. Bush, will initiate hostilities with a bombing run and/or cruise missile attack on Iran. Then, as soon as Iran attempts to react, Iran will get clobbered with a massive “shock and awe” blitzkrieg carried out by the U.S. air force and navy, which attack will virtually destroy the Iranian military and the Iranian nuclear energy program as well. The final mission accomplished. Cheney and Bush will be back on top in Washington. The shameful and shameless me-too Democrats will be out maneuvered yet again. Life is beautiful. The revenge of the neocons will be complete.
Patrick Foy is author of The Unauthorized World Situation Report.