Monday, July 16, 2007

So...what's the deal with Iran?

Last September, I shook people up at WotIsItGood4 talking about a preemptive, American, nuclear attack on Iran. I expected the attack in the spring of 2006, and by September I was admittedly surprised the Bush administration hadn't gone ahead and done this idiotic thing. During the last week I searched for current news about the state of things regarding Iran war planning. I learned very little, and that in itself is telling. To summarize: (1) if you want to know the status of the carrier attack groups in the Persian Gulf, you have to dig for it; (2) the killing of Iranians has already begun; although provocative, you can consider the war with Iran as having started; (3) the plan to strafe-bomb Iran with nuclear weapons remains intact, although the government and media are very, very quiet about it; (4) last week the Senate gave the Bush administration authorization to conduct an attack, representing a major turning point in the prewar environment, a fact totally ignored by the mainstream media; and (5) there is good reason to believe another black bag "terrorist" attack is imminent, to justify full-blown war with Iran.

There are other assumptions I drew from the reading, none of which provides reassurance. The people arguing for war fall into some category of special interest: GOP sycophants, Nannies for Israel, war industry proponents and republican presidential candidates who need funding. In spite of the relative silence in the news world, Cheney and others are putting extreme pressure on Bush to move the wholesale destruction of Iran to the front burner.

Before I put in the links, I want to remind you that if I publicly advocated killing a person or persons, or attacking a country for Christ's sake, the police would sweep me up and I'd probably end up in a straitjacket, chained to the floor of a padded cell. That's certainly where such talk belongs—and why public figures talk so freely about mass slaughter and aren't promptly put into solitary, I don't know. We're left to assume widespread death is one of the crown jewels of the current authoritarian federal government. Also, I'm part of the constituency which provides all the personnel and MONEY the government uses, in my name, to conduct these misguided, errant wars. What is planned should be no secret to me. Certainly it's no secret in the Middle East! Yet, I have to dig and dig and can learn very little. From that, I'm left to assume the Bush administration knows these operations, and plans to engage Iran in particular, are illegitimate and will draw widespread opposition, and they just don't want to deal with that.

Sam Brownback:

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 97-0 to pass a resolution sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to censure Iran "for what it said was complicity in the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq." The resolution required the Bush administration to regularly report to Congress on Iran's role in Iraq.

While the resolution explicitly rejected authorization for immediate military action, the gist of the resolution declared Iran is participating in acts of war against the United States, thereby laying the foundation for a confrontation with Iran. Newshoggers wrote that the resolution may provide the "political cover for launching a war."

Validating the concern many felt, Sen. Sam Brownback appeared on Fox News shortly after the vote and declared he was ready to preemptively strike Iran. Host Sean Hannity asked Brownback, "There's probably going to come a point for the next president that they're going to have to determine whether to go out and have that preemptive strike. And you're ready and would be ready to do that?"

"Yes, I am, and I think we have to be," Brownback answered. "Sean, if we're going to be serious about this fight, and we're in this fight, and probably for a generation. We're probably in this fight for a generation."

Poor Sam, having to call it a generational war when for the sake of his achieving a satisfactory erection he longs to call it The Thousand Year War. His campaign funding is lagging, and I suppose he hopes this helps. Want to bet it won't?

The Guardian UK, today:

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo." [...]

"Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact," said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.

"The red line is not in Iran. The red line is in Israel. If Israel is adamant it will attack, the US will have to take decisive action," Mr Cronin said. "The choices are: tell Israel no, let Israel do the job, or do the job yourself."

Seymour Hersh, from an interview with Think Progress:

QUESTION: In dealing with Iran, the U.S. finds itself handicapped at the negotiating table due to a lack of diplomatic dialogue between the countries for so long. What must America do, and who must do it, and who must it work with to diffuse tensions without resorting to military force?

HERSH: Well, you’ve got to have a coup to overthrow this guy. He’s not going to talk to Iranians. I don’t think he is no matter what, and that’s terrifying because the Iranians are more than willing to talk. America is a pretty powerful enemy, and I’ve been writing about this for two years in the New Yorker, and initially, everybody thought it was loony. It’s less loony now. I don’t know how to put it — George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s wet dream is hitting Iran. Maybe I should rephrase that.

No, Sy, sadly you're right—it's all about the penises: flaccid, republican penises, needing the "surge" that comes from blowing innocent people's bodies apart. That's a good article, and it includes video.

I thought a clue might be found regarding how soon a war operation could begin by learning the status of the carrier groups in the Persian Gulf, particularly the USS Nimitz, which was reportedly bristling with nuclear weapons. I read a variety of news stories that listed different carriers in the Gulf. I suppose some reporters think the facts are taboo. Even the U.S. military websites aren't forthcoming, but it's there.

The U.S. Navy:

Release Date: 5/23/2007 7:56:00 AM

USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Groups and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group entered the Persian Gulf May 23. [...]

“We are conducting this training in order to gain valuable experience across a wide spectrum of naval disciplines. This training demonstrates our commitment to security and stability in the Gulf area, and our commitment to regional partners,” said Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet.

The timing of this exercise is determined by the availability of forces, and is not connected to events in the region. The exercise is not directed against any nation.

If you want the real story, go to the source. The good thing about government propaganda is if you assume it's a lie, you find out the truth. Not directed against any nation? Give me a break!

J. Sri Raman for Truthout:

The USS Nimitz and several other American warships left San Diego on April 2 for the Persian Gulf to join another locally based aircraft carrier strike group already in the region. The same USS Nimitz came calling at the port of Chennai (formerly Madras) on the south-eastern coast of India on July 1.

On both occasions, the US Navy refused to rule out the presence of nuclear weapons on board the nuclear-powered vessel. [...]

The ship's visit to Chennai, according to the Navy, attests to the growing vista of "military relations" between the two countries. It is expected to strengthen the US-India "strategic partnership," supposed to have been deepened already by a nuclear "deal." Neither the "partnership" nor the "deal" can reassure either the peace-loving people of India or its neighbors of varying degrees of proximity.

The first reaction here to the news about the impending Nimitz visit was fear of a serious radioactive threat to the teeming millions on the placid shores of the azure and tranquil Bay of Bengal. The apprehensions were not really allayed by the report that a "crisis management group" of India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was "keeping a close watch" on the ship and ready with plans to cope with any "emergency." [...]

The fear was not stilled either when Rear Admiral John Terence Blake, commander of the carrier strike group, told the media: "We can neither confirm, nor deny the presence of weapons on board the ship." He added, without even an attempt at reassurance: "These are warships, not cruise liners. When we go out, we are required to perform a wide range of activities, and these can be offensive or defensive."

There was a possibility, of course, that the port call would pass off without any accident. Nimitz may have really carried no nuclear weapons, though the US Navy seems to claim a right to carry them through international waters. The main danger that the warship's visit posed, however, was the prospect of India becoming a closer strategic partner of the warlords in Washington and the Pentagon.

It was this danger that drew hundreds of protesters to a mass demonstration at the main gate of the Chennai harbor on July 2. The angry Chennai citizens did not stop with asking the Nimitz to go back. They also asked New Delhi why it had reversed its policy of not entertaining ships that could be carrying nukes close to its territorial waters. They asked what India could gain by allying militarily with Bush-led, bloodthirsty warmongers guilty of grisly war crimes. [...]

US Ambassador to India David Mulford has seized the Nimitz-given opportunity to invite India into yet another Bush "initiative" that cannot make this country a darling of the developing world. Said Muford on July 3: "Our collaboration, which the United States runs out of President Bush's Global Peacekeeping Operations Initiative, will help build crucial capacity for addressing leadership needs for peacekeepers around the world."

The crusade for such "peace," of course, will be incomplete if it does not serve the US corporate interests. From a preacher of "peacekeeping," Mulford took but a moment to turn into a salesman for the military-industrial complex.

Nothing too optimistic about that. Add such concerns to what we already know about the expected Iran war, and you're only limited by the boundaries of the imagination.

Global Research from last September:

The U.S. government and the Pentagon had an active role in graphing, both militarily and politically, the template of confrontation in Lebanon. The Israeli siege against Lebanon is in many regards a dress rehearsal for a planned attack on Iran.

A war against Iran is one that could also include military operations against Syria. Multiple theatres would engulf many of the neighbors of Iran and Syria, including Iraq and Israel/Palestine.

It must also be noted that an attack on Iran would be of a scale which would dwarf the events in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Levant. A full blown war on Iran would not only swallow up and incorporate these other conflicts. It would engulf the entire Middle East and Central Asian region into an extensive confrontation. [...]

The characteristics of such a conflict would also be unpredictable because of Iran's capabilities to respond. And in all likelihood, Iran would launch its own potent attacks and extend the theatre of war by attacking U.S. and American-led troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf.

The United States must also take into account the fact that Iran unlike Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon would be an opponent with the capability to resist the US sponsored attacks on the ground, but also on the sea and in the air.

That article has a great discussion about "the enemy's" targeting capability, and it's chilling stuff. I began my tirade against attacking Iran with an article by Michel Chossudovsky, a recognized scholar on the subject, and you can find an index to his articles with Global Research here.

So, are we close to war with Iran? Closer than you might think.

Chris Floyd:

As you may know – unless you rely on the corporate media for your news, of course – yesterday [Friday, July 13, 2007] the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: a 97-0 vote to give George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.

The bipartisan Senate resolution – the brainchild (or rather the bilechild) of Fightin' Joe Lieberman – affirmed as official fact all of the specious, unproven, ever-changing allegations of direct Iranian involvement in attacks on the American forces now occupying Iraq. The Senators appear to have relied heavily on the recent New York Times story by Michael Gordon that stovepiped unchallenged Pentagon spin directly onto the paper's front page. As Firedoglake points out, John McCain cited the heavily criticized story on the Senate floor as he cast his vote.

It goes without saying that all of this is a nightmarish replay of the run-up to the war of aggression against Iraq: The NYT funneling false flag stories from Bush insiders. Warmongers citing the NYT stories as "proof" justifying any and all action to "defend the Homeland." Credulous and craven Democratic politicians swallowing the Bush line hook and sinker.

I removed the live links and want to include some other stuff from it, but you might like to read the whole article. In my eyes, all the democrats in the Senate have blood on their hands now and should be replaced. This is the very thing America sent them to Washington to stop, not endorse.

Juan Cole:

I got the below by anonymous email regarding a German news program last month. Am passing it on not because I buy it or its details but because there is at the least an issue in the Kurdish terrorist groups that are operating from US-occupied Iraq against Iraq's neighbors. The US is not able to stop the PKK from operating against an ally, Turkey, so I don't think it could stop the Iranian Kurdish terrorists, PEJAK, from operating against Iran. But it is also probably true that there are elements in the US military, in the intelligence services, and in the Washington power elite that are connected to PEJAK and are either happy about its activities or subtly enabling them. [...]

"Transcript of TV program on German ARD television, "The Monitor, no. 564, June 21, 2007:

Sertan (a PJAK terrorist): "Three months ago, by using radio-controlled mines (IEDs) we killed 13 to 14 Iranian soldiers". Kurdish terrorists hide in the U.S. protected areas of North-Eastern Iraq. From there, they send fighters over the border into Iran and attack Iranians. In the past two years, they have killed over 200 Iranians."

So, with all this going on, why hasn't the Bush administration just attacked Iran? Apparently they think they need a proper "attention-getter"—they belong in an ad agency, not public service. We seem to be getting hints that attention-getter is forthcoming.

MSNBC:

In recent weeks, senior national security officials have been increasingly worried about an al-Qaida attack in the United States.

Appearing on a half-dozen morning TV shows Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff laid out a list of factors contributing to his “gut feeling” that the nation faces a higher risk of attack this summer: al-Qaida’s increased freedom to train in South Asia, a flurry of public statements from the network’s leadership, a history of summertime attacks, a broader range of attacks in North Africa and Europe, and homegrown terrorism increasing in Europe.

Frank Rich:

In this White House, the occasional official who strays off script is in all likelihood inadvertently coughing up the truth.

Mr. Chertoff was promptly hammered for it. His admission of "a gut feeling" that America might be vulnerable to a terrorist attack this summer was universally ridiculed as a gaffe. He then tried to retreat, but as he did so, his dire prognosis was confirmed by an intelligence leak. The draft of a new classified threat assessment found that Al Qaeda has regrouped and is stronger than at any time since 2001. Its operational base is the same ungoverned Pakistan wilderness where we've repeatedly failed to capture Osama bin Laden dead or alive for six years.

Could it be there's more to this "intelligence" than Chertoff's gut allows? Maybe there is.

Keith Olbermann:

Not only did this latest hair-on-fire missive remind us that al-Qaida's re-growth has been along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border; not only did it remind us that your boss let this happen by shifting his resources out of Afghanistan to Iraq for his own vain and foolish purposes, to say nothing of ignoring Pakistan; not only did it underscore the ominous truth that if this country is victimized again by al-Qaida, the personal responsibility for the failure of our misplaced defenses would belong to President Bush and President Bush alone, but on top of all of it, Mr. Chertoff, it revealed you for the phony expert you are - the kid who hears in confidence something smart from somebody smart and then makes his prediction that what the smart kid said confidentially is about to happen.

Woe be to the Bush administration if there is another "terrorist attack," because I sincerely don't think the country will buy it. But, the biggest clue I've seen from the World War Bush™ secret keepers came directly from the horse's ass mouth during the May 24 press conference—you remember it: a bird crapped on Bush. Fox News played this excerpt over and over, and something the text doesn't give you is the shifty look in his eyes, the way his mind seems to be elsewhere as he talks about "bloody August." Sure, he's talking about the war in Iraq and how the September surge assessment might cause additional violence in Iraq in August. But, after seeing the video many times, I got the odd idea he wasn't talking about Iraq at all.

President Dickface answers:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. I'd like to ask you about the Petraeus report, which as you say, will be in September, and report on the progress. Doesn't setting up the September date give the enemy exactly what you've said you don't want them to have, which is a date to focus on, and doesn't it guarantee a bloody August?

And while I have you, sir, the phrase you just used, "a different configuration in Iraq" that you'd like to see, is that a plan B?

THE PRESIDENT: Actually I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so that would be a plan BH. I stated -- you didn't like it? (Laughter.)

I've stated this is an idea that I like the concept. The question is, could we get there given the violence last fall, and the answer, in my judgment, was, no, we would never be able to configure our troops that way, in that configuration -- place our troops in that configuration given the violence inside the capital city.

David Petraeus felt like that it was important to tell the White House and tell the Congress that he would come back with an assessment in September. It's his decision to give the assessment, and I respect him and I support him.

Q Do you think --

THE PRESIDENT: It does, precisely. It's going to make -- it could make August a tough month, because you see, what they're going to try to do is kill as many innocent people as they can to try to influence the debate here at home. Don't you find that interesting? I do -- that they recognize that the death of innocent people could shake our will, could undermine David Petraeus's attempt to create a more stable government. They will do anything they can to prevent success. And the reason why is al Qaeda fully understands that if we retreat they, then, are able to have another safe haven, in their mind.

Yesterday, in my speech, I quoted quotes from Osama bin Laden. And the reason I did was, is that I want the American people to hear what he has to say -- not what I say, what he says. And in my judgment, we ought to be taking the words of the enemy seriously.

And so, yes, it could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August, and I fully understand --

Blah, blah, blah. Tell the truth for once, you lying liar. What's the real reason for all this carnage?

Chris Floyd:

Homo sapiens is the only species that dreams of its own total demise. Our brief history of conscious thought is replete with vivid scenarios of the end of life on earth....Religion has produced most of these – giddy, voluptuous nightmares of universal extinction, usually by fire, at divine order. A favored remnant is always saved in such tales, of course, but only after being transformed into some different, higher order of being. The gross human body – that bleeding, fouling, endlessly replicating sack of earth – is gleefully consigned to eternal oblivion.

It seems that some ineradicable nihilism pervades us, like a virus, now dormant, now flaring: something in us that wants to die, to be done with the long, overhanging doom of mortality – and to take the world with us. Our grandiose visions of the future seem to hide, at their core, a secret, desperate anxiety about the profound meaninglessness of existence – an anxiety that often disguises itself in elaborate fantasies of the afterlife, in dreams of "dominance" for one's "own kind" (nation, tribe, faith, race, ideology, etc.), or in the eroticizing of death, war and destruction.

Instincts for preservation, sentiments of affection, the drive for pleasure – from the most basic bodily urges to the most sublime creations and apprehensions of the intellect – act as counterweights to this dark virus, of course. They provide for most of us, most of the time, enough fragments of meaning – or at least sufficient distraction – to get on with things, without too much resort to world-engulfing visions or the extremes of nihilistic anxiety.

On the individual level, the calibration of these competing impulses can be intricate, subtle, ever-shifting, because the individual mind is so complex and all-encompassing, yet also so enclosed, so unlockably private as well: an infinitely supple tool for managing the conflicts and contradictions of reality. But on the broader level – species, nation, group – human consciousness is, of necessity, a far more blunt and brutal instrument.

There, our brain-fevers and anxieties rage more virulently, lacking the counterweights of individual feeling and the quick, intimate responsiveness of the private mind. In the group-mind, the fantasies that root in the muddy fear of meaninglessness can emerge full-blown. Thought and discourse are reduced to broad strokes, slogans, codes and incantations, with little correspondence to reality. Awareness of this tendency can mitigate some of its effects; but the group-mind's fundamental falsity and irreality almost invariably infects the thoughts and actions of group leaders – and eventually many of the group members as well.

Thus we can sometimes say, not entirely metaphorically, that nations "go mad," hurtling themselves toward ruin, embracing self-destruction, lusting for violence and death, sick with nihilism – although this sickness is always painted in the colors of patriotic fervor or religious zeal, or both…

Now draw these dangerous streams together, and you have a portrait of the blunt and brutal group-mind at work in the leadership of the world's most powerful nation. The folly, fantasy and death-fetish of the Bush Regime – long evident to anyone who cared to see – were finally "revealed" in the mainstream media recently by the quasi-official Establishment oracle, Bob Woodward. His latest insider portrait, Plan of Attack, offers – in the usual, easily-gummed pabulum form – a few tastes of the bitter truth behind the Regime's mad, ruinous war crime in Iraq.

The corrosive nihilism at the heart of the enterprise ate through the gaudily-painted surface most tellingly in a single anecdote. Woodward asks George W. Bush how he thinks history will regard his adventure in Iraq. Bush, gazing out the window, shrugs and waves the question away. "History, we don't know," he says. "We'll all be dead." No fine, faith-filled talk here about God and Jesus and the immortal soul responsible for its actions throughout all eternity – the kind of zealous patter Bush favors in public statements. This was just the cold, rotten, meaningless core of his grand vision: "We'll all be dead." So who cares? Apr├Ęs moi, le deluge.

So, there you have it. Maybe war with Iran will never happen. Maybe Bush will initiate it the last week of his presidency. Or, maybe it will start next month with the death of thousands of unsuspecting Americans on native soil, blamed on Iranian fanatics. Signs certainly point that way, and all brought to you by the animal instincts of blithering idiots. But you can't know how your money and life will be spent, because that, my friends, is a secret.