September 21, 2005
If Washington wants a war with Iran, there'll be a war with Iran. That's
the great lesson of the Iraq war; once the decision is made, there's no
So, why are the main-players; England, France and Germany stumbling over
themselves trying to placate Bush as though the conflict can be avoided?
Threatening to bring Iran before the Security Council won't alter the
administrations plans one bit. Like the Downing Street memo stated, "The
facts and intelligence were fit to meet the policy". It's the same here. No
amount of groveling from the EU-3 will appease Washington once Tehran is in
its crosshairs. The EU-3 would be better off sending arms and ammunition to
Iran so the people can defend themselves once bombs start to fly.
We should consider the implications of preemptive war against Iran before
the situation begins to escalate. The Islamic state has no nuclear weapons,
no nuclear weapons-program, and no verifiable evidence that it will be
building nuclear weapons in the future. In other words, the US is planning
an attack against a nation that does not even meet its minimal requirements
for aggression. There is no moral or legal justification for such a war,
just as there was no moral or legal justification for the invasion of Iraq.
Nevertheless, I believe that the decision to attack Iran was made long
ago, perhaps even before the Iraq war; and that that will be carried out in
the very near future. The last obstacle was the German election. The
administration believed that Ms. Angela Merkel would win a hands-down
victory; putting a fellow neocon in the drivers-seat of Europe's largest
economy. It would be like having Maggie Thatcher in Bonn. Merkel could be
counted on to support the expansion of NATO (which is, to say, the extension
of American power), to dismantle the social-welfare system, energize the
privatization processes, quash the movement for an independent EU military,
strengthen ties with the US and Israel, and disrupt European solidarity. All
this fits within the Washington neocon vision of a balkanized, free-market
Europe operating as a subordinate to the US overlord.
If the US or Israel had attacked Iran before the German elections, Ms.
Merkel, who has promised to rebuilt the trans-Atlantic relationship, would
have taken a decisive nosedive in the polls. As it turns out, the election
results were inconclusive and will probably not affect the storm clouds that
are gathering over Tehran.
The die is cast. There will be a war.
The media has already begun the steady drum-beat of specious charges
directed at the Islamic government. All of the major news-providers (New
York Times, AP, Washington Post, Night Ridder etc) are now describing Iran
as "defiant" or "thumbing their nose" at the world community, or, worse,
"out of compliance" with prior agreements. Their new Iranian president is
described as a "hardliner" who is "fiercely anti-American" These claims are
normally accompanied by quotes from unidentified sources who refer to a
fictional nuclear-weapons program that is just months away from developing
It's all 100% bunkum. In fact, the world community is not troubled by
Iran's nuclear program at all. It is only the US who would like to use the
allegations that rattle-through the propaganda system to justify another
Unlike the US, Iran does not have a history of territorial aggression, is
not involved in massively-destabilizing colonial wars, does not abduct
civilians from other sovereign nations and torture them in foreign prisons,
does not erect monuments to human cruelty (Guantanamo) and fill them with
members of a target-religion.
Iran has no nuclear weapons program. That is not simply my contention,
but the judgment of the foremost nuclear inspections team in the world; the
IAEA. (International Atomic Energy Agency) It was the IAEA that consistently
disputed the erroneous claims by the Bush administration that Saddam was
developing a nuclear weapons capacity. No such program existed and there is
considerable proof that the US knew the charges were false.
For the last two years, Iran has willingly undergone the strictest regime
of "go-anywhere see anything" inspections of any nation in the history of
the IAEA. Even now they are eager to admit the IAEA inspectors to all
suspect locations and allow them to set up their permanent video-cameras, so
they can assure the global community that they can be trusted to comply with
the terms of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty)
What Iran refuses to do, and what every sovereign nation should refuse to
do, is accept rules mandated by the United States especially designed for
Iran. That, of course, is precisely what is happening at present. Iran is IN
COMPLETE COMPLIANCE WITH ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE NPT. What
the Bush team is demanding is that they forgo the conversion of nuclear fuel
to be used for peaceful purposes in the production of nuclear energy for
power plants. (This conversion process does not create Weapons-grade
plutonium) This is their right under the terms of the treaty. For Iran to
accept less than what they agreed upon destroys the meaning of the treaty,
creates an apartheid-system of compliance, and is a national humiliation.
Why would Iran accept such an obvious double-standard while the US is
busy building a new regime of bunker-busting nuclear weapons and threatening
to use them preemptively on Washington's myriad enemies?
The administration's goals in attacking Iran are simple and
straightforward. They hope to control Iran's vast petroleum and natural gas
reserves, disarm a regional rival to Israel, prevent Iran from opening its
own market for trading oil in petro-euros, and manage the global energy
market to maintain US dominance over rising powers like India and China.
This can be successfully achieved by putting the regions' resources under US
Whatever strategy the Pentagon has in mind, it certainly will not
duplicate the disaster that persists in Iraq. Israel will probably lead the
assault taking out the potential nuclear sites with the US in a mop-up role;
bombing the 45 chemical, biological and conventional weapons facilities.
It won't be pretty and the margin for error is significant.
At the end of the day, the US will need to storm the oil-rich Ahwaz
region (perhaps, 90% of Iran's oil) and create the rationale for a long-term
occupation. There's no plan to subjugate the 70 million Iranians who live
beyond that region, although the air-strikes will probably attempt to
"decapitate" the regime, so they may need to find new leaders.
Time is Running out
There are many signs that the US is drawing closer to a war with Iran.
It's clear from numerous reports that the administration is conducting
routine fly-overs of Iran, as well as providing support to the disparate
terrorist organizations (MEK) that are fomenting rebellion on the ground.
Just this week, Secretary Rumsfeld suggested that Iran was behind the
street violence that erupted in Basra when two undercover commandos were
arrested by Iraqi police. Rumsfeld snappishly opined that Iran's involvement
was "not helpful".
Is the Secretary really insinuating that the riot that broke out after 10
British tanks and armored vehicles crushed the walls surrounding the Basra
jail, killing 7 Iraqis and releasing 150 prisoners; was Iran's doing?
Weeks earlier, Rumsfeld made similarly feeble allegations about arms
that had been captured in house-to-house searches. "It is true," he said,
"that weapons clearly, unambiguously, from Iran have been found in Iraq."
Clear to whom?
We don't need to reiterate the litany of Rumsfeld's fabrications to
acknowledge that his claims are suspect and probably designed to expand the
Why would Iran want to increase the ongoing chaos in Iraq? Does it help
Iran to have an unstable neighbor where, at any moment, the war could spill
over their borders?
Or do the Mullahs simply have a death-wish to be nuked by the United
Rumsfeld's claims are absurd. Iran does not want a war.
Cheney's Nuclear Review
A leaked document from the CIA attracted considerable attention two
months ago. Under orders from Vice president Dick Cheney STRATCOM
(Strategic Command) drew up contingency plans for a "large scale air assault
on Iran employing both conventional an nuclear weapons." Understandably, the
document caused quite a flap leaving many to conclude that the
administration was considering a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran.
Surprisingly, however, the "leak" never produced any reaction or
recriminations from the White House, who simply ignored its appearance in
Was it a planned leak?
Similarly, just last week all the major news outlets ran stories about
the Pentagon's draft of a US nuclear doctrine that spells out conditions
under which US commanders might seek approval to "preemptively" use nuclear
weapons. The document entitled Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" was
prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent shock-waves through the
Would the Pentagon really execute a first-strike initiative against a
What country would be the likely target of such an attack?
The answer is almost too obvious to mention.
Iran. (The document by the way, has been mysteriously "disappeared" from
the Pentagon site)
Both of these examples suggest that Washington is trying to send a strong
message to Tehran that the US will respond with overwhelming (nuclear) force
if Iran retaliates after the upcoming "surgical-strikes". It is a clever
strategy that offers nearby Israel (who will presumably lead the attack)
some insurance that Iran will not strike back.
But, Iran will strike back; that much is certain. And, of course, Iran
has every right to retaliate if it is bombed in an unprovoked act of
The principles involved in an Iranian response are clear enough but they
are worth reviewing none the less.
Whatever one may think of the repressive Islamic regime, its right to
defend itself against unprovoked hostilities cannot be challenged. Thus,
Iran will be defending the principles of sovereignty, self-determination,
borders, and the right to live in peace with their neighbors without the
threat of attack. These principles are the foundation-blocks upon which the
current world order rests. They are worth fighting and dying for, as we
shall soon discover.
I believe that the Mullahs will honor their obligation to defend their
people if they are attacked and will act accordingly.
The history of warfare is a dismal chronicle of fatal blunders. The
administration can avoid this catastrophe, but I don't think they will.
Courtesy & Copyright ę Mike Whitney