Monday, November 27, 2006


by Thomas Riggins

The investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has an important article in the current issue of The New Yorker: “The Next Act: Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more? (November 27, 2006).
Hersh has many connections within the administration, especially the Pentagon and he is a primary source of information about what our leaders are thinking. Since neither our elected officials nor the government will tell the American people what they are doing and what they plan to do, articles such as Hersh’s become of vital concern to all Americans. This article will not only discuss the main factual content of ‘The Next Act” but attempt to go beyond the facts by deducing (always a risky business) what they imply for the future.

Early on we are told that one of the great worries of BC [for Bush-Cheney, since Cheney not Rove is clearly Bush's brain with respect to foreign policy] was that a Democratic takeover of Congress would mean that they might not be able to exercise an unrestricted military option against Iran and its apparently imaginary nuclear weapons program. The supine new Congress will of course continue to finance the mass murder of Iraqis but it might balk at an extension of the US led military terror to Iran. Hersh quotes a past senior intelligence official who told him: “They’re afraid that Congress is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, a la Nicaragua in the Contra war.” Not that that stopped Reagan and his gang of criminals from violating the law and financing the war by secretly selling arms to Iran and drugs here in the US to victims in the Black community.

With two years left in the BC imperium, and a clear rejection by a majority of the American people against the terrorist policies we are implementing in Iraq, will American policy qualitatively change? Hersh quotes Cheney from an interview last month in Time magazine: “I know what the President thinks. I know what I think. [Evidence of the same brain at work--tr]. And we’re not looking for an exit strategy. We’re looking for victory.” This is bad news for the reality based community since almost all the news reports of the thinking of people familiar with Iraq (retired and current military men, intelligence experts, academics, etc.,) is that “victory”, as articulated by BC [a pro-US puppet government in a stable Iraq,with a long term (reduced) US presence and representing a sort of Arab version of Israel, allowing us strategic control of middle eastern oil] is impossible, these quotes mean BC is dreaming the impossible dream which will in turn become a nightmare not only for the peoples of the region but will blow back on the American people as well.

Cheney is also quoted as telling a Zionist group: “The United States [i.e., BC] is keeping all options [including the most idiotic] on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime [this is not self-referential]. And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” Remember, there is no hard evidence Iran is actually building such a weapon. Also note how successful BC was in “not allowing” North Korea to have a nuclear weapon. By the way, its ok for buddies of BC, Israel. India, and Pakistan to have such weapons, all of whom have invaded and attacked their neighbors, but not Iran, which hasn’t invaded anyone for over two hundred years.

The removal of Rumsfeld and the convocation of the Baker-Hamilton “Iraq Study Group” indicates to many of the former players on the BC team that a move is underway to actually get out of Iraq and not to attack Iran. The old guard of the Republican party is afraid that the BC/Neoconservative devil’s pack will cost the party any chance of retaining the presidency in 2008 and they want to isolate Cheney and have Bush back Condoleezza Rice and a diplomatic solution to the problem with Iran, and to focus on a realistic policy [yet to be determined] towards Iraq and Afghanistan . This would require splitting BC apart and recombining the B gray matter with that of Ms Rice resulting in BR, C would still be blundering about as a loose cannon The question is if the new secdef, Robert Gates and his allies, can or have the will to, effectuate this recombinant splitting (metaphorically) of the President’s brain.

Hersh also reports on some clandestine activities against Iran that the US is up to (although they can't be all that clandestine if you can read about them in The New Yorker.) It seems that the US (along with Israel) is supporting an anti-Iranian "resistance" group called the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan. Its difficult to believe that any authentic resistance group would be getting support from the US and Israel! Hersh says "this group has been conducting clandestine cross-border forays into Iran." This might be a "terrorist group" except that it is funded by us and only groups that oppose us are "terrorist", otherwise they are "resistance" groups. We have also established contacts with different tribes in southeastern and northern Iran to stir up trouble for Tehran. These forays are an attempt to put pressure on the Iranian government by other means than direct military involvement.

What is interesting about this activity is that it is not the CIA but the Pentagon that is carrying out these covert operations. "Such activities," Hersh informs us, "if they are considered military rather than intelligence operations, do not require congressional briefings." True to the democratic spirit motivating BC's middle eastern adventures, the American people and their elected representatives will be kept in the dark about activities that amount to acts of war against Iran. How would we react to Mexico's funding armed resistance groups launching forays into New Mexico or Arizona? (Poncho Villa where are you?)

BC has a master plan for dealing with Iran. We are told that David Wurmser is the major Middle East "expert" on Cheney's staff. He is described as "a neoconservative who was a strident advocate for the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein." Seeing as this advice has led to what many, if not most, people who know anything about it think is the worse foreign policy catastrophe for the US since the end of WW2 (although I think Vietnam deserves that honor), it would appear that Wurmser is not much of an expert. Would a doctor be an expert if he or she botched his or her operations. Would you go back to a doctor like that? Apparently so if you are BC because the "expert" Wurmser wants to now topple the government in Iran. Some people never learn.

There seems little doubt that BC has a strong desire, especially with all the prodding from Israel, to attack Iran-- a big bombing campaign since we are stuck, as Rumsfeld says, "with the army we have" commanded by incompetent careerists and too bogged down in Iraq to also take on Iran. Let's hope the new Congress can reign in the maniacs in the White House, especially as (Hersh reports), the CIA has not come up with any conclusive evidence "of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency." The lack of any evidence is proof for some of BC's advisors that Iran must have just such a program. I know the logic is completely crazy, but this is what Hersh reports.

A high level former CIA official was a source Hersh must have felt very comfortable with as the official is quoted several times. Here is his assessment of the CIA's conclusions on what the result would be of an American attack on Iran: "An American attack will paper over any differences in the Arab world, and we'll have Syrians, Iranians, Hamas, and Hezbollah fighting against us--- and the Saudis and the Egyptians questioning their ties to the West."

This may be a little too gloomy. Iran is not an Arab country and the contradictions between the countries mentioned might not lead to such united actions. But why risk it? The very possibility of BC's going it alone and attacking Iran is so serious that the House of Representatives should initiate impeachment proceedings if for no other reason that to throw the White House off balance and on the defensive for the next two years and hopefully prevent an expansion of the war that such an attack would entail.

In any event, an attack on Iran, with no clear evidence it is actually trying to make a bomb, and with no immediate threat to the US would be an act of folly and would demonstrate that the present administration is not only totally incompetent but a clear and present danger to the American people.

Thomas Riggins is a university lecturer in philosophy and ancient civilizations and can be reached at Thomas Riggins' Blog or at

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