Tuesday, October 09, 2007


by Thomas Riggins

Seymour Hersh is back with another New Yorker article (“Shifting Targets: The Administration’s plan for Iran,” issue of October 8, 2007). It seems that the Iran plan has changed a bit since his last article, six or seven months ago,appeared.[An article about it is in the blog archives] Hersh isn’t sure that Iran will be attacked, but there is certainly a hugh military build up taking place. Since there is no real evidence that Iran is making the Bomb, the new rationale for attack is that Iran is attacking us!

Here is a quote from Bush in August of this year: “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people ... I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

Hersh’s article makes it clear that Bush is just fabricating these charges to con the American people into supporting his policies. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki (who is kept in power by American troops) has given the lie to Bush’s allegations by stating that Iranian and Iraqi relations were “improved to the point that they are not interfering in our internal affairs.” It seems its only Bush who is interfering in Iraq’s “internal affairs” [leaving the war out of account] by, for instance, keeping the really murderous Blackwater mercenaries in theatre and paying off this ultra-right Republican corporation will millions in tax payer money.

The President’s supporters can only try to build support for his policies by the most outlandish and even stupid arguments. Norman Podhoretz, a notorious right wing hack who is always given media coverage, is quoted by Hersh as writing that Iranian President Ahmadinejad is “like Hitler ... whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it ... with a new order dominated by Iran.” Podhoretz thinks we must attack Iran, and, he gets to meet with Bush!

Now, granted that Iran is not the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, but the idea that Iran is out to dominate the world is so ridiculous that Podhoretz has only succeeded in making a fool out of himself. Unfortunately, it appears that he has the ear of another fool as Hersh quotes him as saying “Bush is going to hit” Iran. As I said, Hersh isn’t sure about this. He writes, “I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the ‘execute order’ that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued.” Lets hope Bush keeps his head.

By the way, this article throws some light on the Gen. Petraeus “Betray Us”
flap. If the general lies to the Congress to create a pretext for attacking Iran, then “Betray Us” or “Betray U.S.” would be an appropriate nickname.
Well, here is what he told Congress. Hersh quotes him as saying Iran is waging “a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.”
But we saw above that the leader of the Iraqi state says that Iran is not interfering in Iraq. Petraeus out and out lied to the Congress and the American people. He should be stripped of his stars and dishonorably discharged before his actions cause the death of more American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

This article points out that all the main charges against Iran that Bush is harping about (and that his tin pot general mostly repeats)-- trying to get the Bomb, supplying the “enemy” with weapons, and sending agents into the country are all dubious and unproved.

Hersh gives three reasons for the shift away from emphasis on Iran's nuclear ambitions to its providing weapons to the insurgents fighting the U.S. 1.) the American people are not buying the nuclear threat hype, 2.) our intelligence agencies insist that Iran is at least 5 years away from making a bomb [if that is what they are up to], 3.) it seems "that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq." It seems to me that this last reason is the biggest reason motivating Bush and his supporters.

Hersh points out that "The crux of the Bush Administration's strategic dilemma is that its decision to back a Shiite-led government after the fall of Saddam has empowered Iran, and made it impossible to exclude Iran from the Iraqi political scene."

It was the decision to invade and occupy Iraq in the first place, I think, that was flawed That decision was made by people profoundly ignorant of the history and the nature of the countries and peoples of the region. It was also made by people who are arrogant and have not even learned from our own history. Ignorance and arrogance go together. President Bush should check out Proverbs 16:18. As we all know, after Korea, Gen. MacArthur reputedly said the US should never get involved in a land war in Asia. Then followed the disaster in Vietnam and now Iraq.

One of Hersh"s sources tells him one reason Bush is bogged down and losing in Iraq is his failure to do the things that could help him succeed, such as engaging positively with Syria and Iran (as was proposed by the Iraq Study Group). Another points out that the type of bombing plan the Pentagon would engage in, if ordered by Bush, can't work without good intelligence on which targets to hit. The U.S. has no such reliable intelligence. Attacking Iran will further complicate the situation for the U.S. in Iraq and just make a bigger mess for whomever has to clean up after Bush is out of office.

Everyone should try to get a copy of Hersh's article to read. I have only presented a few of its high lights. The article itself gives ample evidence that the case against Iran is very weak and mostly contrived. Pressure has to be increased on the Congress to try and rein Bush and his generals in before they can create an even bigger catastrophe in the Middle East. Congress can stop them, it simply lacks the courage and will to do so. So the people must apply the pressure to shore up our so-called representatives. Congress should go on record now that Iran cannot be attacked without its explicit consent. The war powers must be taken back and reside in the Congress as intended by the Founders.

[originally from Political Affairs on-line]

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