Monday, December 19, 2011

Post #119 - Wars and Rumors of Wars

"The issue is no longer whether the United States will invade Iran, but when." This was the judgment of Dr. Bernard Finel, senior fellow at the American Security Project, by late October, 2007. Finel, who has taught military strategy at the U.S. National War College and co-authored a book on combating weapons of mass destruction, believes, though, that a concerted effort to find another path "may yet save the country from another ill-conceived, poorly planned adventure based on wishful thinking and faulty assumptions."

The magnitude of the supposed threat was placed in perspective by Steve Chapman, a member of the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune [May 22, 2008]:

"At the height of the Cold War; the Soviet Union had some 45,000 nuclear warheads...if Iran is the Soviet Union, I'm Shaquille O'Neal [legendary NBA superstar]. There is nothing reckless in soberly distinguishing large threats from small ones, and there is something foolhardy in grossly exaggerating the strength of your enemies...[Iran] has no nuclear weapons. It has a pitiful air force. Its navy is really just a coast guard. It spends less on defense than Singapore or Sweden. Our military budget is 145 times greater than Iran's."

Paul Craig Roberts (Huffington Post)
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review; he summed up the precariousness of the situation this way, in an August 31, 2007 article:

  • US Navy aircraft carrier strike forces are deployed off Iran.

    US Air Force jets and missile systems are deployed in bases in countries bordering or near to Iran.

    US B-2 stealth bombers have been refitted to carry 30,000 pound "bunker buster" bombs.

    The US government is financing terrorist and separatist groups within Iran.

    US Special Forces teams are conducting terrorist operations inside Iran.

    US war doctrine has been altered to permit first strike nuclear attack on Iran and other non-nuclear countries.

    [T]hreats against Iran have intensified during the course of this year...

    Punishing air and missile attacks have been designed not merely to destroy Iran's nuclear energy projects, but also to destroy the public infrastructure, the economy, and the ability of the government to function...

(Meanwhile the US media was focusing on whether Cong. Larry Craig was a practicing homosexual)

By the end of that year, things were even more ominous. A professor in Missouri wrote:

"Here in Missouri the preparations for an assault on Iran are underway. In St. Charles Boeing is building a new 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator bunker buster bomb. It was tested in New Mexico in March [2007] and was scheduled for delivery by the end of [that] year. Just outside Kansas City at Whiteman Air Force Base, our fleet of B-2 stealth bombers are being retrofitted to carry these new MOPs. The target is Iran."

Slim Pickens as Maj. King Kong
In an incident that seemed to have been taken directly out of a novel by Tom Clancy, six nuclear bunker-buster warheads on cruise missiles were transported by air over the U.S. heartland, ending up at a base in Louisiana. The Military Times reported that such weapons (they amounted to 60 times in destructive yield what was used on Hiroshima) had not been transported in this way – mounted under the wings of a bomber, rather than in a cargo hold -- during the whole of the Cold War. After a few days of odd and not very credible explanations from the Pentagon, reports started circulating that the weapons had been on their way to the Middle East for possible use against Iran. An independent journalist, Wayne Madsen, asserted:

"…elements of the Air Force, supported by U.S. intelligence agency personnel, successfully revealed the ultimate destination of the nuclear weapons and the mission was aborted due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community."

(Madsen, a Washington-based investigative reporter, and Michael Chossudovsky, who also addressed the “back-story” on the incident in a separate article, wrote for The Centre for Research on Globalisation. The Centre is an independent research and media group of writers, scholars journalists and activists based in Montreal, directed by Chossudovky, professor and author of America’s “War on Terror”.)

Reports of presidential authorization being given for CIA “black ops” against Iran (from ABC News, May 22, 2007) brought new anxiety and uncertainty, because what had been secret was being made public. Bush signed a Presidential Order launching covert operations against Iran including a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions. August 25, The Australian reported: "Bob Baer, the former Middle East CIA operative whose first book about his life inspired the oil-and-espionage thriller "Syriana," was working on a new book on Iran, but said he was told by senior intelligence officials that he had better get it published in the next couple of months because things could be about to change." -- the change apparently being a ramping-up of allegations regarding Iranian actions toward US troops in Iraq -- and that "a strategic airstrike on Iran is a real possibility in the months ahead." An August 28 news report noted that "US forces raided a hotel in Baghdad and detained ten Iranians who according to a U.S.-funded [Arabic-language] radio station included members of an Iranian [trade] negotiation team." They were released a day later.

After maintaining a policy of “no negotiations with bad actors” for years, the Bush administration then proposed holding multilateral talks, but with the deal-breaking precondition of Iran's having first to halt uranium enrichment, the presumed main topic of such negotiations (!). The Bush team later assented to talks on Iraq that would include regional neighbors such as Iran and Syria, and by April 2007 were actually urging Iran to attend a Middle East conference in the Egyptian town of Sharm el Sheikh in early May, where senior-level talks took place (face-to-face meetings between Iranian and U.S. representatives failed to materialize at that meeting, but did occur later in the summer). For his part, Ahmadinezhad proposed wide-ranging direct talks between himself and President Bush. The Iranian leader placed his own conditions: that any such talks be public – in fact, that they would be broadcast live to the rest of the world. His bid found no taker in Washington. 

As we now know, by the grace of God, our country somehow made it through the G.W. Bush era without going to war with Iran.

(To be continued...)

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