Monday, August 15, 2005

Just a small war, really 

One thing we must all remember is this -- you don't need many troops to fight a nuclear war.
In 'Social Security Lessons' Krugman identifies two looming Bush iniatives: Iran, and tax cuts. He thinks tax cuts are on the horizon but about Iran he blithely writes: "Despite the tough talk about Iran, I don't think [Bush] can propose another war - there aren't enough troops to fight the wars we already have."
But you don't need troops to fight Iran, not really -- all you need are bases close enough to allow quick, decisive and massive bombing runs, using small, tactical nuclear weapons to utterly destroy as much as possible of Iran's military capacity and uranium enrichment facilities.
Now we have those bases built in Iraq.
As discussed in a comment thread downstream, I think America would have used nuclear weapons against Hanoi to "win" in Vietnam except that the strength of the anti-war movement at that time in the US convinced the armed forces leadership and Nixon that they could never get away with this.
Now we have the Bush administration, who don't care what anyone does, says or thinks.
So the stage is set, just waiting for a script, and a cast and crew.
At the end of July, we had a short but scary note in Pat Buchannan's American Conservative magazine, when former CIA agent Phillip Giraldi describes the main elements of the script -- how Cheney has decided that the next terrorist attack on the US will be the excuse for an attack on Iran:
The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack - but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
Nice to know that so many senior military officers put their own careers ahead of hundreds of thousands of lives, isn't it?
Anyway, the information about the cast and crew is contained in a rather odd publication called the Executive Intelligence Review, where self-described intelligence expertJeffrey Steinberg notes that on inauguration day Cheney had appeared on the Imus show: "Using language identical to his earlier lies about Iraq, Cheney accused Iran of pursuing "a fairly robust nuclear program" and of sponsoring terrorism. "That combination is of great concern," he declared, warning that Israel could be expected to launch preventive bombing attacks on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons sites, if the Iranians don't abandon those supposed nuclear efforts." Steinberg also notes a number of other relevant events:
[In November, 2004] Dr. Jerome Corsi, a leading player in the Karl Rove-inspired dirty-tricks apparatus known as Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, suddenly emerged as the new head of the Iran Freedom Foundation (IFF), promoting regime change in Tehran. Corsi was touted by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) as being the driving force behind the Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005, which calls for $10 million in funds to be handed out to Iranian dissident groups . . . In March 2005, Corsi published another propaganda book, Atomic Iran, peddling scare stories about Iran's imminent possession of nuclear bombs. From May 15 to May 18, Dr. Corsi led an "Iran Freedom Walk" from Philadelphia to Washington, where a rally was addressed by neo-con Richard Perle, and where Corsi was congratulated, in a written statement, by Dick Cheney. In April 2005, Regnery Publishing, Inc. released another fractured-fairy-tale propaganda piece, promoting pre-emptive war on Iran, this one by Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.). Sources familiar with the book report that Weldon was snookered by ex-CIA Director and leading neo-con war party operative James Woolsey, and self-proclaimed "universal fascist" Michael Ledeen, into buying fake intelligence, pushed through a former Iranian minister under the Shah, who has more recently been a business partner of discredited Iran-Contra gun dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. Representative Weldon concealed the identity of his high-level "source," referring to him only as "Ali." But "Ali" was soon identified as Fereidoun Mahdavi, a former commerce minister, who fled Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and never looked back. In an interview with The American Prospect's Laura Rozen, Mahdavi professed shock and outrage that his "information" had formed the basis for Weldon's shrill book. He confirmed that all of the information he passed on to the Congressman had, in fact, originated with Ghorbanifar, a notorious disinformationist, and Iran-Contra ally of the Washington neo-cons. Weldon's saga with "Ali," as recounted in his book, Countdown to Terror-The Top-Secret Information That Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America ... And How the CIA Has Ignored It, began in March 2003, at the very moment that the Bush-Cheney regime was about to launch its Iraq invasion. In late June of this year, Kenneth Timmerman, a propagandist for the neo-cons and for right-wing Israeli circles around former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, published another book, Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown With Iran, which makes a string of preposterous claims, all based on information provided by the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian exile group on the U.S. State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Timmerman asserted that: Iran was behind the 9/11 attacks; Iran is safehousing Osama bin Laden inside the country; and Iran has all of the elements to produce nuclear weapons, and possibly provide them to terrorist cells already infiltrated into American cities.
When the Timmerman book was published, the Washington Times ran three days of excerpts, along with an editorial touting the book and calling for action against Iran. If all of this sounds remarkably similar to the propaganda run-up to the Iraq invasion of March 2003, that's because it is. The same Michael Ledeen/Richard Perle/Dick Cheney circles that brought you Operation Iraqi Freedom, are aggressively pushing war against Iran. But this time, with 170,000 American troops bogged down in Iraq, Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, et al. are now pushing their decade-old plan to conduct pre-emptive nuclear strikes.
Horrifying, isn't it. And what would the world do? Is there any way to stop this madness?
Just how much can anti-war supporters in the US expect Cindy Sheehan do all by herself?

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