Last year I attended a presentation in Scottsdale by former CIA intelligence officer Phil Giraldi. Giraldi, who now writes the "Deep Background" column for The American Conservative magazine, speculated that war with Iran in the form of an air campaign was coming in the spring of 2007.
So last month when Israeli officials began promising to ramp up agitation in the US for strikes on Iran, I thought of Giraldi's words and they have been with me ever since. Unlike some in the press, Giraldi did not shy away from speculating about the possible unintended consequences of a US attack on Iran. These ranged from cutting off regional oil supplies, to assassinations of regional heads of state to retaliatory attacks on US interests including the possibility encircling US forces in Iraq and of course increased resentment toward the US likely fueling more terrorism.
In case you missed it last month, the following two statements came out of Israel;
The first was by Israeli Gen. Oded Tira who said:
"As an American air strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help (Bush) pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and U.S. newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure." "Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran," writes Tira. Thus, Israel and its U.S. lobbying arm "must turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran."
The second was by Benjamin Netanyahu:
Israel "must immediately launch an intense, international, public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel."
Yesterday Brit Hume was lobbing softballs to Neo-Conservative Bill Kristol on Fox Special Report:
HUME:So, it is a good idea to either get or seek assurances from the White House publicly that there'll be no military attack on Iran?
KRISTOL: Only if you think that Iran should be a safe haven for people who are shipping IEDs, and be training terrorists to come to a kill us — our soldiers in Iraq. Only if you think it's acceptable for Iran to get nuclear weapons. Only if you think it's acceptable for Iran to otherwise sponsor terrorism around the Middle East and, indeed, around the world.
[The Bush Administration] has to its credit toughened up in the last two, three, four months — sent an aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean, has threatened reprisals in Iraq, good financial sanctions, which have had some bite now, in Iran. So the Bush administration's gotten a little tougher, but it's Iran that's provoking this and the Democrats' and Chuck Hagel's position seems to be with all these provocations from Iran — we should reassure them that there'll never pay a price for doing it.
It was about this point that I started getting that feeling again … the one that I got back in 2003 when Kristol said:
Obviously, we are gratified that the Iraq strategy we have long advocated has become the policy of the U.S. government, because we believe it is the right policy
We wish a peaceful resolution were now possible. But it is not. Wishes are not facts. Saddam has proven that he will not disarm peacefully [file under lie]. And he must be disarmed. So war will come.
This is a moment for restating the obvious: We hope and pray the war goes as well as possible, with the fewest possible American casualties, and also the fewest possible casualties to all innocent parties, very much including the Iraqi people, who have suffered so greatly. We fear, as does the Bush administration, Saddam's chemical and biological weapons [file under unfounded], and, needless to say, hope for nothing more than the administration's success in crippling Saddam's ability to use them. We look forward to the liberation of our own country [file under Orwellian] and others from the threat of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction [that he doesn't have], and to the liberation of the Iraqi people from a brutal and sadistic tyrant [reminder: new dictionary for Bill with correct definition for "liberate"].
At that time, as Iraqi's prepared to have "Shock and Awe" rain down upon them, Kristol went on to say (and file this whole thing under Bill Kristol is an Arrogant warmongering SOB):
We are tempted to comment, in these last days before the war, on the U.N., and the French, and the Democrats. But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam's regime. It will produce whatever effects it will produce on neighboring countries and on the broader war on terror. We would note now that even the threat of war against Saddam seems to be encouraging stirrings toward political reform in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a measure of cooperation in the war against al Qaeda from other governments in the region. It turns out it really is better to be respected and feared than to be thought to share, with exquisite sensitivity, other people's pain. History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts.
As wrong as these people's claims continue to be proven … here we go again. And still no one in mainstream media is willing to talk about the real plan in the middle east. Instead we will continue to play the victim card one hand at a time to rally US support for each of these foreign mis-adventures. Meanwhile, as much as they gripe about being misled, the very same politicians who rubber stamped Iraq seem, so far, to be giving Bush a pass on Iran.
And yes, Dick Cheney is still sitting on the National Intelligence Estimate. Since it would appear the same playbook of deception is being used for Iran that was used for Iraq, expect a "Cliffs Notes" version of the NIE with the word "Iran" liberally dispersed throughout weeks before bombs start falling.
The neoconservatives and Bush still appear to believe (and file this under wishful thinking) that they can use US military might to change the landscape of the middle east for the better, ensure US access to relatively cheap oil and coerce the Arabs into playing nice with Israel. In doing so the American people are supposed to also believe that the survivors of our Shock and Awe "liberations" will thank us rather than retaliate with tactics of terrorism.
I stumbled upon this quote the other day by the late Edward Abbey and this seemed as good a place as any to repeat it.
"Our 'neoconservatives' are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell"