A World Where International Law Has Collapsed

Looking for a Gulf of Tonkin-like Incident
Published on Sunday, January 21, 2007.
By Rodrigue Tremblay

Obviously, President George W. Bush is busily looking for a Gulf of Tonkin-like incident in order to further escalate the war in Iraq and to start a fresh one with Iran.

Let us remember that when the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, another Texan, wanted to escalate the war against North Vietnam, in 1964, it fabricated a tale about a maritime incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, which many historians believe never happened. Congress was then steamrolled into passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which was used by the Johnson administration, and later by the Nixon administration, to escalate U.S. military involvement in Indochina. Tens of thousands of young Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese died as a consequence of this resolution.

And the same scenario is repeating itself today. Politicians, when facing a quagmire of their own making and feeling powerless and under attack, will spend unlimited amounts of public money and will sacrifice unlimited numbers of other people’s lives, in order to save face. —Anxious to provoke Iran into a military confrontation, George W. Bush authorized, in early January, an attack on an Iranian consulate in the town of Irbil, in Iraq, capturing five staff members. This was an act of war, because it was carried out on a diplomatic compound. The Iraqi and Iranian governments have both called for the men’s release.

This aggression came after the Bush-Cheney administration sent two large nuclear aircraft carriers, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS John C. Stennis, each accompanied by guided-missile cruisers, destroyers, frigates, submarine escorts and supply ships, to the Persian Gulf. As a consequence, the Persian Gulf is teeming with American military gear.

In this relatively small sea, such a concentration of military equipment is bound to result in accidents. Indeed, around January 8, a U.S. nuclear submarine hit a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz near the Arabian Sea. The Strait of Hormuz connects the Persian Gulf with the Arabian Sea and is a most strategic shipping lane for transporting oil products from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

All this military gear is deployed in order to blockade two Iranian oil ports on the [Persian] Gulf and to start bombing Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons, as soon as Bush can invent a pretext to launch a war against Iran. It seems the only thing this politician knows how to do is to launch wars. Countries such as Israel and the Gulf states are being equipped with advanced Patriot missile systems, in preparation for missile counter-attacks that Iran is expected to launch, after it has been bombed. As soon as some ‘Persian Gulf incident’ can be orchestrated, the table will be set for starting a bombing campaign of Iran, possibly, according to some observers, sometime in April (2007). As the neocon plan calls for, such a war is designed to create “a new power balance” in the Middle East, beneficial both to Israel’s strategic interests and to American oil interests. In fact, what the Bush-Cheney administration and its neocon advisors ideally would hope to accomplish is to repeat the 1953 CIA coup that ousted from power the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, after the latter nationalized the oil industry. The result was a concentration of all power in a puppet, the Shah of Iran.

Read it here.

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