What will you do if the United States uses “small-scale” (“bunker buster”) nuclear weapons against Iran?
1,200 Targets in 3 Days? A Look at Bush’s Iran War Plans
By MARJORIE COHN
The Sunday Times of London is reporting that the Pentagon has plans for three days of massive air strikes against 1,200 targets in Iran. Last week, Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, told a meeting of The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal, that the military did not intend to carry out “pinprick strikes” against Iranian nuclear facilities. He said, “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military.”
Bush has already set the wheels in motion. With Rovian timing, Alberto Gonzales’ resignation was sandwiched between two Bush screeds – one aimed at ensuring Congress scares up $50 billion more for the occupation of Iraq, the other designed to scare us into supporting war on Iran. As Gonzales rides off into the sunset, the significant questions are who will take his place and how that choice will facilitate Bush’s occupation of Iraq and attack on Iran.
One name that’s been floated for Bush’s third attorney general is Joe Lieberman, the “independent” senator from Connecticut. Lieberman, who advocates the use of military force against Iran, was the only person Bush quoted in his August 28 speech to the American Legion. Bush called Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” and pledged to “confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”
Gonzales greased the Bush/Cheney wheels for torturing in violation of the Geneva Conventions, illegally spying on Americans, and purging disloyal Bushies.
Similarly, Lieberman would ensure the Justice Department mounts a vigorous defense of a war of aggression against Iran. And Bush would get a two-fer: Connecticut’s Republican governor would appoint a Republican to fill Lieberman’s seat, returning control of the Senate to the GOP. A Republican-controlled Senate would direct the agenda, thereby furthering the Bush/Cheney plan.
Lieberman is closely affiliated with American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. “AIPAC leverages its power by an alliance with the Christian Right, which has adopted a bizarre ideology of ‘Christian Zionism,'” according to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole. “It holds that the sooner the Palestinians are ethnically cleansed, the sooner Christ will come back. Without millions of these Christian Zionist allies,” Cole added, “AIPAC would be much less influential and effective.”
During the 2004 election, a 100% “AIPAC voting record” was Lieberman’s litmus test for an acceptable presidential candidate. As the House of Representatives was on the verge of passing a resolution that would’ve required Bush to consult Congress before attacking Iran, the AIPAC lobby stopped it in its tracks.
Bush’s WMD-hyping against Iran is déja vu in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Disaster, where he played loose and fast with the truth about Iraq’s alleged WMDs. His statement that a nuclear Iran could put the region “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust” conjures up his images of a “mushroom cloud” in the hype-up to Iraq.
How inconvenient for Bush that the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) just found Iran’s uranium enrichment program is operating well below capacity and is nowhere near producing significant amounts of nuclear fuel. The IAEA report says Iran “has been providing the agency with access to declared nuclear materials, and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and facilities.”
Iran and IAEA agreed on a plan with a step-by-step timetable of cooperation to settle unresolved issues. The agreement said there were “no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran’s past nuclear program and activities,” and characterized the accord as “a significant step forward.”
“This is the first time Iran is ready to discuss all the outstanding issues which triggered the crisis in confidence,” said IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei. “I’m clear at this stage you need to give Iran a chance to prove its stated goodwill. Sanctions alone, I know for sure, are not going to lead to a durable solution”
In 2003, when Dr. ElBaradei reported there was no evidence that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, the White House was not pleased. And as Saddam Hussein became more cooperative with the weapons inspector, Bush became “infuriated,” according to Bob Woodward.
Bush’s vow, “We will confront this danger before it is too late,” is the Iran incarnation of his illegal preemptive war doctrine, which he inaugurated in Iraq. In a clear signal he is seeking regime change in Iran, Bush called for “an Iran whose government is accountable to its people, instead of leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.”
Barnett Rubin reported on Global Affairs blog that one of the leading neo-conservative institutions has “instructions” from Dick Cheney’s office to “roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this – they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty.'”
Bush/Cheney created the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) to lead a propaganda campaign to bolster public support for war with Iraq. The White House decided to wait until after Labor Day of 2002 to kick off WHIG’s mission. Chief of staff Andrew Card explained, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” Five years later, they’re marketing a new and even more dangerous product – war with Iran. British military historian Corelli Barnett says “an attack on Iran would effectively launch World War III.”
Our military spending has reached $1 billion every 2-1/2 days and we are borrowing $2-1/2 billion per day. Bush is mortgaging our children’s future security and wealth. We have lost more than 3,700 soldiers in Iraq and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died.
We have already seen how easily Congress caves in to AIPAC. It’s up to the people. As Noam Chomsky said, “The most effective barrier to a White House decision to launch a war [on Iran] is the kind of organized popular opposition that frightened the political-military leadership enough in 1968 that they were reluctant to send more troops to Vietnam.”
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bombing Iran
by Howard Rodman
For long time now, perhaps a year, I’ve been hearing (we’ve all been hearing) that the White House is planning to bomb Iran. As the neo-cons say, “Boys go to Baghdad; real men go to Tehran.” It’s a strategy so seductive that John McCain set it to music.
I’ve been dismissive of these rumors, as have you. Why? Because one would have to be a madman (or Dick Cheney) to start a second war when the first one is going so fucking well.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t take into account the way decisions about these things are made; and it neglects to take into account, as well, this particular president’s view of himself in history.
As Bush this weekend was disclosed to have said to his biographer, “I made a decision to lead… One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?” [The biography, by the way, is called Dead Certain. How reassuring to the rest of us.]
In the eyes of our president, an Iran with a different government is a world better off. The people of Iran, or what’s left of the people of Iran after a 1,200-target bombing campaign, will greet us as liberators. History and Joe Lieberman will judge him brave for having turned the tide in the Grand Battle Against Islamo-fascism — a battle which, as we now know, had its origins in the Vietnam war.
Still, I was inclined (you were inclined) to dismiss all this bluster as sabre-rattling. Alas, in the past week it has become more likely that those sabres are Tomahawk missiles — locked, aimed, targeted.
Here are the indications that a large bombing campaign against Iran is not only on the table, but is in fact the main dish — the turkey, if you will, of Thanksgiving 2007. I list them in order of ascending terrifyingness.
First: Robert Baer, the former middle-East CIA operative and a man who is not unconnected in the intelligence world (c.f., Syriana), says his peeps tell him we’re planning to “hit” Iran.
Second: Barnett Rubin, a scholar and one of the Serious people in the academic foreign policy establishment, says we’re already committed to an attack on Iran, and that the marketing for this attack will be ramped up after the long weekend. [In this light, Bush’s speech to the American Legion and various Cheney remarks of the last month can be seen as test-marketings. As Bush said in that speech, “We will confront this danger before it is too late.” Meaning, I suspect: “before I no longer have my finger on the button.”]
Third: the foreign press, which during the run-up to Iraq was far less blinkered than, say, the Gray Lady, has been over this weekend treating an attack on Iran as a fait accompli. See this from the Telegraph (UK) . The Times (UK) ran today a headline with the flat declaration, Pentagon ‘three-day blitz’ plan for Iran. They quote Alex Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus.” [One can’t help but recall the strategic calculus of General Buck Turgidson: “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.”]
Fourth: I doubt that David Addington believes that Bush, under the AUMF, really needs the permission of congress, or of anyone. As a courtesy, of course, he’d likely, as the planes are on their way, inform a bipartisan leadership group (several Republicans plus an independent from Connecticut). But what’s sadder is that this Congress, whose Democratic leadership is talking about opposing the war but not mentioning the words “withdrawal” or “timetable”; which cowed before the FISA revisions; whose Senate this year blithely passed, 97 to zip, a resolution condemning Iran for attacking U.S. forces in Iraq — When push comes to shove, will Reid and Pelosi (and Clinton, and Obama) put their political capital where their mouth is? As the magic eight ball says, “Signs point to no.” (See Glen Greenwald’s astute assessment of the political situation.)
Fifth: Regardless of the politics, in the Gulf of Hormuz the ships are in position, and, according to one unverified account, the targets are targeted, the planes are rehearsing even as we speak. In what are purported to be the words of one Navy officer on scene: “”I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets. I believe that no American will know when it happens until after it happens.”
For me (and for you), beginning a war in Iran — in the midst of the disaster that is Iraq — is the precise incarnation of Santayana’s warning: “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.” But for Bush and Cheney, two of the ten or twelve people who actually believe that the Iraq war is going well, this new venture would be, in their eyes– Going from strength to strength.
I’ve written to my Congressman, and to both Senators. Call me quixotic, for writing; call me naive, for encouraging you to do the same; and, at day’s end, call me cynical, for believing that public opinion here makes not one whit of difference.
For this long, hot weekend in Los Angeles, the last weekend before the full roll-out of the Iran Strike Ramp-Up [can’t you just see the CNN logo?], we’ve gone to Video Hut and rented Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. We have a 14-year-old in the house, and we thought it would be nice to provide him with some context. As we pray, against all indications, for cooler weather and a peaceful fall.
Howard A. Rodman is a screenwriter, novelist, educator. He is professor and former chair of the writing division at the USC School of Cinematic Arts; a member of the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America, west; and an artistic director of the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Labs.
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