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Is Bush planning an attack on Iran in March?


Douglas Caddy
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If there are any grounds for optimism it is that successful war making is rarely done in 'plain sight'.

On this occasion, an attack on Iran so brazenly and noisily advocated by the Zionist lobby - in Israel, the USA, Australia and elsewhere - would be perceived, even by Joe Blow in the street, as an attack orchestrated and pursued by the Zionist lobby.

There are severe dangers to the Zionist movement in carrying out such a open strategy of warmaking, given the probable horrific long-term consequences of an assault on Iran. I trust their more experienced strategists realise this?

Starting such a war in the spotlight - as opposed to in the shadows - signals supreme self-confidence that may prove to be dangerous recklessness, betokening the end of what I increasingly view as an inter-generational criminal enterprise.

____________________

On a less serious note, Paul Craig Roberts argues the rest of the world should Dump the Dollar!

A good read. I especially like his references to Putin's under-reported recent speech.

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Hysteria at Herzliya is Pat Buchanan's take in antiwar.com

Here it is::

When Congress finally decides on just the right language for its "non-binding resolution" deploring Bush's leadership in this war, it might consider a resolution to keep us out of the next one.

For America is on a collision course with an Iran of 70 million, and the folks who stampeded us into Iraq are firing pistols in the air again.

At the annual Herzliya Conference, U.S. presidential aspirants, neoconservatives, and Israeli hawks were all invoking the Holocaust and warning of the annihilation of the Jews.

Israel's "Bibi" Netanyahu, who compares Iran's Ahmadinejad to Hitler, said: "The world that didn't stop the Holocaust last time can stop it this time. … Who will lead the effort against genocide if not us? The world will not stand up on behalf of the Jews if the Jews do not stand up on behalf of the world."

Said former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz: "Iran is the heart of the problem in the Middle East. It is the most urgent threat facing the world, and needs to be dealt with before it's too late." After meeting with the Department of State's Nicholas Burns, Mofaz called 2007 "a year of decision."

Richard Perle assured the conference that Bush will attack Iran rather than see it acquire nuclear weapons capabilities. Newt Gingrich also brought his soothing touch to the proceedings:

"[C]itizens who do not wake up every morning and think about possible catastrophic civilian casualties are deluding themselves.

"Three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust. … I'll repeat it. Three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust. … Our enemies are fully as determined as Nazi Germany and more determined than the Soviets. Our enemies will kill us the first chance they get.

"If we knew that tomorrow morning we would lose Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, what would we do to stop it? If we knew that we would tomorrow lose Boston, San Francisco, or Atlanta, what would we do?"

Mitt Romney agreed. Ahmadinejad's Iran is more dangerous than Khrushchev's Soviet Union, which put missiles in Cuba. For the Soviets "were never suicidal. Soviet commitment to national survival was never in question. That assumption cannot be made to an irrational regime [iran] that celebrates martyrdom."

Ehud Olmert, mired in scandal, his popularity in the tank after the Lebanon fiasco, was as hawkish as Bibi: "The Jewish people, with the scars of the Holocaust fresh on its body, cannot afford to let itself face the threat of annihilation once again. … We will stand up against nuclear threats and even prevent them."

Came then U.S. peace candidate John Edwards. Keeping Iran from nuclear weapons "is the greatest challenge of our generation. … To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table. … Let me reiterate – all options."

Wrote the Financial Times' Philip Stephens of Herzliya, "I gave up counting the times I heard the words 'existential threat' to describe Iran's nuclear program capability."

A few weeks back, according to UPI's Arnaud de Borchgrave, Netanyahu declared that Israel "must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front first and foremost on the United States – 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 [u.S.] 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."

Israel's war is to be sold as America's war.

The project is underway. According to Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor of the Guardian, Israeli media are reporting that the assignment to convince the world of the need for tough action on Iran has been given to Meir Dagan, head of Mossad.

Listening to the war talk, Gen. Wesley Clark exploded to Arianna Huffington: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office-seekers."

The former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe was ordered out of ranks and dressed down by Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. But Matt Yglesias of The American Prospect, himself Jewish, says Clark spoke truth: "t's true that major Jewish organizations are pushing this country into war with Iran."

Yet is the hysteria at Herzliya justified? Consider:

Not once since its 1979 revolution has Iran started a war. In any war with America, or Israel with its hundreds of nuclear weapons, Iran would not be annihilating anyone. Iran would be risking annihilation.

Not only has Iran no nukes, the Guardian reported yesterday, "Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium … are in chaos." That centrifuge facility at Natanz is "archaic, prone to breakdown, and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production."

There is no need for war. Yet, Israelis, neocons, and their agents of influence are trying to whip us into one. Senators who are seeking absolution for having voted to take us into Iraq ought to be confronted and asked just what they are doing to keep us out of a war in Iran.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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It's a chillingly plausible scenario, Douglas.

I posted a similar article from Robert Parry the other day but I can't seem to find it on the Forum. Anyway, here it is:

http://www.alternet.org/story/45852/

Parry suggests a plan has been hatched by Bush, Blair and Olmert for Israel to attack Syria and the Iranian nuclear sites, with America providing logistical support. The three leaders have had a round robin of meetings over the last two months.

The unholy haste in executing Saddam Hussein is highly suspicious, as Alexandrovna alludes to. I suspect it was an action designed to provoke a response from America's enemies in the region as a pretext for further action. I thought he was originally scheduled to be executed in late January, so there must be a reason for bringing it forward, since my faith in the good intentions of the US/Israel axis has long ago evaporated. I have read several articles suggesting that the US Administration refuses to rule out the possibility of utilising bunker-busting nuclear weapons in its campaign against Iran. Nothing can be ruled out, as I believe this US Administration, supported by unseen forces of apparently limitless evil, is the most dangerous in living memory.

The chess analogy is a good one. As in 2003, the Bush alliance may open with a few bold moves. However, as we have seen, their end game stinks. A baboon has more chance against Kasparov. The pawns in this game are us, of course, and the Bush regime is prone to gladly sacrificing pieces in order to achieve their unachievable goal--control of the entire Middle East.

US 'Iran attack plans' revealed

BBC News

Feb. 19, 2007

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.

The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

The UN has urged Iran to stop the programme or face economic sanctions.

But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.

That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.

Two triggers

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies.

Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.

Long range B2 stealth bombers would drop so-called "bunker-busting" bombs in an effort to penetrate the Natanz site, which is buried some 25m (27 yards) underground.

The BBC's Tehran correspondent France Harrison says the news that there are now two possible triggers for an attack is a concern to Iranians.

Authorities insist there is no cause for alarm but ordinary people are now becoming a little worried, she says.

Deadline

Earlier this month US officials said they had evidence Iran was providing weapons to Iraqi Shia militias. At the time, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the accusations were "excuses to prolong the stay" of US forces in Iraq.

Middle East analysts have recently voiced their fears of catastrophic consequences for any such US attack on Iran.

Britain's previous ambassador to Tehran, Sir Richard Dalton, told the BBC it would backfire badly by probably encouraging the Iranian government to develop a nuclear weapon in the long term.

Last year Iran resumed uranium enrichment - a process that can make fuel for power stations or, if greatly enriched, material for a nuclear bomb.

Tehran insists its programme is for civil use only, but Western countries suspect Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

The UN Security Council has called on Iran to suspend its enrichment of uranium by 21 February.

If it does not, and if the International Atomic Energy Agency confirms this, the resolution says that further economic sanctions will be considered.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/midd...ast/6376639.stm

Published: 2007/02/19 23:26:26 GMT

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Note that the following article leaves one possible strategy undiscussed:

1/ Genuinely oppose a war against Iran

2/ Be seen to genuinely oppose it.

Groups Fear Public Backlash Over Iran

Forward Staff | Fri. Feb 02, 2007

While Jewish communal leaders focus most of their current lobbying efforts on pressing the United States to take a tough line against Iran and its nuclear program, some are privately voicing fears that they will be accused of driving America into a war with the regime in Tehran.

In early advocacy efforts on the issue, Jewish organizations stressed the threat that a nuclear Iran would pose to Israel in light of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Now, with concerns mounting that Israel and its supporters might be blamed for any military confrontation, Jewish groups are seeking to widen their argument, asserting that an Iranian nuclear bomb would threaten the West and endanger pro-American Sunni Muslim states in the region.

Jess Hordes, Washington director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that the strategy of broadening the case against Iran was not an attempt to divert attention from the threats to Israel. “It is a fact that Iran is a danger to the whole world,” Hordes said. “We are not just saying it to hide our concerns about Israel.”

Yet many advocacy efforts, even when not linked to Israel, carry indelibly Jewish fingerprints. Last week, Jewish groups claimed victory when the United Nations approved a resolution denouncing Holocaust denial, with Iran’s regime as the obvious target. Additionally, numerous Jewish activists are pressing in advertisements and Internet appeals for Ahmadinejad to be indicted in The Hague for incitement to genocide.

In warning of possible scapegoating, insiders point to the experience of the Iraq War. Since the initial invasion in 2003, antiwar groups have charged, with growing vehemence, that the war was promoted by Jewish groups acting in Israel’s interest — even though the invasion enjoyed bipartisan backing and popular support, and was not at the top of most Jewish organizations’ agendas. The Iraq backlash prompted former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to order in 2005 that his ministers keep a low profile on Iran.

Now, however, Jewish groups are indeed playing a lead role in pressing for a hard line on Iran. The campaign comes at a time when President Bush’s popularity has reached record lows and members of both parties are cautioning against a rush toward war.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, addressed the fears head-on last week in an address to Israel’s prestigious Herzliya Conference. Lamenting what he called “the poisoning of America,” Hoenlein painted a dire picture of American public discourse turning increasingly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel in the year ahead.

Hoenlein dated the trend to the 2005 arrest of two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, on charges of passing classified national security information. Hoenlein argued that the Jewish community made a major mistake by not forcefully criticizing the arrests. Speaking via video, Hoenlein listed several events that had occurred since then: the release of the essay criticizing the “Israel Lobby” by two distinguished professors, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer; the publication of former president Jimmy Carter’s best-selling book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”; the suggestion by former NATO supreme commander and Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark that “New York money people” were pushing America into war, and claims by former U.S. weapons inspector Scott Ritter that Israel is pushing the United States to attack Iran.

“In the beginning of the Iraq war they talked about the ‘neocons’ as a code word,” Hoenlein said. “Now we see that code words are no longer necessary.” He warned that the United States is nearing a situation similar to that of Britain, where delegitimization of Israel is widespread.

“This is a cancer that starts from the top and works its way down,” he said. “It poisons the opinions among elites which trickle down into society.”

According to Hoenlein, such critics tend not only to delegitimize Israel but also to “intimidate American Jews not to speak out.” He called on American Jews to take action against this phenomenon, saying that Christian Zionists seemed at times more willing than Jews to fight back.

Another instance of casting blame, less widely reported, was attributed to former secretary of state Colin Powell. In a new biography, by Washington Post writer Karen De Young, Powell is said to have put at least some of the blame for the Iraq war on Jewish groups. The book, “Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell,” claims that Powell used to refer to the pro-war advisers surrounding former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the “Jinsa crowd.” Jinsa is the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a hawkish think tank that supported the Iraq war.

Thomas Neumann, Jinsa’s executive director, said he was not offended by Powell’s reference, although he was surprised that the former secretary of state would single out a Jewish group when naming those who supported the war. “I am not accusing Powell of anything, but these are words that the antisemites will use in the future,” Neumann said.

Whatever worries exist about a negative backlash over Israel, they have not deterred Jewish and pro-Israel activists from publicly pressing for tough U.S. action against Tehran or invoking concern for Israel.

A particularly forceful argument for a hard line against Iran appeared this week in The New Republic, a Washington insider journal widely viewed as a bellwether of pro-Israel opinion. The lengthy article, written by two respected Israeli writers, Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi, both fellows at the Shalem Center, a hawkish Jerusalem think tank, names Iran as the main threat to Israeli survival, regional stability and to the entire world order. This theme has been echoed in publications and press releases put out by most major Jewish groups, including Aipac and the Conference of Presidents.

“The international community now has an opportunity to uphold that order,” Oren and Klein Halevi wrote. “If it fails, then Israel will have no choice but to uphold its role as refuge of the Jewish people. A Jewish state that allows itself to be threatened with nuclear weapons — by a country that denies the genocide against Europe’s six million Jews while threatening Israel’s six million Jews — will forfeit its right to speak in the name of Jewish history.”

Debate in Washington intensified last month when the U.S. military began to move against Iranian agents in Iraq. The spotlight has now turned to the Democratic-led Congress, with both hardliners and doves anxiously seeking to gauge lawmakers’ reactions to the crisis. Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, an outspoken critic of Bush’s foreign policy, last week introduced a non-binding resolution requiring congressional approval for any American military action against Iran. “To forestall a looming disaster, Congress must act to save the checks and balances established by the Constitution,” Byrd said in a statement when presenting his proposed resolution. In the House, Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas introduced a resolution calling on the administration to adopt the Iraq Study Group recommendations and to engage with Iran. Also in the House, the 70-member Progressive Caucus held a public forum last week on alternatives to preemptive war against Iran.

Many Democrats, however, are treading lightly. Though many favor talks with Iran — including Rep. Tom Lantos of California, chair of the House International Relations Committee — there is still no significant move in Congress toward barring the president from taking military action against Iran.

Congressional sources speculated this week that Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, might take the lead on such a measure. On January 11, Biden sent a letter to Bush stating that Congress has not authorized any military incursion into Iran or Syria. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, also stressed the need for congressional approval prior to any military action.

A Democratic staffer described this week the sense of frustration Democrats are feeling over the president’s stance toward Iran. “The administration has now the worst of all worlds,” the staffer said. “It blocked any diplomatic channel with Iran and at the same time cannot generate the needed sympathy for the issue among the Russians and Chinese in order to apply pressure on Iran.”

Jewish organizational officials and pro-Israel lobbyists on Capitol Hill downplayed the possibility that Congress might play a significant role in limiting the administration’s response to Iranian nuclear ambitions. “It is very premature,” one lobbyist said. “The administration has no war plan and Congress has no plan to block such a war.”

If military action is ultimately needed to deal with the issue, it will be difficult to secure public support, because the administration “lied” about intelligence before the Iraq war, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat.

“The fact that the administration lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq means that if we get into a real problem with Iran and if it’s coming to a crunch there, God forbid, about nuclear weapons, it will be very, very hard for the administration to convince anybody just because they have a record of such dishonesty,” Nadler said. “The administration lied about Iraq, and one of the consequences of lying is that people don’t believe you even when you’re telling the truth.”

Nathan Guttman in Washington, with reporting by Daniel Treiman from New York.

Edited by Sid Walker
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While most people look at the Middle East as a dreadful mess - and wonder how anyone could be mad enough to start yet another war, it may be instructive to look at things from a Zionist perspective.

At one time, Israel felt surrounded by enemies - including but not limited to Libya, Eygpt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Today, only two remain: Iran and Syria. All the rest have been tamed and now have US-approved and compliant regimes.

Even though the perfect pyschological moment may have passed for launching a further attack and completing Israeli domination of the region, the 'corridor of opportunity' for doing so may contract further in the future.

That's the Zionist dilemma this year.

Go now - and risk worldwide chaos that will be widely blamed on Israel?

Or wait, and risk further constraints on Israel's ability to knock off its remaining perceived arch-enemies while still enjoying unquestioning US support and connivance?

There is, of course, a third option. That is to go the way of peace.

It's never too late to take that third way, as Rabin showed to his credit.

Edited by Sid Walker
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Signs of Second Thoughts?

Let's hope so!

The following article is interesting partly for its content, partly the comments.

This is not, after all, the Guardian or New Statesman. It's The Times!

If the first ten comments are at all representative of contemporary Times readers, no wonder Tony Blair shows signs of backing off.

He probably doesn''t want his wife lynched in Selfridges by fellow shoppers.

Fears grow over Iran

Edited by Sid Walker
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Tony Blair was interviewed on BBC radio on Thursday. He was asked several times about the possible attack on Iran. Blair was given ample opportunity to state that the British government would never bomb Iran. In fact, he was asked to use the words that Jack Straw used before he was sacked as foreign secretary. He refused.

It was also revealed by the Economist this week that Tony Blair was lobbying the Bush administration to get launching pads for US missile interceptors as part of the Bush administration's proposed "son of Star Wars" anti-ballistic defence scheme, based in Britain. A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Discussions with the US have taken place at various levels. Decisions on additional support for the missile defence system are at a very early stage and no decisions have been taken as to whether any element of that system would be based in the UK or where they might be based in the UK. We welcome plans to place further missile defence assets in Europe."

Blair is also trying to force through a new Trident project before he leaves office. The man is clearly off his head. So far it seems that Gordon Brown supports these crazy policies. Hopefully, it will stop him from becoming prime-minister.

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Tony Blair was interviewed on BBC radio on Thursday. He was asked several times about the possible attack on Iran. Blair was given ample opportunity to state that the British government would never bomb Iran. In fact, he was asked to use the words that Jack Straw used before he was sacked as foreign secretary. He refused.

It was also revealed by the Economist this week that Tony Blair was lobbying the Bush administration to get launching pads for US missile interceptors as part of the Bush administration's proposed "son of Star Wars" anti-ballistic defence scheme, based in Britain. A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Discussions with the US have taken place at various levels. Decisions on additional support for the missile defence system are at a very early stage and no decisions have been taken as to whether any element of that system would be based in the UK or where they might be based in the UK. We welcome plans to place further missile defence assets in Europe."

Blair is also trying to force through a new Trident project before he leaves office. The man is clearly off his head. So far it seems that Gordon Brown supports these crazy policies. Hopefully, it will stop him from becoming prime-minister.

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike

The Telegraph in London

By Con Coughlin in Tel Aviv

Last Updated: 3:33pm GMT 24/02/2007

Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.

A senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" in the event of the Israeli government deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons.

"We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important," said the official, who asked not to be named.

"The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don't sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other."

As Iran continues to defy UN demands to stop producing material which could be used to build a nuclear bomb, Israel's military establishment is moving on to a war footing, with preparations now well under way for the Jewish state to launch air strikes against Teheran if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis.

The pace of military planning in Israel has accelerated markedly since the start of this year after Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, provided a stark intelligence assessment that Iran, given the current rate of progress being made on its uranium enrichment programme, could have enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead by 2009.

Last week Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, announced that he had persuaded Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad for the past six years and one of Israel's leading experts on Iran's nuclear programme, to defer his retirement until at least the end of next year.

Mr Olmert has also given overall control of the military aspects of the Iran issue to Eliezer Shkedi, the head of the Israeli Air Force and a former F-16 fighter pilot.

The international community will increase the pressure on Iran when senior officials from the five permanent of the United Nations Security Council and Germany meet at an emergency summit to be held in London on Monday.

Iran ignored a UN deadline of last Wednesday to halt uranium enrichment. Officials will discuss arms controls and whether to cut back on the $25 billion-worth of export credits which are used by European companies to trade with Iran.

A high-ranking British source said: "There is a debate within the six countries on sanctions and economic measures."

British officials insist that this "incremental" approach of tightening the pressure on Iran is starting to turn opinion within Iran. One source said: "We are on the right track. There is time for diplomacy to take effect."

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This article in Counterpunch by Professor Leupp highlights who is pushing the war agenda. Emphases added.

February 24 / 25, 2007

"An American Strike on Iran is Essential for Our Existence"AIPAC Demands "Action" on Iran

By GARY LEUPP

Former CIA counterterrorism specialist Philip Giraldi, comparing the propaganda campaign against Iran to that which preceded the war on Iraq, has recently declared, "It is absolutely parallel. They're using the same dance steps-demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux." He's only one of many in his field (including Vincent Cannistraro, Ray McGovern, and Larry C. Johnson) doing their best to expose the Bush-Cheney neocon disinformation campaign according to which Iran is planning to produce nukes in order to commit genocide, while abetting terrorists in Iraq who are killing American troops.

Their efforts, and those of many others, are producing results. The mainstream corporate press is far more skeptical about administration claims pertaining to Iran than they ever were towards the equally specious claims made about Iraq on the eve of the 2003 invasion. The American people are now inclined to distrust claims made by nameless officials about Quds Force-provisioned IEDs and EFPs, etc., supposedly smuggled by "meddling" Iranians into Iraq. Unfortunately the Congress dominated by Democrats elected in a popular expression of antiwar sentiment has not taken a firm stance against an attack on Iran based on lies. Maybe given the nature of the power structure it simply can't.

Giraldi matter-of-factly sums up the unfortunate politics of situation.

"The recent formation of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus should. . . .be noted as well as AIPAC's highlighting of the threat from Iran at its 2006 convention in Washington, an event that featured Vice President Dick Cheney as keynote speaker. More recently, Senator Hillary Clinton addressed an AIPAC gathering in New York City. Neither was shy about threatening Iran. AIPAC's formulation that the option of force 'must remain on the table' when dealing with Iran has been repeated like a mantra by numerous politicians and government officials, not too surprisingly as AIPAC writes the briefings and position papers that many Congressmen unfortunately rely on."
In other words, the American Israel Political Action Committee is the main political force urging---indeed, demanding---U.S. action. That's the AIPAC already under scrutiny for receiving classified information about Iran from Lawrence Franklin, former Defense Department subordinate of Douglas Feith. (That's the neocon Feith who supervised the Office of Special Plans---headed by Abram Shulsky, the neocon specialist on Leo Strauss who currently heads up the Iran Directorate at the Pentagon---that shamelessly cherry-picked intelligence to support the Iraq attack. That's the Franklin who worked in the OSP, and was sentenced last month to 13 years in prison. Feith has not been indicted on any charge and continues to insist in defiance of reason and even a Pentagon internal investigation finding it "inappropriate" that his office's disinformation project was "good government." Small wonder Gen. Tommy Franks, formerly head of the U.S. Central Command, famously called Feith "the xxxxing stupidest guy on the face of the earth." Congressional investigations are just now getting underway into Feith's role in facilitating the invasion of Iraq.)

That's the AIPAC embarrassed by the indictment of its policy director Steven Rosen and senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman for illegally conspiring to pass on classified national security information to Israel. Despite the already intimate ties between Israeli and U.S. intelligence (documented by Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski among others) it seems the Israelis felt obliged to spy on the Pentagon to learn just how inclined the Americans were to oblige them by attacking Iran.

Now, as Israeli calls for a U.S. attack on Iran become more shrill by the day, AIPAC recognizes that the American people profoundly distrust Vice President Cheney and the nest of neocon liars he has sheltered. The Bush-Cheney war machine has been pretty well exposed, and that must worry the warmongers within the group. Israeli Defense Force chief artillery officer Gen. Oded Tira has griped that "President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran," adding that since "an American strike in Iran is essential for [israel's] existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iran issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure." Tira urges the Lobby to turn to "potential presidential candidates. . . so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran," while Uri Lubrani, senior advisor to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, tells the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors that the US "does not understand the threat and has not done enough," and therefore "must be shaken awake."

Many Americans would find such statements deeply offensive in their arrogance and condescension. President Bush has indeed been weakened by the "Iraq failure" Tira acknowledges, arising from a war that the Lobby once endorsed with enormous enthusiasm. (As Gen. Wesley Clark put it way back in August 2002, "Those who favor this attack now will tell you candidly, and privately, that it is probably true that Saddam Hussein is no threat to the United States. But they are afraid at some point he might decide if he had a nuclear weapon to use it against Israel." Recall that that weapon was imaginary.) So now, the Israeli war advocates aver, the U.S. president needs to be helped to do the right thing and attack Iran by lobbyists who will use their power to force the fools in the Democratic Party, especially presidential candidates. Because Americans don't understand and have to be shaken out of their current skeptical mode.

By who? By AIPAC, of course! The confidence expressed by these gentlemen (in the second most powerful political action committee in the country) is quite extraordinary. But alas, maybe it's warranted. Giraldi dispassionately concludes:

"Knowing that to cross the Lobby is perilous, Congressmen from both parties squirm and become uneasy when pressured by AIPAC to 'protect Israel,' even if it means yet another unwinnable war for the United States. The neocons know full well that if a war with Iran were to be started either inadvertently or by design, few within America's political system would be brave enough to stand up in opposition."

One should ask these spineless politicians how they suppose the people will remember their votes and positions within weeks of the "immediate action" Tira and his allies in the Bush administration (most notably Condi Rice's deputy Elliott Abrams, the most powerful neocon remaining in the team) are demanding. Will they not be blamed for the total collapse of cooperation between the U.S. occupation and Iraq's Shiite majority, the fall of the current client regime dominated by Iranian allies, the intensification of Shiite militia attacks on U.S. forces, the broadening of the current two-front war to enflame all of Southwest Asia?

One should ask those squirming manipulators blissfully ignorant of the Islamic world---clueless about the difference between Arabs and Persians or Sunnis and Shiites, coached almost entirely by State Department Zionists who don't bother to conceal their Islamophobia---to recognize that American Jewry is not generally pro-neocon nor united in support of an Iran attack. Indeed many American Jews are alarmed at Israeli/AIPAC efforts to push the U.S. into another crusader war on a Muslim nation. (A lot of them are in New York. Hillary might consult with them rather than suppose that her ticket to the presidency is the support of the Cheney-friendly Lobby. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that.)

One should ask the Lobbyists as well as the government of Israel that they think they serve (as well as the people of Israel, honestly divided in their opinions) how the security of the Jewish State will be abetted by a generalized war between Israel's great patron and the entire Muslim world.

When one plays this Islamophobic game of exploiting ignorance, fear, hatred and bigotry; when one conflates al-Qaeda with Iraq with Hamas with Hizbollah with Iran knowing that most Americans know little about the details and will be inclined to side (for now) with Israel against Muslims in general; when one lies (as the neocons do with such arrogance, supposing they will escape any consequences of the lies down the road)---then one invites a backlash. We live in a racist culture that easily slides into religious bigotry. Why use that culture (not so dissimilar to the German culture of the 1930s) so shamelessly---against Arabs and other Muslim peoples of the Middle East? One's disinformation with its murderous results in the Muslim world might just produce the ignorant conclusion that could sweep Middle America down the road: "The Jews made us do it." That's what the red-necks including a whole lot of today's brain-dead Christian Zionist fundamentalists will say as soon as everything goes wrong in the Middle East, Jesus doesn't come back and is nowhere in sight, and the three U.S. troops killed per day becomes six or ten for no good goddamned reason.

"They have the money, they control the media and the politicians. They made us attack Iran and now look what's happening." That's what the ignorant who can one day cry "Nuke 'em all!" referring to Muslims, and the next day swear "xxxxing Christ-killers" will say. Is the Lobby's paranoia about Iran's uranium enrichment so severe as to risk that kind of assessment, that kind of blowback bigotry?

We are perhaps arriving at a critical point in the history of the powerful Lobby, including its capacity to intimidate honest, critically reasoning people who do not embrace its fears, prejudices and preoccupations. It's under unprecedented scrutiny following the carefully argued paper by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" and Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid both published last year, to which it's reacted with its wonted technique of character assassination. The political power of the Lobby would appear to be reaching its zenith; and while it used its hand subtly in the build-up for war on Iraq, it now uses it in crude, bullying fashion. Israeli officials weren't publicly calling for the simple-minded Christian-Zionist Bush to "smite" Iraq to defend Israel in 2003, but now they're nervously demanding that Bush destroy Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent a "genocide" worse that that accomplished by Hitler! Their boldness betrays a confidence that they can indeed continue to shape American political discourse about the Middle East (to the exclusion of any audible Arab or Muslim voice) and that to challenge them is indeed "perilous."

"Attack Iran! NOW! Or support GENOCIDE! and side with the new HITLER! Destroy Iran's nuclear facilities! NOW! Or reveal your thinly-disguised ANTI-SEMITISM!"

That's the hyper-message calculated to stimulate an assault, to which the calm counterterrorism analyst Giraldi draws our attention. One could respond to the message with a polite, firm, principled refusal:

No thanks this time, AIPAC. You're just not credible. Can't do it for you. My constituents aren't into more war, and they think this whole Iran thing's a lot of hype. I can't support nuking Iran, and frankly, I don't see how you can either. I don't think you speak for all or even most American Jews, and you can't scare me this time by accusations of anti-Semitism. I can't have an attack on Iran my conscience, sorry. I'd rather be defeated in the next election. Keep your money; I just can't do what you ask.

Will the Congress targeted by the Lobby be able to say that? If it doesn't, all the belated, posturing moves to limit Bush's power, withdraw troops and end the imperialist war in Iraq will mean nothing. An attack on Iran will unleash the gates of hell. The attackers will argue that a new situation makes all prewar debate irrelevant (or even if encouraging doubt about the "existential" cause, downright treasonous). The fascistic proclivities of the administration will blossom immediately. The legal basis has been laid for the repression of the dissent an Iran attack will naturally inspire. Prison camps, suspension of habeas corpus. The proponents of the war are comfortable with these things, and the waters have already been tested.

O nation miserable,

With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter'd,

When shalt thou see thy wholesome days again?

Can the American people allow this unelected unpopular administration, headed by a manifestly stupid sadistic fool, to continue to provoke international contempt and fear, while planning more carnage?

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

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US accused of drawing up plan to bomb Iran

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington

Monday February 26, 2007

The Guardian

President George Bush has charged the Pentagon with devising an expanded bombing plan for Iran that can be carried out at 24 hours' notice, it was reported yesterday.

An extensive article in the New Yorker magazine by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh describes the contingency bombing plan as part of a general overhaul by the Bush administration of its policy towards Iran.

It said a special planning group at the highest levels of the US military had expanded its mission from selecting potential targets connected to Iranian nuclear facilities, and had been directed to add sites that may be involved in aiding Shia militant forces in Iraq to its list.

That new strategy, intended to reverse the rise in Iranian power that has been an unintended consequence of the war in Iraq, could bring the countries much closer to open confrontation and risks igniting a regional sectarian war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the New Yorker says.

Elements of the tough new approach towards Tehran outlined by Hersh include:

· Clandestine operations against Iran and Syria, as well as the Hizbullah movement in Lebanon - even to the extent of bolstering Sunni extremist groups that are sympathetic to al-Qaida

· Sending US special forces into Iranian territory in pursuit of Iranian operatives, as well as to gather intelligence

· Secret operations are being funded by Saudi Arabia to avoid scrutiny by Congress. "There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions," Hersh quotes a Pentagon consultant as saying.

As in the run-up to the Iraq war, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, has bypassed other administration officials to take charge of the aggressive new policy, working along with the deputy national security adviser, Elliott Abrams, and the former ambassador to Kabul and Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Mr Cheney is also relying heavily on Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national security adviser, who spent 22 years as ambassador to the US, and who has been offering his advice on foreign policy to Mr Bush since he first contemplated running for president.

The New Yorker revelations, arriving soon after Mr Cheney reaffirmed that war with Iran remained an option if it did not dismantle its nuclear programme, further ratcheted up fears of a military confrontation between Washington and Tehran.

Such concerns deepened further with the warning from the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that there could be no stopping or rolling back of his country's nuclear programme. "The train of the Iranian nation is without brakes and a rear gear," Iranian radio reported Mr Ahmadinejad as saying.

Hersh, who made his reputation by breaking the story of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, was among the first US journalists to report on the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib. Although the most explosive material was supplied by unnamed sources, his status in US journalism made his latest report an immediate talking point on yesterday's TV chatshows.

His assertion that the Bush administration was actively preparing for an attack on Iran was denied by the Pentagon. "The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran. To suggest anything to the contrary is simply wrong, misleading and mischievous," the Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters.

Hersh was just as adamant. "This president is not going to leave office without doing something about Iran," he told CNN. Hersh claims that the former director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, resigned his post to take a parallel job as the deputy director of the state department because of his discomfort with an approach that so closely echoed the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s.

In seeking to contain Iranian influence - and that of its most powerful protege, the Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah - the US has worked with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Both countries see a powerful Iran as an existential threat, and the Saudis suspect Tehran's hand behind rising sectarian tensions in its eastern province, as well as a spate of bombing attacks inside the kingdom.

One prime arena for the new strategy is Lebanon where the administration has been trying to prop up the government of Fouad Siniora, which faces a resurgent Hizbullah movement in the aftermath of last summer's war with Israel.

Some of the billions of aid to the Beirut government has ended up in the hands of radical Sunnis in the Beka'a valley, Hersh writes. Syrian extremist groups have also benefited from the new policy. "These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hizbullah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with al-Qaida," Hersh writes.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2021436,00.html

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US Multi-War Assessment, Feb 2007

War on Poverty Update...

Hmmm... forgot about this one decades ago. War over!

War on Drugs Update...

Peak levels of opium production in Afghanistan achieved through military intervention reminscent of the 19th Century Opium Wars.

War on Terror Update

This week's update supplied by that well-known radical English newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph...

US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran

by William Lowther and Colin Freeman, Sunday Telegraph

February 25, 2007

America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme.

In a move that reflects Washington's growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran's border regions.

The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.

In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.

Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. Non-Persians make up nearly 40 per cent of Iran's 69 million population, with around 16 million Azeris, seven million Kurds, five million Ahwazis and one million Baluchis. Most Baluchis live over the border in Pakistan.

Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA's classified budget but is now "no great secret", according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph.

His claims were backed by Fred Burton, a former US state department counter-terrorism agent, who said: "The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran's ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime."

Although Washington officially denies involvement in such activity, Teheran has long claimed to detect the hand of both America and Britain in attacks by guerrilla groups on its internal security forces. Last Monday, Iran publicly hanged a man, Nasrollah Shanbe Zehi, for his involvement in a bomb attack that killed 11 Revolutionary Guards in the city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchistan. An unnamed local official told the semi-official Fars news agency that weapons used in the attack were British and US-made.

Yesterday, Iranian forces also claimed to have killed 17 rebels described as "mercenary elements" in clashes near the Turkish border, which is a stronghold of the Pejak, a Kurdish militant party linked to Turkey's outlawed PKK Kurdistan Workers' Party.

John Pike, the head of the influential Global Security think tank in Washington, said: "The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted up over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity."

Such a policy is fraught with risk, however. Many of the groups share little common cause with Washington other than their opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose regime they accuse of stepping up repression of minority rights and culture.

The Baluchistan-based Brigade of God group, which last year kidnapped and killed eight Iranian soldiers, is a volatile Sunni organisation that many fear could easily turn against Washington after taking its money.

A row has also broken out in Washington over whether to "unleash" the military wing of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iraq-based Iranian opposition group with a long and bloody history of armed opposition to the Iranian regime.

The group is currently listed by the US state department as terrorist organisation, but Mr Pike said: "A faction in the Defence Department wants to unleash them. They could never overthrow the current Iranian regime but they might cause a lot of damage."

At present, none of the opposition groups are much more than irritants to Teheran, but US analysts believe that they could become emboldened if the regime was attacked by America or Israel. Such a prospect began to look more likely last week, as the UN Security Council deadline passed for Iran to stop its uranium enrichment programme, and a second American aircraft carrier joined the build up of US naval power off Iran's southern coastal waters.

The US has also moved six heavy bombers from a British base on the Pacific island of Diego Garcia to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which could allow them to carry out strikes on Iran without seeking permission from Downing Street.

While Tony Blair reiterated last week that Britain still wanted a diplomatic solution to the crisis, US Vice-President Dick Cheney yesterday insisted that military force was a real possibility.

"It would be a serious mistake if a nation like Iran were to become a nuclear power," Mr Cheney warned during a visit to Australia. "All options are still on the table."

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany will meet in London tomorrow to discuss further punitive measures against Iran. Sanctions barring the transfer of nuclear technology and know-how were imposed in December. Additional penalties might include a travel ban on senior Iranian officials and restrictions on non-nuclear business.

Additional reporting by Gethin Chamberlain

Edited by Sid Walker
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So, [surprise! surprise!] we're funding al-Quaida groups.....as we have been since we instigated the group. The people running America now are the most dangerous group ever let loose on the planet and you are all watching the approaching storm that will finally set the Religious Wrong into paroxisms of hope for the 'end'. This is evil and insanity writ large and America seems to me to now be a pot of frogs to which the water has slowly been raised to near deadly temperatures and most didn't notice - nor jump [read do something to stop this ongoing madness!]

That the Dumbacrats could put Impeachment 'off the table' is an insult to democracy and justice, and shows where they are coming from as a whole. We are all going to pay for this and soon!.....very, very soon.

A report in the Sunday Times suggests that Robert Gates is very much against a war with Iran. It was also claimed that several senior US generals will resign if the war goes ahead.

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So, [surprise! surprise!] we're funding al-Quaida groups.....as we have been since we instigated the group. The people running America now are the most dangerous group ever let loose on the planet and you are all watching the approaching storm that will finally set the Religious Wrong into paroxisms of hope for the 'end'. This is evil and insanity writ large and America seems to me to now be a pot of frogs to which the water has slowly been raised to near deadly temperatures and most didn't notice - nor jump [read do something to stop this ongoing madness!]

That the Dumbacrats could put Impeachment 'off the table' is an insult to democracy and justice, and shows where they are coming from as a whole. We are all going to pay for this and soon!.....very, very soon.

A report in the Sunday Times suggests that Robert Gates is very much against a war with Iran. It was also claimed that several senior US generals will resign if the war goes ahead.

I can't help but wonder if the drop in the world's stock markets on Tuesday was not the result of Vice President Cheney's current trip around the world, visiting Japan, Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. Was the purpose of his trip to alert the leaders of these countries that the U.S. and Israel in the near future will attack Iran?

If so, then the word leaked out after his visits to these countries and the insiders around the world moved quickly to sell stocks in their justifiable worry that such an attack will be an international calamity drastically affecting every human on planet Earth.

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Thanks for posting that Doug. I agree that Bush will increase troop numbers in Iraq and that he will give Israel the go-ahead to bomb Iran. The timing of this is going to be very important. Bush will want to do it before Blair leaves office. It is also significant that Blair moved Jack Straw from the post of minister of defence. Straw had already made it clear that he was opposed to taking military action against Iran. When Blair made this decision in May, 2006, I posted on the forum that this was a sign that he was willing to go along with Bush over his military plans concerning Iran.

Interestingly, the reason why Clinton refused to sanction a US invasion of Iraq was his belief, that if he did so, the US would eventually become involved in a war with Iran. Ironically, this judgment was based on intelligence provided by the CIA.

Pentagon Whistle-Blower on the Coming War With Iran

http://www.truthdig.com/interview/item/200..._war_with_iran/

Posted on Feb 27, 2007

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski (ret.), a veteran of the Pentagon with firsthand experience of the administration’s cherry-picking of intelligence, reveals why Bush thinks he can win a war with Iran, why few politicians are serious about withdrawal and why “when they call Iraq a success, they mean it.”

Listen: Download MP3 audio file (running time: 32:41 / 29.9 MB)

Transcript:

J

AMES HARRIS: This is TruthDig. James Harris sitting down with Josh Scheer, and on the phone we have a special guest. She is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, formerly working for the Pentagon, The National Security Agency. Needless to say, she knows a lot about intel and a lot about what took place and what went on before we went into Iraq and what went on with that intel. Many questions have been asked in recent weeks, obviously in recent years about what we knew, what was fabricated, what was made up. On the phone we have somebody who has been vociferous in her effort to out the wrongdoings of people like Douglas Feith and people like Donald Rumsfeld. So, Karen Kwiatkowski, welcome to TruthDig.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Thanks for having me.

JAMES HARRIS: It’s our pleasure. I want to start, not talking about Douglas Feith, but I want to get your opinion about Iraq. We know that British troops and Tony Blair have decided that they’re out. We’ve seen the commitment of other nations drop by 17 countries and our biggest partner, England, is now out. Why do you think they’re out and Bush is still in? Well we know why Bush is still in. Why now?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: It is towards the end of Tony Blair’s long, long term of duty there as the Prime Minister. And the other thing is, the British very much oppose, in spite of the fact that there are some Murdoch newspapers in Great Britain, some conservative papers, pseudo conservative I should say, not truly conservative. Truly conservatives, true conservatives have opposed this venture form the beginning. But in spite of the small, loud pro-war faction in London, most people in Britain recognize this for what it is. They have some experience in this kind of thing with, both in Middle East, particularly in Iraq years ago when they left in dishonor. LAUGHS Another time when they tried to occupy Baghdad, years and years ago, and also their experience with terrorism and movements of independents or what have you with Ireland, much more recent memory for many of the people in Great Britain. I don’t think Britain’s economy can afford it. Certainly they see the writing on the all, why get, why not get out now while George Bush is still there than be stuck with, stuck holding the bag when a Democratic president takes over and pulls the troops out abruptly in 2008, 2009. So I think there’s many reasons why they’re doing it. Some people say it is, it is because of Tony Blair’s concern over his legacy. If he doesn’t bring the troops home, his legacy will be that he left Britain in a quagmire. They are in a quagmire now and maybe he doesn’t want to leave office with that being on his record. Mainly it’s the right thing to do, the people of Britain want those troops home. And I guess their government is listening. Unlike ours.

JAMES HARRIS: The highly speculative people have said they’re out because we’re going into Iran. You might’ve read the news…

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well yeah, I don’t… I had not seen that connection made, but I certainly am alarmed at the daily signs that indeed this country is getting ready to instigate an attack on Iran. All the signs are there, the suggestions that Iranian bombs are killing American soldiers, that’s not true, but it’s certainly been made in, I think every American newspaper, the suggestion that Iran is somehow killing Americans. The suggestion that Iran has nuclear weapons, is imminently close to nuclear weapons. That is not true but that’s been, those claims are made, even by this Administration. The idea that we have two carrier battle groups currently in the region and in fact I just saw today, Admiral Walsh, one of the big guys in the Navy said that we’re very concerned about what Iran is doing even more so than Al Qaeda. So there, all the signs are there that we are being, we’re going to wake up one morning soon, very soon, and we will be at war with Iran. We will have bombed them in some sort of shock and awe campaign destroying many lives and setting back US relations even further than we’ve already done it with Iraq.

JOSH: I want to continue on Iran. You spent obviously many years in the military and you talk in those kind of terms that many people maybe not know about. Can we not just politically, and not just in the region, but can we support another war in another country? Right now we’re in Afghanistan, we’re in Iraq. Can we feasibly actually go into Iran, or is this going to be a shock and awe campaign?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: You know, I think the, one of the big reasons that Bush and Cheney think they can do Iran is that they believe, what they’re hearing from the Air Force and the Navy, two of the three main branches of our military, the two that have been left out of the glory of Iraq, you see. And those guys want a piece of the action, and so they’re advertising to the Administration and publicly, I mean you can read it for yourself, the Air Force and the Navy have targets they believe they can overwhelmingly hit their targets, deep penetration, weapons, possibly nuclear weapons, I mean, nothing is off the table as Dick Cheney is off the table, Dick Cheney says “nothing is off the table.” And the delivery of these weapons, whether they’re conventional or nuclear will be naval and Air Force. They’ll be Navy from the sea and Air Force form long range bombers and some of the bases that we have around the… so I don’t think, certainly, I don’t know, I’m not in the Army, wasn’t in the Army, I was in the Air Force, I don’t think the Army could support any type of invasion of Iran and they wouldn’t’ want to. I’m sure that they’ve, they’ve had enough with Iraq and our reserves are in terrible condition. We’ve got huge problems in the Army and in the Reserve system. So I don’t think there’s any intention to go into Iran, but simply to destroy it and to create havoc and disruption and humanitarian crisis and topple perhaps the government of [Ahmadinejad]. We want to topple that government. Yeah, we’ll do it with bombs from a distance. I don’t know if you call that shock and awe, we’ve been advertising it for a long, long time. It will not be a surprise to the Iranians if we do it.

JAMES HARRIS: That was your former boss, the shock and awe campaign. I’m still shocked and I’m awed.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: [laughs] He shocked and awed all of us.

JAMES HARRIS: As a means of understanding the level of deceit that you claim took place and I agree took place before the war. Because it, the things that are going on in and around Iran sound a lot like the things that went on in 2002…

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure do.

JAMES HARRIS: And I always note Scott Ritter, because I spoke to him, and I couldn’t believe that we didn’t take the advice of people like him that were saying that there’s nothing there, there’s nothing. Can you describe for us a typical day, if we went in around March, we’re approaching that anniversary, we went in around March of ‘03. What was it like in The Pentagon?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well, I worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and up until mid February I was in Near East South Asia, which is the office that owns the Office of Special Plans, they were our sister office. And so Iraq is one of the areas. And there’s a great degree of excitement, there’s a, we didn’t know when we would invade Iraq, and many people thought it would be in February, late February, early March and it actually was like I think march 23 is when we actually conducted that attack on Baghdad and that kind of thing. Most people in the Pentagon, there’s 23,000 people worked in the Pentagon. Most of those people were as in the dark as any of the Americans. They believed what they read in the papers, and what they read in the papers, particularly The New York Times and The Washington Post had been, for the most part, planted by The Administration. We know this now, the whole Congress knows this now, they’ve had a number of hearings publicly faltered, I think even the DODIG just recently faltered, Doug Feith and his whole organization for planting and mis-, providing misleading stories, many of which were later leaked on purpose to the press. A friendly press, of course, Judith Miller was not, was not hostile to the intentions of this administration. They wanted to go into Iraq, and they intended to go into Iraq. We did go into Iraq, and all that was really needed was to bring onboard the American people, and to bring onboard the Congress. But not necessarily to declare war. Congress has never been asked to declare war on Iraq. And they won’t be asked to declare war on Iran even though we will conduct that war. These guys had an agenda. In fact, one of the things that I did learn as a result of having my eyes opened in that final tour in the Pentagon is that neo-conservatives, their foreign policy is very activist, you could say that’s a nice way to say it, very activist, it’s very oriented towards the Untied States as a benevolent dictator, a benevolent guiding hand for the world, particularly the Middle East. And it’s very much a pro-Israel policy, and it’s a policy that says, we should be able to do whatever we want to do, if we see it in our interest. Now, Americans don’t see any value, most Americans, 75 percent of Americans want the troops home now. They don’t see any value to having our troops in Iraq. They didn’t see any value in that in 2002. But, they had a story sold to them, which was of course that Saddam Hussein somehow was involved with 9/11, had WMDs, and was a serious threat, an imminent threat, a grave threat to the United States.

JAMES HARRIS: For those people that think somehow that government officials, even though you work for the government, were complicit in this effort to move into Iraq. I want you to be clear, as a worker there, you were doing what you thought was right at the time. Is that a safe thing to say?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: We were doing, I’ll tell ya, there’s two parts of how the story is sold, how the propaganda was put forth on the American people, and how it’s been put forth on them today in terms of Iran. You have political appointees in every government agency, and they switch out every time you get a new president, and that’s totally normal. Usually those, the numbers increase after every president, they always get a few more. So Bush was no different. He brought in a number of political appointees: Doug Feith, certainly Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. But also a number of political appointees at what you would call a lower level, like my level - Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel level. And they’re not military officers, they’re civilians. And they’re brought in, and this is where the propaganda was kind of put together, this is where the so-called alternative intelligence assessments were put together by the civilian appointees of the Bush Administration. Most of which, in fact, probably all of the Pentagon shared a neo-conservative world vision, which has a particular role for us, and that included the topping of Saddam Hussein, and it includes the toppling of the leadership in Tehran. These guys are the ones doing it, they’re doing it. They’re putting all the propaganda, they’re spreading stories, planting stuff in the media. They’re doing that to people in The Pentagon, the civil, the Civil Service core in The Pentagon, which is about half of them, and the other half which are uniformed military officers serving anywhere from three to four, five years, sometimes tours in The Pentagon. We’re looking at regular intel, we’re looking at the stuff the CIA and the DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency produces. And that stuff never said, that stuff never said Saddam Hussein had WMDs, had a delivery system, was a threat to the United States. It never said that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or that Saddam Hussein worked with Al Qaeda. That intelligence never said that.

JAMES HARRIS: Did they tell you to shut up?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Absolutely! [Laughs] That’s a funny thing, and of course, here’s how it worked. Once the Office of Special Plans was set u formally, now they were informally set up prior to the fall of 2002, but formally they became an office with office space and that whole bit. And the first act to follow that setup of the Office of Special Plans, we had a staff meeting, and our boss, Bill Ludy, who was the boss of Special Plans technically, not in reality but on paper. And he announced to us that from now on, action officers, staff officers such as myself and all my peers, at least in that office, and I presume this went all the way through the rest of policy, but we were told that when we needed to fill in data, putting it in papers that we would send up, doing our job, as we did our daily job, we were no longer to look at CIA and DIA intelligence, we were simply to call the Office of Special Plans and they would send down to us talking points, which we would incorporate verbatim no deletions, no additions, no modifications into every paper that we did. And of course, that was very unusual and all the action officers are looking at each other like, well that’s interesting. We’re not to look at the intelligence any more, we’re simply to go to this group of political appointees and they will provide to us word for word what we should say about Iraq, about WMD and about terrorism. And this is exactly what our orders were. And there were people [Laughs] a couple of people, and I have to say, I was not one of these people who said, “you know, I’m not gonna do that, I’m not gonna do that because there’s something I don’t like about it, it’s incorrect in some way.” And they experimented with sending up papers that did not follow those instructions, and those papers were 100 percent of the time returned back for correction. So we weren’t allowed to put out anything except what Office of Special Plans was producing for us. And that was only partially based on intelligence, and partially based on a political agenda. So this is how they did it. And I’ll tell you what, civil servants and military people, we follow orders, okay. And we buy into it. And we don’t suspect that our leaders are nefarious, we don’t suspect that. They, they quite frankly have to go a long way to prove to us that they are nefarious. That’s how it worked, and I imagine it’s working much the same way there in terms of Iran.

JAMES HARRIS: Obviously you’ve been in the military for quite a while. Has this every happened to your knowledge in any other Pentagon, where a political appointees have the power to just control the…

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure, well sure, Vietnam is filled with examples. And Daniel Ellsberg’s information and his Pentagon paper that he released factual information that contradicted what political appointees at the top of the Pentagon were saying to Congress and saying to the American people. Yeah, this is typical of how it works. Now, having said that, most people who serve and wear the uniform or give a career of service to the military, whether civilian, civil service or military, we don’t think that our bosses will do that. We don’t think that our military will do that. But in fact history is full of examples of bald-faced lies being told to sell particular agendas. Often times those agendas include war making, certainly in Vietnam they did, under LBJ and a few other presidents. Look at the thing that Reagan did. I mean, I actually don’t dislike Reagan, he deployed very few troops overseas, but when he went in to that little island down there… what is the name of that island that he invaded, Grenada. [Laughs] Remember that? Remember the Invasion of Grenada.

JOSHUA SCHEER: All eight hours?

JAMES HARRIS: It was a short one.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: I mean, God, shortly thereafter, come to find out, well actually, some of the stuff they said about the threat and the Cubans and all that wasn’t really true. So politicians and their politically appointed military leaders will lie, historically do lie when it has to do with making war, particularly making a war that they want. And what has happened in the Bush Administration is the war that they want was Iraq. And the war that they want is Iran, and the war that they want is Syria, okay? That’s the war they want. They don’t want Vietnam. I don’t know why, they don’t want Vietnam, they want these places, this is what the neo-conservatives are particularly interested in. So we have war. And they make up stories and we’re seeing the exact same thing in terms of Iran, which is quite alarming because it seems as if we can’t stop this, we can’t prevent this.

JOSH: You were talking about these political appointees and pushing us into war. Why haven’t people like Paul Wolfowitz, I mean these guys seem to feather their own nests.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: [Laughs] That’s an understatement.

JOSH: They lead us into war, Mark Zell, Doug Feith’s partner was in bed with Chalabi. It falls apart and then it seems that these guys disappear into the woodwork. What happens?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well, a big part of what happens is these guys have top cover, the names of the top cover are Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. These guys like what Wolfowitz has done. And here’s the other thing. While we as American citizens do not like being lied to, particularly being lied to into a stupid quagmire that makes no sense. We don’t’ like being lied to. Congress doesn’t like being lied to. However, many in Congress, and certainly in this administration agree, and this is Democrats and Republicans, like the idea that we have gone into Iraq, we have built four mega bases, they are complete. Most of the money we gave to Halliburton was for construction and completion of these bases. We have probably, of the 150,000, 160,000 troops we have in Iraq probably 110,000 of those folks are associated with one of those four mega bases. Safely ensconced behind acres and acres of concrete. To operate there indefinitely, no matter what happens in Baghdad, no matter who takes over, no matter if the country splits into three pieces or it stays one. No matter what happens, we have those mega bases, and there’s many in Congress and certainly in this administration, Republican and Democrat alike that really like that. Part of the reason I think that we went into Iraq was to reestablish a stronger foothold than we had in Saudi Arabia, but also a more economical, a more flexible, in terms of who we want to hit. If you want to hit Syria, can you do it from Iraq? Of course you can. And now you can do it from bases that will support any type of airplane you want, any number of troops in barracks. I mean we can do things from Iraq. And this is what they wanted. So, yeah, we don’t like being lied to. But quite frankly, many people in the Congress, and certainly this administration, when they call Iraq a success, they mean it, and this is why.

We’re in Iraq to stay. And can we strike Iran from Iraq? Well, I don’t know if we’ll do that next week, but we can.

JAMES HARRIS: We’re there to stay in the sense that even, let’s say somebody takes office in await, do you think that we’re gonna be occupying those bases still?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Absolutely! And we don’t even have status of forcive agreements with any legitimate government in Iraq to support those bases. They are illegal bases, okay. But yes, they’re gonna stay, absolutely, they’re gonna stay. And I’ll tell you, there are guys that have been with this administration for awhile, people, in fact one of the guys was an Air Force General that was involved with the Kurds ten years ago, he’s retired now, but he was actually the guy, his name escapes me for the moment, but he was Jerry Bremer’s predecessor (Jay Garner?) for a short period of time. And he was fired, and Bremer came in and took over in Baghdad as part of the reconstruction phase. This is in the Spring of 2003. And this guy gave an interview in Government Exec Magazine, February 2004, he said “we will be in Iraq, and the American people need to get with this program, we will be in Iraq like we were in the Philippines for anywhere from 20 to 30 more years. That’s the time frame that we’re looking at. And that is the life span of the bases that we’ve constructed there. Yeah, we are not leaving these bases, and a Democratic president, I don’t care who they are, will keep those basses there. They will justify them and they will use them and we love that. We love it. So it’s not about what the American people think is right or wrong, it’s not about if we got lied to, what matters is, they did what they wanted to do, and as bush says, and as Cheney says, “it’s quite the success.” And this is very frightening. Because none of this has ever been admitted to the American people, it’s only been hinted at by people that know. And of course the facts speak for themself. The facts are, we are in Iraq, we have the finest military installations in the world, the newest military installations in the world, and we’re not leaving them. We’re not turning them over to a Shiite government, we’re not turning them over to a Sunni government, we’re not turning them over to a Kurdish government. We’re not doing that. They are American bases. We’ve got our flag there. And this is kind of the way they used to do things, I guess back in the Middle Ages. Maybe the Dark Ages. A king decided he wanted to go do something, he went and did it. And this is George Bush. We call him an elected president. I mean, he’s operating much as kings have operated in the past.

JAMES HARRIS: You called him “the war pimp” in your essay. “He’s behaving,” as you put it, “a lot like a pimp would treat a prostitute, ‘you do like I tell you to do.’”

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: that’s right, and over the money. “Get back to work.” We’re using these, we use these bases, we use these people, the country, it matters not one whit to us.

JAMES HARRIS: With all we see in the news on a daily basis, is there any reason to hope? Every day I lose more and more sleep, about soldiers who are dying. You’re talking about being there another 30 years. How many more soldiers are going to be injured and killed? How much more money is this war going to cost?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Well the money, yeah, sure, the money’s a problem. The number of soldiers being killed will probably actually reduce in many ways because we will withdraw to our bases and we will not interface with Iraqis who hate us. This idea of what they’re doing right now, this so called three-block program, let’s meet more Iraqis so they’ll like us, that’s totally for show. The more Iraqis meet us, the more they hate us. So I actually do think though, over time, fewer Americans will die, and look how easily, look how easily this country has accepted the loss of those 3,200 soldiers that have died. I think something like 90 women, maybe more have died, mothers [Laughs] mothers of children. They’ve died, and America has eaten it up, we have not complained one bit. They’re spread out over 50 states, hey, it’s no big deal. So I think we can certainly, as a country, accommodate future deaths and I think the death rate will drop. The problem is, it’s immoral, it’s illegal, it engenders hatred for Americans, contempt for Americans. It makes every American in the world a target for terrorism. It’s just plain wrong, it’s unconstitutional. I mean, there’s a lot of problems with it. Dead Americans, unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the problem for most of us, which is a shame. We don’t like looking at ugly people, I will say that. And we’re seeing a lot of folks come back pretty deformed, mentally and even more obviously physically, deformed from their experiences in Iraq. And I think that could, that might give, I hate to say give hope, but realize the real moral price that we’re paying for this, that that can help. But quite frankly, I have no hope of us leaving Iraq. I think the intention was for us to put bases there, to stay there, operate militarily from there. And I think that’s what we’re going to do, Democrat, Republican, Independent, I can’t imagine anybody but Ron Paul, if you elect Ron Paul as president, those bases will be closed down. Otherwise…

JAMES HARRIS: Or Dennis Kucinich.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Or Kucinich, there you go, Kucinich would do it too. So these are the guys we are able to elect, but chances are, I hate to say, the machine is not behind these men. So yeah, we got a problem. Now is there anything optimistic? Yeah. I’m a God fearing Christian. God has the power. How He might express that, I don’t know. But yeah, can the average American do anything about it? I’m just not, I’m pretty not very, I’m not optimistic, I’m pessimistic that any single American can do much to prevent what seems to be going to happen here, attacking Iran and also this terrible thing we’ve done to Iraq which I think will continue to go on for many years. It will fester, fester for many years.

JAMES HARRIS: I’m one that believes the price of terrorism, I’m interested to get your perspective on this as one who watched us engage on this terrorist enemy, an enemy like we’d never seen before, at least from a military standpoint. I look at terrorism, and I see it tearing us apart. And in a lot of ways I look at it and say, we’ve already lost this war because we now have a president who’s bending the Constitution. We’re looking over our shoulders. We question our whereabouts. This whole thing that went on in Boston with the advertisement, “is it a bomb?” There’s always that question. Perhaps the goal of Osama, perhaps the goal of these people was to make us afraid, and they’ve succeeded at that. My question to you is, in your mind, what is the true price of terrorism been for you?

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: The military has been broken in most respects into the extent that it worked, it worked because it’s a mercenary force. We were so contracted out, we hired people that are beyond the law, that are not accountable to rules of war. And that’s how we function. So the whole military system, the idea of a defensive force, forget it, that’s done with. Constitution has been hurt by many presidents, but this president has done huge damage to understanding of the Constitution, its idea that it should restrain presidential power, that we should be conservative, small “c” conservative when we go out and engage in these adventures, the Congress has the right to declare war, we’ve ignored that for many decades. Just continued down that path. Te idea that the Bill of Rights is an option, the Bill of Rights is a set of suggestions has become almost mainstream belief. And this is terrible, this is a terrible thing. But I don’t think Osama Bin Laden did that. Terrorism is, obviously it has a political intent, but terrorism almost always, in fact I think in every case, when the political solutions are offered, when the politics change, when the people themselves change, terrorism stops. Terrorism to the extent that it is a crime, should’ve been treated like a crime, but instead we made it a war. Well there is no war with terror, terrorism is a tactic, you don’t make war against a tactic. So yeah, a lot of things have happened, I don’t think Osama had much to do with it, quite frankly, I think this administration, many of the people in Washington are quite comfortable with reduced freedoms for America and this is a good way to get those reduced freedoms, to basically break down and deconstruct the Bill of Rights and say, “well we didn’t mean that, we didn’t mean this.” It’s a problem. Our country has changed, and I think what people have to do now is kind of stand up and separate themselves from a government to the extent that they don’t agree with it and prepare themselves for real battle. Because we are gonna need to stand up very, I can use the word “vociferously,” I think that’s what we have to do, cause our own country is at risk, but not from terror, not from buildings being knocked down, that’s not what our country is at risk from, it’s at risk from our politics, from our abandonment of the Constitution, our devaluing of the Bill of Rights. We’ve lost our freedom. Osama probably couldn’t have dreamed that George Bush would help him out so much. I don’t think even that was his intention, I don’t think Osama could care less about our freedom, Osama’s issues have to do with Islam and the Holy land, Saudi Arabia, his issues are much more narrow than anything that he’s so called achieved. And I think George Bush has achieved this in a very weak and LAUGHS debased Congress has achieved this for this country. And so, it’s a big problem. I’m quite depressed about it. I don’t really have a solution or a remedy. I think we just need to wake up and see what’s being done, and then we need to decide if we want to be a part of it. It’s like that old thing, I’m not a child of the 60s, but you’re either working to fix the problem or you are the problem.

JAMES HARRIS: Why have the neo-cons been allowed, they’re not, to me, they don’t seem like the Republicans that I grew up with.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: No, no, they’re not. And if you look at the history of neo-conservatism, it really traces its roots, well back to Trotsky, but if you go more recent, back to who was the guy, Senator from Boeing (Henry Jackson) they used to call him… big Democratic, 30 year Senator out of Washington State. And Richard Perle was on his staff, Wolfowitz I think was inspired by him. And he was a Democrat during the Cold War. And he was a pro, or I should say strongly anti-Communist democrat, kind of a strong defense democrat. And these guys migrated, particularly after Jimmy Carter, because Jimmy Carter, remember, what was he doing, he was trying to make peace. Remember that, somebody got a Peace Prize out of it, I don’t know what it was, some kind of approach between Arabs and Israelis, and Carter was part of that. And that alienated a great many of these folks who now we know as neo-conservatives because they have two things that they care about, one is strong defense, for whatever reason they like that, an activist foreign policy, and pro-Israel, no questions asked policy. So many of these conservative, pro-defense democrats, anti-Communist democrats abandoned the democratic party at the time of Jimmy Carter, particularly after the time of Jimmy Carter and his summit working on Middle East peace. And they came over to eth Republican party, and of course they came over with a great deal of money and a great deal of political influence and a great deal of voters. So now they’re in the Republican party, and absolutely, this happened, late 1970s. so it is not, these are not the Republicans that we grew up thinking about, but they are in the Republican party now. Of course the Republican party now isn’t anything like what I thought it was, it’s certainly no Goldwater party, it’s a party of big spending, it’s a party of corruption. What do you want me to say? They love big government, they haven’t seen a big government plan they didn’t write.

JAMES HARRIS: Henry “Scoop” Jackson was the guy you were looking for. As we continue to search for the truth, and that’s pretty much the motto of TruthDig, we don’t believe we have the answer, but we believe that we should at least be looking for the answers. So as we approach that truth around the issues that take place in Iraq and perhaps Iran, we think you might be a good friend to have close to the TruthDig family so we’d like to check in from time to time.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Sure, I’d be delighted, it’s great fun talking. And hopefully maybe in a couple of months some of these negative things I think are going to happen, maybe they won’t happen.

JAMES HARRIS: Maybe we’ll all be proven wrong… whatever the case…

JOSH: I’m praying for it.

JAMES HARRIS: We’re both praying, even though Josh is not a religious man.

JOSH: Excuse me, I am a religious man.

KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: Maybe we’re in a foxhole together. You know what they say, there are no atheists in a foxhole, and I think in political sense, many true conservatives and classical liberals, people that love freedom, unlike George Bush, people that really love freedom, we are in a foxhole. We are threatened. And so we gotta call on every possible help we can get.

JOSH: I believe in God, I don’t believe in big religion, just like I don’t believe in big government.

JAMES HARRIS: There you go, we’re in a foxhole, so we’re on the same team.

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