Two strategies against Iran
Bush gang's plan to attack undercut by NIE report
Published Dec 16, 2007 10:41 PM
A bitter dispute within the Bush administration became a public fight on Dec. 3
when all 16 U.S. spy agencies jointly announced, in a National Intelligence
Estimate (NIE) report, that Iran had neither a nuclear program nor nuclear
This intelligence about-face was not the result of new spy data or a better
spying technique. It was a political move taken by the U.S. military itself to
stop the clique headed by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney from the dangerous adventure of bombing Iranian nuclear installations
when the Pentagon is already hopelessly bogged down in Afghanistan and
This victory for Iran reflects the strength of the national liberation
struggles in the Middle East, which have not been stopped by Pentagon threats
or bombings. It also is a result of anti-war sentiment in the U.S., as even the
Pentagon owns up to difficulties recruiting soldiers to fight in the Middle
The NIE report removed the linchpin holding up the Bush-Cheney argument for
aggression against Iran: the nuclear weapons myth. Immediately after the
report’s release, the attempt by the White House to corral the U.N.
Security Council for a third round of sanctions against Iran fell apart.
Who is behind the report? “The secretaries of state and defense and the
leaders of the uniformed military had decided that diplomacy was the best way
to deal with an admittedly hostile and dangerous force in Tehran.” (Time,
Tehran ‘has no nuclear weapons’
The NIE report represented all 16 U.S. spy agencies, eight of them directly
linked to the military. Its conclusions are available online. It assessed with
“high confidence” that “in 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear
weapons program,” had not restarted it, and today “has no nuclear
weapons.” While Iran continues to enrich uranium as part of its civilian
nuclear energy program, the report finds it likely that Iran would not have
enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon until 2015.
The NIE contradicted its own earlier findings, made in 2005, that Iran was
secretly building nuclear weapons. The NIE issued this bombshell five years
after a 2002 report in which U.S. spies claimed that Iraq had “weapons of
mass destruction.” This blatantly false statement gave the Bush gang its
rationale for launching what many in the military now see as their debacle in
While Bush and Cheney were trying to construct a similar pretext for bombing
Iran, the Pentagon spy agencies undercut the pretext.
A year ago “Bush asked the [Joint Chiefs of Staff] about attacking Iran.
He was told that a bombing campaign could do severe damage to Iran’s
military and nuclear facilities, but the Chiefs said they were opposed to such
a strike because of the probable ‘blowback.’ The Iranians, Bush was
told, could make life very difficult for the U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq.
They could shut off the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, thereby
creating a global economic crisis.” (Time)
In truth, U.S. generals have reasons to avoid a war at this time against a
country of 71 million whose population is militantly anti-imperialist and
showed what they could do just 30 years ago, when they staged a fierce and mass
revolutionary struggle that ousted a U.S. puppet, the hated shah of Iran.
But Bush was moving ahead anyway, so the military pulled the rug out from under
him. “The truth about Iran appeared to shatter the last shreds of
credibility of the White House’s bomb-Iran brigade, and especially that
of Vice President Dick Cheney,” wrote Time magazine.
A victory for Iran
This is why Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “This report
tries to extract America from its impasse, but it also is a declaration of
victory for the Iranian people against the great powers.” (aljazeera.net,
Dec. 5) This view is held by the Iranian people as well, according to Al
Jazeera’s reporter in Tehran.
While U.S. spies have exposed one lie, it does not mean that what they are
saying now is the whole truth. Iran says it has never sought to produce atomic
weapons. “Ali Lariyane, delegate of the Supreme Leader of the National
Higher Security Council, said if the U.S. government has any evidence of this,
it should hand it over to Mohammad El Baradei, director of the International
Atomic Energy Agency.” (Prensa Latina, Dec. 7)
Iran, an oppressed country, has every right to develop nuclear weapons as a
deterrent against the U.S. and Israel, which are bent on Iran’s
destruction and pose the real threat in the Middle East. Israel has 75 to 200
nuclear warheads, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The U.S.,
with more than 9,000 nuclear warheads, has a string of bases in the Middle
East, three aircraft carrier groups in the Arabian/Persian Gulf with guns
pointed at Iran, and troops on two of Iran’s borders, in Iraq and
Want to subvert Iran
The main movers in the report are National Intelligence Director Adm. Mike
McConnell and Thomas Fingar, chair of the National Intelligence Council.
McConnell, who came out of retirement to take on this study, was the chief
security advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the dissolution of the
Soviet Union and during the first Gulf War. Fingar has a long intelligence
history with the State Department and was part of John Negroponte’s inner
Members of Congress had requested the NIE report. Among elected officials
mentioned in the New York Times in conjunction with the report is Republican
Sen. Charles Hagel of Nebraska.
In a recent speech at the Center for Strategic and International Relations on
U.S.-Iran relations, Hagel gave more details on the view of the departments of
State and Defense and of the Joint Chiefs on how to approach Iran.
“Loose talk of World War III, intimidation, threats, bellicose speeches
only heighten the dangers we face in the world. ... What confidence should we
have in a strategy that, to date, has nothing to show for it ... that has
achieved no tangible changes to Iran’s nuclear program and actually has
seen the Middle East become more dangerous and Iran more defiant? Is the U.S.
pursuing a policy that could very well produce a self-fulfilling prophecy of
the president’s warning of World War III?
“By refusing to engage Iran in direct, unconditional and comprehensive
talks, we are perpetuating dangerous geo-political unpredictabilities. Our
refusal to recognize Iran’s influence does not decrease its influence,
but rather increases it.
“Our strategy must be one focused on direct engagement and diplomacy ...
backed by the leverage of international pressure, military options, isolation
and containment ... not unlike the strategies that the United States pursued
during the Cold War against the Soviet Union.”
‘Talks’ as cover for destabilization
Hagel continued, “Inside Iran, there are social strains and serious
differences of opinion. ... There are political divides in Tehran. ... Our
strategy should exploit these differences. ... The United States must be wise
enough ... and patient enough ... not to follow the same destructive path on
Iran that we did on Iraq.”
The forces backing the NIE report are just as hostile towards Iran as Bush and
Cheney. They merely think other tactics would be more successful in bringing
down Iran. For example, at a conference on regional security in Bahrain on Dec.
8, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called Iran “a grave threat to
regional security even without nuclear weapons.” (New York Times, Dec.
If Bush doesn’t bomb Iran in the next year, it doesn’t mean that
the next administration won’t. Norman Podhoretz, a senior neoconservative
and a cheerleader for bombing Iran, is foreign policy advisor to Rudolph
Giuliani’s presidential campaign. And neither of the Democratic Party
frontrunners, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, has pulled back from shrill and
aggressive positions on Iran.
Mass struggle made Pentagon blink
This is a falling out among thieves on how best to bring Iran down and how to
stop the struggle in the Middle East. The NIE benignly describes itself as
“the intelligence community.” It is really a collection of
assassins, liars, mass murderers and destabilizers of progressive governments.
The Bush-Cheney forces are no different. Both sides are hired guns for a U.S.
ruling class determined to control Middle Eastern oil.
It is the strength of the mass liberation struggles—from Iran to Iraq to
Afghanistan to Lebanon to Palestine—which made the biggest military
colossus in the world blink. The spy report is an admission that Pentagon bombs
cannot stop the mass struggle and often drive it forward. It is this struggle
that will determine the fate of the Middle East.
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