Is the U.S. preparing an attack?
Bush stokes crisis with Iran
Published Mar 16, 2006 2:13 AM
On the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion
of Iraq, where U.S. forces have become bogged down in a hated occupation, the
world is watching with alarm as the Bush administration relentlessly pursues a
new crisis with Iran.
In a televised speech on March 13 to defend his
conduct of the Iraq war, President George W. Bush injected an attack denouncing
the Iranian government for allegedly sending explosives to the resistance in
Iraq. He declared, “Such actions, along with Iran’s support for
terrorism and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, are increasingly isolating Iran,
and America will continue to rally the world to confront these
Supporting “terrorism” is how Bush
characterizes Iran’s support for the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance
to Israeli occupation and aggression. The Bush administration has declared,
without an ounce of proof and in spite of all denials, that any attempt by Iran
to develop peaceful nuclear power is a step toward building nuclear
Bush’s attack on Iran was no isolated rhetorical flourish.
The Washington Post reported, “As the dispute over its nuclear program
arrives at the Security Council today, Iran has vaulted to the front of the U.S.
national security agenda amid Bush administration plans for a sustained campaign
against the ayatollahs of Teheran.” (March 13)
“They do not
use the term ‘regime change’ in public,” said the Post, but
that is the policy. The newspaper quotes Richard Haass, Bush’s former
State Department policy planning director who now heads the Council on Foreign
Relations, the powerful think-tank in New York, as saying that “the upper
hand is with those who are pushing regime change rather than those who are
pushing for more diplomacy.”
A chorus of threats
explains the recent chorus of threats coming from high Bush officials. On March
7, Vice President Dick Cheney gave a speech to the deep-pocketed Zionist
lobbying group, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC),
threatening Iran with “meaningful consequences” if it continues to
insist on its sovereign right to develop nuclear energy. “For our part,
the United States is keeping all options on the table.… We will not allow
Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” warned Cheney. (www.TomPaine.com)
the same day as Cheney’s speech, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
menaced Iran at a Pentagon news conference: “They are currently putting
people in Iraq to do things that are harmful.… And it is something that
they, I think, will look back on as having been an error in judgment.” And
during the same week, UN Ambassador John Bolton said Iran would face
“tangible and painful consequences.”(The Progressive, March
Two days later, on March 9, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a
Senate committee that the U.S. “faces no greater challenge from a single
country than from Iran” and declared that Iran was the “central
banker for terrorism” in the Middle East.(www.TomPaine.com)
coordinated move with his senior imperialist master, British Foreign Secre tary
Jack Straw made a major speech saying that “Iran is going in the wrong
direction” and “Iran and the people deserve better than this,”
referring to the elected Iranian government.
Of course, Iran has the
complete right to develop nuclear power, even under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The head of the International Atomic Ener gy
Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBa radei, has repeatedly said inspectors found nothing
to support U.S. and Israeli claims of nuclear weapons development. Iran has
allowed UN weapons inspectors to go anywhere and everywhere.
from a political point of view of the right to self-determination, the Iranians
have a right to develop any means of self-defense against their former oppres
sors. The British imperialists and British Petroleum ruled in Iran until they
were thrown out by a nationalist revolution in 1951 led by Mohammed Mossa degh.
Mos sa degh was overthrown in a CIA-MI6 coup in 1953, and the Shah, one of the
most brutal rulers of the 20th century, was placed in power by the U.S.
government. U.S. oil companies then seized the oil riches. It took the
revolution of 1979 and great sacrifice by the Iranian people to oust the U.S.
puppet Shah and establish national sovereignty.
These former oppressors of
the Iranian people in Washington and London have an agenda that goes far beyond
the nuclear issue. It is the same agenda they had in Iraq: reconquest and
neocolonization to control the oil. They want to destroy the hard-won national
independence of the Iranian people, by any means they can—by subversion if
possible, by military attack if necessary.
They have bullied and
maneuvered the French and German imperialists, the Putin regime in Russia and
the Chinese government into taking part in the campaign to isolate Iran. They
have used the so-called EU-3 negotiations, the IAEA, and now they are trying to
use the UN Security Council to further their ends and set the diplomatic and
legal stage for forcing Iran to capitulate or to face sanctions and eventual
Of course, all the players in the imperialist game of
attempted strangulation of Iran avow their love for the Iranian people, their
desire to resolve the issue through peaceful means and negotiations. But this is
just so much camouflage.
Whether or not the Pentagon will attack Iran if
it refuses to surrender its sovereign ty cannot be known with certainty. U.S.
imperialism has a host of contradictions to deal with. But the anti-war movement
must take this danger as seriously as the Iranian people are undoubtedly taking
Downing Street memos
In this regard, the present
maneuvers with the IAEA and the Security Council must be viewed in the light of
the infamous Downing Street memos of July 23, 2002—eight months before the
U.S.-British invasion of Iraq.
Workers World last summer (July 29, 2005)
carried an article entitled “Lenin’s ‘Imperialism’ and
the Downing Street memos.” Downing Street is the residence of the British
prime minister. Documents had just been leaked to the media about a secret
cabinet meeting that had been held there on July 23, 2002, regarding the U.S.
plans to attack Iraq.
One memo said: “C, [head of the British
foreign intelligence] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a
perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush
wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction
of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around
This problem did not faze the Labor Party cabinet. In the
memo, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was quoted as saying, “We should work
up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow backing UN weapons inspectors.
This would help with the legal justification for the use of
An earlier meeting of the Overseas Defense Secretariat
Cabinet on March 8 had concluded that: “A legal justification for invasion
would be needed … none currently exists. This makes moving quickly to
invade legally very difficult. We should therefore consider a staged approach
estab lishing international support, building up pressure on Saddam and
developing military plans. There is a lead time of about six months to a ground
Now fast-forward to the report by the Washington Post
this March 13. It describes the shift to a new, aggressive “regime
change” orientation in the Bush administration regarding
“Now that the nuclear issue is at the Security Council, the
U.S. strategy is to escalate gradually rather than force an immediate climax.
The first step would be a statement by the council president declar ing Iran in
violation of nuclear treaty obligations and demanding that it suspend uranium
enrichment. If that fails, the council could be asked to impose economic
sanctions or pass a resolution allowing military force to enforce compliance.
Russia and China, which have veto power, seem unlikely to support either
Military planning in progress
Consider also a
report in the London Telegraph of Feb. 12 that said, “Strategists in the
Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by
submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran’s nuclear sites.
... Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets,
assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation.
“They are reporting to the office of Don ald Rumsfeld ... as
America updates plans for action if the diplomatic offensive
“‘This is more than just the standard military
contingency assessment,’ said a senior Pentagon adviser. ‘This has
taken on much greater urgency in recent months.’”
It must be
remembered that Washing ton and London could not get Security Council
authorization for the invasion of Iraq either, but it took place
Numerous observers point out the vast differences between Iraq
and Iran. First of all the U.S. military is already bogged down in Iraq.
Secondly, Iran has three times more people. It has not been weakened, as Iraq
was, by a prior imperialist attack in 1991 and 12 years of sanctions and
bombings. An attack on Iran could completely undermine the U.S. occupation in
Iraq because of the large Shiite population in both countries. The hatred for
Washington would be so great that there is a strong potential for a regional
uprising and a general conflagration.
So the question remains, how could
the Bush administration actually contemplate something that is seemingly
contrary to its own imperialist interests?
In this regard it must be
understood that the third anniversary of the Iraq war is also the third
anniversary of crisis for the Bush administration. Its attempt to establish U.S.
world domination, its proclaimed aim in the wake of Sept. 11, stalled almost
immediately after the invasion and the outbreak of determined
The premise for world domination by Washington is that the
Pentagon represents an unstoppable force. If the Iraq occu pation has done
anything, however, it has revealed the vulnerability of the U.S. military
machine. The Pentagon superpower has been encircled and profoundly humbled by a
poorly armed but dogged resistance for three years. Its situation shows no
improvement, indeed a marked deterioration on display every day.
of the Pentagon generals and the would-be architects of world domination is to
restore the reputation of the U.S. military to its pre-Iraq war level. This is a
long-range, strategic necessity for Wash ington. They may choose risking
instability and social uprisings for the sake of reasserting their sole
superpower dominance that followed the dissolution of the Soviet
This urge flows from the systemic needs of the U.S. oil companies,
banks and trans national corporations to expand throughout the globe, to secure
new markets, new resources, new workers to exploit, and to overcome the
permanent crisis of imperialism and the profit system. These contradictions
could lead to another insane military adventure.
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