Monday, October 1, 2007

Neo Cons Prepare for War with Iran?

That is the headline coming out of the telegraph. This is the common assumption and it has been for years now from most people that I refer to as elitist. To me this is an absurd narrative since it has been said for so long that if it were so it would have already happened by now. You can find this supposition in most of the usual suspects. Each time I read one of these pieces I find they are a variation of every other one, and so I will deal specifically with the telegraph piece, but keep in mind the telegraph represents a form of thinking, and I intend to show its flaws here. Let's start with this...

American diplomats have been ordered to compile a dossier detailing Iran's
violations of international law that some fear could be used to justify military
strikes against the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.
trains Gulf air forces for war with Iran

Members of the US secretariat
in the United Nations were asked earlier this month to begin "searching for
things that Iran has done wrong", The Sunday Telegraph has

Some US diplomats believe the exercise — reminiscent
of attempts by vice-president Dick Cheney and the former defence secretary
Donald Rumsfeld to build the case against Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war —
will boost calls for military action by neo-conservatives inside and outside the

One diplomat revealed the plans for an Iran dossier to Steven Clemons, a fellow with the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, who has previously revealed attempts by Mr Cheney's allies to pressurise President George W Bush into war.

Opponents of war with Iran are constantly claiming that the administration is searching for reasons to attack. The simple fact is they need not search. The Iranians have committed so many acts of war in the last year or so I have lost track. I detailed several here

Let's look at some of the things Iran has been responsible for in the last year
or so: the alphabet
soup of explosive devices in Iraq
that continue to kill our soldiers, a proxy war with Israel, hostage
taking, extortion, and propaganda all originating in international waters
, another
proxy war in the Palestinian territories
, and I won't even bring up the 800 pound gorilla
in the room

Between taking hostages, smuggling explosives, starting proxy wars, and building nuclear weapons, are war opponents now saying we need to search for reasons to go to war with Iran. The simple fact of the matter is that we have turned the other cheek to far too many acts of war.

The Six Day War was a pivotal period in the history of the Middle East.

The Six Day War broke out on June 5, 1967, following three weeks of tension
which began on May 15, 1967 when it became known that Egypt had concentrated
large-scale forces in the Sinai peninsula. Egypt's force buildup in the Sinai
was accompanied by other serious steps: the United Nations Emergency Force
stationed on the border between Egypt and Israel and Sharm el-Sheikh in 1957 and
which had provided an actual separation between the countries was evacuated on
May 19 upon the demands of the Egyptian president at the time, Gamal
Abdel-Nasser; the Egyptian navy blocked the Straits of Tiran, located at the end
of the Gulf of Eilat, on the night of May 22-23, 1967, preventing the passage of
any Israeli vessels; and on May 30, 1967, Jordan joined the Egyptian-Syrian
military alliance of 1966 and placed its army on both sides of the Jordan river
under Egyptian command. Iraq followed suit. It agreed to send reinforcement and
issued a warning order to two brigades: Contingents arrived from other Arab
countries including Algeria and Kuwait. Israel was confronted by an Arab force
of some 465,000 troops, over 2,880 tanks and 810 aircraft.

The Six Day War was started with something as benign as a Naval Blockade. I say benign though in reality a Naval Blockade is an act of war just like taking hostages, sending in explosives, and of course training the enemy are all acts of war. Israel was of course roundly criticized by the world community. Then, the Israelis proceeded to steam roll through all of its enemies in six days in the most decisive victory, in my opinion, in the history of war fare. It is not mere coincidence that within ten years, two of their adversaries in that war, Egypt and Jordan, formed peace agreements. Their governments understood clearly that confrontation led to disaster. The Iranians don't get any such message from their own acts of war.
The telegraph continues...

Opponents of military action were further alarmed last week when it emerged
that Norman Podhoretz, one of the godfathers of neo-conservatism, used a
45-minute meeting with Mr Bush at the White House to lobby for the bombing of
Iran's nuclear plants.

Mr Podhoretz disclosed that, when he said Mr Bush was just "giving futility
its chance" by pursuing diplomacy, the president and his former aide Karl Rove
had burst out laughing. "It struck me," Mr Podhoretz added, "that if they really
believed that there was a chance for these negotiations and sanctions to work,
they would not have laughed. They would have got their backs up and said, 'No,
no, it's not futile, there's a very good chance'." He said he believed "Bush is
going to hit" Iran before his presidency ends.

Mr Podhoretz is highly influential. His son-in-law is Elliott Abrams, Mr
Bush's deputy national security adviser, who is regarded by US officials as a
key advocate of bombing Iran. He was found guilty of withholding evidence from
Congress over the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s.Concern is also growing in the CIA and the Pentagon that the White House exaggerated intelligence used to justify an Israeli air raid on a suspected nuclear facility in Syria earlier this month, which some neo-conservatives hope is a precursor to war with Iran.

I am always amused whenever war opponents use obscure and relatively unknown figures in some sort of a grandiose conspiracy as a pre cursor to war. If you believe the telegraph, the entire CIA and Pentagon bureaucracy has less influence and power in the administration than Norm Podhoretz, a columnist. We are supposed to believe that full time employees of two major departments have less influence than one 45 minute meeting. The irony is that while the Telegraph tries to make Podhoretz into a shadowy figure, it is their own side that is in fact shadowy. Notice, there is no specific person cited in either the Pentagon or the CIA. Instead they cite it as an institution, as though its whole apparatus speaks in only one voice. The

Telegraph does the exact same thing when referring to the bombing in Syria by Israel. There is no explanation or sources.

Frankly, spotting propaganda, like the one here in the Telegraph, is relatively easy. This hits all the marks: there are no specifics, no real sources, and a supposed shadowy figure (Podhoretz) is used to scare the masses.

I don't know what Bush will do vis a vis Iran. I have put forward a three point plan to avoid all out war with Iran. I don't believe that war with Iran is inevitable, however, I also believe that the only thing worse than war with Iran is Iran getting nukes. I also believe that the only response to an act of war, let alone an endless stream of acts of war, is all out war. Furthermore, I believe that most of those claiming that Bush is looking for a reason to go to war with Iran are themselves downplaying that threat in order to demean Bush.

We must avoid war at all costs, however we must speak truthfully about the reality of the threat we face in Iran. You cannot stop a country from taking soldiers hostage, smuggling weapons and explosives, training the enemy, starting proxy wars, and building nuclear weapons simply by talking to them. These threats are not benign and war must be a real and legitimate option when dealing with such a threat. In a case like this, trying to pre empt a war for political purposes is much more dangerous that the actual war itself.

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