The Fake Crisis

Monday, May 10, 2010 12:46 PM

Let's see. We have an oil gusher out of control in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastline all the way down to Miami and even beyond. A New York Stock Exchange whose Dow component can be launched into a thousand-point nose dive apparently by the errant push of a computer key from an unknown and no doubt wildly-overpaid "trader". Then there are two or three interrelated wars in the greater Middle East--an active civil war in Afghanistan, a smoldering civil war in Iraq ready to re-explode in earnest, and the Predator, “death from the skies” conflict in Pakistan that has spread to the streets of midtown Manhattan. All of these conflicts, in which Washington has gone out of its way to insert itself, are further bankrupting the U.S. Treasury and sending U.S. taxpayers to the poor house. 

Yet on top of such distractions and problems, Washington is heading pell mell--thanks to the astute leadership of our Peace Prize President--into a head-on collision with Iran. The latter project has some connection with Tehran's nonexistent nuclear weapons program and the "existential threat" Iran supposedly poses to our presumptive ally, little Israel, even though our presumptive ally has a formidable arsenal of A-bombs at its disposal and the means, as well as the itchy fingers, to lob them anywhere in the immediate neighborhood, including Iran. May I ask if something has gone horribly haywire in the aftermath of America winning the Cold War against the Soviet Union? Whatever happened to the "peace dividend"? Does anybody remember that? 

Last week there was an eye-opening article (see below) posted on Antiwar dot com by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, who is a contributing editor to The American Conservative magazine. I just don't believe Giraldi's "Timetable for War" has gotten the attention it deserves, in view of the already-alarming circumstances just outlined. Giraldi flat out predicts a war with Iran by August. OK, it seems at first blush far-fetched. The good part is, I think Giraldi may be wrong. Good, that is, if you are not a Neocon confidence trickster and warmonger, or a deep thinker like Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, and the rest of those bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran hotheads on Capitol Hill, whose extended Washington sojourn has distorted their small minds. The bad part is, Giraldi has a lot more experience and a lot more contacts in Washington than I do. So he may be right.  

Giraldi points out, correctly in my view, that both Tel Aviv and Washington know that there is, in fact, no genuine threat from a nuclear-armed Iran. Tel Aviv and Washington know this for certain, because the elected leaders in Tel Aviv and Washington are the authors of the fiction that Tehran poses such a threat. We have seen this horror movie before. It is a rerun. The Iraq WMD nightmare in the early days of the Dick Cheney Regency was hyped around the clock by the same suspects, to wit, ambitious politicians with a hidden, private agenda, dutifully assisted by Neocon propagandists in the Press, Congress and the Executive Branch. The WMD nightmare, including the bald-faced accusation of a nuclear-armed Iraq, was the prime motivation for the gratuitous U.S. invasion of Iraq. It was all a damnable lie, which the public bought. The resultant quagmire has been called the Three Trillion Dollar war by expert economists who have added up the long-term costs. No one has been held accountable for it. So we are seeing a rerun, now orchestrated by politicians of a different party for the same reasons.

Notwithstanding the idiocy and dishonesty and perhaps outright treason up to this point, Giraldi is of the view that Tel Aviv will initiate a conflict with Iran as part of a sophisticated scheme to get Washington to attack Iran, when Iran attempts to counter-attack Israel proper or takes revenge upon U.S. Navy assets stationed in the Persian Gulf. It is certainly possible, given the track record of duplicity to date. 

Washington has demonized Iran to such an extent with non-stop, Neocon-inspired “clash of civilizations” and “war on terror” propaganda that any attempt by Iran to defend itself from a “preemptive” Israeli attack would ipso facto be regarded as an act of international terrorism by Washington and by the U.S. establishment news media, not to mention the Israel Lobby which is in effective control of both. Such a misguided act of self-defense undertaken by Tehran would be an affront to world peace and security, in addition to the status quo and Pax Israeliana, thereby requiring Washington to jack-knife head-first into the conflict. That's the scenario, one which is plausible, based upon the benighted assumptions of the Orwellian world we confront in the aftermath of the Cold War. The impracticalities of carrying out this adventure, however, make me wonder if it will happen. That, and the fact that it is unnecessary.

Giraldi highlights a practical consideration: the importance of Iraqi air space, currently under the control of Washington, but which will not be under direct control after August. He posits that Tel Aviv will need to send its U.S.-supplied air force over this, the shortest route to Iran, and in so doing will instantly implicate Washington in the unprovoked attack. But there are other possibilities, outside of Iraq’s airspace, which would mask Washington's collaboration in the project. Speculation has been rife for years on this topic in the American news media. One might even suggest that an attack on Iran has been promoted. 

For example, there was Bill Gertz's "Inside the Ring" article in the Washington Times of October 6, 2006, entitled "Iran Option" wherein he quotes an unnamed, former U.S. Navy intelligence officer to the effect that Israel will attack Iran "soon"--not with long-range bombers, but with Jericho III land-based missiles and with submarine-launched, nuclear-tipped Tomahawk cruise missiles. The German U-boats in question are located in the Persian Gulf or just outside it. I suggested back then that Germany would likely be a major beneficiary of blowback from such a hypothetical attack, because Berlin had succumbed to pressure and irresponsibly gifted Tel Aviv with advanced U-boats, a major platform for launching a surprise nuclear attack. 

In sum, if you discount the possibility that the co-conspirators believe their own propaganda, like Soviet apparatchiki did in days of yore, my bottom-line thinking is, why should Tel Aviv go to the trouble and take the risk of igniting a war with Iran when (a) there is no real military danger from Iran to begin with, and (b) when Tel Aviv can get substantially what it desires by using its cutouts in Washington, Berlin, London and Paris to impose crippling economic sanctions upon Iran? 

After all, what Tel Aviv and the Israel Lobby in America want is to degrade and wreck Iran as a viable nation-state, just like Iraq was degraded, wrecked and softened up by years of U.S.-led, UN condoned sanctions, before Iraq was finally poleaxed by the 2003, Neocon-inspired invasion. And that is precisely what our Peace Prize President and Hillary Clinton--the two undisputed, opportunistic and routinely mendacious leaders of the Democratic party--are doing right now, in addition to presiding over an extensive covert campaign of destabilization, authorized and funded by Congress. 

Do I need to spell out why the White House and the Congress are racing down this dead end road? In any event, a shooting war would be almost unnecessary, not to say nuts, at this point. One thing is certain, however: the entire fake Iranian crisis is a wonderful diversion and distraction from the colonization of Palestine and from Tel Aviv's atrocities in Gaza and Lebanon. The fake crisis does absolutely nothing to benefit the people of America and Europe. We are along for the ride. Thank you Barack and Hillary and all those assisting you behind the scenes. Such are the joys of the "peace dividend", twenty years on.

[An edited version of this article appeared in Taki’s Magazine.]


A Timetable For War

Posted By Philip Giraldi [Ex-CIA] On May 5, 2010

Antiwar dot com 

Readers of my articles will know that I am extremely pessimistic about the prospects for peace in the Middle East.  I do not believe for a second that the leaders of Israel actually consider Iran to be an "existential" threat but the fact that they have cried wolf so often has convinced the Israeli public that it is so.  Worse still, Israel’s friends in the US have convinced the American public of the same thing even though Iran does not threaten the United States at all.  Relying on a complaisant media that has fully embraced the fabricated narrative of fanatical Mullahs brandishing nuclear weapons shortly before handing them over to al-Qaeda, a majority of Americans now believes that Iran must be dealt with by force and that it already has a nuclear weapon.  As in the case in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, the fictitious threat has taken on an ominous reality because the lie has been repeated often enough to appear to be truth. 

I believe several things must be understood in relationship to the likely formula for initiation of such a conflict.  First, in spite of the increasingly bellicose language coming from Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton, I do not believe that the Obama Administration wants a war.  On the contrary, I believe that the language is designed to convince Tel Aviv that the US is getting tough with Iran to preempt any possible military action.  The principal advocates of war in the United States are not in the White House.  They continue to belong to the Israeli lobby as given voice through its acolytes in Congress and the media. 

Second, the Israeli government having sold the "existential threat" fiction does want a war, but its options are limited.  It knows it can only do temporary damage to Iran and wants the United States to do the heavy lifting.  That will require contriving a situation that will bring about US entry into the conflict, otherwise an Israeli attack will have only limited value, possibly slowing down Iran’s nuclear program but not stopping it while also guaranteeing that the Mullahs will make the political decision to develop a weapon. 

Third, Washington has no real ability to put pressure on Israel as the White House has already made clear that it will not cut aid to Tel Aviv and will continue to use its veto to protect Israel in international fora like the United Nations. 

Fourth, once the shooting begins, even if Israel starts it, both Congress and the media will demand that Washington intervene to support brave little democracy Israel.  One can be sure that on the day after Tel Aviv starts a conflict Congress will overwhelmingly pass a motion approving the Israeli action and also calling on the White House to have American forces join in.  The Washington Post, FOX news, and The New York Times will be beside themselves with joy.

Putting the four premises together, what does it all mean?  It means that Israel will seek to start a conflict with Iran and pull the United States in.  It will ignore any US calls for restraint and will attack the Mullahs with or without a pretext, whether or not Iran remains in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime (which I believe it will), and whether or not Tehran does anything aggressive.  In the lead-up to such an attack, Israel will intensify its propaganda efforts and is quite prepared to lie to make a case against Iran and its friends in the Middle East region.  The recent total fabrication of a case that Syria had given Scud missiles to Hezbollah is a case in point.  Israel sees everyone in the region as an enemy or a potential enemy and it works very hard to make Washington see things the same way.  Once the fighting starts, Washington will inevitably be drawn in with Congress and the mainstream media cheerleading the process.

So let us assume that Israel will attack Iran.  After all, it is a win-win situation for them in that they will demonstrate once again to the Muslim world that they are not to be trifled with and will leave the serious fighting to the United States.  I believe they will attack Iran by the shortest route, which is over Iraqi airspace.  Iraqi airspace is controlled by the United States Air Force, which would undoubtedly be under orders not to shoot down the Israeli planes lest Obama find himself facing a furious AIPAC, Congress, and the press immediately thereafter.  A shoot down order is just not possible given Congressional democrats’ fear of how Jewish political donors would react, not to mention the danger that the usual voices in the media would turn against the Obama administration on the eve of the midterm elections.  Unless the Iranians were to react in an extremely restrained fashion, they would consider the US complicit in the attack due to the passage over Iraq and their retaliation would bring Washington into the war, which is precisely what Israel expects to happen. 

The only joker in the deck for Israel is the possible unintended consequences.  If the war were to go badly, with Iran, for example, using its Chinese supplied cruise missiles to sink a US aircraft carrier, the role of Israel in starting the conflict might well be challenged by many in the US, so many that even the media and Congress would have to take notice.  But Israel probably considers that a remote possibility given the huge military advantage that the United States enjoys over Iran so they likely believe it to be it a risk worth taking.  Also, one must consider that the hard right Israeli government of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is not necessarily a rational player that will weigh up all the pluses and minuses.  Netanyahu is driven by racism, intellectual arrogance, and a belief that he can control events in the United States, all of which will be part of his decision making.

Which leads to the question of timing.  There has been some talk in the media that Israel would likely "do something" by November.  Why that date is being selected is not completely clear, but I believe it will be sooner and this is why:  as noted above, the United States controls Iraqi airspace currently.  But that control will be ceded to the Iraqi government in August when the US presence in Iraq is due to be reduced to a "garrison non-combatant" level of 60,000 soldiers and airmen.  At that point, the US Air Force will no longer have autonomous authority to engage in Iraqi airspace, but the Iraqi government will be empowered to request US assistance to do so.  Imagine for a moment what it would do to US credibility in the Arab world if Baghdad were to ask the US to help defend its airspace against an Israeli incursion and the US were to refuse to do so.  So I think the Israelis will make their move before August.  They want to entangle the United States into fighting on their behalf but they will not necessarily want to humiliate Obama while doing so.

So what can Obama do to stop this?  There has been some speculation that he might send a private emissary to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu with the message that the United States does not support an Israeli attack and that Washington will both denounce the action and not back Tel Aviv.  I believe that Obama has already told Netanyahu both privately and through diplomatic channels that the US opposes military action but the Israeli government no doubt regards such a warning as toothless, particularly as both Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have asserted that Israel has a right to make its own security decisions.  Any move to punish or pressure the Israelis would be blocked by Congress, so the Obama warning can be brushed off.  The only option that I believe would actually work is for Obama to go public preemptively on the issue and proclaim that there is no casus belli with Iran, that any Israeli attack will not be supported by the United States and that furthermore the United States will take the lead in condemning such an act in the United Nations and in all other appropriate international fora.  Is that likely to happen?  I think not.  And that is precisely the reason why I think a new war in the Middle East is inevitable and will take place this year, probably by August.