Chris Hedges / Truth Dig.com & Larisa Alexandrovna / www.rawstory.com – 2006-10-11 00:10:53
Bush’s Nuclear Apocalypse
Chris Hedges / Truth Dig.com
(Octber 9, 2006) — The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. The ships will be in place to strike Iran by the end of the month. It may be a bluff. It may be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power. But I doubt it.
War with Iran — a war that would unleash an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East — is probable by the end of the Bush administration. It could begin in as little as three weeks. This administration, claiming to be anointed by a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, defined three states at the start of its reign as “the Axis of Evil.” They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea, which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran.
Those who do not take this apocalyptic rhetoric seriously have ignored the twisted pathology of men like Elliott Abrams, who helped orchestrate the disastrous and illegal contra war in Nicaragua, and who now handles the Middle East for the National Security Council. He knew nothing about Central America. He knows nothing about the Middle East. He sees the world through the childish, binary lens of good and evil, us and them, the forces of darkness and the forces of light. And it is this strange, twilight mentality that now grips most of the civilian planners who are barreling us towards a crisis of epic proportions.
These men advocate a doctrine of permanent war, a doctrine which, as William R. Polk points out, is a slight corruption of Leon Trotsky’s doctrine of permanent revolution. These two revolutionary doctrines serve the same function, to intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents, to create permanent instability and fear and to silence domestic critics who challenge leaders in a time of national crisis. It works.
The citizens of the United States, slowly being stripped of their civil liberties, are being herded sheep-like, once again, over a cliff.
But this war will be different. It will be catastrophic. It will usher in the apocalyptic nightmares spun out in the dark, fantastic visions of the Christian right. And there are those around the president who see this vision as preordained by God; indeed, the president himself may hold such a vision.
The hypocrisy of this vaunted moral crusade is not lost on those in the Middle East. Iran actually signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has violated a codicil of that treaty written by European foreign ministers, but this codicil was never ratified by the Iranian parliament. I do not dispute Iran’s intentions to acquire nuclear weapons nor do I minimize the danger should it acquire them in the estimated five to 10 years.
But contrast Iran with Pakistan, India and Israel. These three countries refused to sign the treaty and developed nuclear weapons programs in secret. Israel now has an estimated 400 to 600 nuclear weapons. The word “Dimona,” the name of the city where the nuclear facilities are located in Israel, is shorthand in the Muslim world for the deadly Israeli threat to Muslims’ existence. What lessons did the Iranians learn from our Israeli, Pakistani and Indian allies?
Given that we are actively engaged in an effort to destabilize the Iranian regime by recruiting tribal groups and ethnic minorities inside Iran to rebel, given that we use apocalyptic rhetoric to describe what must be done to the Iranian regime, given that other countries in the Middle East such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are making noises about developing a nuclear capacity, and given that, with the touch of a button Israel could obliterate Iran, what do we expect from the Iranians? On top of this, the Iranian regime grasps that the doctrine of permanent war entails making “preemptive” and unprovoked strikes.
Those in Washington who advocate this war, knowing as little about the limitations and chaos of war as they do about the Middle East, believe they can hit about 1,000 sites inside Iran to wipe out nuclear production and cripple the 850,000-man Iranian army. The disaster in southern Lebanon, where the Israeli air campaign not only failed to break Hezbollah but united most Lebanese behind the militant group, is dismissed. These ideologues, after all, do not live in a reality-based universe.
The massive Israeli bombing of Lebanon failed to pacify 4 million Lebanese. What will happen when we begin to pound a country of 70 million people? As retired General Wesley K. Clark and others have pointed out, once you begin an air campaign it is only a matter of time before you have to put troops on the ground or accept defeat, as the Israelis had to do in Lebanon. And if we begin dropping bunker busters, cruise missiles and iron fragmentation bombs on Iran this is the choice that must be faced — either sending American forces into Iran to fight a protracted and futile guerrilla war or walking away in humiliation.
“As a people we are enormously forgetful,” Dr. Polk, one of the country’s leading scholars on the Middle East, told an Oct. 13 gathering of the Foreign Policy Association in New York. “We should have learned from history that foreign powers can’t win guerrilla wars. The British learned this from our ancestors in the American Revolution and re-learned it in Ireland. Napoleon learned it in Spain. The Germans learned it in Yugoslavia.
“We should have learned it in Vietnam and the Russians learned it in Afghanistan and are learning it all over again in Chechnya and we are learning it, of course, in Iraq. Guerrilla wars are almost unwinnable. As a people we are also very vain. Our way of life is the only way. We should have learned that the rich and powerful can’t always succeed against the poor and less powerful.”
An attack on Iran will ignite the Middle East. The loss of Iranian oil, coupled with Silkworm missile attacks by Iran on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, could send oil soaring to well over $110 a barrel. The effect on the domestic and world economy will be devastating, very possibly triggering a huge, global depression. The 2 million Shiites in Saudi Arabia, the Shiite majority in Iraq and the Shiite communities in Bahrain, Pakistan and Turkey will turn in rage on us and our dwindling allies.
We will see a combination of increased terrorist attacks, including on American soil, and the widespread sabotage of oil production in the Gulf. Iraq, as bad as it looks now, will become a death pit for American troops as Shiites and Sunnis, for the first time, unite against their foreign occupiers.
The country, however, that will pay the biggest price will be Israel. And the sad irony is that those planning this war think of themselves as allies of the Jewish state. A conflagration of this magnitude could see Israel drawn back in Lebanon and sucked into a regional war, one that would over time spell the final chapter in the Zionist experiment in the Middle East. The Israelis aptly call their nuclear program “the Samson option.” The Biblical Samson ripped down the pillars of the temple and killed everyone around him, along with himself.
If you are sure you will be raptured into heaven, your clothes left behind with the nonbelievers, then this news should cheer you up. If you are rational, however, these may be some of the last few weeks or months in which to enjoy what is left of our beleaguered, dying republic and way of life.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Pentagon Moves to Second-Stage Planning for Iran Strike Option
Larisa Alexandrovna / www.rawstory.com
(October 9, 2006) — The Pentagon’s top brass has moved into second-stage contingency planning for a potential military strike on Iran, one senior intelligence official familiar with the plans tells RAW STORY.
The official, who is close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking officials of each branch of the US military, says the Chiefs have started what is called “branches and sequels” contingency planning.
“The JCS has accepted the inevitable,” the intelligence official said, “and is engaged in serious contingency planning to deal with the worst case scenarios that the intelligence community has been painting.”
A second military official, although unfamiliar with these latest scenarios, said there is a difference between contingency planning — which he described as “what if, then what” planning — and “branches and sequels,” which takes place after an initial plan has been decided upon.
Adding to the concern of both military and intelligence officials alike is the nuclear option, the possibility of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons targeting alleged WMD facilities in Iran.
An April New Yorker report by Sy Hersh alleged that the nuclear option was on the table, and that some officers of the Joint Chiefs had threatened resignation.
“The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning,” Hersh wrote. “Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iranï¿1/2without success, the former intelligence official said.”
The senior intelligence official who spoke to RAW STORY, along with several military intelligence sources, confirmed that the nuclear option remains on the table. In addition, the senior official added that the Joint Chiefs have “come around on to the administration’s thinking.”
“The Joint Chiefs have no longer imposed roadblocks on a possible bombing campaign against Iran’s nuclear production facilities,” the intelligence official said. “In the past, only the Air Force had endorsed the contingency, saying that it could carry out the mission of destroying, or at least significantly delaying, Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon.”
Preparation for such a strike would require contingency plans for securing oil transport lines and dealing with possible riots, as well as assessment of issues that arose during the Iran-Iraq war.
“Bahrain will be a battleground as it is majority Shi’a and has had Shi’a riots stimulated by Iran in the past,” the official said. “The US Fifth Fleet is also based there. A system for [protection of] oil transport in the Gulf will have to be devised by the US Navy to protect against attacks.”
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to repeated emails requesting comment.
With allegations of a plan in place and contingency scenarios in play, several military and intelligence experts see this as proof of a secret White House order to proceed with military action.
Last week, a military intelligence official described to this reporter the movement of Naval submarines and a deployment order sent out to Naval assets of strategic import, such as minesweepers, that could indicate contingency planning is already under way to secure oil transport routes and supplies.
On Sunday, Time Magazine confirmed much of what the military intelligence source had described.
“The first message was routine enough: a ‘Prepare to Deploy Order’ sent through Naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine hunters,” Time’s Michael Duffy wrote. “The orders didn’t actually command the ships out of port; they just said be ready to move by October 1. A deployment of minesweepers to the east coast of Iran would seem to suggest that a much discussed, but until now largely theoretical, prospect has become real.”
Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner also expressed concern about the deployment orders, but cautioned that these particular ships are slow-moving and would take “a month or so” to arrive in position.
“Minecountermeasures, the four ships mentioned, are generally not self-deploying,” Gardiner said Wednesday. “When previously sent to the Gulf, they were transported on the decks of heavy lift ships. The earliest they would arrive would be around the first of November.”
Although some claim the Defense Department has denied the deployment order, no official denial has been made. The Pentagon does not comment on operational plans, not even to issue a denial.
Lawmakers in the dark?
Attempts to contact members of the Senate Armed Services Committee provided little help in confirming allegations of the deployment order made to this reporter and Time. Senate offices that were available for comment would not do so on the record.
From all appearances, however, it would seem that at least some members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have not been briefed on deployment orders or on any strike plans, even contingency plans. The Senate Intelligence Committee is attempting to get a grasp on what is and has been going on.
A source close to the Committee, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the information, explained that a series of briefings will be going on this week and into next.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has “embarked on a much more aggressive review of what the intelligence community knows and is doing regarding Iran,” the source said.
“In fact [the Committee has] a number of Iran related briefings this week and next before the senators leave town,” the source added. They “will cover the full spectrum including various aspects of their nuclear program and all US collection efforts.”
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.