Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War – 2006-10-18 00:19:03
On October 15, The Washington Post noted that “amid the widespread panic in the Republican establishment about the coming midterm elections,” George W. Bush and Karl Rove seem “almost inexplicably upbeat.” An earlier Post story thought it odd that Bush has made “no plans” for dealing with a likely loss of the House and, possibly the Senate, in the mid-term elections.
With the number of vulnerable GOP seats having soared from 15 to 50 in the wake of a succession of GOP sex and lobbying scandals, how could Messrs. Bush and Rove maintain such calm indifference to the possibility of sweeping losses in the pending ballot? Could it be that they know something the rest of us do not? This is, after all, the traditional month of the October Surprise.
Asked on October 11, whether the Mark Foley sex scandal might cost Republican seats, Bush assured reporters at a Rose Garden news conference that, come election time, “when [voters] get in that booth, they are going to be thinking about how best to secure the country from attack.”
Perhaps Bush’s self-confidence has something to do with events that he has already quietly set in motion.
On September 24, an Open Letter to the American People was posted on the Internet. It warned: “Your government appears to be preparing for their third new war in six years — this time it’s against Iran. They are beginning their military build up as we speak, moving minesweepers towards the Persian Gulf. The USS Eisenhower and its entourage of war boats are due to leave for Iran on the 1st of October, months before it was due to return to active service following extensive refurbishment.”
The ships were set to reach the Persian Gulf around October 21. Historically, the Pentagon prefers to launch massive air strikes on moonless nights. In October, the new moon falls on October 22.
The departure of the naval strike force was confirmed by an impeccable source, Colonel Sam Gardiner (USAF, ret.). Gardiner, who has taught military strategy at the National War College, has personally overseen at least Pentagon 30 “war games” involving US attacks on Iran. According to Gardiner, the carrier deployment and arrival date of October 21 is “very important evidence” that the Bush administration is prepared to launch a unilateral, undeclared, unprovoked and unconstitutional attack on Iran.
“I know that some naval forces have already received ‘prepare to deploy orders’ (PTDOs),” Gardiner stated. (A PTDO requires that all crews must be at their stations — with ships and planes ready to move — by a certain date.) “You cannot issue a PTDO and then stay ready for very long,” Gardiner notes. “It’s a very significant order, and it’s not done as a training exercise.
“I think the plan’s been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran,” says Gardiner. “It’s a terrible idea, it’s against US law and it’s against international law, but I think they’ve decided to do it.”
But with the US already losing two wars, why would Bush want to start a third war with Iran? “For one obvious reason,” observes Democrats.com: “to prevent Democrats from sweeping the November elections, as all polls now predict.”
Iran Does Not Pose an Imminent Nuclear Threat
The GOP Dominated House Intelligence Committee (HIC) has issued a conveniently timed report claiming that Iran’s uranium enrichment program poses an imminent weapons threat. But the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) quickly dismissed the report as “erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated.”
Other US intelligence officials also reject claims that Iran poses a threat. The partisan Intelligence Committee report stated that Iran has produced “weapons-grade uranium” but the Washington Post notes that “weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more [while] Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5% under IAEA monitoring.”
Dennis J. Kucinich, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight subcommittee on National Security and International Relations has demanded to know how John Negroponte, Bush’s Director of National Intelligence, managed to release the error-laden HIC report “without correcting the obvious inaccuracies.” Kucinich believes this demonstrates that, “Once again, a case for war is being built on lies.”
In March 2003, Kucinich lead 125 other Democrats who opposed the “war resolution” that lead to the US aggression against Iraq. Three years later, he is convinced that “the very same people who brought us Iraq in 2003 are getting reading to bring us a war against Iran.”
A Warning from Dennis Kucinich
On September 24, Kucinich emailed an urgent warning: “The Bush Administration is preparing for war against Iran, using an almost identical drumbeat of weapons of mass destruction, imminent threat, alleged links to Al Qaeda, and even linking Iran with a future 9/11.”
Kucinich referenced a flurry of articles in TIME, Newsweek, GQ Magazine and ABC News that revealed the White House has already recruited terrorist groups inside Iran to destabilize the country. The New Yorker and London’s Guardian reported that Bush had already inserted US military forces inside Iran. TIME has revealed plans for a sea blockade of Iran.
Warning that plans to strike more than 1,000 would produce “a great long term humanitarian and environmental disaster,” Kucinich demanded congressional hearings on these attack plans. He was promised “a classified briefing from the Department of Defense, the State Department and the CIA” but when Congress called the hearing, Kucinich says, the Pentagon and the State Department “refused to show and are continuing to block any congressional inquiry into plans to attack Iran.”
If he wins re-election, Kucinich has a four-point plan to resolve the standoff between Washington and Tehran. Kucinich would:
(1) call on the White House to begin direct negotiations with Iran;
(2) guarantee that the US will not attack Iran unilaterally;
(3) insist that Iran open its nuclear facilities to international inspection and;
(4) agree not to build nuclear weapons.
The problem, according to former US Senator Gary Hart, is that this may be too late.
A Warning from Gary Hart
On September 27, former presidential candidate Gary Hart placed an astonishing essay on HuffingtonPost.com. It was headlined: “The October Surprise: Attack on Iran.” The lead sentence read: “It should come as no surprise if the Bush Administration undertakes a preemptive war against Iran sometime before the November election.”
In normal times, Hart conceded, such a scenario would be “quickly dismissed by thoughtful people as dangerous, unprovoked and out of keeping with out national character.” Unfortunately, Hart observed, “we do not have a government much concerned with our national character.”
Hart predicts “the steps will be these: Air Force tankers will be deployed to fuel B-2 bombers. Navy cruise missile ships will be positioned at strategic points in the northern Indian Ocean and perhaps the Persian Gulf, unmanned drones will collect target data, and commando teams will refine those data. The latter two steps are already being taken.” [Emphasis added.]
Finally, Hart wrote: “The president will speak on national television. He will say this: Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons; if this happens, the entire region will go nuclear; our diplomatic efforts to prevent this have failed; Iran is offering a haven to known al Qaeda leaders; the fate of our ally Israel is at stake; Iran persists in supporting terrorism, including in Iraq; and sanctions will have no affect…. He will not say: … And besides, we need the oil.”
The president will appear on TV to announce: “Tonight, I have ordered the elimination of all facilities in Iran that are dedicated to the production of weapons of mass destruction.” Practically, that would amount to a few dozen targets, but a report by the Century Foundation has set a list of “at least 400 targets.”
Hart concludes: “it does not involve much imagination to understand the timing. The US is poised to adopt a congressional regime change of its own in November.”
Sinking of the USS Enterprise?
Dave Lindorff, co-author of The Case for Impeachment, notes with concern that “the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings and headed off for the Persian Gulf region” on October 2. (See Lindorff’s article in The Nation.) Lindorff claims that the ship’s departure was “pushed forward… by about a month by the Pentagon for clearly political reasons.”
Lindorff believes the role of a second US naval strike force in the Arabian Sea will be crucial. That armada, lead by the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, has spent six months pummeling targets in Afghanistan and supporting air strikes inside Iraq. Ordinarily, after a six-month deployment, these ships would be recalled to base for resupply, maintenance and R&R for the crew. “If the Enterprise is held over for a longer deployment,” Lindorff writes, “we will know that something serious is planned.”
In one of those unsourced “stories” that give Internet journalism a bad name, The Hal Turner Show recently claimed it “has been told” that sometime in October, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65), presently on patrol near the Persian Gulf, will be attacked with Silkworm and/or Sunburn missiles capable of sinking the vessel and killing many of the 5,000 crew.
The attack will be blamed on Tehran, providing the Pentagon with a fiery pretext to unleash its pre-packaged attack on Iran but, according to Turner “the missiles used to attack the USS Enterprise will actually involve a ‘false flag operation’ made to LOOK as though Iran carried out the attack!”
Unfortunately, such outrageous predictions are not without basis in fact. There is a long history of countries using “false flag” attacks to trigger pre-planned wars. (See The-Edge, “How to Fake a Wargasm”.) The “bombing” of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor and the “attack” on US Navy ships in the Tonkin Gulf are two well-known examples.
Some historians are convinced that President Roosevelt allowed Pearl Harbor to happen to speed America’s entrance into WWII. Nearly half of America now believe the White House had advanced knowledge of the 9/11 plot and failed to act. A May 2006 Zobgy poll reported that 42% of Americans now believe the government is “covering up” the truth about 9/11.
At the outbreak of the 2003 attack on Iraq, a missile was fired at a port city in Kuwait. Fortunately, it fell short and did little damage. The attack was initially blamed on Iran — until a serial number found in the wreckage revealed that it was a US Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile that had apparently been launched covertly by a British B-52H bomber flying over the Red Sea. (See The-Edge, “Bombs Awry! The Imprecision of Precision Bombing.”)
The USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was commissioned in 1961. Since this aging vessel is due to be decommissioned in 2014 or 2015, it could be seen as an ideal candidate for sacrificing in a “false flag” attack.
A Warning of a New ‘Gulf of Tonkin’
Democrats.com recently sent an email to its members warning that “while North Korea is dominating the headlines, the threat of an ‘October Surprise’ US attack on Iran has not diminished. Pentagon planners have moved from routine ‘contingency’ war plans to ‘second-stage’ war plans.”
What would happen if Iran were attacked? “Iran has three times the population of Iraq, and a modern military capable of firing missiles at our oil-producing allies and shutting down all shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world’s oil travels every day. The 140,000 US soldiers in Iraq would be attacked by Iran’s Iraqi allies, and Hezbollah would attack Israel.”
With US ground forces mired in Iraq and Afghanistan Bush would need to resort to bombs and missiles fired from ships. “And,” Democrats.com cautions, “If conventional bombs won’t cause enough destruction, Bush’s neocon supporters are urging Bush to use nuclear weapons.”
And when it comes to finding a pretext for war, Democrats.com believes Bush may provoke an Iranian attack on US forces “most likely by sending a US warship near Iranian waters or flying a US warplane near Iranian airspace. After all, Bush planned to send a US spy-plane over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq painted in UN colors to provoke an Iraqi attack that would get Bush the UN resolution he desperately wanted.”
Only the American People Can Stop this War
“Your insane leaders believe that they can go into Iran and bomb 10,000-plus targets from the air and that this will make the world a safer place,” the Open Letter declares. Even worse, the White House is “prepared to use NUCLEAR WEAPONS against Iranian targets in the hope of taking out some of their underground bunkers.”
While the US can easily hit Iranian sites with cruise missiles, Gardiner warns that “the Iranians have many more options than we do: They can activate Hezbollah; they can organize riots all over the Islamic world, including Pakistan, which could bring down the Musharraf government, putting nuclear weapons into terrorist hands; they can encourage the Shia militias in Iraq to attack US troops; they can blow up oil pipelines and shut the Persian Gulf.”
“This is very, very serious,” the Open Letter concludes, “and the only people in the world who can do anything to stop it, are the Ordinary American Citizens. You are being ruled by a bunch of Crazy people. They have NOT got your interests at heart. They are NOT making America a safer, more secure place.
“You need to gather on the streets of Washington, New York, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle — everywhere. You need to gather in your millions… demanding that your military disobey these insane orders and that your government be Immediately removed from power…. Every individual must act. If you don’t do anything, then the consequences of Bush’s actions will be YOUR FAULT TOO.”
What You Can Do
Bush fooled America once already with his invasion of Iraq. How can we stop him from invading Iran?
1. Tell your Representative to support Rep. Peter DeFazio’s resolution requiring a Congressional vote prior to military action against Iran.
2. Join 60,000 people who have signed our petition:
3. Forward our message to your friends.
4. Call talk shows and write letters to your newspaper — and don’t hesitate to express your fear and anger.
5. Challenge your congressional candidates to declare their opposition to a US attack on Iran.
6. Register to vote immediately and vote on November 7.
7. Read Scott Ritter’s new book, Target Iran.
8. Follow important Iran War news at AfterDowningStreet.org
9. Be prepared to march peacefully if the White House starts signaling an imminent attack on Iran.