Revolution #79, February 25, 2007
Bald-faced Lies and Bogus Pretexts
Bush Threatens War Against Iran
On February 14, President George Bush claimed that elements within the Iranian government are supplying sophisticated explosive devices that are used to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. With this as a pretext, he then leveled a new military threat against the government of Iran—declaring that whoever is “moving these devices into Iraq, we will deal with them.”
This situation is dangerous and intensifying. The U.S. high command has already put a second aircraft carrier and naval battle group into the Persian Gulf, capable of launching air strikes against Iran. The U.S. has tightened the economic vise on Iran by pressuring international financial institutions to stop lending it money. U.S. forces have been seizing and interrogating Iranians in Iraq.
And now, at the February 14 press conference, Bush threatened to “deal with” the Iranian government—putting out the lie that this is about “protecting U.S. troops.”
These threats and preparations could erupt suddenly into an open military attack on Iran. A major attack by the U.S. (or Israel) on Iran would have terrible consequences for the people of the world for a long time. Such an attack, including the possible use of nuclear weapons, would be a horror for the people of this region, and would intensify a disastrous polarization—where two reactionary forces—U.S. imperialism on the one hand, and Islamic fundamentalism on the other—both oppose and mutually reinforce each other.
The threats by the Bush administration aimed at Iran, parallels what the U.S. did four years ago as they prepared to invade Iraq. Back then, the Bush regime claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, that were likely to be used against the U.S. or its allies. Bush and his officials claimed that they didn’t want war and were pursuing diplomacy—all while they were preparing the forces and pretexts for launching that war. In fact, key figures within the Bush regime had been planning this war for years.
Now they are using similar methods as they ratchet up war threats against Iran. “It is absolutely parallel,” says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism specialist. “They’re using the same dance steps—demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux [“all over again”].” (quoted by Craig Unger, in “From the Wonderful folks Who Brought You Iraq,” Vanity Fair, March 2007)
Deliberately Distorting Reality
Step back and look at the larger picture:
The Bush regime has illegally and illegitimately invaded and occupied Iraq—continuing to wreck the country and kill huge numbers of people. Now Bush is claiming that because another country is allegedly interfering with that occupation, the U.S. has the right to threaten and attack that second country.
Bush claims his threats against Iran are just “the commander in chief’s decision to do what is necessary to protect our soldiers in harm’s way.” Yet the whole reason any of this is happening is due to the illegal and immoral US invasion in the first place.
This is like a rapist who, while raping and brutalizing a woman decides her sister is somehow “interfering” with him and then claiming that he now has the right to brutalize the sister…in his own ‘‘self-defense’’!
On February 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made a long list of charges against Iraq and told the United Nations: “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources.” The world now knows that Powell and the whole Bush regime were lying.
Almost exactly four years later, Bush now claims”with certainty” that elements in the Iranian government are behind U.S. casualties in Iraq. And he says that any skepticism over his claims is “preposterous.”
But what is truly preposterous is that this man—whose regime lied to the world in order to justify the unprovoked bombardment, invasion, occupation and systematic destruction of Iraq—is trying to do it again, this time with accusations aimed at Iran!
Remember the lies about the “weapons of mass destruction” — and all that led to? People can’t be fooled again! And we cannot remain silent and complicit in the face of Bush’s lies that are aimed at justifying an attack against Iran.
Let’s look at some basic facts: The overwhelming majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq are caused by roadside bombs (IEDs) set off by Sunni militias, not by the Shi’ite forces allegedly being supported by Iran. So the U.S. is deliberately distorting reality. They are making a big deal out of a small part of the picture—because such selective logic furthers their plans to prepare a military attack on Iran.
Bush admitted on February 14 that he had no evidence that anyone at the “top echelons” of the Iranian government had approved arms transfers to Iraq. But then he insisted this did not matter. “What we do know,” Bush said, “is that the Quds Force was instrumental in providing these deadly IEDs to networks inside of Iraq. We know that. We also know that the Quds Force is part of the Iranian government.” (Quds Force is reportedly part of Iran’s “Revolutionary Guards,” which are separate from the regular military and report directly to Iran’s religious leaders.)
“What matters,” Bush added, “is that we’re responding.”
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV later explained, in Baghdad, that the “evidence” about the Quds Force involvement in Iraq came from prisoners, including Iranian citizens, who had been seized and interrogated by the U.S. in Iraq over the past 60 days.
After the revelations about Abu Ghraib prison and other U.S. torture around the world, why should anyone believe supposed “evidence” provided by U.S. interrogators?
Behind U.S. Claims about an Iranian Nuclear Threat
The U.S. claims it cannot accept an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. And it charges that a nuclear Iran might attack Israel—declaring that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad believes in “wiping Israel off the face of the earth.”
Again, there is deliberate distortion by the U.S. to serve its own aims.
First, who actually has nukes and is openly threatening another country with them? Only the United States. While U.S. leaders rant about the danger of “madmen with nukes,” it is George Bush who has ominously announced that “no options are off the table” with Iran.
Who has actually used nuclear weapons? Only the U.S. ruling class, which dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing nearly 200,000 people. And the U.S. rulers have never renounced those attacks.
Second, there is no real evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. David Albright, a former weapons inspector in Iraq for the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently said, “This is like prewar Iraq all over again. You have an Iranian nuclear threat that is being spun up, using bad information that’s cherry-picked and a report that trashes the inspectors.”
Third, the liars heading the U.S. government don’t actually believe it is likely that Iran would bomb Israel. Even if the Iranian regime were to develop one or two primitive weapons, they know that Israel has hundreds of nukes ready to rain down on Iran, not to mention the thousands deployed by the U.S.
Anti-semitism is real in the world and it is ugly. But in this case, it is a false issue. What’s going down here is not about Iran’s president Ahmadinejad being anti-semitic and denying the Holocaust. A ‘‘moderate’’ Iran armed with nukes (even one that accepted Israel’s right to exist and acknowledged the Holocaust) would still be unacceptable to the U.S. or Israel. This is because the real issue at stake here for the U.S. imperialists is that a nuclear Iran would threaten the ability of the U.S. to enforce its domination over the Middle East, and affect its ability to exercise such domination over much of the world. The U.S. first labeled Iran a member of the “axis of evil” when Iran’s leader was Khatami, who was a “moderate.”
A nuclear Iran would, for example, undermine Israel’s function as the enforcer of U.S. imperialist domination over the Middle East—since much of Israel’s ability to threaten and act with impunity against other states in the region rests on the reality that it is the only country in that region with a major nuclear force. The U.S. imperialists are so worried that a nuclear Iran would upset its future ability to dominate this strategic region that they are willing to consider, threaten and prepare war (including nuclear strikes) in order to prevent this.
The two sides involved in this dangerous and escalating confrontation are both reactionary forces that stand against the interests of the people. On one side, the U.S. is a brutal imperialist power waging a crusade-like offensive to establish itself as an unchallenged and unchallengeable overlord over the whole planet. It needs to be overthrown through a revolutionary struggle of the masses. Israel, the U.S.’s attack dog in the Middle East, is an illegal settler-colonial state built on stolen land that needs to be replaced with a multinational revolutionary state in Palestine where there is no discrimination and oppression against any peoples.
And Iran, ruled by a brutal theocratic state dominated by Islamic mullahs, is a reactionary state that should be cast off by the people and replaced by one going in a revolutionary direction.
But let’s be clear: It is the U.S. imperialists who are so aggressively and provocatively pressing the situation toward a clash. If we sit back and let this attack go down, we will be contributing to a horror that will harm people for decades to come and will have failed in our responsibility to people all over the planet. This is a crucial and urgent moment: the masses of people must mobilize in their millions to politically prevent the Bush regime from launching a war on Iran.
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