Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Bush is Cooking Up Two New Wars



Mired in interminable conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration is moving toward initiating two more wars, one with Iran and one with North Korea. With no US troops available, the Bush administration is revamping US war doctrine to allow for “preventative nuclear attack.” In short, the Bush administration is planning to make the US the first country in history to initiate war with nuclear weapons. The Pentagon document, “Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations,” calls for the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries in order “to ensure success of US and multinational operations.”

In the case of Iran and North Korea, the Bush administration is using diplomacy not for diplomatic purposes of reaching agreements, but in order to set the two countries up for nuclear attack. In the case of Iran, the Bush administration’s plan is now obvious. The Bush administration is leveling false charges against Iran, just as it did against Iraq, of conspiring to make nuclear weapons. These charges are known to be false by the Bush administration and by the entire world.

For the past two years the International Atomic Energy Agency has had unfettered access to inspect Iran for any sign of a nuclear weapons program. The head of the IAEA has announced that there is no sign of a weapons program. The Bush administration nevertheless insists that Iran is making weapons, but can produce no evidence. As in the case of Iraq, the Bush administration substitutes allegations for facts.

Gordon Prather, an expert on the subject, has reported the straight facts in fine detail. Readers can become familiar with them by consulting his archive at

By bullying the 35 members of the IAEA, the Bush administration last week managed to get 22 votes that could lead to the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council. The Bush administration will now lobby for the referral. Once it has the referral, even if the Security Council does not act on it, the Bush administration can use it as an excuse to attack Iran. The Bush administration knows that few Americans have any knowledge of international law and procedures and will simply believe whatever President Bush says. The highly concentrated US media is a proven walkover for the war-mongering Bush administration.

As Dr. Prather has shown, Iran has gone beyond compliance to propose that new additional safeguards be established to monitor its nuclear energy program. The bad intentions are on the part of the Bush administration.

The Bush administration’s plan is to create Iranian intransigence in place of cooperation by forcing the Iranian government to stand up to the bullying by reducing its cooperation. The goal of the Bush administration is to attack Iran, not to create cooperative relationships.

Needless to say, Iranians are angry at the Bush administration’s manipulation of the IAEA members. Last Wednesday protesters in Tehran attacked the British embassy, which serves as a proxy for the non-existent US embassy, and legislation was introduced that, if it passes, will scale back Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA. Iran has also threatened to cut off oil deliveries to some of the countries that caved in to US pressure, thereby permitting the US to increase tensions and escalate the conflict.

The Bush administration is betting that it can demonize Iran the way it did Iraq. As both Congress and the American public have failed to hold Bush accountable for deceiving them about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the administration assumes that its tactics will work a second time.

However, a nuclear attack on Iran would leave the Bush administration isolated. The US would instantly become a pariah nation, loathed and hated everywhere else.

Moreover, it would leave our battered troops in Iraq in a perilous situation. The only reason our army in Iraq has not been destroyed is that the Shi’ites, who comprise the vast majority of the population, have not taken up arms against us, expecting the US to turn over Iraq to them. As the Iraqi Shi’ites are allied with the Iranians, who also are Shi’ite, the US cannot attack Iran without destroying its position in Iraq.

The Bush administration, filled with hubris and delusion, is too stupid to know this.

The American people need to ask themselves why of all the countries in the world, only the US and Israel believe that it is imperative to attack Iran. If Iran is such a threat to the world, why isn’t Russia, for example, concerned and ready to invade?

Americans need to ask themselves the same question about North Korea. Why is the US, half a world away, so concerned about North Korea? If North Korea is such a threat, would not China, sitting on its border, know it? Wouldn’t Japan know it? South Korea? Wouldn’t some other country besides the US see the problem and take action? According to the Voice of America (August 11, 2005), “Senior South Korean officials on Thursday defended what they say is North Korea’s ‘natural right’ to pursue civilian nuclear power. The move may cause friction with the United States, which has expressed firm opposition to the North having any nuclear facilities whatsoever.”

If the US doesn’t want other countries to develop nuclear weapons, the US must stop bombing, invading and threatening invasions and nuclear attacks. How does President Bush serve the cause of peace by making countries paranoid by declaring them to be our enemies.

For there to be peace, the US must drop its belligerent role. The proper function of diplomacy is to build trust by drawing countries into economic and cultural relationships, not to isolate them for attack. It is past time for the US to give up its quarter century feud with Iran. US interference in Iranian internal affairs was the source of the feud. We need to acknowledge it and get over it.

The Korean war ended a half century ago. Isn’t it time the US acknowledged the war’s end and signed a treaty with North Korea? The Korean war was essentially a war between the US and China. It was Chinese troops that prevented American victory. Yet we are getting on with China, a much greater potential threat to the US than North Korea or Iran could ever be.

By creating instability in the Middle East, the US undermines Israel’s security. As a few thousand Iraqi insurgents have proven, American armies are not going to be able to sit over the oil in the Middle East. If we can’t produce enough valuable goods or maintain a strong currency, we won’t have access to the oil. There is no possibility whatsoever of the US pushing around powers like China, India, or Russia.

Bush’s hubris makes him unrealistic. He greatly overestimates America’s power. Congress and the American people must find a way to supply the judgment that is missing in the executive branch.

There would be no terrorism if the US would stop interfering in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries and if Israel stopped stealing the West Bank from the Palestinians. The Bush administration knows this, and that is why the administration spreads the propagandistic lie that “they” (Muslims) hate us and our way of life. This lie is the excuse for American aggression.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS has held a number of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at:










We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005


Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 27, 2016
Paul Street
An Identity-Politicized Election and World Series Lakefront Liberals Can Love
Matthew Stevenson
Sex and the Presidential City
Jim Kavanagh
Tom Hayden’s Haunting
CJ Hopkins
The Pathologization of Dissent
Mike Merryman-Lotze
The Inherent Violence of Israel’s Gaza Blockade
Robert Fisk
Is Yemen Too Much for the World to Take?
Shamus Cooke
Stopping Hillary’s Coming War on Syria
Jan Oberg
Security Politics and the Closing of the Open Society
Ramzy Baroud
The War on UNESCO: Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian and East Jerusalem is Illegally Occupied
Colin Todhunter
Lower Yields and Agropoisons: What is the Point of GM Mustard in India?
Norman Pollack
The Election: Does It Matter Who Wins?
Nyla Ali Khan
The Political and Cultural Richness of Kashmiriyat
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“It’s Only a Car!”
October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases