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Invading Iran


If the Bush administration wants it, they’ll get it. The threat of hurricanes and indictments isn’t going to stop these crazy guys. Nor will the Democrats, France, or that fallible United Nations. Nope, nothing is going to step in their way. Even if what they want is war on Iran.

Last week in London, US Ambassador John Bolton expressed his disappointment with the UN Security Council for their “failure” in dealing with Iran’s alleged nuclear threat. Bolton all but threatened military action, deliberately implying that the US government would take matters into their own hands if the UN wouldn’t.

It may seem inconceivable that the US government would even be considering using military force against Iran at this point. US troops are already overextended and public opinion about the current war is at an all-time low. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has thus far refused to charge Iran with breaking a single commitment under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, although they have charged Iran with concealing their programs in the past. But this surely can’t be the best climate to start another war in the Middle East.

Too bad facts don’t matter to the neocons.

During his same visit to London, Bolton and Tony Blair’s dubious team persuaded the IAEA ­ along with India ­ to overrule UN inspectors in Iran and declare the country in breach of the non-proliferation treaty, which would bring the matter before the Security Council. India signed on, even though they are producing nuclear weapons and have yet to accept the treaty themselves. In a lot of ways it is Iraq all over again: Discount the weapons inspectors and move ahead as planned.

The officials in Tehran aren’t helping their cause much, though. But perhaps they saw what happened to Saddam when he bent over and touched his toes for the US government prior to the invasion. Iran is still calling for the annihilation of Israel, and Bush and his buddies in Tel Aviv love it. Of course, the Iranian government believes they’re being threatened ­ Israel has nuclear weapons and has openly spoken of the need to rid the Iranians of its oppressive regime. Even Vice President Dick Cheney has warned of Israel’s threat to Iran.

As UK author Dan Plesch recently wrote in the Guardian Unlimited:
“Shortly after the US elections, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, warned that Israel might attack Iran. Israel has the capability to attack Iranian targets with aircraft and long-range cruise missiles launched from submarines, while Iranian air defenses are still mostly based on 25-year-old equipment purchased in the time of the Shah. A US attack might be portrayed as a more reasonable option than a renewed Israeli-Islamic confrontation.”

It wasn’t long ago that Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker warned of Bush’s desire for a quieter gentler war in Iran ­ not anything like the Shock and Awe of Iraq. Hersh relayed that the Bush administration hopes covert ops and smart bombs alone can topple the religious leadership in the country and that the hawks at the Pentagon don’t think there will be any need for an extended occupation. They think it’ll be quick and easy, nothing like the mess in Iraq.

Don’t count on Bush to bring the American public into this whole non-debate. He knows after what he’s put them through (not to mention the Iraqis) they aren’t about to be snookered into supporting another war with a country that is posing absolutely no threat to US sovereignty. Karl Rove doesn’t need to spell out that one for him. No, this time around they’ll be no resolution in Congress and no CNN footage when the missiles first drop.

There is little doubt John Bolton and the UK’s maneuvering at the UN is only serving as a silly ruse. The UN is already irrelevant when it comes to policing the United States imperial ventures, and he knows it. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 19, whether or not Bush was planning military action against Iran and Syria. Rice answered sternly, “I don’t think the President ever takes any of his options off the table concerning anything to do with military force.”

In the end, Bolton and the administration he represents will do what it wants. Even if it’s war on Iran.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at Joshua can be reached at





JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, co-edited with Jeffrey St. Clair and published by AK Press. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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