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Attacking Iran
What’s In It For Bush?
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Initially, the Bush Regime denied that Bush’s escalation speech on January 10 signaled that the Regime intends to attack Iran. Now a number of Regime officials have made it clear that Iran, not Iraq, is the focus of the Regime’s war planning. Robert Gates, the new Defense Secretary and member of the Iraq Study Group, was supposedly brought into the Pentagon to de-escalate the war. Gates now says that Iran is the target of US military moves in the Persian Gulf.

Suddenly the media is full of Bush Regime propagandistic assertions designed to make the American public believe that Iran is the enemy that is fighting against our troops in Iraq.  To facilitate this deception, the Bush Regime staged a propaganda event by invading an Iranian government liaison office in Northern Iraq, kidnapping the Iranian officials and declaring them to be involved in plans to kill US troops.

The Bush Regime’s latest big lie is that the US is not winning in Iraq because of Iran. “The Iranians are acting in a very negative way,” alleges the “moderate” Gates. Iraq, the target for the escalation in US troop levels, has dimmed in importance. In the few days since Bush’s “surge” speech, Bush, Cheney, Gates, Rice, and national security advisor Hadley have said far more about Iran than about Iraq.  In 2003, the same technique was used by the Bush Regime to shift the public’s attention from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein.  The technique succeeded to the extent that even today a significant percentage of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Clearly, the Bush Regime expects that it can again deceive the American public. There is no doubt that Iran will be attacked.  The Israeli government and the neoconservatives have been demanding it.

The question is: why is Bush, who is confronted with failure in Iraq, willing to compound his problems by attacking a more powerful Muslim state that the US has no prospect of being able to occupy?

A former member of the National Security Council gave me a possible answer.  Bush can bury his defeat in Iraq with a “victory” in Iran.

Here is the victory scenario: Bush and Cheney will claim that their air attack on Iran succeeded in destroying Iran’s (non-existent) nuclear weapons program. The victory claimed by the Bush Regime and the propagandistic US media will “make America safe from nuclear attack.” This will restore Bush’s popularity and move the US back to a 50-50 political split in time for Karl Rove to steal the 2008 election with the fraudulent electronic voting machines built and programmed by Republican operatives.

The former national security official believes that Bush will be able to claim victory over Iran, because Iran will avoid responding militarily. Iran will not use its Russian missiles to sink our aircraft carriers, to shut down oil facilities throughout the Middle East, or to destroy US headquarters in the “green zone” in Baghdad.  Instead, Iran will adopt the posture of another Muslim victim of US/Israeli aggression and let the anger seep throughout the Muslim world until no pro-US government is safe in the Middle East.

Bush needs a short-run victory, and Iran will let him have it in order to gain the long-run victory.

The consequences for the US, Israel, and the US puppet regimes in the Middle East will be catastrophic, but they will not occur in the short-run.

This explanation solves the dilemma of why Bush would get deeper into the quagmire for the sake of the Israel Lobby.  A US attack on Iran allows Bush both to satisfy the powerful Israel Lobby and to claim to have destroyed Iran’s (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction.

Some patriotic Americans, who believe it is still possible to save America from war and a police state, see cause for hope in the upcoming trial of “Scooter” Libby, the former chief operative of VP Cheney. Libby is accused of lying about his role in leaking a covert CIA agent’s name to the press in an effort to discredit damaging evidence that Bush had lied about Iraq possessing WMD. The patriots believe that Libby’s trial will damage the Bush Regime and, thereby, reduce the Regime’s danger to freedom and democracy in America.

At this delicate point in time, the Bush Regime would not allow the Libby trial to go forward unless the Regime had arranged with the media shills it uses to control the explanation of the news (with insider leaks) to testify in a manner that lets Libby off the hook. If Libby is exonerated, expect Cheney and the neocon nazis to attack Joe Wilson as a terrorist sympathizer who tried to discredit Bush’s invasion of Iraq and war on terror. The attack on Wilson will lead into an all-out-assault on the antiwar movement.

If the Regime overcomes its defeat in Iraq with a “victory” in Iran, “you are with us or against us” will take on new life, and we will find out who are those intended for the Halliburton-built detention camps constructed in the US at great cost with our tax dollars.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com