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Repeating the Crime

The Iraq War Morphs Into the Iran War

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

It is 1939 all over again.  The world waits helplessly for the next act of naked aggression by rogue states.  Only this time the rogue states are not the Third Reich and Fascist Italy.  They are the United States and Israel.

The targeted victims are not Poland and France, but Iran, Syria, the remains of the Palestinian West Bank and southern Lebanon.

The American mass media is overjoyed.  War coverage attracts viewers and sells advertising.  

The neoconservatives are ecstatic. Hegemony uber alles is back on track.

The US Air Force can’t wait “to show what it can do.”

Defense contractors see no end of the profits.

Under cover of the mayhem and propaganda, Israel can grab the remains of the West Bank and have another go at grabbing the water resources of southern Lebanon.

Unlike the US and Israel, Iran is neither occupying any other country’s territory nor threatening to invade another country.  Nevertheless, propaganda against Iran is spouting from US and Israeli mouths at an increasing rate.  Lie after lie rolls off the tongues of leaders of the “two great democracies.” 

On April 27 Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed Iran for “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq.  Has Admiral Mullen forgot that it is the US, not Iran, that is responsible for as many as one million dead Iraqis and four million displaced Iraqis, the “collateral damage” of a “cakewalk war” now into its sixth year?

On April 26 the Washington Post reported that “the Pentagon is planning for potential military courses of action” against Iran.  
The Bush Regime’s national security advisor says Iran is a threat in Iraq, an accusation echoed endlessly by secretary of defense Robert Gates, secretary of state Rice, vice president Cheney, and president Bush.  The US, which has 150,000 troops in Iraq, is not a threat. The US troops are protecting Iraq from Iran, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.  Just ask Fox “News.”

Doing its part to egg on war with Iran, the US TV news program, “60 MInutes,” gave air time to the commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Eliezer Shkedi, who declared in a special interview that Iranian president Ahmadinejad was the new Hitler and that we must not again make the mistake of disbelieving a Hitler.  

There are better candidates for the role than Ahmadinejad.
Gen. Shkedi himself sounds like Hitler blaming Poland for the outbreak of the second world war. Ahmadinejad has attacked no country, whereas Israel repeatedly invades its neighbors and continues 40-year occupations of Syrian and Palestinian territory.

As Noam Chomsky has written, the US government thinks that it owns the world (Chomsky could have added that Israel thinks it owns the Middle East and America).  Americans can wallow in indignation over China’s occupation of Tibet, but be perfectly content with America’s occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel can wax eloquently about “Palestinian terrorism” while its military and Zionist settlers terrorize Palestinians.

Americans see no hypocrisy in “their” government’s damning of Russia for opposing the incorporation of former Russian satellites and constituent parts in a US military alliance.   

Americans see manifest destiny, not US aggression, when “their” government drops bombs on Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Pakistan.  Americans do not think it is aggression for them to develop war plans to attack Iran or China or N. Korea or whomever, or to maintain hundreds of military bases all over the globe.  The same Americans work themselves into hysterical frenzies over “Iranian influence in Iraq” and “al Qaeda plans to bring the war to America.”

As Chomsky says, we own the world.  No one else counts.
Except Israel.

Israel counts so much that every presidential candidate has declared his and her willingness to expend whatever American blood and treasure are necessary “to protect Israel.”  There are no limits on the promise “to defend Israel,” no matter what Israel does, no matter if Israel initiates (yet again) war with its neighbors, no matter if it continues to force Palestinians out of their homes and villages in order to “create living room” for Israelis.  

With this sort of promise, why should Israel ever settle for anything less than “greater Israel”?

Just as the US government launched its illegal invasion of Iraq on the back of lies about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds, the US government claims it must attack Iran or Iran will build a nuclear weapon.  The Bush Regime has learned never to discard a lie as long as it works.

The lie works for the US Congress, the US media and much of the US public, but it is breaking down abroad.  On April 27 the British newspaper, the Independent, responded to the recent US government claim that the Syrian facility attacked last September by Israel in an act of naked aggression was a nuclear reactor built by N. Korea:

“There is no independent way to verify any of this, especially since the installation has now been destroyed. We must rely on the integrity of the Israeli and US intelligence.  That is where we hit a problem. The former US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented similar evidence to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003 showing what we were told was strong evidence of Iraqi storage of weapons of mass destruction. As we all know, that intelligence turned out to be bogus.”

A needless war, a country destroyed, all for bogus intelligence.

Why must we repeat our crime in Iran? 

Why do we persist in our crime in Iraq?  On April 27 McClatchy Newspapers reported that 50 Iraqi political leaders representing numerous political groups including Sunnis went to Sadr City to protest the siege by the US military.  Why is al Sadr under seige?

He called for a halt to bloodshed between Iraqis, for a “liberation of ourselves and our lands from the occupier,” for “a real government and real sovereignty.”  However, for the Bush Regime, rhetoric about “freedom and democracy” is but a mask behind which to impose a US puppet government.  Real Iraqi leaders like al Sadr are “terrorists” who must be eliminated.

Why do the American people and “their” representatives in Congress continue to tolerate a criminal Bush Regime that uses lies and propaganda to mask its acts of naked aggression, war crimes under the Nuremberg standard?

Why does the rest of the world continue to receive political representatives from a war criminal government?

What if the rest of the world told the US to close its bases, its embassies, its CIA operations and to go home?

Self-righteous Americans would regard such demands as effrontery!  We own the world.

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