Some people are expressing consternation and disbelief at a report by journalist Seymour Hersh that Vice President Dick Cheney had discussed the idea in his office of having some Navy Seals dress up as Iranians, and then put them in faked Iranian speedboats to make a fake attack on US ships in the Persian Gulf. The ensuing faked battle, with fake Iranians shooting at US ships and US ships firing back, he suggested, could be used to spark a war between the US and Iran.
I don’t know why people would find it hard to believe that this vice president would think up an idea like having Americans shoot at other Americans in the interest of his own warped view of national security.
After all, this is a guy who shoots his own friends.
Besides, Cheney is in good company in this kind of thinking. We know from reports of the meeting filed by British intelligence that President Bush engaged in the same kind of thing when he was having trouble getting the country and the rest of the civilized world behind his and Cheney’s plan to attack Iraq. It was disclosed years later that in early 2003, Bush suggested to Prime Minister Tony Blair that the US could paint a U-2 spy plane in UN colors and fly it over sensitive parts of Iraqi airspace, so that Saddam Hussein would order it show down. That, he argued, would anger enough UN member states to win a security resolution to support a war on Iraq, and failing that, would give the US an excuse to go in on its own. Blair was reportedly horrified at this kind of kamikaze thinking—but not horrified enough to expose the president as a nutcase.
So that’s where we are today folks. A president and a vice president who both think that it’s a great idea to either send some of your own troops under false flags into harm’s way to get shot at so you can start a war, or, even worse, to dress up some of your soldiers as the enemy you want to go after, and have them open fire on your own guys so that you can claim you were attacked, and then go to war.
Who gets tricked by all these mad schemes?
Not the Iranians, or in the earlier instance, the Iraqis. They know they aren’t attacking American forces. No. It’s us, the American people, who are being tricked. Cheney knows that most Americans think the idea of attacking Iran—especially when we’re five years into an interminable war in Iraq and seven years into another war in Afghanistan, neither of which has an end in sight—is really, really stupid. So they’re trying to think up a way to trick us into supporting doing such a stupid thing. And the only thing they can come up with to overcome of reticence is making us think that our guys are being attacked.
Now let me say that I’ve been a skeptic about people who claim the 9-11 attacks were an “inside job”—that the US government actually organized those attacks. I know all the arguments and evidence, but it always seemed to me that it was over the top to think that our leaders would try to deliberately kill Americans in order to achieve some policy goal. And yet, here we have Dick Cheney, the real brains (such as they are) behind the Bush administration, discussing a plan, using American forces, to fake an attack on other American forces.
It makes me wonder whether maybe Cheney deliberately shot his friend Harry Whittington, either to flush those damned elusive quail he was after, or so that he could generate public sympathy for the embattled President Bush. And it even makes me wonder whether crazy Dick actually did have a hand in bringing down those Twin Towers. He may be too stupid to pull something like that off, but he has made it clear that it isn’t moral scruples that would prevent him from doing such a monstrous thing.
As ludicrous, pathetic and outrageous as this administration is, we need to take this latest Hersh report seriously. It seems clear that Cheney has a predilection for using fratricide to achieve his nefarious ends.
It’s one thing when he does it with his own rifle, though. It’s another when he does it with the world’s most mighty military machine.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net