New Report Suggests an Attack on Iran is Imminent

Barnett Rubin just called me. His source spoke with a neocon think-tanker who corroborated the story of the propaganda campaign and had this to say about it: “I am a Republican. I am a conservative. But I’m not a raging lunatic. This is lunatic.”

Now then, Daily Kos is apparently saying that the diary about the imminent U.S. attack on Iran is a hoax. I have no way of knowing whether it is a hoax or not, but it sure as hell seemed to have the ring of truth to me.

Be all that as it may, this analysis by Danny Schecter in the News Dissector (MediaChannel.org) basically corroborates much of what the entry in Daily Kos said:

“SPECIAL REPORT: NEW REPORTS SUGGEST AN ATTACK ON IRAN IS IMMINENT

I swore I was taking the holiday weekend off but as I reviewed articles I was sent I felt I had to share them with you. There is more than chatter out there suggesting that the US is planning to bomb Iran. (Just Today, the Iranians claimed they have more nuclear centrifuges than even the International Atomic Energy organization estimated. Are we in for a showdown or something worse. What better way to shift attention off Iraq in the very month that a report is due reporting on the “progress” there. There being no real progress, to report why not open up a second front? Hmmmm?..

Is it possible? Could the Bush-Cheney cabal be serious about expanding the war into Iran despite their obvious defeat in Iraq, despite the incredible cost to the people of the United States and our country’s honor? Is this kind of insanity in the cards, in the plans, about to happen?

There were reports of US war planning going back a year now, beginning with Sy Hersh’s New Yorker report. Scott Ritter was sounding the alarm. It was reported but then downplayed. It was supposed to happen in June. It didn’t. War critics including Noam Chomsky said he doubted the war plan was still on. After all Europe trying to mediate. US backed leaders like Maliki or Iraq and Karzi of Afghanistan were meeting with Iranian leaders and suggesting they had a role to play in peace in the region. We were reminded that the Iranians had actually promoted free elections in Kabul.

But the rumors would not go away even if the US press was not playing it up.

This past weekend, The Sunday Times in London reported: “The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive air strikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.”

Media analyst Jerry Policoff had this to say about this report:

This article, which ran in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times of London, was clearly planted by Bush’s Neocon enablers, and seems to be preparing the world for a massive U.S. air operation against Iran involving 1,200 targets. Also note the inclusion of references to a report released by the Institute for the Study of War written by Kimberly Kagan. Kagan is the wife of Fred Kagan, one of the most un-repentant of the PNAC Neocon gang that got us into Iraq. He is also one of the architects of the current “surge.”

True? I don’t know. Plausible? Absolutely. It follows the pattern of the P.R. campaign that started around this time in 2002 and led to the Iraq war. The President’s rhetoric on Iran has been nothing short of bellicose lately, warning of “the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.” And the Iranian government’s behavior? Detaining British servicemen and arresting American passport holders, pushing ahead with uranium enrichment, and, by many reliable accounts, increasing its funding and training for anti-American militias in Iraq seems intentionally provocative.

Perhaps President Ahmedinejad and the mullahs feel that they win either way: they humiliate the superpower if it doesn’t take the bait, and they shore up their deeply unpopular regime at home if it does.

Preëmptive war requires calculations (and, often, miscalculations) on two sides, not just one, as Saddam learned in 2003. When tensions are this high between two countries and powerful factions in both act as if hostilities are in their interest, war is likely to follow.

It’s one thing for the American Enterprise Institute, the Weekly Standard, et al to champion a war they support. It’s another to jump like circus animals at the crack of the White House whip. If the propaganda campaign predicted by Rubin’s friend is launched, less subservient news organizations should ask certain questions, and keep asking them: Does the Administration expect the Iranian regime to fall in the event of an attack? If yes, what will replace it? If no (and it will not), why would the Administration deliberately set about to strengthen the regime’s hold on power? What will the Administration do to protect highly vulnerable American lives and interests in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world against the Iranian reprisals that will follow? What if Iran strikes against Israel? What will be the strategy when the Iranian nuclear program, damaged but not destroyed, resumes? How will the Administration handle the international alarm and opprobrium that would be an attack’s inevitable fallout?

If this really is a return to the early fall of 2002 all over again, then I’m fairly sure that no one at the top of the Administration is worrying about the answers.

Postscript: Barnett Rubin just called me. His source spoke with a neocon think-tanker who corroborated the story of the propaganda campaign and had this to say about it: “I am a Republican. I am a conservative. But I’m not a raging lunatic. This is lunatic.”

Majorie Cohn comments on Common Dreams:

“Bush has already set the wheels in motion. With Rovian timing, Alberto Gonzales’ resignation was sandwiched between two Bush screeds – one aimed at ensuring Congress scares up $50 billion more for the occupation of Iraq, the other designed to scare us into supporting war on Iran. As Gonzales rides off into the sunset, the significant questions are who will take his place and how that choice will facilitate Bush’s occupation of Iraq and attack on Iran.”

One name that’s been floated for Bush’s third attorney general is Joe Lieberman, the “independent” senator from Connecticut. Lieberman, who advocates the use of military force against Iran, was the only person Bush quoted in his August 28 speech to the American Legion. Bush called Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” and pledged to “confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

Gonzales greased the Bush/Cheney wheels for torturing in violation of the Geneva Conventions, illegally spying on Americans, and purging disloyal Bushies. Similarly, Lieberman would ensure the Justice Department mounts a vigorous defense of a war of aggression against Iran. And Bush would get a two-fer: Connecticut’s Republican governor would appoint a Republican to fill Lieberman’s seat, returning control of the Senate to the GOP. A Republican-controlled Senate would direct the agenda, thereby furthering the Bush/Cheney plan.

We have to be careful about disinformation on all sides-false reports, unconfirmed rumors and speculative journalism. Joe Dunphy sent me this item:

Kos is calling the Iran attack diary by Maccabee a hoax. However, the timing of the hoax is itself interesting, given the announcement of apparantly good news from North Korea on a nuclear weapons research agreement. Could it be deliberate disinformation? hard to tell. At any rate, here’s a resend of a 4-19-2007 analysis of the potential situation in the Gulf of Hormuz. It’s still dangerous, and the missile threat against both naval ships and oil tankers remains a big risk. We know the Bush administration has put writers on the payroll, and engages in assymetric information warfare. One has to wonder whether this is a deliberate attempt to undermine the credibility of Daily Kos, as the memos in the investigation of the White House eventually undermined anchor Dan Rather. Ugly stuff.”