What will you do if the United States or its surrogate, Israel, attacks Iran?
An old friend of mine went into a rage a few days ago when I suggested that we need answers to that question.
That's nonsense, he said. Even George W. Bush isn't that stupid, he said. The American people won't let that happen, he said. The opposition to such a move is so strong throughout the world that the White House wouldn't dare, he said.
He said wrong, or so it appears today.
Several recent reports by good and reputable reporters working outside the corporate news media indicate that the megalomaniacs of the Bush administration are preparing an attack on Iran and that they will not be restrained.
With a twisted sociopath for a president, captive news media and a Congress full of calculating cowards, if they want another war, they'll get another war, which may quickly escalate to all-out regional or even global mayhem.
Who's to stop them?
The planning process has many of the characteristics of the preparations for the Iraq invasion. The political lunatics are running roughshod over top-ranking military officers who deeply disapprove of the plan on both policy and military grounds, several reporters say. And the Bush people, able students of the propaganda methods of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, are working up phony provocations to justify their military move.
Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for Newsweek and the Associated Press and who wrote highly-regarded books on the Bush political dynasty and the Iran-Contra mess, reported Jan. 31 that “time may be running out to stop Bush from ordering a major escalation of the Middle East conflict by attacking Iran.” His report was published by Consortium News. It also was circulated by Truthout.org.
Parry based his report on military and intelligence sources, some of whom said invasion could (not necessarily would) take place before the end of this month.
He said his sources differ only on one aspect of invasion plans. That is whether Bush will claim a “provocation” by Iran and order U.S. forces to attack or whether Israel will start the thing with air strikes against Iran's not-yet-functioning nuclear facilities. If Israel bombs first, the generals and colonels say, U.S. forces will follow quickly. Either way, Parry said, the plan calls for a “propaganda blitz” to stir up as much pro-war sentiment as possible in this country.
That blitz has started. The stenographers who call themselves journalists repeat everything the White House says about Iran without question or checking facts.
Some of Parry's sources within the military and intelligence services told him that – just as happened with Iraq – the White House already has decided to attack Iran. Anything you hear between now and the dropping of the bombs is likely to be a lie.
On Feb. 2, Truthout.org distributed an article by Steve Hammons, a writer of novels about military and intelligence service activities who also has worked as a journalist.
The Hammons piece is based less on reporting -- as done by people such as Parry and Ethan Heitner, who produced a Feb. 5 piece for TomPaine.common sense -- and more on analysis of what he knows of the intelligence services, the military and the people of the Bush administration. He decided that the real question is not whether George Bush, Dick Cheney and their war profiteering, power mad buddies will attack Iran, but when.
What is most interesting about the Hammons analysis is his suggestion that, in the distorted vision of the White House, one important reason for attacking Iran is to distract Americans, and their Congressional representatives, from any thoughts of investigating the administration's multiple crimes.
Given the conscienceless adherence to the party line by most Congressional Republicans, the right-wing ownership of the media and the timidity of many Democrats, the bombing of more innocents does appear to be, literally, overkill, doesn't it?
Our mainstream propaganda machine, the corporate media, is pretending for now that the possibility of an attack on Iran is far fetched. It is doing precisely as it did during the buildup to Iraq: parroting White House lies and distortions about Iran and its actions and refusing to give the public information showing an attack is planned or, at the very least, under active consideration.
The toadies of the press are doing their assigned job, nudging the American public toward a belief that if we or our surrogate attack Iran it is necessary for the safety of this country and its troops, to say nothing of poor little Israel.
Haven't we been through this with Iraq? Of course. But on topics not involving sex scandals or sports the average American and the big media have the attention spans and the memory of a day-old basset hound.
Ask around. You'll come to the inevitable conclusion that many Americans, probably most, believe that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons and that it intends to use those bombs against Israel, possibly within a few months, if not weeks.
That's the distorted picture we've been given through innuendo and implication.
In fact, as the rest of the world knows because the stories have been adequately covered outside the United States, Iran is at least a few years from being able to deliver a nuclear weapon – if indeed it intends to develop such a weapon. Much of the reporting from news agencies around the world raises doubt that it has such intent, even though American policy seems designed to push it in that direction.
The suggestions from within the Pentagon and various intelligence services that we probably will be given a trumped-up story of a “provocation” by Iran confirms how closely some of the Bush administration crowd have studied the methods of Hitler and his propaganda genius, Joseph Goebbels.
Same can be said for the Israeli political leadership.
Remember those two captured -- that is, “kidnapped” -- Israeli soldiers who were used as the primary excuse for Israel's attack on Lebanon?
When you're told by the Bush, through the unquestioning press puppies, that the Iranian army crossed into Iraq to attack Americans, or that somehow out of nowhere Iran has magicked up a hydrogen bomb, or whatever the story is, remember this bit of history:
On Aug. 31, 1939, Nazi party functionaries took a prisoner – identity still unknown – from one of their concentration camps, dressed him in a Polish Army uniform and took him to the town of Gleiwitz, on the border with Poland. There they shot the man. Then they hauled his body out to be seen by the public and press, and announced that he was part of a Polish attack on a German radio station.
And that was the official reason, widely believed by the German public, for the German invasion of Poland.
Here and there, some of the relatively few remaining capable reporters working for American newspapers have shot holes in the propaganda. David Sanger and William Broad of the New York Times recently said that the “frenetic activity” at the Iranian nuclear plant at Natanz that has the Bush crowd hyperventilating (in public) seems to be all buzz and no sting. It is warmup for an announcement designed to put a good face on miserable failures at the plant. It is, the reporters said, “mostly about political showmanship.”
Several reporters, including Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times and Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay of McClatchy Corp. (which for a little while yet owns the badly broken Star Tribune in Minneapolis), have raised serious doubts about Bush regime claims that Iran is arming Shiites to attack U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The Bush bunch has promised several times that evidence of that activity by Iran will be forthcoming, , but they have postponed producing that “evidence” several times.
Sorta reminds one of those Iraqi WMD.
It's very clear that any excuse presented for attacking Iran will be false – another blatant and criminal lie from the Bush people. It also seems more and more likely that there will be such an attack.
What will you do?
I've seen nothing from any peace organization indicating that any of them have a plan to mobilize opposition to an attack. An after-the-fact call for signs and protesters on bridges and in congressional waiting rooms will not cut it this time. We need to be calling and writing now, demanding that our mostly gutless representatives in Congress refuse Bush any and all resources required for an attack. We need them to prevent funding for an escalation of the mess in Iraq. They need to know, they need to be certain, that they will lose their jobs if they do not act.
If – or is it when? -- Iran is attacked, we should shut this country down. No work, all modes of transportation should be blocked, the economy brought to a standstill until Bush backs off and leaves office.
I don't expect that to happen.
What will you do?