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Why did Russia and China vote to sanction Iran?
By Jorge Hirsch
In the aftermath of the Dec. 23 United Nations Security Council unanimous vote imposing sanctions or Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment (see text of resolution here), one has to wonder: why did Russia and China go along with it?
Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment for civilian nuclear purposes is allowed by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the IAEA has found no indication that Iran has diverted any nuclear material to military purposes. While Russia may prefer for its own reasons that Iran not enrich uranium, it fully recognizes that Iran's pursuit is legal under international law. Furthermore, as Western news media constantly emphasize, Russia and China have extensive commercial ties with Iran, hence it is not in their interest to antagonize Iran. Their support of UNSC1737 doesn't seem to make sense.
Then read this:
The push to attack Iran has been on for so long that entire categories of arguments for it (such as that the Iranians are fueling the Iraqi resistance) have come and gone. At DontAttackIran.org we've been collecting the arguments for and against attacking Iran for years. We've campaigned against an attack, but never been able to claim a success, because decisions not to launch wars are never announced, because those pushing for wars never give up, and because those believing what their government tells them think the Pentagon never campaigns for wars but is forced into them defensively on short notice by attacks from evildoers.
While Iran has not attacked any other country in centuries, the United States has not done so well by Iran. Remember (or, like most U.S. citizens, learn for the first time): the United States overthrew Iran's democracy in 1953 and installed a dictator. Then the United States aided Iraq in the 1980s in attacking Iran, providing Iraq with some of the weapons (including chemical weapons) that were used on Iranians and that would be used in 2002-2003 (when they no longer existed) as an excuse for attacking Iraq. For the past decade, the United States has labeled Iran an evil nation, attacked and destroyed the other non-nuclear nation on the list of evil nations, designated part of Iran's military a terrorist organization, falsely accused Iran of crimes including the attacks of 9-11, murdered Iranian scientists, funded opposition groups in Iran (including some the U.S. also designates as terrorist), flown drones over Iran, openly and illegally threatened to attack Iran, and built up military forces all around Iran's borders, while imposing cruel sanctions on the country.
The roots of a Washington push for a new war on Iran can be found in the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, the 1996 paper called A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, the 2000 Rebuilding America's Defenses, and in a 2001 Pentagon memo described by Wesley Clark as listing these nations for attack: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. In 2010, Tony Blair included Iran on a similar list of countries that he said Dick Cheney had aimed to overthrow. The line among the powerful in Washington in 2003 was that Iraq would be a cakewalk but that real men go to Tehran. The arguments in these old forgotten memos were not what the war makers tell the public, but much closer to what they tell each other. The concerns here are those of dominating regions rich in resources, intimidating others, and establishing bases from which to maintain control of puppet governments.
Of course the reason why "real men go to Tehran" is that Iran is not the impoverished disarmed nation that one might find in, say, Afghanistan or Iraq, or even the disarmed nation recently found in Libya. Iran is much bigger and much better armed. Whether the United States launches a major assault on Iran or Israel does, Iran will retaliate against U.S. troops and probably Israel and possibly the United States itself as well. And the United States will without any doube re-retaliate for that. Iran cannot be unaware that the U.S. government's pressure on the Israeli government not to attack Iran consists of reassuring the Israelis that the United States will attack when needed, and does not include even threatening to stop funding Israel's military or to stop vetoing measures of accountability for Israeli crimes at the United Nations. In other words, any U.S. pretense of having seriously wanted to prevent an attack is not credible. Of course, many in the U.S. government and military oppose attacking Iran, although key figures like Admiral William Fallon have been moved out of the way. Much of the Israeli military is opposed as well, not to mention the Israeli and U.S. people. But war is not clean or precise. If the people we allow to run our nations attack another, we are all put at risk.
Most at risk, of course, are the people of Iran, people as peaceful as any other, or perhaps more so. As in any country, no matter what its government, the people of Iran are fundamentally good, decent, peaceful, just, and fundamentally like you and me. I've met people from Iran. You may have met people from Iran. They look like this. They're not a different species. They're not evil. A "surgical strike" against a "facility" in their country would cause a great many of them to die very painful and horrible deaths. Even if you imagine that Iran would not retaliate for such attacks, this is what the attacks would in themselves consist of: mass murder. And what would that accomplish? It would unite the people of Iran and much of the world against the United States. It would justify in the eyes of much of the world an underground Iranian program to develop nuclear weapons, a program that probably does not exist at present, except to the extent that legal nuclear energy programs move a country closer to weapons development. The environmental damage would be tremendous, the precedent set incredibly dangerous, all talk of cutting the U.S. military budget would be buried in a wave of war frenzy, civil liberties and representative government would be flushed down the Potomac, a nuclear arms race would spread to additional countries, and any momentary sadistic glee would be outweighed by accelerating home foreclosures, mounting student debt, and accumulating layers of cultural stupidity.
Strategically, legally, and morally weapons possession is not grounds for war, and neither is pursuit of weapons possession. And neither, I might add, with Iraq in mind, is theoretically possible pursuit of weapons never acted upon. Israel has nuclear weapons. The United States has more nuclear weapons than any other country. There can be no justification for attacking the United States, Israel, or any other country. The pretense that Iran has or will soon have nuclear weapons is, in any case, just a pretense, one that has been revived, debunked, and revived again like a zombie for years and years. But that's not the really absurd part of this false claim for something that amounts to no justification for war whatsoever. The really absurd part is that it was the United States in 1976 that pushed nuclear energy on Iran. In 2000 the CIA gave the Iranian government (slightly flawed) plans to build a nuclear bomb. In 2003, Iran proposed negotiations with the United States with everything on the table, including its nuclear technology, and the United States refused. Shortly thereafter, the United States started angling for a war. Meanwhile, U.S.-led sanctions prevent Iran from developing wind energy, while the Koch brothers are allowed to trade with Iran without penalty.
Another area of ongoing lie debunking, one that almost exactly parallels the buildup to the 2003 attack on Iraq, is the relentless false claim, including by candidates for U.S. President, that Iran has not allowed inspectors into its country or given them access to its sites. Iran has, in fact, voluntarily accepted stricter standards than the IAEA requires. And of course a separate line of propaganda, albeit a contradictory one, holds that the IAEA has discovered a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), Iran was not required to declare all of its installations, and early last decade it chose not to, as the United States violated that same treaty by blocking Germany, China, and others from providing nuclear energy equipment to Iran. While Iran remains in compliance with the NPT, India and Pakistan and Israel have not signed it and North Korea has withdrawn from it, while the United States and other nuclear powers continuously violate it by failing to reduce arms, by providing arms to other countries such as India, and by developing new nuclear weapons.
This is what the empire of U.S. military bases looks like to Iran. Try to imagine if you lived there, what you would think of this.
Who is threatening whom?
Here are the sizes of national militaries:
Who is the greater danger to whom? The point is not that Iran should be free to attack the United States or anyone else because its military is smaller. The point is that doing so would be national suicide. It would also be something Iran has not done for centuries. But it would be typical U.S. behavior.
Are you ready for an even more absurd twist? This is on the same scale as Bush's comment about not really giving much thought to Osama bin Laden. Are you ready? The proponents of attacking Iran themselves admit that if Iran had nukes it would not use them. This is from the American Enterprise Institute:
"The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it's Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don't do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, 'See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn't getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.' ... And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem."
Is that clear? Iran using a nuclear weapon would be bad: environmental damage, loss of human life, hideous pain and suffering, yada, yada, yada. But what would be really bad would be Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and doing what every other nation with them has done since Nagasaki: nothing. That would be really bad because it would damage an argument for war and make war more difficult, thus allowing Iran to run its country as it, rather than the United States, sees fit. Of course it might run it very badly (although we're hardly establishing a model for the world over here either), but it would run it without U.S. approval, and that would be worse than nuclear destruction.
Inspections were allowed in Iraq and they worked. They found no weapons and there were no weapons. Inspections are being allowed in Iran and they are working. However, the IAEA has come under the corrupting influence of the U.S. government. And yet, the bluster from war proponents about recent IAEA claims is not backed up by any actual claims from the IAEA. And what little material the IAEA has provided for the cause of war has been widely rejected when not being laughed at.
Another year, another lie. No longer do we hear that North Korea is helping Iran build nukes. Lies about Iranian backing of Iraqi resisters have faded. (Didn't the United States back French resistance to Germans at one point?) The latest concoction is the "Iran did 911" lie. Revenge, like the rest of these attempted grounds for war, is actually not a legal or moral justification for war. But this latest fiction has already been put to rest by the indespensable Gareth Porter, among others. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which did play a role in 911 as well as in the Iraqi resistance, is being sold record quantities of that good old leading U.S. export of which we're all so proud: weapons of mass destruction.
Oh, I almost forgot another lie that hasn't quite entirely faded yet. Iran did not try to blow up a Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., an action which President Obama would consider perfectly praiseworthy if the roles were reversed, but a lie that even Fox News had a hard time stomaching. And that's saying something.
And then there's that old standby: Ahmadinejad said "Israel should be wiped off the map." While this does not, perhaps, rise to the level of John McCain singing about bombing Iran or Bush and Obama swearing that all options including nuclear attack are on the table (I'm really starting to despise that table, by the way). Yet, it sounds extremely disturbing: "wiped off the map"! However, the translation is a bad one. A more accurate translation was "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time". The government of Israel, not the nation of Israel. Not even the government of Israel, but the current regime. Hell, Americans say that about their own regimes all the time, alternating every four to eight years depending on political party (some of us even say it all the time, without immunity for either party). Iran has made clear it would approve of a two-state solution if Palestinians approved of it. If we launched missile strikes every time somebody said something stupid, even if accurately translated, how safe would it be to live near Newt Gingrich's or Joe Biden's house?
The real danger may not actually be the lies. The Iraq experience has built up quite a mental resistance to these sorts of lies in many U.S. residents. The real danger may be the slow start of a war that gains momentum on its own without any formal announcement of its initiation. Israel and the United States have not just been talking tough or crazy. They've been murdering Iranians. And they seem to have no shame about it. The day after a Republican presidential primary debate at which candidates declared their desire to kill Iranians, the CIA apparently made certain the news was public that it was in fact already murdering Iranians, not to mention blowing up buildings. Some would say and have said that the war has already begun. Those who cannot see this because they do not want to see it will also miss the deadly humor in the United States asking Iran to return our brave drone to us.
Perhaps what's needed to snap war supporters out of their stupor is a bit of slapstick. Try this on for size. From Seymour Hersh describing a meeting held in Vice President Cheney's office:
"There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of — that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation. But that was rejected."
Now, Dick Cheney is not your typical American. Nobody in the U.S. government is your typical American. Your typical American is struggling, disapproves of the U.S. government, wishes billionaires were taxed, favors green energy and education and jobs over military boondoggles, thinks corporations should be barred from buying elections, and would not be inclined to apologize for getting shot in the face by the Vice President. Back in the 1930s, the Ludlow Amendment nearly made it a Constitutional requirement that the public vote in a referendum before the United States could go to war. President Franklin Roosevelt blocked that proposal. Yet the Constitution already required and still requires that Congress declare war before a war is fought. That has not been done in over 70 years, while wars have raged on almost incessantly. In the past decade and right up through President Obama's signing of the outrageous National Defense Authorization Act on New Years Eve 2011-2012, the power to make war has been handed over to presidents. Here is one more reason to oppose a presidential war on Iran: once you allow presidents to make wars, you will never stop them. Another reason, in so far as anybody any longer gives a damn, is that war is a crime. Iran and the United States are parties to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which bans war. One of those two nations is not complying.
But we won't have a referendum. The U.S. House of Misrepresentatives won't step in. Only through widespread public pressure and nonviolent action will we intervene in this slow-motion catastrophe. Already the United States and the United Kingdom are preparing for war with Iran. This war, if it happens, will be fought by an institution called the United States Department of Defense, but it will endanger rather than defending us. As the war progresses, we will be told that the Iranian people want to be bombed for their own good, for freedom, for democracy. But nobody wants to be bombed for that. Iran does not want U.S.-style democracy. Even the United States does not want U.S.-style democracy. We will be told that those noble goals are guiding the actions of our brave troops and our brave drones on the battlefield. Yet there will be no battlefield. There will be no front lines. There will be no trenches. There will simply be cities and towns where people live, and where people die. There will be no victory. There will be no progress accomplished through a "surge." On January 5, 2012, Secretary of "Defense" Leon Panetta was asked at a press conference about the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he replied simply that those were successes. That is the kind of success that could be expected in Iran were Iran a destitute and disarmed state.
Now we begin to understand the importance of all the media suppression, blackouts, and lies about the damage done to Iraq and Afghanistan. Now we understand why Obama and Panetta have embraced the lies that launched the War on Iraq. The same lies must now be revived, as for every war ever fought, for a War on Iran. Here's a video explaining how this will work, even with some new twists and lots of variations. The U.S. corporate media is part of the war machine.
Planning war and funding war creates its own momentum. Sanctions become, as with Iraq, a stepping stone to war. Cutting off diplomacy leaves few options open. Electoral pissing contests take us all where most of us did not want to be.
These are the bombs most likely to launch this ugly and quite possibly terminal chapter of human history. This animation shows clearly what they would do. For an even better presentation, pair that with this audio of a misinformed caller trying hopelessly to persuade George Galloway that we should attack Iran.
On January 2, 2012, the New York Times reported concern that cuts to the U.S. military budget raised doubts as to whether the United States would "be prepared for a grinding, lengthy ground war in Asia." At a Pentagon press conference on January 5, 2012, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reassured the press corpse (sic) that major ground wars were very much an option and that wars of one sort or another were a certainty. President Obama's statement of military policy released at that press conference listed the missions of the U.S. military. First was fighting terrorism, next detering "aggression," then "projecting power despite anti-access/area denial challenges," then the good old WMDs, then conquering space and cyberspace, then nuclear weapons, and finally — after all that — there was mention of defending the Homeland Formerly Known As The United States.
We're in bad straights.
Click on this image:
The cases of Iraq and Iran are not identical in every detail, of course. But in both cases we are dealing with concerted efforts to get us into wars, wars based, as all wars are based, on lies.
One thing you can do is to ask U.S. and Israeli air, missile, and drone crews to refuse to attack Iran at DontAttackIran.org.
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org
By Bill Varner, Bloomberg
The United Nations Security Council voted 15 to 0 to impose sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program for the first time, including a ban on acquisition of materials and technology that might be used to build an atomic bomb.
The measure demands that Iran halt uranium enrichment and heavy-water projects that the U.S. and its European allies have said may lead to the development of nuclear weapons. It freezes the financial assets of 12 named individuals and 11 groups such as the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
By Dave Lindorff, http://www.thiscantbehappening.net
Back on October 9, I wrote in The Nation that it looked like the Bush-Cheney gang, worried about the November election, was gearing up for an unprovoked attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, with a carrier strike group led by the USS Eisenhower being ordered to depart a month early from Norfolk, VA to join the already-on-station USS Enterprise. That article was based on reports from angry sailors based on the Eisenhower who had leaked word of their mission.
Iran condemns U.N. resolution as illegal
TEHRAN, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Iran Saturday condemned the U.N. Security Council for imposing sanctions on its nuclear program, calling them illegal and beyond the council's jurisdiction.
The unanimous 15-0 vote "will discredit the decisions of the Security Council, whose power is deteriorating," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told state-run television.
U.S. Hails U.N. Resolution Against Iran
Dec 23, 1:59 PM (ET)
By JENNIFER LOVEN
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration said Saturday it hopes the U.N. resolution penalizing Iran for its nuclear enrichment program will clear the way for tougher measures against Tehran by individual countries, particularly Russia.
"We don't think this resolution is enough in itself," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. "We want the international community to take further action. We're certainly not going to put all our eggs in the U.N. basket."...
Security Council Approves Iran Sanctions
(AP) - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to impose economic sanctions on Iran for refusing to end a uranium enrichment program that the United States says is aimed at building nuclear weapons. Iran immediately rejected the resolution.
The result of two months of negotiation, the resolution orders all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also would freeze Iranian assets of key companies and individuals related to those programs...
Target Iran: Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter and Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh on White House Plans for Iran
By DEMOCRACY NOW!
The Pentagon has announced plans to move additional warships and strike
aircraft into the Persian Gulf region to be within striking range of Iran.
We air an in-depth discussion between two of the leading critical voices on
the Bush administration¹s policy in Iran: former UN weapons inspector Scott
Ritter, author of "Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for
The New York Times is reporting on its front page today: "The United
States and Britain will begin moving additional warships and strike
aircraft into the Persian Gulf region in a display of military resolve
toward Iran that will come as the United Nations continues to debate
possible sanctions against the country, Pentagon and military officials
said Wednesday." Another Times front-page piece is headlined "Iran
· Administration concern at nuclear programme
· Security situation in Iraq 'tragic' as attacks grow
By Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian / UK
The Bush administration is weighing options for a naval build-up in the Gulf as a show of force and a warning to Iran on its nuclear programme and its support for Shia militias in Iraq, it emerged yesterday.
Under the proposed build-up, first reported by CBS television, the Pentagon would send an aircraft carrier to join one already in the region. The proposed deployment was described as a message to Tehran not to take provocative steps, and was not preparation for an attack.
By Robert Parry, www.consortiumnews.com
The first two or three months of 2007 represent a dangerous opening for an escalation of war in the Middle East, as George W. Bush will be tempted to “double-down” his gamble in Iraq by joining with Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to strike at Syria and Iran, intelligence sources say.
President Bush’s goal would be to transcend the bloody quagmire bogging down U.S. forces in Iraq by achieving “regime change” in Syria and by destroying nuclear facilities in Iran, two blows intended to weaken Islamic militants in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
By Bill Berkowitz, Inter Press Service
Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Christian right has evolved into one of the most powerful grassroots organising forces within the Republican Party, and a host of Christian Zionists have taken a well-earned seat at the foreign policy table.
At the same time, their support for Israel is not only growing -- it is also becoming an influential political factor.
EXCLUSIVE: White House Forbids Publication Of Op-Ed On Iran By Former Bush Official
Middle East analyst Flynt Leverett, who served under President Bush on the National Security Council and is now a fellow at the New America Foundation, revealed today that the White House has been blocking the publication of an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times. The column is critical of the administration’s refusal to engage Iran.
A conversation About Political, Diplomatic, and Mlitary Options
Thomas Pickering, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, 1989-1992; Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, 1997-2001
Flynt Leverett, Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
Sam Gardiner, Colonel, United States Air Force (retired)
Barry R. Posen, Director, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
By Mohammed Abbas, Reuters
MANAMA (Reuters) - Iran will only hold direct talks with the United
States on Iraq if Washington announces plans to pull its troops out,
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Saturday.
Mottaki was responding to this week's U.S. Iraq Study Group report,
which recommended Washington should directly engage with Iran and
Syria to try to stabilize Iraq.
By Larry C Johnson
Well, the New York Times just got sucked in again to help the Bush Administration make the case for starting a war with Iran and Syria. Sorry, but how obtuse can some folks be? I refer to the so-called news reported by Michael Gordon and Dexter Filkins in today's New York Times. The essence of their breathless report is that Iran, via Hezbollah, is training the Shia militia in Iraq. Well, NO SHIT SHERLOCK! Consider this quote from today's article:
Ellsberg is optimistic that Gates less likely than Rumsfeld to attack Iran, and that Democratic Congress will investigate bogus claims used to justify an attack on Iran: VIDEO.
HOW TO STOP WASHINGTON’S NEXT REGIME CHANGE
RECENTLY RETURNED FROM IRAN
AUTHOR OF "TARGET : IRAN," ON BUSH’S PLANNED ATTACK
FORMER UN WEAPONS INSPECTOR IN IRAQ
FOUNDER, FAIRNESS & ACCURACY IN REPORTING (FAIR)
AUTHOR OF THE NEW "CABLE NEWS CONFIDENTIAL"
IN WHICH HE DESCRIBES NETWORK RESISTANCE TO RITTER INTERVIEW
& OTHER DISINFORMATION
By Robert Parry, http://www.consortiumnews.com
In November 1987, as the Reagan administration was still scrambling to contain the Iran-Contra scandal, then-deputy CIA director Robert M. Gates denied that the spy agency had soft-pedaled intelligence about Iran’s support for terrorism to clear the way for secret U.S. arms shipments to the Islamic regime.
“Only one or two analysts believed Iranian support for terrorism was waning,” Gates wrote in articles that appeared in the Washington Post and Foreign Affairs magazine. “And no CIA publication asserted these things.”
By the Agence France Presse
President George W. Bush could choose military action over diplomacy and bomb Iran's nuclear facilities next year, political analysts in Washington agree.
"I think he is going to do it," John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a military issues think tank, told AFP.
"They are going to bomb WMD facilities next summer," he added, referring to nuclear facilities Iran says are for peaceful uses and Washington insists are really intended to make nuclear bombs, or weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
By Center for American Progress Action Fund
"Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office," writes Joshua Muravchik, a neoconservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "The global thunder against Bush when he pulls the trigger will be deafening, and it will have many echoes at home." So neoconservatives, Muravchik argued, "need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes." In that vein, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said last August, "We could be in a military confrontation with Iran much sooner than people expect." In a startling new article in the New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh writes that, despite the recent bluster over Iran's attempts to build a nuclear bomb, a highly classified draft assessment by the CIA found "no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program." According to Hersh, the White House has reacted with hostility to the CIA's report and, as it did with Iraq, is bypassing the agency by collecting and compiling its own intelligence for a possible military strike. On CNN yesterday, Hersh said there is an "internecine fight" going on between the CIA and the White House over the intelligence process, "the same fight, by the way, that we had before Iraq."
By Agence France-Presse
Washington - A classifed draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.
Seymour Hersh, writing in an article for the November 27 issue of the magazine The New Yorker released in advance, reported on whether the administration of Republican President George W. Bush was more, or less, inclined to attack Iran after Democrats won control of Congress last week.
THE NEXT ACT
By SEYMOUR M. HERSH, www.newyorker.com
A month before the November elections, Vice-President Dick Cheney was sitting in on a national-security discussion at the Executive Office Building. The talk took a political turn: what if the Democrats won both the Senate and the House? How would that affect policy toward Iran, which is believed to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear power? At that point, according to someone familiar with the discussion, Cheney began reminiscing about his job as a lineman, in the early nineteen-sixties, for a power company in Wyoming. Copper wire was expensive, and the linemen were instructed to return all unused pieces three feet or longer. No one wanted to deal with the paperwork that resulted, Cheney said, so he and his colleagues found a solution: putting “shorteners” on the wire—that is, cutting it into short pieces and tossing the leftovers at the end of the workday. If the Democrats won on November 7th, the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. The White House would put “shorteners” on any legislative restrictions, Cheney said, and thus stop Congress from getting in its way.
By Ivan Eland
Most of official Washington has long believed that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld needed to be sacked. Unfortunately it took a major Republican loss at the polls to finally prompt George W. Bush to cut loose a key player from his inner circle.
The removal of Rumsfeld signals that Bush is listening to the voters and elected officials. However, the nomination of Robert Gates—a Bush family crony and former Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) under his father’s administration—to replace Rumsfeld will only create new problems for the president.
By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press
JERUSALEM (AP) - The deputy defense minister suggested Friday that Israel might be forced to launch a military strike against Iran's disputed nuclear program - the clearest statement yet of such a possibility from a high-ranking official.
``I am not advocating an Israeli pre-emptive military action against Iran and I am aware of its possible repercussions,'' Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, a former general, said in comments published Friday in The Jerusalem Post. ``I consider it a last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort.''
By David Swanson
On Wednesday, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Lennox Yearwood, and about 50 other activists for peace met up on the sidewalk in front of the White House. I brought along a box containing 6,000-some pages of names and comments: about 80,000 names with cities and states, about half of them with comments beside them. These were the names of people who have signed the petition at www.DontAttackIran.org The media gathered around, and Cindy read the petition out loud: