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Signs of the Times for Tue, 11 Apr 2006

Signs Editorial:

by Rodrigue Tremblay
April 10, 2006
The New American Empire

"When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war."

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), 34th president of the United States

When a country's leaders are bent for war, and they believe to have the means to do it, there is little that can stop them. This was amply demonstrated before World War I, when the German High Command under Army Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke had been preparing for war for a long time. The archduke's assassination, in the summer of 1914, provided the pretext for war. Germany then launched a ''preemptive'' war against France and Russia, and the rest is history. Adolf Hitler did the same thing to start World War II. He launched "preventive" attacks and invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Poland in 1939, ostensibly to provoke "regime change" in these countries.

It was also imperial Japan's pretext when it made the "preventive" offensive and unprovoked attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. In many other cases-such as the invasion of Bulgaria by Greece in 1925, Manchuria by Japan in 1931, Ethiopia by Mussolini's fascist Italy in 1935, Greece by Mussolini again in 1940, or Hungary by the Soviet Union under Khrushchev in 1956, Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union under Bresznev in 1968, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-all the invading countries, without exception, claimed to act in the name of their self-defined national interests.

The war that George W. Bush launched against Iraq, in March 2003, followed the same pattern. It was preceded, in September 2002, by the re-issuing of the old but illegal "preventive war" theory, and dubbed this time the "Bush Doctrine". This was a war that had been planned and prepared for more than a decade. The perfect pretext came with the 9/11 attacks in 2001. After some sideline manoeuvres at the United Nations, Bush went ahead with his war even though the U.N. Security Council refused to authorize the aggression. The real purpose of these manoeuvres was to gain public support in the U.S. through an intense propaganda campaign carried out with the help of the American corporate media (ACM). The purpose of this intense media campaign was to demonize Saddam Hussein and present him as a monster, armed with nuclear weapons and ready to use them against the United States.

The Bush administration had polls done months before the 2003 war of aggression against Iraq that indicated the American public would only support a conflict with Iraq if there was a danger that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons. That's the reason they had to invent the Iraqi nuclear threat, even though their own intelligence reports and those of the United Nations indicated otherwise.

You can be certain that if there is a war against Iran, it will follow the same pattern. The campaign of demagoguery and propaganda to picture Iran as a direct (nuclear) threat to the United States is going full speed. -Vice President Dick Cheney, the same one who was saying, every other day in 2002, that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" aimed at the United States, is all over the place again saying there would be "meaningful consequences" if Iran refuses to comply with demands to stop its nuclear program, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that there is "no evidence of a nuclear weapons program or any diversion of nuclear material," in Iran. That this is also a program which is perfectly legal under the terms of the 1968 Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or that the United States has just violated this treaty by signing a nuclear cooperation agreement with India, and has for years assisted Israel in building its stockpile of nuclear bombs, does not really matter. But we know that the Bush-Cheney administration is not preoccupied with legal matters. For his part, former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iran is at least five years from a nuclear bomb.

What matters is the propaganda results. And it works. Just as if it were freshly drawn from George Orwell's novel '1984' a recent Fox poll found that Iran has now replaced North Korea as the nation Americans believe to be America's greatest immediate threat. And a Washington Post poll found 56 percent of Americans back military action to ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. An important propaganda step was achieved on March 28 (2006), when the U. N. Security Conncil approved unanimously a statement, not legally binding, urging Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and limit its nuclear program to exclusively peaceful purposes, as requested by the International Atomic Energy Agency .

But, just as the U.S.-led war against Iraq had little to do with the 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States and a lot to do with Neocons' plans to subjugate the entire Middle East, the coming U.S.-led war against Iran has little to do with any Iranian nuclear threat against the United States.

The Neocons, who always put Israel first, have long lobbied for the U.S. to strike at Iran and Syria. The Bush-Cheney administration would merely be following the Neocons' line by overthrowing the mullahs in charge in Tehran. This would be done essentially for the same reasons the CIA overthrew the elected government of Muhammad Mossadeq, in 1953, after it had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

The Neocon Bush-Cheney administration wants to establish a friendly government in Iran in order to control the oil development of the Caspian Sea and in order to remove another potential adversary to Israel. -There is also another geopolitical objective this time, and that is to prevent Iran from going ahead full speed with its electronic Iranian Oil Bourse. Initially scheduled to go into business last March, and to use the euro for international oil transactions rather than the US dollar, the Iranian Bourse's starting date has been postponed by at least several months and, possibly by more than a year. In any case, it would certainly not be fully operational before July 1st (2006).

In the longer term, however, the Iranian Oil Bourse could pose a challenge to the current system built around the U.S. dollar. Presently, the two international oil exchanges, the London-based International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), are both controlled by American interests (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc.) and both invoice sales solely in US dollars. You have to keep in mind that Iraq was the first country, in November 2000, to actually demand to be paid in euros for its oil. Now, the same scenario could unfold in the coming months with Iran. With one exception: this time, Great Britain has told George W. Bush that it will not take part in any armed action against Iran's nuclear sites. The same applies to Russia: it has signified that it will not support any attempts to use force to resolve the stand-off over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Nevertheless, a military conflict with Iran could come earlier than most people expect, although some observers expect a fall U.S.-Iran showdown, just in time for the November American mid-term elections. Desperate people do desperate things, and Bush's illegal war in Iraq is not going well. It cannot be exploited, as in the beginning, for domestic partisan political reasons. Bush may thus be tempted to raise the ante and go after Iran to reclaim his "Commander-in-Chief" mantle. Keep in mind also that October is traditionally the month of big stock market corrections.-Stay tuned.

Original at The New American Empire

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