Iran Plays Into Bush's Hand

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by
The Progressive

Iran Plays Into Bush's Hand

by
Matthew Rothschild

This is how wars often start.

With little provocations that escalate out of control.

When Tehran seized 15 British sailors on Friday for allegedly being in Iranian waters, George Bush and Dick Cheney must have let out a cheer.

This is just the kind of thing they've been praying for.

Now Bush and Cheney may get their own little Gulf of Tonkin incident.

And Blair too.

When Tehran seized 15 British sailors on Friday for allegedly being in Iranian waters, George Bush and Dick Cheney must have let out a cheer.This is just the kind of thing they've been praying for.

He just announced that he was prepared to move into a "different phase" if negotiations didn't succeed in freeing the sailors. He didn't quite say what that different phrase was, but his comment was ominous enough.

Hyping the tension, Bush has sent the U.S. Navy on maneuvers in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iran.

This is no ordinary exercise.

There are 15 warships, more than 100 planes, and 10,000 U.S. personnel "making simulated attacks on enemy aircraft and shipping," the AP reported.

Who is the enemy in the Persian Gulf? It's not Iraq, it's not Saudi Arabia, it's not the United Arab Emirates, it's not Qatar, and it's not Kuwait. That leaves only one other nation on the Persian Gulf: Iran.

"It's for regional stability and security," said U.S. Navy Commander Kevin Aandahl.

I kind of doubt that.

What it's really for is to intimidate Iran, or better yet, from Bush's perspective, provoke Iran into another reckless act.

Then Bush could go to Congress or bypass Congress, which is his wont, and go to the American people and say, Iran has attacked us, so we're, as we speak, bombing Tehran.

It's a speech I'm sure Bush has been rehearsing.

As Professor Michael Klare [1] has noted—and he's studied U.S. military policy for three decades now—the speech will probably go along these lines: "He will speak somberly of a tireless American effort to secure a meaningful resolution from the United Nations on Iran with real teeth in it and his deep disappointment that no such resolution has been not forthcoming. He will also point out that, despite the heroic efforts of American diplomats as well as military commanders in Iraq, Iran continues to pose a vital and unchecked threat to American security in Iraq, in the region, and even -- via its nuclear program -- in the wider world. Further diplomacy, he will insist, appears futile and yet Iran must be stopped. Hence, he will say, 'I have made the unavoidable decision to eliminate this vital threat through direct military action,' and will announce -- in language eerily reminiscent of his address to the nation on March 19, 2003 -- that a massive air offensive against Iran has already been underway for several hours."

Given the high stakes right now, it's all the more important for peace activists to pressure Congress not to go along with this madness.

© 2007 The Progressive

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