On July 15, 2010 Time Magazine carried an article entitled, â€œAn Attack on Iran: Back on the Table.â€ According to the piece, the point man for this growing belligerency is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. It is to be noted that when the same Robert Gates served the infamous George W. Bush (the year was 2008), he actually helped talk that president out of attacking Iran. At the time we were bogged down in Iraq and so yet another war in the Middle East was, according to Gates, â€œthe last thing we need.â€ Now it is 2010 and we are bogged down in Afghanistan. No matter, Mr. Gates appears to have changed his mind. Or perhaps, he has been instructed to do so. â€œI donâ€™t think weâ€™re prepared to even talk about a nuclear Iran….We do not accept the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons.â€
All of this is mighty strange. First of all, there is no supportable evidence that Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons. UN inspections and even US intelligence reports fail to support this conclusion. This being the case, why does Robert Gates speak as if a nuclear Iran is imminent? One possibility is that he and others in Washington are working from assumptions based on what the U.S. would do if it was in Iranâ€™s shoes. To understand this better we can ask what Mr. Gates and President Obama would do if, magically transformed into Iranâ€™s leaders, they were confronted with the following questions and answers?
Who backed Saddam Hussein in his war on Iran? The United States. Who attacked Iraq and then blamed much of the resistance coming from Shia quarters on Iran? The United States. Who has virtually surrounded Iran with potentially hostile military bases? The United States. Who has very likely abetted violent terror attacks by some of Iranâ€™s minority groups? The United States. Who now speaks of Iran in tones remarkably similar to those used for Iraq prior to invasion of that country? The United States. Who speaks almost daily of launching a military attack on Iran? Americaâ€™s number one â€œallyâ€ Israel. Who characterized Iran as one of the three â€œrogueâ€ states making up the axis of evil? The United States. And finally, and perhaps most relevant to our present situation, which one of those three â€œrogueâ€ states has not been invaded or threatened with attack by the United States? The one with the nuclear weapons (North Korea). The Defense Secretary does not have to be a genius to assume that, despite the lack of hard evidence, Iran might very well seek to be nuclear armed. Because that is almost certainly what Washington would do if it was in Tehranâ€™s place.
At this point someone ought to stop and ask why the United States cares if Iran has one or two or three nuclear warheads for defensive purposes? In modern times Iran has never invaded or even attacked another country unless it was attacked first. The whole notion that Amadinejad wants to â€œwipe Israel off the mapâ€ is a Zionist propaganda story based on a mistranslated speech. It is on the same level as the neo-con tale about Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti infants out of incubators. Also, given the description above, the U.S. could easily help remove most of the fears that might be driving Iran in a nuclear direction. That is because those fears are mostly a function ofAmerican policies. Just a month or so ago Washington actually had an opportunity to lay this whole nuclear controversy to rest when Turkey and Brazil succeeded in negotiating third party enrichment for Iranâ€™s nuclear fuel. Obama failed to pursue it. Instead, he has sent Robert Gates out to talk touch. To tell us that the â€œmilitary option is back on the table.â€
Time Magazine also informs us that U.S. Army Central Command â€œwhich is in charge of organizing military operations in the Middle Eastâ€ has â€œmade real progress in planning targeted air strikes [against Iran].â€ And, perhaps the scariest part of all this, â€œIsrael has been brought in to the planning process.â€
There is something not right about this. We are missing a vital piece to this puzzle. I want to say that I usually do not believe in reducing complicated issues to a one simple cause. But I must confess, that when I think about our present situation relative to Iran, my mind is taken back to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Waltâ€™s The Israeli Lobby, and particularly to the 32 pages they devote to showing what a great role the American Zionists and their neo-con allies played in getting George W. Bush, the Congress, and much of the American public so hyped up with lies and distortions that we all ran right off the cliff into a disastrous war. How many Americans remember that? How many news reporters, who like to pretend to be professional journalists, point this out to their readers and listeners? On both accounts it seems the answer is precious few. Our incredibly short historical memory is a serious problem and it means that our history can repeat itself.
The Time article tries to soften its message by asserting that President Obama is still â€œskeptical…about a military strike.â€ It implies that Obama knows that such an action would â€œunify the Iranian peopleâ€ and also â€œunify much of the world including Russia and China…against a recowboyfied U.S.â€ We might add to this that Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon would likely explode in an anti-U.S. and anti-Israel frenzy. The Persian Gulf oil lanes would turn into a battle ground and Hezbollah would likely proceed to make northern Israel uninhabitable.
Even if this assessment of an aware and skeptical Obama is accurate, surely the president is still playing with fire when he helps sustain the Iran nuclear hype. So we must ask why he risks scaring the American public in a manner reminiscent of the Bush administration? If we follow the Mearsheimer and Walt line, and I think there is something to it, the most likely answer is that he seeks to mollify the American Zionists so as to politically neutralize them through the November elections. After all, given the power of the American Zionist lobby, Middle East foreign policy has been converted to domestic political policy.
If Obama is in fact hyping the Iran nuclear issue for domestic political gain, it is a foolish strategy. The Zionist lobby will work very hard against Obama and the Democrats come November whatever tact he takes on Iran. He is also setting himself up for the accusation of being soft on the Iranians when, hopefully, he does not follow through on Gatesâ€™s belligerent talk. This may, unfortunately, come back to bite him in the next presidential election. It would be much wiser to tell the truth about both Iran and Israel. Tell the American people that Iran is no real threat to the United States, but Israel and its Zionist operatives always have been and still are a great threat. They have drained us of much national treasure, they have corrupted our Congress and political parties, and they contributed to our unnecessary but horridly bloody invasion of Iraq.
And now they want us to attack Iran. Morton Klein the fanatical leader of the Zionist Organization of America wants you to believe that a nuclear Iran will give atomic weapons to terrorists. To avoid this Washington will be forced into an â€œunending series of concessionsâ€ amounting to â€œnuclear blackmailâ€ (Philadelphia Inquirer July 17, 2010). There is not a shred of evidence for this assertion and a lot of evidence that suggests it is absolutely wrong. The Shia Iranians fear and dislike the Sunnis of Al Qaeda. They have cooperated with the U.S., even under the Bush administration, in the â€œwar against terrorism.â€ And, they have their own terrorist problems that encourages them to continue to aid us in this regard. But, Mr. Klein and his Zionist cohort, are not interested in facts. They are interested in solidifying the fraying American alliance with Israel. Scare tactics serve their purpose, just as they did in the case of Iraq. And Obama seems to be going along with this fraudulent campaign.
It is a dangerous situation. It bears repeating that Americans have short historical memories and are easily manipulated by the media and government spokesmen who supply most of them with â€œthe news.â€ If history does repeat itself, donâ€™t blame Iran. More accurately you can blame the American Zionists and their new partners in propaganda, the Obama administration.
Lawrence Davidson Department of History West Chester University