What is Happening in America?

Are we headed back to the Middle Ages?

 

War with Iran

 

14 September 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Allegation: The U.S. is Imperilled by the Sunburn Cruise Missile. 2

Allegation: The U.S. Phalanx defense system cannot stop an incoming Sunburn missile  8

Sunburn’s Deficiencies 8

In May 2007, Fallon Nixes an Invasion of Iran. 8

By Sept. 2007, Pressure for War is Again Building. 10

By Sept. 2007, Some Voices Saying War is not Imminent 12

Pre-emptive War 14

Illegal Shipment of Cruise Missiles on B-52. 14

What Will Happen if the U.S. Goes to War with Iran? 15

Look at What They Do, don’t listen to What They Say. 17

World War III 17

What to Do? 18

 

 

Allegation: The U.S. is Imperilled by the Sunburn Cruise Missile

 

Still, Yahya Rahim Safavi of the Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that Iranian missiles can hit warships anywhere in the Persian Gulf, where the United States has a carrier battle group. (Robin Wright, “Allies Fear U.S. Stance on Iran,” Global Research, 16 Aug. 2007; originally published in the Washington Post, downloaded from  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6574, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

It is Iran's missile armaments that pose the greatest concern for American forces in the Gulf, especially for the US Navy. Iran's coast facing the Persian Gulf is a looming wall of mountains that look down upon any naval forces arrayed in those waters. The Gulf itself only has one exit, the Strait of Hormuz, which is also dominated by the mountainous Iranian coastline. In essence, Iran holds the high ground in the Gulf. Missile batteries arrayed in those mountains could raise bloody havoc with any fleet deployed below.

 

Of all the missiles in Iran's armament, the most dangerous is the Russian-made SS-N-22 Sunburn. These missiles are, simply, the fastest anti-ship weapons on the planet. The Sunburn can reach Mach 3 at high altitude. Its maximum low-altitude speed is Mach 2.2, some three times faster than the American-made Harpoon. The Sunburn takes two short minutes to cover its full range. The missile's manufacturers state that one or two missiles could cripple a destroyer, and five missiles could sink a 20,000 ton ship. The Sunburn is also superior to the Exocet missile. Recall that it was two Exocets that ripped the USS Stark to shreds in 1987, killing 37 sailors. The Stark could not see them to stop them.

 

The US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf, with some 7,000 souls aboard. Sailing with the Roosevelt is the Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Force, which includes the USS Tarawa, the USS Austin, and the USS Pearl Harbor. The USS Austin is likewise deployed in the Gulf. The Sunburn missile, with its incredible speed and ability to avoid radar detection, would do terrible damage these ships if Iran chooses to retaliate in the Gulf after an American attack within its borders. (William Rivers Pitts, “Attack on Iran: A Looming Folly,” Truthout.org, 9 Jan. 2006., downloaded from http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/48/16812, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

Last July, they dubbed it operation Summer Pulse: a simultaneous mustering of US Naval forces, world wide, that was unprecedented. According to the Navy, it was the first exercise of its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP), the purpose of which was to enable the Navy to respond quickly to an international crisis. The Navy wanted to show its increased force readiness, that is, its capacity to rapidly move combat power to any global hot spot. Never in the history of the US Navy had so many carrier battle groups been involved in a single operation. …

 

Summer Pulse amounted to a tacit acknowledgement, obvious to anyone paying attention, that the United States has been eclipsed in an important area of military technology, and that this qualitative edge is now being wielded by others, including the Chinese; because those otherwise very ordinary destroyers were, in fact, launching platforms for Russian-made 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles (NATO designation: SS-N-22 Sunburn), a weapon for which the US Navy currently has no defense.  Here I am not suggesting that the US status of lone world Superpower has been surpassed. I am simply saying that a new global balance of power is emerging, in which other individual states may, on occasion, achieve "an asymmetric advantage" over the US. And this, in my view, explains the immense scale of Summer Pulse. The US show last summer of overwhelming strength was calculated to send a message. (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded fromhttp://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

The SS-N-22 Sunburn … has been called "the most lethal missile in the world today." (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded fromhttp://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

In the late1990s Moscow awakened to the under-utilized potential of its missile technology to generate desperately needed foreign exchange. A decision was made to resuscitate selected programs, and, very soon, Russian missile technology became a hot export commodity. Today, Russian missiles are a growth industry generating much-needed cash for Russia, with many billions in combined sales to India, China, Viet Nam, Cuba, and also Iran. In the near future this dissemination of advanced technology is likely to present serious challenges to the US. Some have even warned that the US Navy's largest ships, the massive carriers, have now become floating death traps, and should for this reason be mothballed. (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded from http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

The 1987 surprise attack on the Stark exemplifies the dangers posed by anti-ship cruise missiles. And the dangers are much more serious in the case of the Sunburn, whose specs leave the sub-sonic Exocet in the dust. Not only is the Sunburn much larger and faster, it has far greater range and a superior guidance system. Those who have witnessed its performance trials invariably come away stunned. According to one report, when the Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani visited Moscow in October 2001 he requested a test firing of the Sunburn, which the Russians were only too happy to arrange. So impressed was Ali Shamkhani that he placed an order for an undisclosed number of the missiles. (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded from http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes "violent end maneuvers" to elude enemy defenses. (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded from http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

Let us pray that the US sailors who are unlucky enough to be on duty in the Persian Gulf when the shooting starts can escape the fate of the Roman army at Cannae. The odds will be heavily against them, however, because they will face the same type of danger, tantamount to envelopment. The US ships in the Gulf will already have come within range of the Sunburn missiles and the even more-advanced SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles, also Russian-made (speed: Mach 2.9; range: 180 miles) deployed by the Iranians along the Gulf's northern shore. Every US ship will be exposed and vulnerable. When the Iranians spring the trap, the entire lake will become a killing field. (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded from http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

Try and imagine it if you can: barrage after barrage of Exocet-class missiles, which the Iranians are known to possess in the hundreds, as well as the unstoppable Sunburn and Yakhonts missiles. The questions that our purblind government leaders should be asking themselves, today, if they value what historians will one day write about them, are two: how many of the Russian anti-ship missiles has Putin already supplied to Iran? And: How many more are currently in the pipeline?

 

In 2001, Jane's Defense Weekly reported that Iran was attempting to acquire anti-ship missiles from Russia. Ominously, the same report also mentioned that the more advanced Yakhonts missile was "optimized for attacks against carrier task forces." Apparently its guidance system is "able to distinguish an aircraft carrier from its escorts." The numbers were not disclosed.

 

The US Navy will come under fire even if the US does not participate in the first so-called surgical raids on Iran's nuclear sites, that is, even if Israel goes it alone. Israel's brand-new fleet of 25 F-15s (paid for by American taxpayers) has sufficient range to target Iran, but the Israelis cannot mount an attack without crossing US-occupied Iraqi air space. It will hardly matter if Washington gives the green light, or is dragged into the conflict by a recalcitrant Israel. Either way, the result will be the same. The Iranians will interpret US acquiescence as complicity, and, in any event, they will understand that the real fight is with the Americans. The Iranians will be entirely within their rights to counter-attack in self-defense. Most of the world will see it this way, and will support them, not America. The US and Israel will be viewed as the aggressors, even as the unfortunate US sailors in harm's way become cannon fodder. In the Gulf's shallow and confined waters evasive maneuvers will be difficult, at best, and escape impossible. Even if US planes control of the skies over the battlefield, the sailors caught in the net below will be hard-pressed to survive. The Gulf will run red with American blood.

 

From here, it only gets worse. Armed with their Russian-supplied cruise missiles, the Iranians will close the lake's only outlet, the strategic Strait of Hormuz, cutting off the trapped and dying Americans from help and rescue. The US fleet massing in the Indian Ocean will stand by helplessly, unable to enter the Gulf to assist the survivors or bring logistical support to the other US forces on duty in Iraq. Couple this with a major new ground offensive by the Iraqi insurgents, and, quite suddenly, the tables could turn against the Americans in Baghdad. As supplies and ammunition begin to run out, the status of US forces in the region will become precarious. The occupiers will become the besieged.

 

With enough anti-ship missiles, the Iranians can halt tanker traffic through Hormuz for weeks, even months. With the flow of oil from the Gulf curtailed, the price of a barrel of crude will skyrocket on the world market. Within days the global economy will begin to grind to a halt. Tempers at an emergency round-the-clock session of the UN Security Council will flare and likely explode into shouting and recriminations as French, German, Chinese and even British ambassadors angrily accuse the US of allowing Israel to threaten world order. But, as always, because of the US veto the world body will be powerless to act... America will stand alone, completely isolated. (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded from http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

The attack is possible because of these missiles, as well as the location. The US Fifth fleet sits in the Persian Gulf - which is a small bay surrounded by rugged mountains and a 20-mile-wide entrance. These missiles are unstoppable, and the 5th fleet is in range of Iran's land facilities. …

 

Specs

The Raduga Moskit anti-ship missile is perhaps the most lethal anti-ship missile in the world. The MOSKIT is designed to fly as low as 9 feet at over 1,500 miles per hour, faster than a rifle bullet. The missile uses a violent pop-up maneuver for its terminal approach to throw off Phalanx and other anti-missile defense.

Warhead - 200 KILOTON NUCLEAR
Range - 90 MILES 
Size - 31.9 FEET
Speed - MACH 2.5 AT SEA LEVEL …

 

The attack is possible because of these missiles, as well as the location. The US Fifth fleet sits in the Persian Gulf - which is a small bay surrounded by rugged mountains and a 20-mile-wide entrance. These missiles are unstoppable, and the 5th fleet is in range of Iran's land facilities.

 

Sunburn Missile


Specs

The Raduga Moskit anti-ship missile is perhaps the most lethal anti-ship missile in the world. The MOSKIT is designed to fly as low as 9 feet at over 1,500 miles per hour, faster than a rifle bullet. The missile uses a violent pop-up maneuver for its terminal approach to throw off Phalanx and other anti-missile defense.

Warhead - 200 KILOTON NUCLEAR
Range - 90 MILES 
Size - 31.9 FEET
Speed - MACH 2.5 AT SEA LEVEL

SS-NX-26 Yakhonts

The Yakhonts 26 replaces the Sunburn 22. There is absolutely no way to avoid the missile. …

 

Iran has already calculated their response, and they realize their only option is a massive attack. Iran is sitting on a stockpile of Exocet, Sunburn 22 and SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles. The Fifth Fleet sits at Qatar, and it is within range of the Sunburn-22 and Yakhonts. Iran is said to have commercial freighters equipped with Exocets that will be in port at the time. Once Israel hits the US carrier (similar to the USS Liberty) then Iran will have no choice but to defend itself.
 

The 5th Fleet sits in a lake surrounded by Iran's rugged mountains, and will be decimated by the missiles. The US fleet will arrive in the Indian Ocean, but will be helpless because the straits of Hormuz will be showered by a Phalanx of hundreds of Exocets. 

 

Straits Of Hormuz

 

The occupiers will become the besieged The US will be cornered - if they try to escape, they will be slaughtered in the Straits of Hormuz. With Iran's enormous missile capability, the US will have two choices - either go to the UN for peace, or escalate to an all-out nuclear attack on Iran.
 

Flow Of Oil Stops

 

With enough anti-ship missiles, the Iranians can halt tanker traffic through Hormuz for weeks, even months. With the flow of oil from the Gulf curtailed, the price of a barrel of crude will skyrocket on the world market. Within days, the global economy will begin to grind to a halt.  (“Iran has Nuclear Ambitions and Israel says “No. downloaded from http://judicial-inc.biz/Sunburn_Missile.htm, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

[Ed. Imaginary second day of war with Iran:] By the second day, the message became clearer: Iran was no longer the pushover of years past. The combined effect of Sunburn, Exocet and Yakhonts missiles striking several US Navy ships fleeing the fishbowl of the Persian Gulf was an unforgettable sight. So unforgettable that CNN and Fox chose not to show them.  (Douglas Hermann, “ Aftermath: Day 2 of the War With Iran,” Strike the Root, downloaded from http://www.strike-the-root.com/71/herman/herman2.html, 10 Sept. 2007.)

 

We saw the Hizbollah Chinese silkworm missile take out that Israeli destroyer off the coast of Lebanon last summer. Well imagine Iran doing that to an aircraft carrier in the Gulf? (Francis A. Boyle in“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

Allegation: The U.S. Phalanx defense system cannot stop an incoming Sunburn missile 

 

The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder "just in time." (Mark Gaffney, “The Sunburn - Iran's Awesome Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile. The Weapon that Could  Defeat the US in the Gulf,” Rense.com, 2 November 2004, downloaded from http://www.rense.com/general59/theSunburniransawesome.htm, 10 Sept. 2007

 

Sunburn’s Deficiencies

 

Even if they have Sunburn Missiles, this text ignores some basic facts:

These Missiles require radar detection of the target before launch and these radars can be easily detected and destroyed by the Airforce. And these radar signatures even give away the position of the missiles themself where they will be destroyed.  (Hmmm, “Sunburn: Iran's Nuclear Anti-Ship Missile.” Iran Defence, 7 Jan. 2006, downloaded from http://www.irandefence.net/showthread.php?t=375, 10 Sept, 2007.)

 

In May 2007, Fallon Nixes an Invasion of Iran

 

WASHINGTON  - Admiral William Fallon, then President George W. Bush’s nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.

 

Fallon’s resistance to the proposed deployment of a third aircraft carrier was followed by a shift in the Bush administration’s Iran policy in February and March away from increased military threats and toward diplomatic engagement with Iran. That shift, for which no credible explanation has been offered by administration officials, suggests that Fallon’s resistance to a crucial deployment was a major factor in the intra-administration struggle over policy toward Iran.

 

The plan to add a third carrier strike group in the Gulf had been a key element in a broader strategy discussed at high levels to intimidate Iran by a series of military moves suggesting preparations for a military strike.

 

Admiral Fallon’s resistance to a further buildup of naval striking power in the Gulf apparently took the Bush administration by surprise. Fallon, then Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, had been associated with naval aviation throughout his career, and last January, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates publicly encouraged the idea that the appointment presaged greater emphasis on the military option in regard to the U.S. conflict with Iran. ….

 

Fallon’s refusal to support a further naval buildup in the Gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on Iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. A source who met privately with Fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted Fallon as saying that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch”.

 

Asked how he could be sure, the source says, Fallon replied, “You know what choices I have. I’m a professional.” Fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box.” …

 

CENTCOM commander Fallon’s refusal to request the deployment of a third carrier strike group meant that proceeding with that option would carry political risks. The administration chose not to go ahead with the plan. Two days before the Nimitz sailed out of San Diego for the Gulf on Apr. 1, a Navy spokesman confirmed that it would replace the Eisenhower, adding, “There is no plan to overlap them at all.”

 

The defeat of the plan for a third carrier task group in the Gulf appears to have weakened the position of Cheney and other hawks in the administration who had succeeded in selling Bush on the idea of a strategy of coercive threat against Iran.

 

Within two weeks, the administration’s stance had already begun to shift dramatically. On Jan. 12, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had dismissed direct talks with Iran in the absence of Tehran’s suspension of its uranium enrichment programme as “extortion”. But by the end of February, Rice had gotten authorisation for high level diplomatic contacts with Iran in the context of a regional meeting on Iraq in Baghdad.

 

The explanation for the shift offered by administration officials to the New York Times was that the administration now felt that it “had leverage” on Iran. But that now appears to have been a cover for a retreat from the more aggressive strategy previously planned.

 

Throughout March and April, the Bush administration avoided aggressive language and the State Department openly sought diplomatic engagement with Iran, culminating in the agreement confirmed by U.S. officials last weekend that bilateral talks will begin with Iran on Iraq.

 

Despite Vice President Dick Cheney’s invocation of the military option from the deck of the USS John C. Stennis in the Persian Gulf last week, the strategy of escalating a threat of war to influence Iran has been put on the shelf, at least for now.  (Gareth Porter, “CENTCOM Commander’s Veto Sank Bush’s Threatening Gulf Buildup,” Commondreams, 15 May 2007, downloaded from http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/15/1212/, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

By Sept. 2007, Pressure for War is Again Building

 

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates favor aggressive diplomatic options. They are lining up support for a third round of United Nations Security Council sanctions and seem open to direct dialogue with Iran, using both carrots and sticks (including sanctions against Iranian oil and gas), to end Iran's nuclear program.

 

But it's no secret that the circle around Vice President Dick Cheney favors military action. The Sunday Times in London has reported that the Pentagon has drawn up plans for airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate Iranian military capability within three days. And with the pending release of a book by Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, "The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction," that calls for "regime change" in Iran, a drumbeat for hitting Iran is under way. …

 

It's not clear whether the Cheney faction or the Rice/Gates faction has the upper hand, though the Guardian reported July 16 that in an internal review by the White House, the Defense Department and State Department, the balance has "shifted back in favor of military action" against Iran before President Bush leaves office.

 

The Bush administration believes it has inherent authority to launch unilateral military operations against Iran -- even in the absence of a direct attack or a compelling, immediate threat to the United States -- without the consent of the Congress. As a top priority, Congress needs to pass the Webb Amendment (S. 759), which would prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran without the consent of Congress.

 

The American people are weary of the war in Iraq and distrustful of the leaders who got us into it. In those circumstances, you would think that another war would be the last thing on the president's mind. But Congress shouldn't make that assumption. With this White House, anything's possible.(”Editorial: Is that the drumbeat of war? Yet another one? Bush steps up his warrior rhetoric, and the target is Iran. Will Congress stop him?” Sacbee.com, 8 Sept. 2007, downloaded from http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/366811.html, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

[Regarding] the White House decision to designate at least elements of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization, using the president’s authority under a September 2001 executive order ... Robert Baer, a former high-ranking CIA field officer in the Middle East, wrote recently in Time Magazine that:

“Reports that the Bush administration will put Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terrorism list can be read in one of two ways: It's either more bluster or, ominously, a wind-up for a strike on Iran. Officials I talk to in Washington vote for a hit on the IRGC, maybe within the next six months.” (David Isenberg, “Outside View: A Sept. rollout for Iran war,” UPI, 5 Sept. 2007 downloaded from
http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Emerging_Threats/Analysis/2007/09/05/outside_view_a_sept_rollout_for_iran_war/3651/, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

But now the American war with Iran they originally wanted is coming closer. Last Tuesday, when the mass media were crammed to distraction with the behavior of a senator in an airport washroom, few could be troubled to notice an important speech by President Bush. If Iran is allowed to persist in its present state, the president told the American Legion convention in Reno, it threatens "to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust." He said he had no intention of allowing that; and so he has "authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities." Those words come close to saying not that a war is coming but that it is already here. No lawmaker who reads them can affect the slightest shock at any action the president takes against Iran.

 

Admittedly, it was a showdown speech, reckless and belligerent, to a soldier audience; but then, this has been just the sort of crowd and message that Cheney and Bush favor when they are about to open a new round of killings. And in a sense, the Senate had given the president his cue when it approved, by a vote of 97-0, the July 11 Lieberman Amendment to Confront Iran. It is hardly an accident that the president and his favorite tame senator concurred in their choice of the word "confront." The pretext for the Lieberman amendment, as for the president's order, was the discovery of caches of weapons alleged to belong to Iran, the capture of Iranian advisers said to be operating against American troops, and the assertion that the most deadly IEDs used against Americans are often traceable to Iranian sources--claims that have been widely treated in the press as possible, but suspect and unverified. Still, the vote was 97-0. If few Americans took notice, the government of Iran surely did.

 

That unanimous vote was the latest in a series of capitulations that has included the apparent end of resistance by Nancy Pelosi to the next war. After the election of 2006, the speaker of the house declared her intention to enact into law a requirement that this president seek separate authorization for a war against Iran. On the point of doing so, she addressed the AIPAC convention, and was booed for criticizing the escalation of the Iraq war. Pelosi took the hint, shelved her authorization plan, and went with AIPAC against the anti-war base of the Democratic party. …

 

From Zelikow to Cohen was only a step on the long path of humiliation that now stretched before Condoleeza Rice. When, in March 2007, amid suggestions of a renewal of diplomacy, she intimated that talks might be helpful in dealing with the Hamas-Fatah unity government (whose formation the Arab world had greeted as offering a promise of peace), she was demolished by an AIPAC-backed advisory letter bearing the signatures of 79 senators, which directed her not to speak with a government that had not yet recognized Israel. From that moment Rice was effectively neutralized. …

 

The Mearsheimer-Walt study of American policy deserves to be widely read and discussed. It could not be more timely. If the speeches and saber-rattling by the president, the ambassador to Iraq, and several army officers mean anything, they mean that Cheney and Abrams are preparing to do to Iran what Cheney and Wolfowitz did to Iraq. They are gunning for an incident. They are working against some resistance from the armed forces but none from the opposition party at home. The president has ordered American troops to confront Iran. Sarkozy has fallen into line, Brown and Merkel are silent, and outside the United States only Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency stands between the war party and a prefabricated justification for a war that would extend across a vast subcontinent. Unless some opposition can rouse itself, we are poised to descend with non-partisan compliance into a moral and political disaster that will dwarf anything America has seen. (David Bromwich, “Iraq, Israel, Iran,” Huffington Post, 4 Sept. 2007 downloaded from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/iraq-israel-iran_b_62995.html, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

By Sept. 2007, Voices Saying War is not Imminent

 

Despite the unending stream of stories across the months announcing that an attack on Iran is on the way, I've had my doubts. Amid the housing slump here, with the possibility of an inflationary surge as the credit balloon threatens to explode, would the US government really want to see the price of gas at the pump go over $5? What would Hugo Chavez do? Even a hiccup in flows from Venezuela would paralyze refineries here, specifically designed for Venezuelan crude. China has a big stake in Iran. It's also Uncle Sam's banker. The Chinese don't have to destroy the dollar, merely squeeze its windpipe, or revalue their currency enough to double retail prices in Wal-Mart. The Republicans and the presidential candidates wouldn't want that on the edge of an election year. 

 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff know the Iraq War has almost broken the US Army. Wouldn't they adamantly oppose the notion of an attack on Iran, which would see Shiite resistance groups in Iraq cut US supply convoys from Kuwait bringing fuel and water to the big US bases? Wouldn't Shiite forces as a whole finally commence a campaign of eviction of the American occupier? Wouldn't this puncture the fantasy that General Petraeus' "surge" is working?

 

The other side of the ledger isn't hard to fill in either. The oil companies like a crisis that sends up the price of their commodity. The Chinese are a prudent lot and don't want to rock the world economy. Politically, both they and Russia would like to see the US compound the disaster in Iraq and get into a long-term mess in Iran. Israel wants an attack on Iran, and the Israel lobby calls the shots in US foreign policy. What Israel wants, Israel gets. The US peace movement is in disarray, and sizable chunks of it would be delighted to see bombs shower down on the woman-hating ayatollahs and Ahmadinejad, the holocaust denier.

 

Amid the disaster of their Middle Eastern strategy Bush and his advisors may hype themselves into one last desperate throw, emboldened by the fact that the selling of the surge has been a success even though all the Democrats need to do is cite the UN, which says the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has gone from 50,000 to 60,000 a month. Or quote Associated Press which counted 1,809 Iraqi civilians killed in August, compared with 1,760 in July. The Sunni split in Anbar province is not one likely to be replicated in Baghdad or elsewhere and anyway had nothing to do with the hike in US troop levels. Bush didn't dare go to Baghdad.

 

Weigh it all up, and you'd be foolish to bet that an attack on Iran won't happen. I knew Noam Chomsky used to be dubious about the likelihood of a U.S. attack and emailed him last week to ask if he is still of that opinion. Here's his answer.

 

Yes, I was quite sceptical. Less so over the years. They're desperate. Everything they touch is in ruins. They're even in danger of losing control over Middle Eastern oil -- to China, the topic that's rarely discussed but is on every planner or corporation exec's mind, if they're sane. Iran already has observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- from which the US was pointedly excluded. Chinese trade with Saudi Arabia, even military sales, is growing fast. With the Bush administration in danger of losing Shiite Iraq, where most of the oil is (and most Saudi oil in regions with a harshly oppressed Shiite population), they may be in real trouble.

 

Under these circumstances, they're unpredictable. They might go for broke, and hope they can salvage something from the wreckage. If they do bomb, I suspect it will be accompanied by a ground assault in Khuzestan, near the Gulf, where the oil is (and an Arab population -- there already is an Ahwazi liberation front, probably organized by the CIA, which the US can "defend" from the evil Persians), and then they can bomb the rest of the country to rubble. And show who's boss.

 

The peace movement had better pull itself together, remembering that should the bombs start to fall on Tehran, most of the Democrats in Congress will be on their feet, cheering. (Alexander Cockburn, “Will the U.S. Really Bomb Iran?” Counterpunch, 8/9 Sept. 2007, downloaded from http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn09082007.html, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

In addition you have this incident concerning the nuclear cruise missiles from the Minot Air Base down to Barksdale. I don’t think that was a mistake. Obviously someone gave the command to do this, to transport nuclear Cruise Missiles down to Barksdale that is being used as a staging point for bombing operations in the Middle East. (Francis A. Boyle in“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

Pre-emptive War

 

As we have said before given the mentality of these Neocons, as I’ve pointed out before who really go back to Carl Schmitt, the most notorious Nazi law professor of his day, they are fully prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran. They are now making preparations for that. All of the US Aircraft Carriers there in the Persian Gulf now and in the Bay of Bengal are nuclear capable and Israel is nuclear capable. It does seem to me that we could be in a pre-war situation now as we speak.(Francis A. Boyle in“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

Illegal Shipment of Cruise Missiles on B-52

 

In addition you have this incident concerning the nuclear cruise missiles from the Minot Air Base down to Barksdale. I don’t think that was a mistake. Obviously someone gave the command to do this, to transport nuclear Cruise Missiles down to Barksdale that is being used as a staging point for bombing operations in the Middle East. (Francis A. Boyle in“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

What Will Happen if the U.S. Goes to War with Iran?

 

While the ominous possibilities of heightened Iraqi chaos, missiles in the Gulf, and Syrian involvement loom large if the US attacks Iran, all pale in comparison to the involvement of China in any US/Iran engagement.

 

China's economy is exploding, hampered only by their great thirst for petroleum and natural gas to fuel their industry. In the last several months, China has inked deals with Iran for $70 billion dollars worth of Iranian oil and natural gas. China will purchase 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas from Iran over the next 30 years, will develop the massive Yadavaran oil field in Iran, and will receive 150,000 barrels of oil per day from that field. China is seeking the construction of a pipeline from Iran to the Caspian Sea, where it would link with another planned pipeline running from Kazakhstan to China.

 

Any US attack on Iran could be perceived by China as a direct threat to its economic health. Further, any fighting in the Persian Gulf would imperil the tankers running China's liquefied natural gas through the Strait of Hormuz. Should China decide to retaliate against the US to defend its oil and natural gas deal with Iran, the US would be faced with a significant threat. This threat exists not merely on a military level, though China could force a confrontation in the Pacific by way of Taiwan. More significantly, China holds a large portion of the American economy in the palm of its hand.

 

Paul Craig Roberts, writing for The American Conservative, said in July of 2005 that "As a result of many years of persistent trade surpluses with the United States, the Japanese government holds dollar reserves of approximately $1 trillion. China's accumulation of dollars is approximately $600 billion. South Korea holds about $200 billion. These sums give these countries enormous leverage over the United States. By dumping some portion of their reserves, these countries could put the dollar under intense pressure and send U.S. interest rates skyrocketing. Washington would really have to anger Japan and Korea to provoke such action, but in a showdown with China - over Taiwan, for example - China holds the cards. China and Japan, and the world at large, have more dollar reserves than they require. They would have no problem teaching a hegemonic superpower a lesson if the need arose."

 

"The hardest blow on Americans," concluded Roberts, "will fall when China does revalue its currency. When China's currency ceases to be undervalued, American shoppers in Wal-Mart, where 70 percent of the goods on the shelves are made in China, will think they are in Neiman Marcus. Price increases will cause a dramatic reduction in American real incomes. If this coincides with rising interest rates and a setback in the housing market, American consumers will experience the hardest times since the Great Depression."

 

In short, China has the American economy by the throat. Should they decide to squeeze, we will all feel it. China's strong hand in this even extends to the diplomatic realm; China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and could veto any actions against Iran proposed by the United States.

 

5.  American Preparedness

 

American citizens have for decades taken it as a given that our military can overwhelm and overcome any foe on the battlefield. The rapid victory during the first Gulf War cemented this perception. The last three years of the Iraq occupation, however, have sapped this confidence. Worse, the occupation has done great damage to the strength of the American military, justifying the decrease in confidence. Thanks to repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, recruiting is at an all-time low. Soldiers with vital training and know-how are refusing to re-enlist. Across the board, the American military is stretched to the breaking point.

 

Two vaunted economists - one a Nobel Prize winner and the other a nationally renowned budget expert - have analyzed the data at hand and put a price tag on the Iraq occupation. According to Linda Bilmes of Harvard and Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University, the final cost of the Iraq occupation will run between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, surpassing by orders of magnitude the estimates put forth by the Bush administration. If an engagement with Iran envelops our forces in Iraq, and comes to involve Syria, our economy will likely shatter under the strain of fighting so many countries simultaneously. Add to this the economic threat posed by China, and the economic threat implicit in any substantial disruption of the distribution of Mideast petroleum to the globe.

 

If Iran and Syria - with their significant armaments, missile technologies and suspected chemical weapons capabilities - decide to engage with the relatively undersized US force in Iraq, our troops there will be fish in a barrel. Iran's position over the Gulf would make resupply by ship and air support from carriers a dangerous affair. In the worst-case scenario, the newly-minted American order of battle requiring the use of nuclear weapons to rescue a surrounded and imperiled force could come into play, hurling the entire planet into military and diplomatic bedlam. …

 

Unfortunately, all the dangers in the world are no match for the self-assurance of a bubble-encased zealot. What manner of maniac would undertake such a dangerous course? Look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

George W. Bush and his administration have consistently undertaken incredibly dangerous courses of action in order to garner political power on the home front. Recall the multiple terror threats lobbed out by the administration whenever damaging political news appeared in the media. More significantly, recall Iraq. Karl Rove, Bush's most senior advisor, notoriously told Republicans on the ballot during the 2002 midterms to "run on the war." The invasion of Iraq provided marvelous political cover for the GOP not only during those midterms, but during the 2004 Presidential election.

 

What kind of political cover would be gained from an attack on Iran, and from the diversion of attention to that attack? The answer lies in one now-familiar name: Jack Abramoff. The Abramoff scandal threatens to subsume all the hard-fought GOP gains in Congress, and the 2006 midterms are less than a year away.

 

Is any of this a probability? Logic says no, but logic seldom plays any part in modern American politics. All arguments that the Bush administration would be insane to attack Iran and risk a global conflagration for the sake of political cover run into one unavoidable truth.

 

They did it once already in Iraq. (William Rivers Pitts, “Attack on Iran: A Looming Folly,” Truthout.org, 9 Jan. 2006., downloaded from http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/48/16812, 11 Sept. 2007.)

 

Look at What They Do, Don’t Listen to What They Say

 

There are now three US Aircraft Carrier Task Forces in the Persian Gulf. You always really have to look at not so much what they are saying as what they are doing. And here you have massive formations of US Military forces in the Gulf and in addition there is an enormous naval exercise going on right now in the Bay of Bengal that will end up in a few days and then those ships also would be in a position to strike Iran.

 

It has now been reported there are B-1 Bombers in Iraq. And they have moved some more F-16s in there. So the danger here is that we now have a congruence between what they are doing and what they are saying and Iran right now is just surrounded by enormous quantities of military equipment that can be used against it. (Francis A. Boyle in“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

World War III 

 

What is going on now in my opinion in Iraq is pretty much a holding operation by the Bush administration until they attack Iran and then the entire strategic situation will turn around. You will have massive warfare in this region of the world and indeed it does appear that if they attack Iran they are also going to attack Syria. Israel will attack. You had the Israeli war plane bombing Syria, penetrating their air force. They will also in combination with Israel attack Gaza and today you have reports of Israeli military forces moving into Gaza. They will also probably move into Southern Lebanon to take out Hezbollah and indeed last summer as you know the Bush administration gave Israel the green light to try to take out Gaza, to try to take out Hezbollah, and they failed.

 

The Neocons, this was Elliott Abrams, also apparently pressured Israel to attack Syria at that time but Israel was not willing to do it then. So if you add all of this up it reads and sounds as if we are in a pre war situation and again much like the Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman explaining the outbreak of the First World War.

 

That brings us to the statement by Ambassador Khalilizad at the United Nations. Indeed, he studied International Relations at the University of Chicago at the same time I was there. He studied with [Albert] Wohlstetter the mentor to [Paul] Wolfowitz, and many of these other Neocons. Basically if you read between the lines of what Khalilizad said at the UN he said if the Arab and Muslim world does not do what we tell them to do we the United States are prepared to initiate a third world war. It would be a war for control of the oil and gas in the Persian Gulf and in Central Asia where about two thirds of all the world’s oil and gas is today.

 

So again, when you have the US Ambassador talking about world war three, where you have all of these statements, it’s extremely dangerous. We have President Putin sending strategic nuclear bombers on feints toward Norway, toward Britain, towards Guam—I would think that this is a sign that the Russians are telling us to stand down from attacking Iran. That they know what our plans are and they are indicating that they will not be pleased if we attack Iran. It is extremely dangerous. (Francis A. Boyle in“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

What to Do?

 

Third, a massive campaign of civil resistance. That’s what we need. Peaceful nonviolent protests all over the country and especially in Washington D.C. to try to stop this war.


Finally, in the run up to the war against Iraq my client and friend the late great Phil Berrigan issued a call for a general strike. Unfortunately he was stricken with cancer before he could really do too much about that. But I think we need to get that organized as well. That is to select a day for a general strike and shut the entire country down and explain to the power elite that really runs this country: We are not going to tolerate what could potentially evolve into WWIII. We all have to do what our conscience tells us to do. (Francis A. Boyle in
“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

Third, a massive campaign of civil resistance. That’s what we need. Peaceful nonviolent protests all over the country and especially in Washington D.C. to try to stop this war.


Finally, in the run up to the war against Iraq my client and friend the late great Phil Berrigan issued a call for a general strike. Unfortunately he was stricken with cancer before he could really do too much about that. But I think we need to get that organized as well. That is to select a day for a general strike and shut the entire country down and explain to the power elite that really runs this country: We are not going to tolerate what could potentially evolve into WWIII. We all have to do what our conscience tells us to do. (Francis A. Boyle in
“Francis A. Boyle on US Press re Iran and Potential US Attack on Iran,” 14 Sept. 2007, AfterDowningStreet,org, originally www.talknationradio.com, downloaded from  http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/26741, 14 Sept. 2007.)

 

 

 

 

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