Inside Cheney's War Workshop
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
2006 is a dangerous year for Americans. The Bill of Rights and
Americans' civil liberties are being sacrificed on the alter of
unaccountable executive power, as is the separation of powers, the
foundation of our constitutional system.
The Supreme Court is being packed with a majority that favors more
expansive executive rule.
The economy is in danger as the real estate boom unwinds and reduces
the asset base of consumer demand.
Political money scandals and evidence of Republican vote fraud in the
2004 presidential election threaten to undermine confidence in
American democracy, which President Bush is committed to export by
force of arms to the world.
The Republican plan for amnesty for millions of illegal aliens looms
as the final blow to US borders and the concept of US citizenship.
Perhaps the greatest threat of all is Israel's determination to
attack Iran, either directly or indirectly through its surrogate, the
We are witnessing the same drumbeat against Iranian WMD as we
witnessed in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Fox "News," which in
fact is the most thorough-going dispenser of war propaganda since the
Nazi Third Reich, provides a parade of bought-and-paid-for-
consultants who assure credulous audiences that Osama bin Laden has
forged an alliance with Iran, which will soon be providing al Qaeda
with nuclear weapons.
Even the Bush administration's chief warmonger, VP Dick Cheney, found
the Fox "News" charges too absurd to be useful propaganda. Cheney
disavowed close relations between al Qaeda Sunnis and Iranian
Shi'ites: "there's not a natural fit there."
The New York Times, prostituted itself by permitting Judith Miller to
use the newspaper as a tool for neoconservative war propaganda
against Iraq. The Times prostituted itself a second time by
withholding for an entire year the information that President Bush
was illegally spying on Americans in violation of the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act, and a third time by not reporting Al
Gore's challenge to the Bush administration's criminal behavior. Now
the Times is prostituting itself a fourth time in serving as a Bush
administration propaganda organ against Iran.
Unlike Israel, which does have nuclear weapons, Iran is a signatory
to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Under the treaty countries
are permitted nuclear energy. Inspections make certain no weapons are
produced. Iran agrees to abide by the treaty and to have the
Israel, however, and its neocon allies in the Bush administration,
claim without any evidence that Iran is making a bomb. The nuclear
inspectors find no evidence of a weapons program. Israel and its
neocon allies reply that once Iran has the know-how for nuclear
power, it will be able to make the material from which to make a
bomb, therefore, Iran must not be permitted its rights under the non-
proliferation treaty. Since Iran refuses to give up its treaty rights
to develop nuclear energy, Israel and the neocons maintain that
Iran's facilities must be bombed and destroyed.
Americans will pay a heavy price for Israeli paranoia.
The entire world knows that Israel cannot bomb Iran without US
weapons and cooperation.
A US attack on Iran would be another instance of naked American
aggression against a Muslim country. Aggression is a war crime under
the Nuremberg standard established by the US. Such an attack would
further isolate the US as a rogue country. It would further inflame
the Muslim world against the US and Israel, making any settlement of
the Palestinian issue emotionally impossible for Muslims.
If tactical nuclear weapons are used in the bombing of Iran, as the
neoconservatives advocate, America will be reviled throughout the
world. Americans will never recover from the burden of shame and war
crimes inflicted upon them by the Bush administration.
An attack on Iran could be the death knell for our troops in Iraq and
for our puppets in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The
majority Iraqi Shi'ites have tolerated the US occupation because the
majority Shi'ites are the gainers from the US insistence on majority
rule. The Iraqi Shi'ites are allied with Shi'ite Iran. They will
recognize an attack on Iran as a blow struck against Shi'ite power.
If the Iraqi Shi'ites turn on our troops, US casualties will soar.
The best way to ensure US defeat in Iraq is to attack Iran.
Would Bush and the neocons accept embarrassing defeat or would they
escalate the conflict?
Would a sane government pursue a policy that has no favorable outcome?
Some analysts believe that Russia and China will protect their
Iranian energy and trade agreements by vetoing UN sanctions that the
Bush administration seeks as a pretext for its aggression. These two
powers, however, might abstain as it is in their interest to let Bush
dig a deeper hole for the US. Disruption of Iranian oil supplies
increases Europe's energy dependence on Russia and serves to further
weaken US influence in Europe.
The American people need to understand that with its massive budget
and trade deficits, the US is able to go to war only because the
Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, and oil producing countries finance
Bush's war by purchasing US debt and holding dollar denominated
assets. Once Bush has the US over-extended, it will be the end of the
American superpower if one of our bankers decides to rein in the
rogue American state by dumping dollar holdings.
Indeed, a number of thinkers (William Clark and Krassimir Petrov, for
example) have concluded that the reason that the Pentagon has plans
to attack Iran is Iran's intention to establish an international oil
exchange in which anyone can buy or sell oil in any currency.
Such an exchange, it is argued, would spell the dollar's death as the
currency in which oil is billed. With countries no longer needing
dollars in order to pay their oil bills, the demand for dollars and
dollar denominated assets would decline. The dollar would further
depreciate, bringing crisis to import-dependent America.
As Bush's ill-fated adventure in Iraq has proved, the US is not the
superpower it believed itself to be. If the US wishes to retain a
leadership position, it must abruptly change course. The massive
budget and trade deficits must be immediately curtailed before the
currency is destroyed, and the US must pursue peace instead of war in
the Middle East.
The US breeds terrorism by its 60-year old policy of interfering in
the internal affairs of Muslim lands and ruling them through
surrogates. The US assaults Muslim sensitivities with the export
of "American culture," a euphemism for sexual promiscuity. The US
creates enormous animosity by appearing to exploit Muslim oil wealth
and by turning a blind eye while Israel expropriates the West Bank.
Doesn't it make more sense to mend our ill-considered ways than to go
to war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and who else? Is there
no one in the Republican or Democratic parties who is capable of
intelligent leadership? How many more Americans and Muslims are going
to pay for Bush's insane policy with their lives, arms, legs, and
eyes? How stupid are the American people?
Paul Craig Roberts has held a number of academic appointments and has
contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. His
graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia, the
University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University. He is
coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at:
paulcraigroberts yahoo com