By Daan de Wit
The declaration made by the neoconservative leader of Iran that Israel should be wiped off the map adds fuel to the fire that the U.S. and Israel have already set in the course of preparing the diplomatic and military groundwork for a war against Iran. British Prime Minister Blair saw in the statements of his Iranian counterpart a "golden opportunity" (according to a BBC reporter) to call attention to the Iranian threat. The Guardian writes: 'Singling out Tehran's attitude towards Israel, terrorism and nuclear weapons, Mr Blair said that "if they continue down this path people may be a real threat to world security"; these are big words that form part of the drumbeat toward the coming preemptive nuclear war against Iran.
The Dutch in the original article has been translated into English by Ben Kearney.
The scope of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's words has been played down somewhat by commentators. The Guardian writes: 'Observers in Iran played down suggestions that Mr Ahmadinejad's remarks signalled a new era of hostility towards Israel. Views differed on his motives, but Saeed Leilaz, a Tehran-based political analyst, said it was more likely for domestic consumption.' 'Ugly rhetoric of that kind is not unusual in the Middle East, where in many Arab minds Israel is only superseded by the Great Satan of the US as a hate figure, but this time Ahmadinejad over-stepped the mark', writes the Sunday Herald.
The twins Bush/Ahmadinejad
Everyone pounced on Ahmadinejad, and not in the least Bush, though a good argument can be made that the ultra-conservative Ahmadinejad recently came to power with the help of Bush himself: 'Indeed, a number of analysts have noted that in his last-minute denunciation of the election and implied endorsement of a student-led boycott, Bush probably boosted both total turnout in the election's first round (about 63 percent of eligible voters, according to official accounts) and the performance of hardline forces led by Ahmadinejad. Tehran's conservative intelligence minister, Ali Yunesi, publicly thanked Bush for his remarks, which were repeatedly broadcast by state television during election day. Bush's statement against the elections was even used by Ahmadinejad to denounce his rival in the run-off, former President Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, who had said Tehran should explore a dialogue with Washington', writes investigative journalist Jim Lobe in his excellent article Ahmadinejad and Bush: Separated at Birth?.
We pointed out previously in DeepJournal that it can be worthwhile to temporarily look beyond the form and instead examine the content of a situation. In this example, the form is that Bush and Bin Laden, or Bush and Ahmadinejad, are sworn enemies. But the content is of much greater importance than the form's outer layer. In this case the content is that Bush, Bin Laden and Ahmadinejad are all neocons who impose their will on others by sowing death and destruction and base their power on the politics of divide and conquer. We have frequently discussed both sides of the Bush/Bin Laden coin, but the article by Lobe explores the twins Bush/Ahmadinejad. He describes in depth the similarities between the two men: '[...] Iran specialist, Columbia University professor Gary Sick, agreed that comparing the two men may be useful "not because [they] or their nations are particularly alike, but rather to explain what is going on politically and what it may mean."'
Lobe writes: 'Juan Cole, a prominent blogger and Middle East historian at the University of Michigan, noted last week that the two men's campaign tactics suggest that they are "soul mates," particularly in their populist appeal, their criticism of a government of which they are a part, and their reliance on right-wing religious forces for their electoral success. But even in terms of personal history, their lack of interest or concern about the outside world, and their Manichaean outlooks in which friends and enemies and good and evil are clearly delineated, the two men share a great deal in common.' As of now, the concrete difference between the two men is that Bush has nuclear weapons, wants to use them, and is the leader of a country that has already used them and that has been continually waging war somewhere in the world since World War II. It is this refreshing notion that is put forward in an article that appeared in The Herald under this headline: 'Our duplicity robs us of the moral high ground over Iran'.
Bush administration ready for preemptive nuclear strike
The instructions from Vice-President Cheney to his war planners to prepare for a nuclear strike on Iran in response to a second September 11th (see part one of this series) corresponds closely to the approval by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld in 2004 of 'a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing the military to assume and maintain readiness to attack hostile countries that are developing weapons of mass destruction, specifically Iran and North Korea', as reported by the Washington Post in May of this year. The Post explains that the term 'global strike' is military jargon for a preemptive attack, conventional or nuclear, and goes on to say that the inclusion of the word 'nuclear' is extraordinary: since September 11th the U.S. has strayed from the policy of deploying nuclear weapons for defensive purposes only. In summary the paper writes: 'The global strike plan is offensive, triggered by the perception of an imminent threat and carried out by presidential order.'
On September 11th of this year the Washington Post wrote about a plan (PDF) developed by the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs entitled Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations in which they recommend to their superior, Secretary Rumsfeld, that commanders on the battlefield be able to secure presidential authorization to launch nuclear weapons. The plan also concerns itself with the so-called preemptive nuclear strike, designed to prevent an attack on the U.S. The plan strongly resembles the already approved Interim Global Strike Alert Order. The Russian Minister of Defense Ivanov remarked, somewhat cynically, that he hopes that Rumsfeld will inform him if the doctrine is adopted.
Preemptive nuclear strike part of
erosion of standards and values
Regarding the new and revolutionary posture in Washington, Defense Minister Ivanov went on to say: '"Such plans do not limit, but in fact promote, efforts by others to develop" nuclear weapons, he said, according to Reuters.' In fact Ivanov sees the standards and values of the BushBlairBalkenende administration increasingly eroding: the preemptive attack on Iraq, preventative searches of suspects, the law obliging citizens to present identification on demand, the retention of electronic communication (not to mention the Echelon phenomenon), the listening in on conversations (permitted in The Netherlands) between attorneys and clients, the plan to store the fingerprints of all Dutch citizens, the broadening of the scope of the law (PDF) by Dutch Justice Minister Donner - against which all reasonable people in the current affairs program Netwerk have issued dire warnings (and against which judges 1 2 and Van Aartsen of the conservative People's Party for Freedom and Democracy [VVD] have cautioned), the creation of a situation in which mere insinuations can put someone away, the desire by the Dutch domestic and military intelligence services (AIVD and MIVD) to examine email on 'a large scale', the outsourcing of torture by the U.S., the secret prisons ('black sites') of the CIA, the violation by the U.S. (according to Prof. Karel van Wolferen) of the Geneva Accords, the Charter of the United Nations and of Article 4 of NATO, and finally the plan for a preemptive nuclear attack on innocent civilians.
The headline in the November 1 issue of [Dutch newspaper] De Telegraaf read: 'CDA Breda: [Dutch Prime Minister and CDA member] Balkenende not welcome at the municipal elections'. The paper wrote: '[Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) Council Member] Lips emphasized that the Breda delegation had no argument with the CDA platform of "standards and values" with the family as the cornerstone of society. "We will gladly defend those guidelines, we have no problem at all with them", according to the council member. But in his opinion, those principles are inconsistent with the policies of the Balkenende Administration. As examples he named the Administration's approach towards poverty, the introduction of new health care costs, and the fight against crime.'
History of the concept of preemptive nuclear strike
The actions of Cheney and the statements by Rumsfeld, which have made the revolutionary concept of preemptive nuclear attack feasible, were preceded by a secret directive from Bush in 2003, according to author Webster Tarpley (he is most likely alluding to NSPD-17). This directive is itself an extension of the National Security Strategy, writes Tarpley. This National Security Strategy was introduced in September of 2002 and was preceded in December of 2001 by the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review, which the Pentagon itself describes as 'a major change in our approach to the role of nuclear offensive forces in our deterrent strategy'. And as we previously reported in 2003 under the headline Proposals which were considered 'nuts' at the time are now part of Bush's National Security Strategy, at the core of the National Security Strategy lies the Defense Planning Guidance, a neoconservative document published back in 1992 (just before Clinton came to power) by many of the same people who later went on to serve under George W. Bush. Neoconservatives have great staying power; it is conceivable that in 2005 we are going to find ourselves in a situation in which Bush will want to launch a nuclear attack in response to a presumed threat.
Dutch politicians divided over possible war against Iran
In The Netherlands the Jewish lobbying group Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) convened an 'emergency session' in response to the statements by Ahmadinejad: '[Political parties] VVD and CDA are not willing to rule out military intervention as a means to overthrow the current regime in Iran. According to CDA Representative Ormel „it is unwise to do that right now. The Iranian rulers must first be isolated and a wedge has to be driven between the regime and the people as deeply as possible”', reported De Telegraaf in reference to the gathering. Perhaps it was because he anticipated the willpower of his colleagues that CDA Foreign Minister Ben Bot surprised The Netherlands earlier this month with his critical statements about the Iraq war.
On October 7th the news magazine Nova Politiek explored the 25-year existence of the CDA as well as the statements made by Foreign Minister Ben Bot that in hindsight the Iraq invasion was "unwise". In the broadcast (6:15), former CDA party leader Aantjes responded to host Paul Witteman's question as to whether he felt it had been painful for Bot to own up to everything in retrospect: 'Yes, but it could also be that he has taken all that into consideration and at any rate wants to send the message to Mr. Bush that if he intends to carry out a similar strategy with Iran then he is now on notice that it cannot be taken for granted that The Netherlands will go along with him in the same way that it did with Iraq. It's conceivable that someone with that much diplomatic experience would find it worthwhile to go through all of this so as to give the proper signal. [...] I doubt very seriously that it was a slip of the tongue.'
One day earlier the chairman of Democrats 66 (D66) Boris Dittrich said in the TV news program Den Haag Vandaag (WMV, 9:35) that he would like to see made public the still-undisclosed draft of the resolution that compelled The Netherlands to take part in the Iraq war. His intention in making this request is to prevent the type of mistakes being made in a potential conflict with Iran that may have been made during the lead-up to the conflict in Iraq: 'If you look at what happened in 2003 [when the Iraq war began], the administration at that time - along with the List Pim Fortuyn (LPF) and the Labour Party (PvdA) - they said 'We will support this', and D66 along with other parties in the House said 'No way', and yet it still happened. Thus it is totally logical that after all of this you would want to take a look at the information available to you and ask yourself 'What can we learn from this' as well as 'How can we prevent a situation - say that everything goes awry with Iran - in which we could possibly make the same mistake again'.'