Plan of Attack

The White House is pushing its new product — war with Iran — as hard as it can. Dan Froomkin describes the sales pitch:

For a long time now, Bush administration officials have been promising reporters proof that the Iranian government is supplying deadly weaponry to Iraqi militants.

The administration finally unveiled its case this weekend, first in coordinated and anonymous leaks to a trusting New York Times reporter, then in an extraordinarily secretive military briefing at which no one would speak on the record, journalists weren’t allowed to photograph the so-called evidence, and nothing even remotely like proof of direct Iranian government involvement was presented.

Joshua Partlow of the Washington Post describes the briefing:

Senior U.S. military officials in Iraq sought Sunday to link Iran to deadly armor-piercing explosives and other weapons that they said are being used to kill U.S. and Iraqi troops with increasing regularity.

During a long-awaited presentation, held in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, the officials displayed mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades and a powerful cylindrical bomb, capable of blasting through an armored Humvee, that they said were manufactured in Iran and supplied to Shiite militias in Iraq for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops.

Today the Telegraph (UK) published a photograph of the cylindrical bomb claimed to have been made in Iran. “America today blamed Iran for the deaths of 170 US troops inside Iraq, accusing Teheran of supplying insurgents with increasingly sophisticated bombs,” David Blair of the Telegraph wrote.

Sean-Paul Kelley of The Agonist questioned the, um, provenance of the bombs. Kurt Nimmo of Global Research made the same call.

For some reason the geniuses at the Pentagon have failed to explain why the Iranians used a date from the Christian Gregorian calendar and not one from the Islamic Persian calendar. According to the Muslim calendar, the date stenciled on this mortar shell should read 1427, not 2006. And why did Iran, a country speaking and writing in Persian, a language written in a version of the Arabic script, decide to label their shells in English? Maybe they thought it would fool the infidels?

I’m not taking the bait. As usual, this attempt to frame Muslims stinks of neocon sloppiness. Once again, the neocons blow it. Not that it particularly matters, as most Americans are oblivious and, besides, millions of them still think Osama and Saddam are twin brothers.

The Voice of America reports that General Peter Pace “declined to endorse” the claims of the anonymous Baghdad Briefers (hat tip News Hog).

At Raw Story, David Edwards reports that a former Bush Administration official is accusing the White House of trying to provoke a conflict with Iran.

A former top Bush administration official for Persian Gulf affairs has said in an interview this morning on CNN that the US may be trying to spark a conflict with Iran.

Hillary Mann is the former National Security Council Director for Iranian and Persian Gulf Affairs. She warned in the interview that the recent flare up between Iran and the US over the former’s alleged assistance to Shi’a militias results from a US desire to provoke conflict with the Iranians.

“They’re trying to push a provocative, accidental conflict,” Mann said.

She added that the administration hopes to goad Iran into an overreaction so that it can have justification to carry out “limited strikes” against nuclear infrastructure and Revolutionary Guards headquarters buildings in Iran.

Meanwhile, Nico at Think Progress points to a quote from a Cheney aide — the Bushies are calling 2007 “the year of Iran.”

So, yeah, the Bushies plan to attack Iran. Paul Krugman writes,

Now, let’s do an O. J. Simpson: if you were determined to start a war with Iran, how would you do it?

First, you’d set up a special intelligence unit to cook up rationales for war. A good model would be the Pentagon’s now-infamous Office of Special Plans, led by Abram Shulsky, that helped sell the Iraq war with false claims about links to Al Qaeda.

Sure enough, last year Donald Rumsfeld set up a new “Iranian directorate” inside the Pentagon’s policy shop. And last September Warren Strobel and John Walcott of McClatchy Newspapers — who were among the few journalists to warn that the administration was hyping evidence on Iraqi W.M.D. — reported that “current and former officials said the Pentagon’s Iranian directorate has been headed by Abram Shulsky.”

Next, you’d go for a repeat of the highly successful strategy by which scare stories about the Iraqi threat were disseminated to the public.

This time, however, the assertions wouldn’t be about W.M.D.; they’d be that Iranian actions are endangering U.S. forces in Iraq. Why? Because there’s no way Congress will approve another war resolution. But if you can claim that Iran is doing evil in Iraq, you can assert that you don’t need authorization to attack — that Congress has already empowered the administration to do whatever is necessary to stabilize Iraq. And by the time the lawyers are finished arguing — well, the war would be in full swing.

Finally, you’d build up forces in the area, both to prepare for the strike and, if necessary, to provoke a casus belli. There’s precedent for the idea of provocation: in a January 2003 meeting with Prime Minster Tony Blair, The New York Times reported last year, President Bush “talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire.”

In the end, Mr. Bush decided that he didn’t need a confrontation to start that particular war. But war with Iran is a harder sell, so sending several aircraft carrier groups into the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf, where a Gulf of Tonkin-type incident could all too easily happen, might be just the thing.

Watch for it.

17 thoughts on “Plan of Attack

  1. This is so disgusting; particularly because there will be people who will fall for this. This administration and its supporters have made America a wart on the face of the world. I think it is time for the American Indians to take their land back.

  2. It’s become clear that the main road to Iran is through Iraq, by citing “evidence” such this. This makes it all the more important the Dems get serious about defunding our debacle in Iraq.

    It’s also become clear that BushCo thinks this is their moment, their last chance to push their craziest ideas, to do what they’ve wanted to do all along (Iraq is just a comma after all).

    BTW, no apostrophe in “it’s” (first sentence). I know you know better.

  3. Seems like Pace is taking two steps forward and one step back. And it leaves the blame on Iran. Next it will be that same convoluted Cheney/ Rumsfeld logic that our inability to prove that the Iranian government is directly behind it will become proof that they are behind it. Why doesn’t Bush just invoke his preemptive war doctrine..I take it the administration hasn’t lost its ability to read minds like it could before the invasion of Iraq.
    I hope Bush does invade or attack Iran…maybe a defeat there will finally drive a stake through the heart of the super power myth that seems to be fueling Bush. Attacking Iran will be a lose/lose situation and only an idiot can’t see it.

  4. How I read this: the neocons are pretending that this war drumbeat against Iran is ‘because’ Iran is responsible for deaths of some of our soldiers AT THE SAME TIME the neocons are willing to spark a war that puts all our soldiers in Iraq in jeopardy.

  5. Bush wants a ‘Pearl Harbor’ incident in Iraq which was caused by Iran to justify air strikes into Iran that he can’t justify to this congress. We don’t have the ground troops to maintian wars in Afghanistan, Iraq & Iran. The catistrophic flaw with this scheme is that, onse we attack Iran, they WILL infiltrate Iraq in large numbers with sophisticated weapons and kill GIs in numbers and style to make the confict so far look like a parade. The neocons hope Iran will respond with a conventional war (which we can win) and I predict Iran will NOT, because they can see how to defeat us while getting world sympathy on their side. This sucks.

  6. Don’t forget that the troops already there and the ones for the surge do not have all the equipment they need. Thus, it is lambs to the slaughter. And, ol’ W is the shepherd.

  7. Maybe Bush can secure the rights from Tommy Franks productions to use a Shock and Awe® pyrotechnics treatment on the Iranians when he rolls out his new war. It’s a proven crowd pleaser with the Bushies because they know…the Iranians “deserved it”.

    I’m trying to figure out whether this whole Iranian thing is just a bunch of noise created to take Iraq out of focus, or whether Bush is really unstable enough to launch some sort of attack against Iran. My immediate thought is that an attack on Iran would be insanity because there is no achievable benefit to be gained. It would be all loss and all mistake. On the other hand I have to consider that we’re dealing with Bush, so reason goes out the window. I’d guess that some sort of dynamic similar to that of a cornered animal might apply in Bush’s case where desperation and fear would determine the course of action even if it was suicidal. It’s a tough call, but if I had to make a call.. I’d say Bush is just making noise to divert attention. He’s playing poker with America’s credibility by barking at Iran.

  8. comment 11: I’m trying to figure out whether this whole Iranian thing is just a bunch of noise created to take Iraq out of focus, or whether Bush is really unstable enough to launch some sort of attack against Iran. My immediate thought is that an attack on Iran would be insanity because there is no achievable benefit to be gained. It would be all loss and all mistake.

    Not true. I don’t have the numbers, but there is immense oil wealth concentrated in a particular region of Iran (whose name presently escapes me). If Iran gets nuclear weapons then it can effectively tell the USA to “F*ck Off”. And so this is Bush’s gambit: prevent Iran from getting nukes so we have a chance tobully them for the oil wealth, not to mention denying them regional hegemony.

  9. Just a note on Bush’s pathology.
    The president of Iran “dissed” our Fuhrer.
    Intolerable for Bush (and Cheney).
    I wonder what he’s going to do about Putin?

  10. God damn this evil and degenerate cabal leading this country, and the world, over the edge. Liars, one and all. Lie to start a war, how ugly is that? Lie to start another one, with everyone knowing it, well, I just can’t hardly restrain the anger I feel right now. Can no one stop this madness? My vote has meant nothing. The votes of 65 percent of the population meant nothing. These idiots are going to do it aren’t they? No one will stop them, no one at all. What a fucked up mess.

  11. Moonbat..I hear what you’re saying..You might be correct in theory and if we were starting afresh..But Bush has 4 years of 2 wars, a mountain of bad press and a lot of hostility toward the United States from the moslem world that he’d be carrying into a conflict with Iran. He has squandered his resources to the point where he can’t do shit now.. all he can do is bark. He can’t put boots on the ground in Iran, he can bomb them… but that is ineffective and counter productive. The carrot is the only weapon that will work for him now..but he’s too stupid to use it.

    And the volunteer army has been utilized beyond it’s capacity to perform the task at hand.

  12. I also can’t figure this one out.Then again, I couldn’t figure out the bag lady that walked into the Burger King while holding a serious conversation with invisible friends and enemies.

    If Iran is attacked, I do expect to see Russia and China mobilizing their forces, at least in a defensive move. A return to the “cold war”? If you drop a nuclear turd in the river, someone down stream is gonna be pretty upset…..

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