GAMING AN IRAN WAR: How Washington Plans For Aggression;
Pentagon Official Joins President's Reelection Campaign
By Danny Schechter
When we hear that the United States government is announcing a new policy, it is usually the result of a detailed process, a calculated weighing of options and scenarios in which planners seek to calculate the likely impact and reaction to policies they are advocating.
The stepped-up anti-Iranian sanctions strategy now underway was not an off the top of the head impulsive decision, but one reached through a process of careful strategizing ---as in, if we do this, what are they likely to do?
It's just one step of an ongoing process with many stages that usually leads to armed conflict even if it is always presented as a way to reduce conflict.
Sometimes strategists seek to provoke the very responses they decry. Sometimes, they calibrate policies with allies; sometimes they undertake initiatives that are suggested or planned by allies, especially Tel-Aviv which has been promoting the crusade, at first loudly, threatening unilateral action, but then, quietly, maneuvering Washington publicly into the lead.
And all the time, the likely human consequences, the their real goals, are obscured and concealed. (As the old saying goes: "what a web we weave when first we practice to deceive.")
Even Nicholas Kristof, one of the most progressive columnists on the New York Times, buys Washington's rationale/cover story at face value, without questions, backing tough sanctions as if they are not tied to a broader regime change strategy. He even admits ordinary Iranians are hurting but justifies it as part of an attempt to curb nuclear weapons development.
"I regret this suffering," Kristof writes, "and let's be clear that sanctions are hurting ordinary Iranians more than senior officials.
Yet, with apologies to the many wonderful Iranians who showered me with hospitality, I favor sanctions because I don't see any other way to pressure the regime on the nuclear issue or ease its grip on power. My takeaway is that sanctions are working pretty well."
If they were working so well, they wouldn't have been escalated. Kristof, like many western journalists, has had an outbreak of amnesia, if not callous blindness, forgetting how Washngton often says one thing, and then does another, invoking, for example, selective concerns about human rights violations. That has been used to justify recent armed interventions in Libya and. years ago, in Iraq, where the official propaganda stressed how that war would be a "cakewalk" and bring democracy to that country. Apparently, he does not read his own newspaper.
He apparently doesn't recall either this exchange in 2001 on CBS News with Secretary of State Madeline Albright on the impact of sanctions on Iraq. Those sanctions imposed by the Clinton Administration were justified as an "alternative" to war, not a build-up.
Journalist Lesley Stahl asked: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright responded: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it."
In 2002, with the invasion of Baghdad still a year off, US agencies and departments were already planning the future of a post war-Iraq, to build on the sanctions they imposed there which experts concluded led to the deaths of as many as a million children.