By Dave Lindorff
President Bush, a lame-duck loose cannon, is traipsing around the Middle East calling Iran a state sponsor of terror and condemning what he calls Iran’s “provocative” acts in the Strait of Hormuz at the choke point between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
Everyone knows the president and his viceroy, Vice President Dick Cheney, are just itching to launch American bombers and cruise missiles against Iran before the end of this second nightmarish term of office, and now we hear that the so-called “provocative” incident, which we were told was replete with threats to blow up a destroyer in “15 seconds” was actually the work of a “prankster” who was making threats on the air using English with a faked (badly) Iranian accent.
So has this brush with disaster, which would have surely ensued had the US Navy fired on Iranian speedboats in their vicinity, led the president to pull back from his bellicosity?
No. On the contrary, he’s upping the ante, calling Iran a terrorist state, thus implicitly giving himself permission to “take them out.”
' Luckily for us and for the longsuffering people of Iran, the US Navy is run by officers who are not crazy, who don’t want another war, and who especially don’t want a war that includes having a fleet of American ships stuck like sitting ducks in the confined space of the Persian Gulf in the sights of hundreds of Iranian shore-to-ship missiles. (They were all sunk in minutes with a loss of a whole aircraft carrier battle group and 20,000 crewmembers in a Pentagon war game played in 2002 and then hushed up.)
As long as the admirals in Washington, and the captains on those ships in harm’s way, keep their cool, and don’t let themselves be provoked by the hotheads in the White House and in Tehran who see political benefits in provoking hostilities, Bush’s wet dream of a third war in the Middle East against Iran won’t come true.
The same can’t be said for the US media, which for the most part have been trumpeting all the president’s scariest and most threatening lines, while burying the news that the provocation in the Gulf was faked.
A real news organization worthy of the name would be trying to find out who’s behind the fakery. It shouldn’t be hard—a military that can use satellite technology to send a cruise missile or a Predator drone-fired missile crashing down onto the holder of a cell phone, should have no trouble locating the source of a fake ship-to-ship communication. (Unless of course it turns out that the message was the work not of a prankster, but of someone working for the Bush gang.)
Let’s be clear here. The naval armada that Bush has assembled in the Gulf has no function other than to threaten Iran. The US military has adequate air bases on land in and around Iraq to handle all the needs of US troops in that country, and the ships in the gulf are of no use whatsoever in the conflict in landlocked Afghanistan, because they can’t send planes there without overflying Iran.
Their role is simply to provoke. To provoke what? Why a war, of course.
Congress needs to pull the plug on this madness before one of the many scams and schemes of the Bush/Cheney gang succeeds in the president’s goal of getting a hot war going between the US and Iran.
A really amateurish effort—prank or black-op—to make a routine cat-and-mouse game by Iranian speedboats and a US battle group into a live-fire incident with dead bodies in the water—could have succeeded.
There must be no next time. It’s time to move forward, with dispatch, on Dennis Kucinich’s bill of impeachment against Cheney, which features the administration’s aggressive efforts to foment a war against Iran in violation of the UN Charter.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net