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USS Maine Foreign Policy for Iran

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Since the Bush administration is full of lying and deceit, we cannot rely on them to be candid about war plans for Iran.

They will not involve Congress or the voters in any decision-making process toward that aim, so we must watch for signs that something is coming.

That sign appeared when their often discordant drones aligned on a single pitch last week, Iran. It was like watching the light from the spaceship in the movie "Independence Day" focus just before it blows a skyscraper into confetti.

The strong language from came from several top Bush Administration officials, but the message, and its framework, were all the same. They amounted to pre-emptive justifications for any incursions into Iran--should they, for just some crazy old reason, happen.

President Bush fired the opening salvo last Wednesday during his speech to the nation. "We will," Bush said, apparently speaking for all of us, "seek out and destroy the [Iranian] networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq."

Condoleeza Rice used similar language to describe a shift in policy toward Iran in and interview with the Times. "There has been a decision to go after these networks," she said.

Bush reiterated his position on Iran in his weekly radio address. "We will," Bush said, using his two favorite words, "address the problem of Iran and Syria allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq."

President Bush's national security advisor Stephen J. Hadly concurred, promising a muscular intervention with Iran for what administration officials say is material support for the insurgency in Iraq.

"We intend to deal with it by interdicting and disrupting activities in Iraq, sponsored by Iran, that are putting our troops and Iraqis at risk," he said.

On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney joined the chorus, shoving the fear of God down our throats by evoking visions of a nuclear holocaust. Cheney must have liked the results his administration got with "mushroom cloud" when he was pushing for the Iraq War.

In this dysfunctional family, the paternal Bush administration has a funny way of okaying something with Mom and the kids.

Say Bush wanted to go bowling on Junior's birthday, and he knew his old lady would put her foot down.

Instead of engaging her directly, negotiating a compromise and establishing trust and good will, Bush--starting at about 8 pm on Thursday--would simply start saying things like: "Dick's bragging a lot lately; thinks he can beat me. If he challenges me one more time, I'm going to stop whatever I'm doing--I don't care if it's talking to the Pope--and go bowling with prove him wrong."

Then he would say it several more times the next day, and come little Junior's birthday party, Bush would be at the lanes.

That's why we, as concerned citizens, must "read" this administrations actions rather than listen to their words.

In this case President Bush wants to go to war with Iran.

The new pattern of combative language has emerged amidst a series of US actions that are escalating tensions with Iran.

Less than two months ago a second Navy aircraft carrier group sailed to the Persian Gulf theater, near Iran.

This week, five Iranians were arrested in Iraq near the Iranian border, prompting outrage from Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson, who said the men are consuls.

The arrests prompted Condoleeza Rice to disclose that Bush has ordered a broad military offensive against Iranian targets inside, and perhaps beyond, Iraq.

We would choose to believe her if it weren't for the pattern of lies and deception from this administration.

The five were accused of being "connected" with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, a known extremist militant group.

What's the connection? A mutual friend's baby shower? Dinner in the same restaurant one night five years ago?

We'll never know, but it was a punch in the face to Iran.

The real question is: How many punches will Iran take on the cheek before one of its military battalions, or one of its squads or even one single soldier punches back? Because when Iran does strike back it will be cited as a justification for war.

Provoking an attack to justify a war is a well storied means of foreign policy here in America. The Boston Massacre was our first and best use of this policy--back when we were actually oppressed. A mob of unruly commoners descended on a handful of British troops, and surprise, surprise, they fired back.

We used it again in 1898 when President William McKinley sent the USS Maine to Spanish-controlled Havana Harbor at a time when America sided with the revolutionary Cubans. When the USS Maine mysteriously blew up, Congress acted quickly to declare war against Spain.

The policy was used on a smaller scale by police during the Civil Rights Movement, whose legacy of non-violent resistance we celebrate today. Police operatives dressed as rioters would begin melees in which pacifist blacks were beaten nearly to death.

The larger and more imperial America becomes, the more tasteless and unforgivable this policy seems in contrast. This time we are shaking our stick in the face of Iran, and our focus over the next few weeks is to draw strong public rebuke for war plans in Iran.
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Dean Powers lives in Castleton, VT. He has apprenticed at several newspapers including The Nation. He currently writes for OpEdNews. He can be found at

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