That was Bush in the SOTU, ragging on Iran, stirring up the pot, stoking fear, angling for a fight. Thing is though, as angry and anti-American as Iran's new leader appears, the only threat that our government can acknowledge him making against the U.S. is to defend Iran's borders from foreign invasion.
Here's a headline about an appearance by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte before the Senate Intelligence committee Feb.2 that disappeared from the article it was linked to:
"National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told Congress on Thursday that Iran probably does not yet have nuclear weapons, nor has it obtained the material central to producing them. Still, Negroponte called Iran's program a matter of "highest concern."
So, what the Bush administration has so far presented to the nation as justification for their proposed subversion of the elected government in Iran, and the raising of the possibility of retaliatory action against what they assert is Iran's 'ambition' to develop nuclear weapons, is a weak, imperialistic argument based on Bush's imagined right to dictate our agenda to countries in that region at the point of our nation's military force.
The most revealing argument that the Bush administration has made against Iran is their reference to Iran's oil and the influence Iran gains by trading with regional actors like Russia and Pakistan. Negroponte said in the Feb.2 hearing that a combination of rising demand for energy and instability in oil-producing regions ?is increasing the geopolitical leverage of key producing states?.
"Record oil revenues and diversification of its trading partners are further strengthening the Tehran government." Negroponte warned the senate committee.
Oil was also on Negroponte's mind as he blasted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his increasing relationship with Iran. Chavez "is seeking closer economic, military and diplomatic ties with Iran and North Korea," he said. Negroponte worried aloud in his statement that Chavez is looking to dump the U.S. as an oil trading partner in favor of customers like Russia and China. Although the U.S. presently gets about 60% of Venezuela's oil exports, Venezuela reportedly plans to double their exports to China by the end of the year.
Am I the only one who thinks it's out of line for the Director of National Intelligence to be musing about oil exports and alternative fuels? Not so unusual if you already consider that all of the Bush's military adventures into the Middle East are driven by their obsession for oil as well as for power.
So we shouldn't be surprised that today, our Secretary of torture, Don Rumsfeld, likened Hugo Chavez to Hitler. "I mean, we've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money," Rumsfeld told the National Press Club. "He's a person who was elected legally _ just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally _ and then consolidated power and now . . .
Now . . . the Bush cabal's characterizations of Chavez and of Iran's government* sound more like our own country's regime which has dubiously ascended into office, and which rules with a corrupt wing of cohorts in the legislature. The world let the Bush regime get away with their junta in Iraq, and now, as our 'coalition of the willing' slinks silently away from their side and retreat home, it shouldn't be surprising to see them standing beside those who would openly oppose Bush's manufactured mandate to conquer. Especially when that opposition happens to come with a share of oil.
Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief: Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price'