Well, well, well. It seems that President Bush might have to fall back on a democracy-spreading rationale for attacking Iran, just as he did with Iraq when those scary WMDs that Saddam was going to use to conquer America failed to materialize.
The CIA and 15 other U.S. spy agencies (yes, 16 in all!) have issued a National Intelligence Estimate reporting that Iran halted its nuclear-weapon program in 2003, contradicting what Bush and Vice President Cheney have been suggesting for the past 4 years.
In fact, it turns out that Bush knew about the report when he issued his infamous warning to the American people that to prevent World War III, it is necessary to prevent Iran from pursuing a nuclear-weapons program.
Let’s also not forget all the scaremongering that the U.S. neo-con community has been engaged in for the past few years. How many times have we been told that it is necessary to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran in order to protect the national security of the United States?
Has the Intelligence Estimate sabotaged any plans that Bush and Cheney might have to bomb Iran? It’s not clear yet. Don’t forget that they still have the democracy-spreading rationale to fall back on, as they did with Iraq. After the intelligence estimate was made public, Bush announced that he would keep sanctions imposed on Iran and even seek more stringent sanctions. His rationale? That Iran could possibly seek to pursue a nuclear-weapons program at some indefinite time in the future.
Of course, all these rationales are nothing more than fake and false window-dressing to disguise the real purpose of the sanctions and a possible war on Iran — to oust the radical Islamic regime in Iran and replace it with a U.S. stooge.
Don’t forget that that’s what U.S. officials did in 1953. That was when the CIA, intervening in the affairs of a foreign country, secretly engineered a coup that ousted the democratically elected prime minister of Iran and installed the brutal, unelected dictator known as the Shah of Iran. Don’t forget also that the CIA helped the Shah to set up a domestic version of the CIA in Iran — the brutal Savak, which then proceeded to terrorize and torture the Iranian people for the next 25 years.
Make no mistake about it: There was nothing democratic about Iran under the Shah. All that mattered though to U.S. officials was that this brutal dictator was a U.S. stooge. What he did to suppress internal dissent against his rule was fine.
In fact, the U.S. government’s attitude toward the Shah was, in principle, no different from its attitude toward Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf. Who cares that Musharraf has dissolved the Supreme Court because it was going to rule against him? So what if he has jailed lawyers and judges who are seeking nothing more than an independent judiciary? So what if he has imposed a crackdown enforced by his military and police goons? As President Bush put it, Musharraf hasn’t really crossed any lines and is a lover of democracy. Hey, as long as the dictator remains a U.S. stooge, what else matters?
It was the same with Saddam Hussein. U.S. officials loved Saddam. That’s why they delivered those infamous WMDs to him. It’s why they supported his war against Iran (after the Iranian people ousted the Shah from power). It was only when it became clear that Saddam was not going to be their stooge that they turned against him.
And notice that the same pattern that they used to effect regime change in Iraq is repeating itself with Iran. First, they impose brutal economic sanctions whose effects fall not on the rulers but instead on the citizenry. No price is too high to pay, as Iraqi families learned who lost hundreds of thousands of children as a consequence of the sanctions. When the sanctions fail to encourage the people to oust their regime and install a U.S. stooge into power, the scare-mongering begins as a prelude to a military strike: “Oh! Saddam (or the Ayatollah) is coming to America with mushroom clouds and other WMDs or intends to conquer our nation, taking over the IRS, the public schools, and the DEA. We have to bomb now, not later!”
And then after the bombs have fallen and tens of thousands of people killed, the inevitable announcement: “Whoops, it was all a stupid mistake. It turns out that there weren’t any WMDs after all. Oh well, while we’re here, we might as well stay and rebuild Iraq, even if our brutal occupation results in having to kill hundreds of thousands more, including those ‘terrorists’ who don’t want us here. No price is too high to pay for democracy.”
As we have been pointing out ever since Bush’s “democratic” elections in Iraq, the winner of Bush’s war on Iraq has been Iran. Bush’s invasion and occupation failed to install a U.S. stooge into power (such as Chalabi or Allawi, who Bush figured would be installed). Instead, a radical pro-Iran Islamic regime is now in charge of Iraq. And Bush figures that his only way to salvage this deadly, U.S. money-burning quagmire is to return to the halcyon days of yesteryear — by effecting another regime change in Iran that will install another Shah-like U.S. stooge into power.
Finally, let’s not forget something else very important about the Iran situation: We now live in a country in which one man — the president — wields the omnipotent power to decide whether to declare war on Iran — the power to ignore the constitutional requirement to seek a declaration of war from Congress. If that’s not dictatorial power, what is?
At least Americans are getting to witness the realities of the U.S. government’s pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy firsthand. Let’s just hope that the U.S. intelligence community’s report, combined with an awakening among the general public, not only dissuades President Bush from ordering his military to kill Iranians but also, in the longer term, helps to restore our Founder’s vision of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.