Col Sam Gardiner (Ret) on Seymour Hersh’s Latest And US Plans for Iran
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A SCENARIO FOR ATTACKING IRAN
I leave South Africa this morning on my way to Dubal in the United Arab Emirates. I am joining a cross cultural documentary festival, showing a film not making one. The film is WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) that I made back in 2003, and released in 2004 on the invasion of Iraq which seems so long ago, and as everyone knows by now, was driven by government fabrications and media complicity.
At that time, my argument about the media role was not really acknowledged. They are today and seem to be in play again not only because of anything Iran has done but perhaps to create an international incident that the Republicans can exploit in the campaign.
Nothing is done by this Administration which continues to do so little without that in mind. That’s their real “battlefield.”
One of the people I interviewed then was Sam Gardiner, a very smart retired Air Force Colonel, and lecturer at the war colleges who had been tracking the role of information warriors who were then targeting public opinion, and “preparing” the news battlefield.
They won that part of the war at first, even if they have ultimately lost the real one.
Sam is now doing the same type of analysis for US policy towards Iran. This morning he sent me his take on Seymour Hersh’s piece in the New Yorker offering more evidence that while the Bush Administration talks “diplomacy,” it is making serious plans for war. (Iran is now saying the last nuclear proposal from the West and China is serious and may be offering a new plan of their own to try to defuse the orchestrated tensions that, once again, the US media is playing a lap dog role in.)
Here’s what Sam Gardiner sent me today:
Generate a casus belli. Fabricate a situation that causes war. Make it look as if it were the Iranians. It’s the ultimate spin.
In an article released on Sunday by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker Magazine, we learned the White House has met, considered and is probably working to fabricate a situation that could be used by the United States as a pretext for attacking Iran. (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh/)
Hersh tells us of a brainstorming session in the Vice President’s office. The topic of the session was casus belli. How can we get the Iranians to do something that will make it appear as if they started it, as if they were the bad guys?
Based upon the article and what we have seen from other sources, it seems to me it’s possible to unravel the strategy probably discussed at that meeting. What’s the US do? How could a war with Iran be fabricated?
On the surface, the expanded US covert operations against Iran seem like pin pricks. The US is training and supporting at least four Iranian minority groups to conduct attacks against targets inside Iran. Soldiers of the Revolutionary Guard have been killed. Soldiers and police have been kidnapped. A cultural center was bombed. An air base in Tehran was struck. All are relatively minor incidents.
I see a pattern, however, that goes back over 20 years. It’s a pattern the United States seems to favor for starting wars.
The pattern can be seen with the US backed Contras in the 1980’s. The “military objective” was to strike from bases in Honduras into Sandinista controlled Nicaragua and seize and hold territory. The policy objective was to use this base to establish a provisional government and serve as a potential beachhead for overt operations. First do covert operations, to be followed by overt operations.
Before the invasion of Iraq, a covert operation called the Anabasis Project had a similar thread. Although the plan was not executed, the CIA-formed and trained Scorpions 77 Alpha group was to seize a beachhead in Iraq, take control of the base at Nukhaib near the Saudi border. Saddam would feel compelled to send troops to retake the base. He would violate the no-fly zone, and the United States would have a reason to launch Gulf II. Again, the “military objective” was to seize a beachhead to serve as the base of overt operations, create a casus belli.
The Government of Iran is not going to fall as a result of the of the four minority groups operating inside Iran with US supported activities. However, as suggested by Hersh, if the Iranians attack one of the groups attempting to gain their “freedom,” the United States could come to their rescue. We would have a casus belli.
I can hear the President words. “I have said from the beginning we support the people of Iran, and we respect their culture.”
Thinking about the strategy discussion at the Vice President’s meeting, I can hear someone saying this general approach is fine, but it is not adequate. We may not have time for all of the covert stuff to work out before the end of the Administration.
Okay, there are alternatives. There are a couple of faster paths.
The United States has Special Operations personnel with a very short chain of command to the White House. Another possibility would be to have them attack a “high value target” that would cause an Iranian response that would justify a US attack. No congressional approval is needed for this kind of operation.
President Ahmadinejad is known for his vitriolic off-the-chart rhetoric. He does not very often go off the charts with specifics. Last week he began telling foreign and Iranian press that when he visited Iraq in March the United States had planned to assassinate him. He says varying his schedule at the last minute saved his life. Maybe he was to be the path to a casus belli.
Finally, from the Hersh article, the White House seems to have concluded that the threatening maneuvers by Iranian speedboats in January in the Gulf could be just the thing. If the Iranians do it again, it could be a casus belli.
The Congress approved $400 million for covert operations against Iran. With those operations and other options available to the White House, we need to be prepared for the ultimate spin, the casus belli spin.
Iran is not on the agenda here in South Africa. Zimbabwe is, and it looks like Mugabe is under pressure to try to reach an accomodation with his opposition. Will he? It is doubtful.
Sorry I am up, up and away. Thanks for being here and your comments welcome. Back in less than a week. Happy July 4. Here’s a treat from the Black Commentator. The July 4th speech by Abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1852.
History marches on–or does it?
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