Some of us old timers remember it only too well. In 1964 Lyndon Baines Johnson gave the order for American fighter bombers to attack North Vietnamese oil tanks and torpedo boat bases at Vinh, the first assault by Uncle Sam on the North Vietnamese mainland. Johnson, an accomplished liar and manipulator – he managed to win a bronze star during the Second World War despite the fact he was never within one thousand miles of a battle – claimed that American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin had been attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. “Aggression unchallenged is aggression unleashed,” said the Texan. Everyone in Congress voted for aggression except one, senator Wayne Morse, the Cassandra of his time. “This will end in tears,” he predicted. And how right he turned out to be.
The only good thing to emerge from that tragic war – one that I covered and one that I backed to the hilt until the very last day – was that it ruined LBJ’s prospects of running for a second term. It cost 58,000 American lives, and close to two million Vietnamese ones – north and south – and made celebrities out of opportunists like Jane Fonda’s husband, Tom Hayden, clowns like Abbie Hoffman, and professional busybodies like Daniel Ellsberg. It took Uncle Sam a generation to recover from the trauma of the Vietnamese debacle.
30 years later, give or take a couple, another Texan is trying to pull an LBJ, with one major difference. He already pulled it four years ago, when he went looking to destroy Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. We all now know that those weapons existed only in the minds of the neo-cons, the Fifth Columnists whose allegiance is to the state of Israel and not to that of the United States. Unfortunately these Fifth Columnists still have the Bush-Cheney ear, and what they’re looking for is more war. This time against Iran. A Gulf of Tonkin-style gambit is what these sofa samurais will use sometime this spring.
The facts, of course, are somewhat different. In brief: Iran is two to five years away from building a nuclear bomb, and some experts say as much as ten to twenty years. Even if Iran possessed one, why would Iran launch a nuclear attack on Israel when it knows its own homeland would be vaporized the next day. The neo-con traitors do not care, however. They are determined to get the last ounce of war-making from the Bush-Cheney duo. Neither Iraq nor Iran were responsible for the events of 9/11, but they interfered with America’s Israel-focused interests in the Middle East.
Bush’s evangelical supporters in America insist that the president is right on the big picture. Smashing the enemies of Israel and the US is the way to go. In this they seem to be as delusional in their strategic outlook as they are in their religious one. Once America or Israel initiate hostilities against Iran, this world of ours will never be the same. From China to India, from Pakistan to Indonesia, there will be not only tremendous collateral damage, there will also be new alliances not necessarily conducive to good relations with Uncle Sam.
America is now seen as the biggest bully of the block by the majority of the people of this world. This is a very sad state of affairs. And we have the neo-cons to thank for it. I wonder when the good people of the United States will wake up and demand that these people are brought to book.
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