December 04, 2007

“Nothing can come of nothing” Shakespeare’s King Lear said, and it would appear that this truism has finally been recognized by the individuals who put together the current “National Intelligence Estimate” for the White House and Capital Hill. Supposedly, the output (the NIE) is the input from the 16—count ‘em, 16!—spy agencies of your federal government which evaluate the danger to America lurking out there in the real world across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The report made public yesterday indicates that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Surprise, surprise.

Thanks largely to neocon/Likud agents embedded inside the U.S. Executive branch—basically at the White House and at the Pentagon—and to the outstanding enabler of the “neocons” at CIA, George “slam dunk” Tenet, the 2002 NIE on Iraq’s WMD was an alarming snapshot of Iraq’s capabilities and intents. It was based on fantasies dreamed up by the “neocons” and on the fabrications of one unemployed Iraqi—code named “Curveball” by the BND, the German intelligence agency—who was seeking a work permit in Germany. This entire well-orchestrated fraud was presided over by Dick Cheney, who was and remains the Regent and CEO of the Bush Jr. Administration. The “intelligence” was being fixed around an already-determined U.S. foreign policy which mandated regime change for Iraq, even though in terms of the actual threat to the U.S., there was none. Saddam had disposed of his WMD years before. The UN inspectors said as much, and objective analysts inside the CIA could have arrived at the same conclusion, if they had been allowed to do so. But honesty and objectivity were not on the agenda. Dishonesty, distortion and war mongering were the agenda.

Of course, that same agenda is still operative today, minus certain notable “neocon” characters like Paul Wolfowitz, “Scooter” Libby, David Wurmser, and Douglas Feith—about whom the less said the better. In the meantime, we can hardly be faulted for assuming that the same movie plot was being rerun to target Iran. Cheney and Bush Jr. have been issuing scary pronunciamentos about Iran over the past two years, just like they did with respect to Iraq’s nonexistent WMD prior to “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. All very urgent and all based on blarney, as in the previous horror movie. (Then there is the huge U.S. armada in the Persian Gulf to consider. What is that all about?) Did the Regent and the dauphin actually think they could get away with the same trick twice? Have they learned anything from the insane fiasco of Iraq, which was the end result of their previous machinations? The answer to these two questions seems to be yes and no, respectively.

At this stage, it is unremunerative or academic to try to figure out what could possibly be motivating the White House. It may be a combination of factors, resulting in a perfect storm. Whatever it is, Cheney and Bush and their team, past and present, are a perfect disaster. Point man for Iran, National Security Adviser Steve Hadley notwithstanding, it now seems that there are enough honest and objective individuals holding jobs relating to national security in Washington to make a difference. These second and third tier public servants are not beholden to campaign contributions; they are not in the pockets of the big lobbies. They are just there to do a job and call a spade a spade. Of course, it would be much easier to do that, if you could rely upon honest elected leadership at the top. But those days are long gone. You can’t have honest national leadership in this country anymore due to the fact that everything of any importance, including foreign affairs, is dictated by campaign contributions and the big lobbies.

Still there are limits. The just-issued NIE on Iran’s nuclear energy program indicates that those limits have been reached. Enough is enough. No more nonsense. There is no nuclear weapons program in Iran. In fact, the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has issued a Fatwa that prohibits the production and use of nuclear weapons and which proclaims that Iran will never acquire such weapons. In sum, Iran is not a nuclear threat to the U.S. or to anybody else. All outstanding questions between Tehran and Washington can be dealt with through normal diplomatic channels. Let’s come down to earth. Withdraw the armada and head for Geneva.

The lessons of this new and surprising development should be clear. (a) Cheney and Bush have been acting out of line, way over the top, and at all times deceptively with respect to the Iran nuclear issue. Their joint resignation or impeachment is long overdue. (b) U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East should be based on sanity, humanity and the facts. It should not be designed in accordance with the agitprop of those fostering a private Zionist agenda—you fill in the names; Norman Podhoretz immediately comes to mind—or influenced by campaign contributions from fat cats of the Israel Lobby and by the exhortations of AIPAC.


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