This week an interesting story appeared in the Washington Post — buried on page 16, of course, lest anyone think it was of the slightest importance. It revealed that documentary proof has now emerged confirming the fact that in the spring of 2003, the Bush Regime — flush with its illusory "victory" in Iraq — spurned a wide-ranging peace feeler from Iran which offered "full cooperation" on every issue that the Bushists claim to be concerned about in regard to Tehran: "nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups."
The offer was made through the Swiss Embassy, which has served as the conduit for communication between Washington and Tehran since America’s Peacock patsy, the Shah of Iran, was overthrown in 1979. The 2003 proposal included "full cooperation on nuclear safeguards, ‘decisive action,’ against terrorists, coordination in Iraq, ending ‘material support’ for Palestinian militias and accepting the Saudi initiative for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [which called for all Muslim states to recognize Israel]," the Post reports. The unprecedented initiative was approved by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and then-President Mohammad Khatami — the moderate whose attempts at dialogue were mocked and undercut at every turn by the Bush Regime, helping to discredit the entire reformist movement in Iran and leading to Khatami’s replacement by the militant hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In other words, everything that George W. Bush says he wants from the Iranians now, he could have had for the asking — three years ago. What then can we conclude from the rejection of this extraordinary initiative? The answer is obvious: that the Bush Faction is not really interested in curbing nuclear proliferation or defusing the powder keg of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the regional and global terror that it spawns.
What are they interested in? This answer too is obvious, to anyone who’s been paying the slightest attention to the Faction’s words and actions over the years: they are interested in loot and dominion. What they want from Iran is nothing less than its return to quasi-colonial control by the crony conquistadors of the West. And they’re willing to play a (reasonably) long game to get it.
In the meantime, it serves their interests well for the entire Middle East to seethe and boil. War and rumors of war are engines of limitless profits for the crony-cons. It sends oil prices sky-high and keeps those pork-laden contracts for weapons and "military servicing" rolling in. And the terrorism that thrives in this deliberately created chaos is another massive money-maker, as vast armies of "security consultants" ply their political connections to gobble up tons of insider grease. Bush Regime minions have led the way in this alchemical transmutation of fear into gold: more than 90 officials from the Department of Homeland Security have stampeded through the revolving door from government service to lucrative private posts with companies seeking — and getting — fat deals from, er, the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Times reports.
Billions of dollars are being generated for the fortunate few by war and terror; why kill the golden goose of chaos by pursuing Middle East peace? Far better to keep the madness churning until you see a chance to grab complete control, as in Iraq; then you can start squeezing your conquest dry. And if it doesn’t work out, if it all blows up, who cares? You’re just back to the same old profitable chaos, biding your time, banking your wad — and squeezing your own country dry — until the next go-round. It’s the ultimate win-win scenario.
The only losers are the rest of us — but above all, the populations of the Middle East. For it’s an indisputable fact, confirmed every day, by every policy decision made in Washington, that the Bush Faction doesn’t give a damn about the ordinary people in that tormented region — not even the Israelis. It doesn’t care about their freedom, their security, their children; it doesn’t care if they live or die; it only cares about their exploitable resources and their geopolitical usefulness to the Faction’s openly stated desire for "full spectrum dominance" over the political and economic life of the globe. There is no other conclusion to be drawn from the Bushists’ actual record — what they actually do, what they actually support, and what they actually ignore — once you strip away their cynical, ever-shifting rhetoric.
If Bush really wanted peace in the Middle East, he would have pursued Iran’s unprecedented offer of "full cooperation" in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If Bush really wanted to eliminate the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, he would have seized on Tehran’s offer of "full cooperation" to do so. It’s as simple as that. But he chose not to take up the offers. These goals are not priorities for him. His interests lie elsewhere.
By the way, Saddam made a very similar offer just before the invasion, as the New York Times reported in 2003: acquiescence to U.S. initiatives on Israel-Palestine; full cooperation on WMD inspections; even internationally supervised elections, which would have almost certainly ousted him from power, were on the table. Everything that Bush claimed he went to war for in Iraq — disarmament, regime change, reducing Middle East tensions, democracy for the Iraqi people — he could have had, for the asking, without war.
But the Bushist crony-cons wanted war in Iraq, come hell or high water — or even Saddam’s surrender. Again, this is not supposition, it’s a fact. As we’ve often reported here, in September 2000 a "think tank" led by Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld published a report, "Rebuilding America’s Defenses," stating that the imposition of an American military presence in Iraq was a strategic imperative "transcending the regime of Saddam Hussein." In this same report, the Cheney-Rumsfeld group also acknowledged that it would take a "new Pearl Harbor" to "catalyze" the American people into readily accepting their radical plans for military expansion abroad and vast new "defense" spending at home. Not only can these wizards turn fear into gold; they can apparently see into the future as well.
Now that same crystal ball shows them the wealth of Persia falling like ripe fruit into their hands. They may feign diplomacy for the moment, biding their time, profiting from chaos — but as in Iraq, no offer of peace will deter them from the inevitable smash-and-grab.
Chris Floyd [send him mail], Global Eye columnist for the Moscow Times, is the author of Empire Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime.