Get Your War On: Bush Plays Casus Belli Card Against Iran


That there will be war with Iran is now virtually guaranteed. The Bush Administration set out a clear casus belli over the weekend in two stories — masterworks of warmongering propaganda — appearing in two major bastions of the "liberal media." The argument for this new war — buttressed with "facts" that as usual went unchallenged by the corporate scribes — is actually stronger and cleaner than the collection of conflicting mendacities that led to the invasion of Iraq. It is vain to hope that the Democrats, who have themselves demonized Iran with such ferocity, will stand against the call for the new war when it comes, in the terms now being established by the Administration.

The war drum sounded on Saturday morning in the New York Times — in the person of that ever-reliable conduit of dubious intel, reporter Michael Gordon, who played a key role in disseminating White House falsehoods in the run-up to assault on Iraq, but who, unlike his colleague in collusion, Judith Miller, has paid no professional price for uncritically conveying the lies of war-machinators to the American public. In the course of a report telling us how George W. Bush personally ordered American forces to put the squeeze on "Iranian networks" in Iraq, Gordon and co-writer David Sanger passed along the word from Condi Rice that Iran is directly involved in the "increasing lethality" of insurgent attacks on U.S. soldiers.

This report in the NYT — the agenda-setter for the national corporate media — provides the highest- level "confirmation" of a Friday report by CBS that relayed — again, uncritically — specific numbers of American dead and wounded from what "U.S. military figures" said were Iranian-supplied weapons:

"According to U.S. military figures, 198 American and British soldiers have been killed, and more than 600 wounded by advanced explosive devices manufactured in Iran and smuggled in through the southern marshes and along the Tigris River."

You can’t get any plainer than that. According to the Pentagon and the U.S. Secretary of State, Iran has already killed 198 American and British soldiers and wounded more than 600. What president would be denied approval — either beforehand or after the fact — for military action against a country that was actively slaughtering American troops in combat? This goes far beyond the potential "threat" from Saddam Hussein that Bush used to justify the invasion of Iraq. If even the possibility of an attack by an unfriendly country is regarded by the Bush Faction as legitimate grounds for a military assault, how much moreso is the actual killing of Americans by a foreign power?

Make no mistake: this is the marker that has now been put down; this is the card that’s been laid on the table. The Bush Administration has openly accused Iran of killing American soldiers in Iraq. Again, this is a charge far more resonant, far more effective as a pretext for war than anything offered during the successful stampede to invade Iraq. Even a president as weakened and isolated as Bush is at the moment would be able to get support for an attack on a state that was "killing our soldiers in the field."

And once again the Bush Faction’s masterful use of the corporate media — which many thought had utterly deserted them after the November electoral debacle — is shown in how the two most prominent members of what is laughingly known as "the liberal media" are being used to establish the casus belli against Iran: the New York Times and CBS. Despite their reputations of speaking truth to power — reputations not always (but mostly) undeserved — both media mavens obligingly delivered the Regime’s propaganda payload in reports that offer nary a demur or a nano-second of skepticism about the claims being offered.

Yet as Kurt Nimmo reminds us, the "sophisticated improvised explosive devices" that are causing the "increasingly lethality" in Iraq mentioned by Rice are in fact based on Anglo-American technology deployed by the UK security services during its dirty war with the IRA. In the mass infiltration of terrorist cells by the UK "security organs" — so reminiscent of Don Rumsfeld’s plan, now implemented, of "fomenting terrorism" by infiltrating American agents into violent groups and goading them into action — the IED technology fell into the IRA’s hands, which then provided it to groups around the world. What’s more, as Nimmo notes, all of this was reported in October 2005 by the UK’s Independent on Sunday, which wrote:

"…soldiers, who were targeted by insurgents as they traveled through [Iraq], died after being attacked with bombs triggered by infra-red beams. The bombs were developed by the IRA using technology passed on by the security services in a botched ‘sting’ operation more than a decade ago…. This contradicts the British government’s claims that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is helping Shia insurgents to make the devices.

"The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that the bombs and the firing devices used to kill the soldiers, as well as two private security guards, were initially created by the UK security services as part of a counter-terrorism strategy at the height of the troubles in the early 1990s. According to security sources, the technology for the bombs used in the attacks, which were developed using technology from photographic flash units, was employed by the IRA some 15 years ago after Irish terrorists were given advice by British agents."

Nimmo goes on to note that:

"In fact, the devices were made in America. ‘In late 1993 and early 1994, I went to America with officers from MI5, the FRU and RUC special branch. They had already sourced the transmitters and receivers in New York following liaison with their counterparts in the FBI,’ Kevin Fulton, who infiltrated the IRA in the Newry area while being handled by the Force Research Unit, told [Ireland’s] Sunday Tribune in June, 2002. Fulton’s trip was confirmed by the FBI, according to Matthew Teague, writing for the Atlantic. The Independent on Sunday ‘has also spoken to a republican who was a senior IRA member in the early 1990s. He confirmed that Mr. Fulton had introduced the IRA to the new technology and that the IRA shared this with ‘like-minded organizations abroad.’"

Now, it may well be that Iran has made a pact with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq to supply them with high-powered IEDs — at the same time that Iranian-backed Shiite parties and militias (a.k.a. the Bush-installed Iraqi government) are carrying out mass ethnic cleansing operations against Sunni strongholds. Maybe the Sunni insurgents promised not to use any of the Iranian weapons against the Shiites who are destroying them. And hey, maybe the Iranian-connected, Shiite-led Iraqi government is fully on board with this deal by its Tehran mentors to supply deadly weapons to the Shiites’ deadliest foes in order to kill the Shiites’ main protectors, the Americans. This at any rate is the scenario you have to swallow in order to find the Bush Regime’s assertions credible. (And in a remarkable and telling instance of projection, the usual unnamed Bush officials also told the credulous clerk Gordon that "Iran is engaged in a policy of ‘managed chaos’ in Iraq" — a phrase that pretty much sums up the entire four years of the Bush rapine in Iraq.)

In any case, the sophisticated asymmetrical weaponry being used against Americans in Iraq need not have come from Iran; it has been around for a long time, and originated in the heart of the "Coalition" itself: yet another piece of deadly blowback from the dirty wars of the security organs that have done so much to shape the hell that afflicts us all today. But the media amnesia that has already sunk the Independent’s revelations full fathom five — and the unquestioning, uncritical retailing of unconfirmed assertions by an Administration of proven liars clearly bent on more war — means we are being plunged blindly once again into monstrous, blood-soaked folly.