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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Bush prêt à la guerre en Iran

by Jacques Coubard

Bush Prepares for War Against Iran

Translated by Henry Crapo

Translated Wednesday 19 April 2006, by Henry Crapo

"War with Iran would be irresponsible, an insanity" writes the New York Times in an editorial. The debate on this question took a new turn this week, one not wished by Bush. The vacation days at his Texas ranch risk being disturbed.

No Americans journalists are ruling out the possibility of an intervention against Iran, the details of which had been revealed by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. And few of these journalists approve the increasingly clear intentions of the White House. The ambiguous declaration by the US president at Johns Hopkins University, that "Prevention doesn’t necessarily imply the use of force", a formulation that brings to mind George Orwell’s "War is Peace", does little to convince us that now is the time for diplomacy, as Bush pretends.

Iran, the new axis of evil

Inviting herself to Tehran to visit the head of the International Atomic Energy Commission, Mohamed El Baradei, urging him to be firm with the Iranian leaders, Condoleeza Rice has increased the tension. She demanded the UN make "a strong decision". The development of Iranian nuclear research is, for her, "unacceptable", and this leaves little margin for negotiation among those concerned. For his part, the White House spokesman Scott McClellan emphasized that Tehran "has a long-standing practice of disguising its nuclear activities and refuses to accept its international obligations". This is his way of saying that, in any case, one can’t trust Tehran - whatever they say. The scenario of preparing public opinion to accept a new war of aggression is thus in place. Iran is the new axis of evil, and, for the present at least, the polls approve an attack against Iran if it possesses nuclear weapons (48% against 40% in the Los Angeles Times poll.

The Heritage Foundation, an ideological think tank for the neo-conservatives, with close links to the White House, has declared that it "favors an aggressive diplomacy with a will to use force if necessary". Two of the Foundation experts, James Phillips and Brent Schaefer, hold that the United States ought to "act now", and that the US "cannot count on the United Nations, with its members having totally disparate interests, to save the situation".

The hawks are quite capable of launching their missiles in order to move back up a few percentage points in the polls. The menace inscribed in the logic of the "Strategy for National Security", which was updated last month (see the article ["A Strategy Elaborated Months Ago"]) was not foreign to Washington’s intentions with regard to Iran. From its opening sentences, the strategy hammers this incendiary proclamation, "America is at War".

David Ignatius, editorialist at the Washington Post, compares the present situation with the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, which John Kennedy defused by taking the time to negotiate with Krushchev (Moscow finally withdrew its missiles), and thus counsels patient negotiation. He cites Zbigniev Brzezinski, former counsel for security to President Jimmy Carter, who confided to him that "he thinks that the war with Iran will be the end of America in the world."

Bush is capable of repeating his crimes

Since the Bush administration has often shown that it is better at starting conflicts than at ending them, David Ignatius says with a certain irony, they should avoid making the same error. "A threat of war", he concludes, "would be more convincing if it were to appear slowly and surely that there is no other choice". Which nevertheless leaves a door open to the irresponsible madness of "legitimate preventative defense". The hawks are capable of launching their missiles in order to climb back up in the polls and to save the much compromised Republicans in the November elections, whose failure to be elected would open the gates to serious inquiries into the actions of the present government. This is the opinion of Paul Krugman in the New York Times, who poses the question: "When one considers the mixture of impudence and dishonesty exhibited by Bush when he launched the war against Iraq, why should we believe that he is incapable, as recidivist, of a similar crime today?"

Nevertheless, since the insanity of the campaign waged in 2003 against "Evil", as personified by Saddam Hussein, the White House has lost the advantage it had gained in the media. Its massive support in the media was wiped out by revelation of its lies about arms of mass destruction and by three years of a disastrous war.

Sure, the Democratic Party still remains hesitant to take a position in the face of this new campaign of fear-mongering. But John Kerry, candidate against Bush in the 2004 election, did at least call last Friday for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

A Revolt of the Generals?

A fifth American general, Charles Swannack, who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq, announced his resignation yesterday. Three days earlier, General Batiste expressed his regret for having participated in a "useless war". Not all share this evaluation, but could this be "a revolt of the generals", unlike any the United States has seen, asks the magazine Slate ? An officer on active duty in Iraq estimates that 75% of officers want Rumsfeld to quit...

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