Editor's Note: These reader comments address our recent stories on the possibility of a U.S. war with Iran: "Bush Is Hiding the Ball on Iran" and "Iran Clock Is Ticking."

Terrific piece on Bush and Iran. It's not like we haven't seen this script before. And all the actors are playing their predictable roles. What I can't understand is why. Bush is mired in the 30s in the polls, and the Democrats control Congress. The public has no taste for more war. So what are the Democrats afraid of? Are they going to stand by and allow a war to happen because they're afraid of the Israeli lobby? Is that what it is about?

And is the news media in this country still this afraid of Bush or so hidebound that they can't break out of the predictable pattern of protecting the most unpopular president in our lifetime? You're absolutely right. We should be reading front-page stories about the catastrophe an attack on Iran would create.

Even most Republicans and their corporatist supporters don't want a war with Iran. I always thought that at some point the corporatists would send a message to Bush and Cheney and say, "Enough is enough." Hell, maybe the corporatists can't even control these guys any longer. And that's really frightening!

When you stand back and look at what's happened since Bush became president, it's as though we're living through a Joseph Heller novel. Nobody would believe it. I just don't get it.

Phil Hall
Tarrytown, New York

--

Robert Parry is either naive or ill-informed.  I would be astonished if we didn't have plans for attacking Iran, as well as Pakistan, Syria, and a whole host of other places.  A military which hasn't thought about eventualities and planned for them isn't prepared to fight, and is worse than useless.

Mary McLemore
Pike Road, AL

--

Great work on getting to the truth of George Bush's operative instincts and philosophies as a war-initiator.

People have often searched for the real reasons he took this country to war with Iraq.  I think he really believes with utmost delusional sincerity that he cannot fail to act on his predictive assumptions.

Now Iran looms, and all the power is in his hands.

A nation need only be "hostile" and with a "potential" to develop WMD, and Bush will readily fill in the rest of the scenario: that nation MIGHT have willing terrorist saboteur allies, to whom that nation MIGHT hand over the bomb, who then MIGHT attempt and pull off a terrible nuclear attack in our territory. That's a lot of MIGHTS.  It could actually happen. Such an act is plausibly untraceable to a state power, and looms as the potential disaster of the triumph of the diabolical in our time - the latter stages of the nuclear age. The dreaded immune-to-mutual-assured-destruction third world dictator with the bomb.

Such instincts beg the question: does Bush possess some kind of divine foresight, or rather, does he self-fulfill the prophesy instead by provoking  innocent foreigners to wrath. It also begs the question of whether he was stewing privately for the decade prior to his coming into office, over his father's and party's forgotten and disgraced legacy from the Gulf War. And what is it that prompted him to magnify the will to vengeance in Saddam Hussein's heart?  Was it the butchery, treachery, and skullduggery committed by America in those days, that we are not supposed to know about?

Besides his gut instincts, the other immutable is the great philosophy so ably proven by his icon Ronald Reagan - PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH. This ideology is unassailable to him and his fellow ideologues. It ALWAYS means ALWAYS show them who's boss, and it cannot have bad consequences.  For instance, it wasn't images of bounty in the west and Sagan's nuclear winter proof and the rise of the bluejean generation and the passing away of old-line communists and the coming of Gorbachev in the Soviet Union that brought down the wall, it was Reagan all by himself.

We are stuck with a longing for peace-through-strength, embodied in the unitary executive. And with the ascendancy of ignorant, reactionary bullies armchair-quarterbacking our foreign policy.

This is the age of schizophrenia - the "twenty-first century schizoid man" - where self-justification for one's crimes and mistakes has replaced confession and contrition; and never admitting failure means keeping the wool pulled over your fellow citizen's eyes while never learning from your mistakes. 

The catch phrase for this present folly - War on Terror - is a misnomer, of course. The best short phrase I can come up with to replace it is "War on Blowback".  We need to cut them down before they get us back. The fact that we're responsible for heartless massacres and state-internal manipulations overseas is what they don't want you to know. That is carefully masked by this coinage of a phrase.

David Hamilton
Little Rock, Arkansas

--

Great article "Bush is Hiding the Ball on Iran." Keep the pressure on the spineless Dems--expose their duplicity, their hyper-pro Israeli positions, their inability to take a stand against war. It is the because the US lacks a credible, sincere opposition that allows the madness to continue. Only people like Barbara Lee, who voted against the war in Iraq, are able to see the light. The rest are just a bunch of hacks and opportunists, who are so afraid of being labeled "unpatriotic" that they are unable of standing up to the fascists in pin stripe suits now in DC.

Someone in DC must stand up and say "Being patriotic means defying the military-industrial complex and its addiction to war." Until this is done, this perpetual madness will never end.

And continue to keep up the pressure on Israel, the brother madmen. Because of Israel's nuclear monopoly in the Middle East, it feels it can do as it pleases. It also helps knowing it effectively controls the US government. Until someone stands up and says "The real axis of evil for humankind is the US and Israeli governments addiction to war" the perpetual madness will never end.

We are now at a crossroads. Either we wake up and smell the coffee or we are doomed. The people in power in DC are as fascists in pinstripes. There are no swastikas, there are no military fatigues, there is no public gestapo, there are no Seig Heils. But there is a plan for world domination well documented, there is a gulag in Guantanamo, there is an apparatus to control populations, (NSA, FBI, Homeland Security), there is an outlaw regime which violates all international laws, the Geneva conventions, and numerous treaties.

How long is it going to take before someone uses the "f" word to describe the gang of thugs inhabiting the White House?

Charlie Kaften

--

"Israel also might initiate a conference on nuclear disarmament that would seek to make the Near East a nuclear-free zone with India, Pakistan and Israel phasing out their nuclear arsenals while securing international guarantees about Iran’s nuclear program."

I can't remember if we ever spoke about this. But apparently Saddam was telling his minions that Iraq would give up even the ambition for WMD if there were some kind of regional ban.

https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/chap1.html

# Saddam’s intent to maintain and compartment WMD capabilities was well known and often acknowledged by high level authorities, according to a senior Al Kindi State Company official. The Minister of Military Industrialization allegedly told the source that Saddam wanted a WMD program “on the shelf.” Huwaysh, in a written statement, explained instead that Saddam briefed senior officials on several occasions saying, “We do not intend or aspire to return to our previous programs to produce WMD, if the Security Council abides by its obligations pertaining to these resolutions [UNSCR 687, paragraph 14].” Saddam reiterated this point in a cabinet meeting in 2002, according to Dr. Humam ‘Abd-al-Khaliq ‘Abd-al Ghafur, the former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

# Huwaysh believed that Saddam would base his decision regarding future Iraqi WMD development on how the Security Council followed through on its promise in paragraph 14 to establish “in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery.” If this promise was not fulfilled, Iraq should be free to act in its own interests. During an earlier debrief Huwaysh speculated that Iraq would have reconstituted many of its proscribed programs within five years if OIF had not occurred.

Jonathan Schwarz

--

Excellent and precise analysis.  The attack on Iran will be THE distraction from Cheney's meltdown in the Libby trial.  You know, they always go for the distraction and the propaganda to hypnotize the already comatose American sheeple.  What a show!!!  Time to pass the popcorn!!!

As for the 'death squads' operating in Iraq, well I suppose you and I are the only ones on the planet who really know where they come from and who are their masters: a certain small Middle Eastern country whose only aim is to have a perpetually destabilized region from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. 

My prophecy: an attack on Iran will bring Russia, China, and India into an alignment against the US, not to say 2 billion Muslims worldwide also...

John
Santa Fe, NM

--

The only dilemma the Democrats face is whether they have a future at all. They are faced with two  challenges: one, to follow through on what they were elected to do, which is get the US out of Iraq now.  That means standing up to all the attacks that will be hurled at them about being unpatriotic and "losing"  Iraq. Everyone said the sky would fall in if we "lost" Vietnam and nothing of the kind happened. Now  everyone is trying to say Iraq is different, that this time the sky will really fall in. Utter nonsense!

The second challenge they face is whether they are going to allow the US and Israel to proceed with their plans for war against Iran. All the tell-tale signs are there, if anyone cares to see them. Step by step the administration officials are writing articles in the papers and appearing on talk shows about Iran's "unacceptable behavior." (Forget about the utter hypocrisy for a moment, which implies we have the right to occupy Iraq but no one else has the right to "meddle" in that country. Could anyone dream of a more grotesque form of hypocrisy?)
 
We are heading to Armageddon a lot faster than most people realize, except perhaps for Seymour Hersh, who a number of years ago warned the game plan was targeting Iran, with Iraq just a warm up. We had better heed his warning real fast and stop all the worrying about the feeble Democrats and the elections in 2008. At the rate things are going, those elections may never take place. Human life as we know it hangs in the balance.
 
Charlie Kaften

--

There was a recent news story about the recent "sophisticated" attack that killed 5 American soldiers. This is being blamed on Iran, but a lot of people, including me, think it is more likely to be a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident set up by this administration using the mercenary American forces many contractors keep on hand to defend themselves. I have heard only one mention (and I listen to a lot of news) that at least some US military experts are saying that after the ruse of Iraq's WMD, they are skeptical of this attack being connected to Iran. I have called my representatives, and expressed my suspicions and asked them if they can somehow access the media with their assertions that this administration is jumping to conclusions, and reveal that they have seen no convincing evidence of Iran's involvement. My Congressman and Senators are all Dems, and I worry about the strength of their spine.

Also, I have heard that el-Baradei, Scott Ritter and other nuclear inspectors, the military experts that Seymour Hersh is in touch with, and the CIA (which Negroponte agreed with) have found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. If there is an attack on Iran's nuclear installations with "tactical" nukes which will contaminate the environment with radiation, would it be possible, in retrospect, to prove that the Iranians were nowhere near the completion of a nuclear weapon? Or would the contamination make such a determination impossible? Would this be one of the reasons tactical nukes would be used, to confuse the source of radiation?, ie: the radiation could be from the tactical nukes used by Israel/US or could be from Iranian weapons that were supposedly under construction, and it would be impossible to tell.

Susan

--
This story is truly scary and it's scary that Consortium is the only place I am seeing it.  The word needs to get out that Bush is truly demented.

This is a reprise of the run up to Iraq, except the world is beginning to trace the pattern here.  Bush is out of control and cannot stand anyone telling him "no."

The way he throws around the word democracy, I don't think he truly understand the meaning.  It means that elections are the final word.

On some level, I think he does understand the word, as the February war date sounds as though he is trying to do an end run around Congress.  So he does understand that they can theoretically stop him.  Unfortunately, I am not sure (although individual Congressional members do) that Congress as a body understands that Bush will only stop when he is dragged kicking and screaming in handcuffs out of the White House.  The other remote possibility is the Armed Forces actually refuse to follow illegal orders.

Otherwise, I think we are faced with WWIII.  By that I think the world will line up against us militarily.  My husband believes that all that needs to happen is that world stops trading in dollars and redeems all its T-bills.  The second scenario involves less bombs and bullets, but will also cause immense destruction financially.

In any scenario, unless the other branches of the government can perform their function as brakes, we are in for a awfully wild ride and sooner than I thought, according to your report.

Ly in upstate NY

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.  

Back to Home Page