The following was published in June 2019. It’s the same old story. When will we ever learn?
The Trump administration has a problem: How to start another war – this time with Iran – without having a justifiable reason for one. No doubt members of Trump’s team, led by the war-thirsty and perdurable John Bolton, are working hard to solve this urgent problem. If they can’t find a justification, they may have to create one. Or perhaps they will find what they have already created. Whatever the solution, Americans should feel confident that their leaders, together with their Israeli and Saudi bedfellows, are not sitting on their hands. Crazy people do crazy things.
After the Gulf War in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it slowly became apparent what alternative media and war critics had insisted was the case before and during these wars: That the U.S. government had achieved a propaganda coup by tightly controlling the media access to the truth and by getting the mainstream media (MSM) to do their bidding. This ex post facto revelation was, of course, not prime time or front page news, but was reported bit-by-bit by critics or was buried deep within the news reports. While some of the truth arrived, it did so obliquely, and corporate media devotees went back to their gullible and comforting sleep.
Yet once again Americans are being played for fools by the government and MSM. The open secret, the insider’s fact, is that the U.S. plans to attack Iran if they can seduce enough Americans that they are threatened. The Trump people know this, the corporate media shills know it, for the Bush-Clinton-Obama scenario, written years ago, is to act as if it weren’t so, to act as if a peaceful solution were being seriously considered. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. all learned better. The U.S. never seeks a peaceful solution.
As in 1991 and 2003, the MSM play along with Trump, who repeatedly says, or has his spokespeople say, that the decision hasn’t been made and that the U.S. wants peace. Within a few hours this is contradicted and confusion and uncertainty reign, as planned. Chaos is the name of the game. But everyone in the know knows the decision to attack has been made at some level, especially once the propaganda dummies are all in place. But they pretend, while the media wait with baited breath as they anticipate their countdown to the dramatic moment when they report the incident that will “compel” the U.S. to attack.
The corporate media, however, always avoid the key question: How will the U.S. justify its fait accompli and what is its goal? This question is too disturbing to broach, for it suggests that the fix is in, the show is rigged, something is rotten in the symbiotic relationship between a government intent on war and a media in that government’s service.
What could, in the eyes of the American people, justify a war against Iran, assuming the Trump administration even cares about justification? Will Iran attack Israel? No. Will Iran attack the United States? No. Of course not, not least because it can’t, even if it wished to do so, which it clearly doesn’t. Any such Iranian attack – absurd as such a suggestion is – would give the Trump administration ample justification for a war.
So what is the administration to do now that the news from so many quarters – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. – is so bad? What, if they are intent on a war with Iran, are they going to do about the absence of a cause for war? It seems that they are in a dilemma.
“Seem” is the key word. Logically speaking, if there is a war plan, if there is a Bolton/Pompeo/Israeli scenario, then the gun on the wall in the first act of this deadly play, must go off in the final act, no matter how long it takes. The audience is being primed by the administration and their media mouthpieces to expect a “smoking gun.” But what might it be?
“Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun, that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” George W. Bush said at a staged pseudo-event on October 7, 2002 as he set Americans up for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It was all predictable, blatant deception. And the media played along with such an absurdity. Iraq obviously had no nuclear weapons or the slightest capability to deliver even a firecracker on the U.S.
Now Iran is the Nuclear devil. Now Iran must be stopped. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Iran has been and will be accused of developing nuclear weapons. Saddam was said to have had them; Iran only developing them, yet both lies need no evidence, just rhetoric.
Nevertheless, it might be claimed that secret “evidence” must be withheld on “national security” grounds or for fear of endangering Iranian informers or their families. Thus a preemptive attack could be justified on the grounds of preventing another “Ground Zero” (a misnomer when applied to the World Trade Center site, but conveniently evocative for stirring nuclear fears).
The American people, still severely shaken by the attacks of September 11, 2001, would surely be alarmed by such a “threat,” especially if it were linked to terrorism (on the high seas? In the air?), which has been the modus operandi of one administration after another. Aren’t we at war with terror? But it is a strategy – linking nuclear fears with terrorist fears – that the Trump administration may be hoping will cover its lack of evidence with emotional blackmail. But it is a strategy that may not work, since, for some very odd reason, people may prefer facts to fictions. I emphasize “may.”
Perhaps Trump’s neo-con henchmen’s best option, therefore, is to promote or create a Tonkin Gulf incident, “unprovoked aggression against American forces,” as Lyndon Johnson put it when he lied to the world in order to get the war he wanted after JFK had been disposed of by the CIA. It worked in 1964, so it might work again, especially with the help of our special “ally” in the region – Israel. And today’s attackers won’t be aggressors, they will be terrorists, which seals the deal. Bombs away!
It’s hard to say with certainty what justification the Trump war-crazies will settle on, but time is running out for them. The news is bad from every corner, so something must be done.
Many years of secret American/Israeli planning for an attack upon Iran can’t be wasted.
The stage is set. The charade continues. The MSM keep preparing us for the “smoking gun.” Something’s got to give, and propaganda geniuses are working overtime on delivering us an Oscar-winning justification.
Don’t buy it.
Especially since you’ve heard this before, and I’ve written it. With a few minor changes and the substitution of Iran for Iraq, this column was published on the morning before George W’s infamous (the 16 words about uranium from Niger) State of the Union Address on January 28, 2003, fifty-one days before the invasion of Iraq, and one week before Colin Powell’s lies at the United Nations.
Shocked and surprised should be words eliminated from our vocabularies.
19 thoughts on “The War Hoax Redux”
“I lament what my country has become” etc. But perhaps it has always been this way.”
Not to complicate communications; YES…, 500 years of barbarism ! We have yet to become civilized !
I feel it’s not quite accurate to compare Trump with Bush and 2019 with 2003. In addition to the fact that Iran is more powerful than Iraq was in 2003 and that Russia and China are much more powerful now than in 2003, Trump himself absolutely doesn’t want war with Iran. He is a businessman, not a neocon like president Cheney, and he knows another war in the ME would mean the end of his electoral chances in 2020. He knows his base and numerous antiwar independents made possible his victory in 2016 because Hillary was widely and correctly viewed as a warmonger. My impression is that Trump is mistakenly trying to use business-deal quasi-mafia logic in an international setting, where it is dangerous and totally inappropriate. Perhaps he is trying to act as the “good cop” to the “bad cops,” Dolton and Pompius Maximus, whom he is using to try to scare the Iranian leaders into submission and starve the Iranian people into submission. So the main question seems to be, can Trump really control the bad cops, who actually believe their ridiculous fantasy that a hated Quisling organization like MEK could persuade the Iranian people to overthrow their current government? It is better to act now and not wait passively for an answer to this question.
Is there a way to escape from Trump’s idiotic and very dangerous brinkmanship? In addition to reviving the antiwar movement, which Obama cleverly deconstructed almost completely, there is perhaps another way, too, since Trump seems to badly want to be reelected. This way requires progressives to overcome narrow Trumpophobia and learn to detach themselves from the Dem Party as much as from the Repub Party. If we can learn to see both parties objectively, see them as equally tied to the military industrial complex and equally dangerous when it comes to foreign policy, if we can learn to see Pence and Adam Schiff as equally unhinged and learn to deal with the fact that the Dem party is now becoming the party of choice for young neocons, then we have a chance to affect Trump’s Iran policy. Why? Let’s look at a possible example of an effective action. If progressives could bring themselves to praise Tucker Carlson — who is, after all, the only major newscaster to have strongly criticized Trump’s missile attacks on Syria based on zero evidence and to have seriously questioned US intervention in Venezuela — for apparently persuading Trump in private not to bomb Iran after the recent drone shootdown, if we could do that, then we could also flood the White House with letters demanding that Trump fire Bolton and Pompeo and that he get real like a businessman should and start reducing some of the sanctions on Iran and begin negotiating. A major expression of antiwar sentiment from a non-partisan and non-party-affiliated segment of the American public might jolt Trump just enough to push him into making the required firings. I personally would like to see a large-scale petition effort supporting Tucker Carlson for the new Secretary of State. As for the post-Bolton National Security Advisor, does anyone have any good ideas Trump might accept? How about Tulsi Gabbard?! She is surprisingly popular among some in Trump’s base for her critique of US ME wars. In any case, Trump is very vulnerable right now, and it’s possible he can be moved in a way that Cheney-Bush couldn’t be moved in 2003. Trump is also very vain and very conscious of his media image, so progressives should engage in an image struggle that transcends party lines. Surely it’s worth a try.
One last thing. It may well be that the timing of the latest Bolton-Pompeo anti-Iran offensive is dictated by their anxious desire to protect their jobs, especially after their Venezuela defeat, since Trump has recently been criticizing his advisors for liking war too much. At the same time, Trump himself has been using the Iran situation as a media blitz to act as the “patriotic” background for starting his reelection campaign and also to deflect national attention away from the grandstanding being done by Nadler, Schiff, Warren, and other Dems who are yelling about impeachment and worse. Progressives who support impeachment are, in my opinion, unwittingly also supporting an increase in dangerous, bellicose actions against Iran. And impeachment, even if supported by the Senate, would only bring us Pence, who is even worse than Trump. So I hope progressives will see the integral link between the impeachment bandwagon and the Iran-bashing bandwagon. At times like this our duopoly party system reveals itself to be a major threat to world peace.
Chris, I may not agree with everything you say, but the gist of your comment strikes a chord. Important and contentious social issues have long divided the left and right, as we all know, but right now there seem to be people on the progressive left and the responsible right who are in substantial agreement concerning America’s imperialism and criminal foreign policy. Jimmy Dore, for example, has recently been highlighting and faintly praising Tucker Carlson for challenging the deep state/MSM narrative from within the MSM itself. While purists on both the left and right will undoubtedly remain content with continuing hatred of the political other, maybe there are some of us who, as you suggest, can begin to build common ground in foreign policy, without papering over our differences on crucial domestic issues. Since the broad base you envision would be necessary to generate sufficient citizen pressure to rein in our rampant Exceptional Nation aggression, might necessity be not only the mother of invention but also an impetus to begin the healing of what has become our bitterly divided, belligerently violent country. On my better days, in my better moments, I would like to think so.
With you, Newton Finn, “I lament what my country has become” etc. But perhaps it has always been this way. The “power infinitely higher
than any nation or empire” may arrange justice somehow in the form of cosmic karma; but I don’t expect to see it on this earth in my lifetime.
Robert and other readers: I just stumbled upon this in my email box this morning. Thought it was worth sharing to supplement Ed’s “War Hoax” post and the comments made to it so far:
Funny coincidence, Newton. Jim Kavanagh, who is the Polemicist, and I went to the same Jesuit high school, Regis, in NYC. Jim’s work is great!!
Jim, For sure! Your article is great. Ed
Thank you, Dr. Curtin, for your well-informed, well-reasoned, well-expressed counter- MSM articles. What are the CHANCES, do you think, that you and the many other enlightening writers of the internet can ultimately–and, preferably, very soon–disabuse a majority of U.S. citizens from the propaganda of our corporacratic government?
I don’t know the chances, Bob. I just write what I think, knowing the results are out of my hands. It’s an uphill battle. Thanks, Ed
If the trio of Bolton, Pompeo and Trump – (our nuclear armed version of “The Three Stooges” of foreign policy) – are in reality simply dusting off and playing out the old Nixon “madman” routine for the world, well, mission accomplished. They do appear quite “mad” by any meaningful assessment. The notion that they can ignite a war against Iran that doesn’t end with mushroom clouds would appear to require either complete detachment from reality, or true madness rather than the posturing variety.
Gary – It’s hard to know with these people, many of whom are truly insane. Let’s hope the mildly sane ones in the government prevail. Ed
Lots of suppositions and possibilities. The US and Israel were stopped by a middleweight [Syria]–Iran is closer to a heavy weight–and what if they do have the bomb [as some allege]–that adds another distinct level of destruction. Unless, they [Iranian government] are in on it [war is after all against the civilian population–to keep them in check]–how would that play out [no meaningful attack on Israel]. What about Hezbollah–they will not be in on it–they will attack Israel. And Trump–it is said that he is against military action in both Venezuela and Iran–and yet they [Jewish Russian Mafiya] have his balls in a vise grip. And finally, most importantly, what about Russia and China [unless they are also in on it, i.e., Orwell’s 3 superstates] they cannot let the US take out Iran–they would have to retaliate against the US imperialism. And if they don’t–than Orwell’s 1984 is certainly upon us and we the people lose either way.
Unless, we the people– understand that we are not who we think we are–that we are spirits in bodies–equal in power to any man–and that we, as American citizens, have unalienable rights as articulated in one of our primary legal documents–the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” : So lets dance!
Gary – yes, suppositions, but with some history to support them. We shall see. Yes, let’s dance and raise out voices in protest. Ed
I’m no military analyst, but what little I can glean from alternative media sources is that while Iran cannot inflict any damage on American territory, it is capable of inflicting massive damage on Israeli territory. What is at stake here may well be thousands of Israeli lives, the devastation of its major population centers. Likely the same for the Saudis. And as Ed and his link point out, there would also likely be major disruption of the global economy. That’s why, I hope and pray, this Iran situation, despite appearances, will not be a replay of Iraq “shock and awe,” followed by invasion and occupation. I’ll never forget sitting in my family room, watching the TV screen showing a picture of Baghdad in the distance, bathed in an eerie green glow, as the media prepared to bring the “show” to the American public, to celebrate it with them. Even as I watched, I kept telling myself that no, W wouldn’t go through with this criminally insane attack, that it all had to be a bluff, an exercise of brinkmanship…but, of course, it wasn’t. I think the reason was that Iraq was powerless to fight back; it could not inflict suffering, only suffer. Iran would be an entirely different situation, IF it does indeed have the military capacity not only to close the Strait of Hormuz but also to inflict substantial damage on two of our closest allies, intimate partners in the crime of American imperialism. Only time will tell if my hope will again prove forlorn, but maybe all of this false flag BS is a only lead-up to a so-called surgical missile strike (horrible enough), instead of a full-blown war. Either way, I will refrain this time around from watching another sickening TV show and simply simmer in anger, lament what my country has become, and pray for justice from a power infinitely higher than any nation or empire. May God bless America with the last thing it wants: an opportunity, perhaps a necessity, to repent.
I have suspicions regarding the Iraq invasion. Among many spoils, the geographical location may have been the primary intent. It might be, that surrounding Iran was the most strategic part of the PNAC agenda. Iran has always been THE target, for 40 years or so. Iran attack plans were reported to have been planned, and even posted as a memo in the Pentagon, within weeks of 9/11. This according to General Wesley Clark, Who was Supreme Allied Commander Europe. “7 countries in 5 years”, ending with Iran. Iraq, Libya, Syria, lebanon, sudan, somalia, and finishing with Iran. Precisely ‘Project for the New American Century’s’ plan, published in 2000. The bad news is, the Project also spoke of “full spectrum dominance” and “global hegemony”, with the end game being China. The real end game is to stop China from becoming the next superpower.
Newton – We sure have a lot to repent for. Ed
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