Bush's Nuclear Apocalypse: Iran
by Chris Hedges
ttp://www.truthdig.com/, Oct 9,
Editor's Note: The former Middle East
bureau chief for The New York Times and author of the bestseller
"War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" reports on Bush's
plan for Iran, and how a callous war, conceived by zealots, will
lead to a disaster of biblical proportions.
The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied
by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, guided-missile destroyer
USS Ramage, guided-missile destroyer USS Mason and the fast-attack
submarine USS Newport News, is, as I write, making its way to
the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. The ships will be in place to
strike Iran by the end of the month. It may be a bluff. It may
be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power. But I
War with Iran-a war that would unleash
an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East-is probable by the
end of the Bush administration. It could begin in as little as
three weeks. This administration, claiming to be anointed by
a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle
East, defined three states at the start of its reign as "the
Axis of Evil." They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea,
which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran.
Those who do not take this apocalyptic rhetoric seriously have
ignored the twisted pathology of men like Elliott Abrams, who
helped orchestrate the disastrous and illegal contra war in Nicaragua,
and who now handles the Middle East for the National Security
Council. He knew nothing about Central America. He knows nothing
about the Middle East. He sees the world through the childish,
binary lens of good and evil, us and them, the forces of darkness
and the forces of light. And it is this strange, twilight mentality
that now grips most of the civilian planners who are barreling
us towards a crisis of epic proportions.
These men advocate a doctrine of permanent
war, a doctrine which, as William R. Polk points out, is a slight
corruption of Leon Trotsky's doctrine of permanent revolution.
These two revolutionary doctrines serve the same function, to
intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents,
to create permanent instability and fear and to silence domestic
critics who challenge leaders in a time of national crisis. It
works. The citizens of the United States, slowly being stripped
of their civil liberties, are being herded sheep-like, once again,
over a cliff. __But this war will be different. It will be catastrophic.
It will usher in the apocalyptic nightmares spun out in the dark,
fantastic visions of the Christian right. And there are those
around the president who see this vision as preordained by God;
indeed, the president himself may hold such a vision.
The hypocrisy of this vaunted moral crusade
is not lost on those in the Middle East. Iran actually signed
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has violated a codicil
of that treaty written by European foreign ministers, but this
codicil was never ratified by the Iranian parliament. I do not
dispute Iran's intentions to acquire nuclear weapons nor do I
minimize the danger should it acquire them in the estimated five
to 10 years. But contrast Iran with Pakistan, India and Israel.
These three countries refused to sign the treaty and developed
nuclear weapons programs in secret. Israel now has an estimated
400 to 600 nuclear weapons. The word "Dimona," the
name of the city where the nuclear facilities are located in Israel,
is shorthand in the Muslim world for the deadly Israeli threat
to Muslims' existence. What lessons did the Iranians learn from
our Israeli, Pakistani and Indian allies?
Given that we are actively engaged in
an effort to destabilize the Iranian regime by recruiting tribal
groups and ethnic minorities inside Iran to rebel, given that
we use apocalyptic rhetoric to describe what must be done to the
Iranian regime, given that other countries in the Middle East
such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are making noises about developing
a nuclear capacity, and given that, with the touch of a button
Israel could obliterate Iran, what do we expect from the Iranians?
On top of this, the Iranian regime grasps that the doctrine of
permanent war entails making "preemptive" and unprovoked
Those in Washington who advocate this
war, knowing as little about the limitations and chaos of war
as they do about the Middle East, believe they can hit about 1,000
sites inside Iran to wipe out nuclear production and cripple the
850,000-man Iranian army. The disaster in southern Lebanon, where
the Israeli air campaign not only failed to break Hezbollah but
united most Lebanese behind the militant group, is dismissed.
These ideologues, after all, do not live in a reality-based universe.
The massive Israeli bombing of Lebanon failed to pacify 4 million
Lebanese. What will happen when we begin to pound a country of
70 million people? As retired General Wesley K. Clark and others
have pointed out, once you begin an air campaign it is only a
matter of time before you have to put troops on the ground or
accept defeat, as the Israelis had to do in Lebanon. And if we
begin dropping bunker busters, cruise missiles and iron fragmentation
bombs on Iran this is the choice that must be faced-either sending
American forces into Iran to fight a protracted and futile guerrilla
war or walking away in humiliation.
"As a people we are enormously forgetful,"
Dr. Polk, one of the country's leading scholars on the Middle
East, told an Oct. 13 gathering of the Foreign Policy Association
in New York. "We should have learned from history that foreign
powers can't win guerrilla wars. The British learned this from
our ancestors in the American Revolution and re-learned it in
Ireland. Napoleon learned it in Spain. The Germans learned it
in Yugoslavia. We should have learned it in Vietnam and the Russians
learned it in Afghanistan and are learning it all over again in
Chechnya and we are learning it, of course, in Iraq. Guerrilla
wars are almost unwinnable. As a people we are also very vain.
Our way of life is the only way. We should have learned that
the rich and powerful can't always succeed against the poor and
An attack on Iran will ignite the Middle
East. The loss of Iranian oil, coupled with Silkworm missile
attacks by Iran on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, could send
oil soaring to well over $110 a barrel. The effect on the domestic
and world economy will be devastating, very possibly triggering
a huge, global depression. The 2 million Shiites in Saudi Arabia,
the Shiite majority in Iraq and the Shiite communities in Bahrain,
Pakistan and Turkey will turn in rage on us and our dwindling
allies. We will see a combination of increased terrorist attacks,
including on American soil, and the widespread sabotage of oil
production in the Gulf. Iraq, as bad as it looks now, will become
a death pit for American troops as Shiites and Sunnis, for the
first time, unite against their foreign occupiers.
The country, however, that will pay the
biggest price will be Israel. And the sad irony is that those
planning this war think of themselves as allies of the Jewish
state. A conflagration of this magnitude could see Israel drawn
back in Lebanon and sucked into a regional war, one that would
over time spell the final chapter in the Zionist experiment in
the Middle East. The Israelis aptly call their nuclear program
"the Samson option." The Biblical Samson ripped down
the pillars of the temple and killed everyone around him, along
If you are sure you will be raptured into
heaven, your clothes left behind with the nonbelievers, then this
news should cheer you up. If you are rational, however, these
may be some of the last few weeks or months in which to enjoy
what is left of our beleaguered, dying republic and way of life.