Monday, August 4, 2008

Hersh: Cheney Considered Provoking War With Iran

Think Progress has an exclusive report on New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh's discovery that Dick “Shotgun” Cheney's office considered ginning up a provocation against Iran as a pretext for going to war.

The discussion in Cheney's office was provoked by the Iranian speedboat incident in January, 2008, in which the Bush administration alleged that five small unarmed Iranian speedboats accosted a US naval vessel.

One thing that Hersh, Think Progress and others have not mentioned is that the original incident was itself almost certainly a GOP provocation since unarmed speedboats do not actually pose a danger to US destroyers. Moreover, funny business went on with artificial matching of videotape to an audio transmission in English of undetermined origin. When I wrote about the Iranian video and audio at the time, wingnuts attacked me for allowing the other side to get a hearing. One technique of the right is to make sure only one voice can be heard, their own, and all other voices are condemned and marginalized as traitorous. It is so much easier to march people to war when there is only one public narrative available about its rights and wrongs.

The chief use of "patriotism" by the Right is for the sake of the Big Lie.

You wonder whether one of the side effects of the revelation of Operation Northwoods, when in 1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon signed off on a plot to kill innocent Americans on American soil and make it look as though Cubans in the employ of Castro had done it, was to remind Cheney and Bush of all the low techniques whereby war could be gotten up.

Certainly, we know that Bush and Blair considered trying to get Iraq to shoot at US surveillance planes painted in UN colours as a casus belli for the Iraq invasion. As it turned out, Bush decided he did not need any rationale at all to invade a country for no reason.

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