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Are We Replaying Iraq ... In Iran?

Sunday, 18 July 2010 19:45
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attends graduation ceremonies at West Point, 05/23/09. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates attends graduation ceremonies at West Point, 05/23/09. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)



Reader Supported News | Perspective

n July 15, 2010, Time Magazine carried an article entitled, "An Attack on Iran: Back on the Table." According to the piece, the point man for this growing belligerency is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. It is to be noted that when the same Robert Gates served the infamous George W. Bush (the year was 2008), he actually helped talk that president out of attacking Iran. At the time we were bogged down in Iraq and so yet another war in the Middle East was, according to Gates, "the last thing we need." Now it is 2010 and we are bogged down in Afghanistan. No matter, Mr. Gates appears to have changed his mind. Or perhaps, he has been instructed to do so. "I don't think we're prepared to even talk about a nuclear Iran.... We do not accept the idea of Iran having nuclear weapons."

All of this is mighty strange. First of all, there is no supportable evidence that Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons. UN inspections and even US intelligence reports fail to support this conclusion. This being the case, why does Robert Gates speak as if a nuclear Iran is imminent? One possibility is that he and others in Washington are working from assumptions based on what the US would do if it was in Iran's shoes. To understand this better we can ask what Mr. Gates and President Obama would do if, magically transformed into Iran's leaders, they were confronted with the following questions and answers?

Who backed Saddam Hussein in his war on Iran? The United States. Who attacked Iraq and then blamed much of the resistance coming from Shia quarters on Iran? The United States. Who has virtually surrounded Iran with potentially hostile military bases? The United States. Who has very likely abetted violent terror attacks by some of Iran's minority groups? The United States. Who now speaks of Iran in tones remarkably similar to those used for Iraq prior to invasion of that country? The United States. Who speaks almost daily of launching a military attack on Iran? America's number one "ally" Israel. Who characterized Iran as one of the three "rogue" states making up the axis of evil? The United States. And finally, and perhaps most relevant to our present situation, which one of those three "rogue" states has not been invaded or threatened with attack by the United States? The one with the nuclear weapons (North Korea). The Defense Secretary does not have to be a genius to assume that, despite the lack of hard evidence, Iran might very well seek to be nuclear-armed. Because that is almost certainly what Washington would do if it were in Tehran's place.

At this point someone ought to stop and ask why the United States cares if Iran has one or two or three nuclear warheads for defensive purposes? In modern times Iran has never invaded or even attacked another country unless it was attacked first. The whole notion that Amadinejad wants to "wipe Israel off the map" is a Zionist propaganda story based on a mistranslated speech. It is on the same level as the neo-con tale about Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti infants out of incubators. Also, given the description above, the US could easily help remove most of the fears that might be driving Iran in a nuclear direction. That is because those fears are mostly a function of American policies. Just a month or so ago Washington actually had an opportunity to lay this whole nuclear controversy to rest when Turkey and Brazil succeeded in negotiating third party enrichment for Iran's nuclear fuel. Obama failed to pursue it. Instead, he has sent Robert Gates out to talk tough. To tell us that the "military option is back on the table." Time Magazine also informs us that US Army Central Command "which is in charge of organizing military operations in the Middle East" has "made real progress in planning targeted air strikes [against Iran]." And, perhaps the scariest part of all this, "Israel has been brought in to the planning process."

There is something not right about this. We are missing a vital piece to this puzzle. I want to say that I usually do not believe in reducing complicated issues to a one simple cause. But I must confess, that when I think about our present situation relative to Iran, my mind is taken back to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's "The Israeli Lobby," and particularly to the 32 pages they devote to showing what a great role the American Zionists and their neo-con allies played in getting George W. Bush, the Congress, and much of the American public so hyped up with lies and distortions that we all ran right off the cliff into a disastrous war. How many Americans remember that? How many news reporters, who like to pretend to be professional journalists, point this out to their readers and listeners? On both accounts it seems the answer is precious few. Our incredibly short historical memory is a serious problem, and it means that our history can repeat itself.

The Time article tries to soften its message by asserting that President Obama is still "skeptical ... about a military strike." It implies that Obama knows that such an action would "unify the Iranian people" and also "unify much of the world including Russia and China ... against a recowboyfied US." We might add to this that Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon would likely explode in an anti-US and anti-Israel frenzy. The Persian Gulf oil lanes would turn into a battleground, and Hezbollah would likely proceed to make northern Israel uninhabitable.

Even if this assessment of an aware and skeptical Obama is accurate, surely the president is still playing with fire when he helps sustain the Iran nuclear hype. So we must ask why he risks scaring the American public in a manner reminiscent of the Bush administration? If we follow the Mearsheimer and Walt line, and I think there is something to it, the most likely answer is that he seeks to mollify the American Zionists so as to politically neutralize them through the November elections. After all, given the power of the American Zionist lobby, Middle East foreign policy has been converted to domestic political policy.

If Obama is in fact hyping the Iran nuclear issue for domestic political gain, it is a foolish strategy. The Zionist lobby will work very hard against Obama and the Democrats come November, whatever tact he takes on Iran. He is also setting himself up for the accusation of being soft on the Iranians when, hopefully, he does not follow through on Gates' belligerent talk. This may, unfortunately, come back to bite him in the next presidential election. It would be much wiser to tell the truth about both Iran and Israel. Tell the American people that Iran is no real threat to the United States, but Israel and its Zionist operatives always have been and still are a great threat. They have drained us of much national treasure, they have corrupted our Congress and political parties, and they contributed to our unnecessary but horridly bloody invasion of Iraq.

And now they want us to attack Iran. Morton Klein, the fanatical leader of the Zionist Organization of America, wants you to believe that a nuclear Iran will give atomic weapons to terrorists. To avoid this Washington will be forced into an "unending series of concessions" amounting to "nuclear blackmail" (Philadelphia Inquirer July 17, 2010). There is not a shred of evidence for this assertion and a lot of evidence that suggests it is absolutely wrong. The Shia Iranians fear and dislike the Sunnis of Al Qaeda. They have cooperated with the US, even under the Bush administration, in the "war against terrorism." And, they have their own terrorist problems that encourage them to continue to aid us in this regard. But, Mr. Klein and his Zionist cohorts are not interested in facts. They are interested in solidifying the fraying American alliance with Israel. Scare tactics serve their purpose, just as they did in the case of Iraq. And Obama seems to be going along with this fraudulent campaign.

It is a dangerous situation. It bears repeating that Americans have short historical memories and are easily manipulated by the media and government spokesmen who supply most of them with "the news." If history does repeat itself, don't blame Iran. More accurately, you can blame the American Zionists and their new partners in propaganda, the Obama administration.


Lawrence Davidson is a professor of Middle East history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, and author of the works listed below.

Contributing Editor: Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture

"Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest"

"America's Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood"

"Islamic Fundamentalism"

Click here to endorse the Palestinian Call for Boycott:

Click here to visit Birzeit University's Right to Education Site:

Keep your eye on the language: When South Africa assigned rights according to race they called it apartheid. When Israel assigns rights according to religion they call it the only democracy in the Middle East.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


+6 # Guest 2010-07-18 23:45
The U.S. stance against Iran is but one thing: part of the Israeli agenda. It is evident the U.S. is controlled by Israel when we resist Iran going nuclear while we say nothing about the stockpile of atom bombs in Israel. - George Beres
+1 # Guest 2010-07-20 17:46
I agree, this nation has been co opted by that Zionist nation and is being driven to ruin as a result of this odious relationship.
+11 # Guest 2010-07-19 02:11
Here we go again, Professor Davidson is right. We are hearing all the same hype that we did before the attack on Iraq. I am shocked that Gates is talking tough.
He KNOWS that our military can not take on any more. Our exhausted men and women are at the breaking point. Last month saw the highest number of military suicides.
Still that is not the worst. If we were stupid enough to attack Iran, not only would we face the consequences the professor mentioned, we would totally destroy our own country. Forget about improving the job situation for the oil prices would go through the roof, and we would surely feel the wrath of the world.
The president has to stop this crazy talk.We MUST speak out. We cannot be complacent. We need to speak out loud and clear, no Shout out.
Osama bin Laden must be thrilled. He started the destruction of our country, and we took it from there
-12 # Guest 2010-07-19 04:34
Lawrence Davidson always writes from an anti Israeli point of view. He states that Israel "speaks almost daily of launching an attack on Iran" which is not true. He attacks Americans who support Israel as only being Zionist operatives which is a distortion of the widespread support for Israel in the USA among the American population. Professor Davidson supports the on going effort among those who think like he does and would completely alter the United States Israeli alliance. Clearly between the lines in his writings Mr. Davidson is attacking the supposed influence that he thinks Jews have in America in general and in particular in this article in foreign policy. Why doesn't the RSN pick another expert on Middle East politics and history to explain the other side of this one sided and vitriolic attack on Israel and its supporters in the USA?
+2 # Guest 2010-07-19 09:19
Truth bites. The true Americans should think and care for what is in their best interest. Protection of Israel under any or all circumstances is not in the best interest of America.

Mr. J.Weiner is closing his eyes to all the true facts narrated by Professor Davidson and making a very weak defense for Israel.
+2 # Guest 2010-07-19 17:15
What Weiner writes in response to the Iraq-Iran parallel created by Israel turns facts upside down, which results in invalidating his view. The U.S. public is brainwashed certainly about Israel, but it is in behalf of Israel by mass media and legislators controlled by Israel. The techniques become obvious when one reads a book by a former Republican Congressman, Paul Findley of Illinois, "They Dare to Speak Out." - George Beres
0 # Guest 2010-07-21 09:55
Yes, indeed. Why doesn't RSN pick another "expert" -- one vetted by AIPAC? That's what ABC, NBC, CBS, CCN and all the other MSMs do. That's one reason so many Americans swallow the Zionist line. They've been brainwashed for decades by mega-buck news sources, by Hollywood, by the New York Times, by the Washington Post -- all of them Zionist to their cores.
0 # Guest 2010-08-01 14:50
We get the one-sided and vitriolic attack all the time, of course it from the perspective of Israel. It is good to get the other side of the debate once in a while, even if it tends to get drowned out by those who cry foul every time Israel is criticized for anything. The invasion and destruction in Gaza and the massacre on the flotilla have done much to lift the scales from the eyes of Americans, who Davidson rightly says in other works are not interested in foreign policy. It is to their peril that they are not.
+5 # Guest 2010-07-19 05:53
Thank you Mr. Davidson! Little by little the truth is being exposed to the light of day in spite of the zionist juggernaut.
+1 # Guest 2010-07-19 07:22
Well, x dane, Osama bin Laden has been dead for years, or hadn't you noticed! As for Obama bin Gates, he surely must be thrilled by how far he's got pushing war, drones, death and destruction. We can now understand his eloquent humbleness at the Nobel Peace Prize award - he knew he should have rejected it but I guess vanity got the better of him. Never has a man been praised by so many for so little. Now, through his proxy Gates, he thinks he can talk us into approving an invasion of Iran. As J P Barnum said, There's a sucker born every minute. Thankgoodness W. C. Fields said, Never give a sucker an even break. You've been getting a lot of even breaks lately, Mr. President. Pete Edler, Stockholm
0 # Guest 2010-07-19 11:52
Peter Edler, unless you have a direct line to al Queda you don't know the status of OBL, if he is now in hell his close gang surely is thrilled.

As for your bashing the president, the sad truth is, that in this country a democratic president is pushed hard from the right and the Israily lobby to be tough. It has nothing to do with vanity. It is a matter, unfortunately, with survival on many levels.
Gates is a reasonable man. He must be pressed hard too. Remember HE talked Bush out of attacking Iran.
Obama wants to revive the middleclass. The right will fight that to the death.
+7 # Guest 2010-07-19 08:00
As President Dwight Eisenhower spoke of the growing influence of the Corporate Military Industrialist.
France after getting their asses kicked in Vietnam warned the USA but to no avail the military wanted intervention hence asses were once again kicked but good.
Iraq was a Bush/Cheney and the USA was once again warned by one of their own.
These interventions were criminal in intent and as such heads should have been on the chopping block.
Iran is another story the Hawks want this and most hawks are Republican..SO. ......
+5 # Guest 2010-07-19 08:05
An attack on Iran would be a march into madness. For one thing, we could not fight a protracted war without extensive borrowing from from the Chinese— on top of the hundreds of billions we already borrow. There are no guarantees that we could get that money. Military planners and political hawks cherish the notion that military firepower wins the day— one devastating strike and it's over. Recent war games (and our experience in Iraq) have shown that this is only the beginning. After only a few days things spin out of control. Unintended consequences begin piling up.

Tough talk from our leaders threatening an attack on Iran is foolish in the extreme. If it is cynically grounded in domestic politics (and Mr. Davidson makes a persuasive case) it is unconscionable.
-4 # Guest 2010-07-19 09:08
The problem is that we DON'T do "One Devastating Strike", we stay and try to stabilize the situation. Instead of just punishing, we try "nation-buildin g", and instead of Take&Hold, we've turned to "patrols"
These are no longer MEANT to be Instant Victories, our Government is seeking Endless Battles, making loud noises about why we're not winning, but it looks&feels like we're no longer even TRYING to win, just fighting to...Continue fighting?
If we DID go for decisive victories, either hit&run or Total Annihilation, we would win, but then the Media would start complaining that we were being "unfair" to the enemies...
Or we could continue the current strategy of endless(ly costly) stalemates, in some quest to be "fair" to the enemies...Who don't exactly feel any compulsion to return the favor!
0 # Guest 2010-08-07 09:54
EPGAH, your comments remind me of a t-shirt I saw in Honduras back in 1986 during the Contra war against Nicaragua. It said, "Kill 'em all and let God sort it out." This seems to be pretty much the view that you have. And, EPGAH, it doens't work.
+3 # Guest 2010-07-19 08:26
J Weiner, "supposed influence" -- seems I've heard that about as often as a few other pet phrases: "anti-semnite" for example. The great problem you have is that such phrases lose their power after a while. It is obvious that the US foreign policy, defense policy, and aid programs are all dictated by Israel firsters, so you need to think of some new phrases. But perhaps you can do your evil before the tide turns against the liars.
America's problem is that having followed your dictates so long and so disastrously, we find ourselves with little will and need a lot to change directions against our current evil momentum.
+4 # Guest 2010-07-19 09:39
the US becomes a scary monstrosity which must be opposed when it is subverted and controlled by zionists and IZRAHELL
+2 # Guest 2010-07-19 10:18
A war against Iran would help our unemployment problems-the new draft is such that people can be drafted-men and women both-until they are 42! that would get rid of our pesky underclass and increasingly annoying middle class! And of course the continuing profits for the Militarry Industrial complex-stupend ous!
+4 # Guest 2010-07-19 11:08
Mr. Weiner’s comments, spoken and inferred, reflect the paranoia of the American Jewish community at large. As some in the media and in the Congress are beginning to understand, the influence alluded to by Prof. Davidson of this paranoia on our foreign policy is hastening the economic decline of our country. We are spending $100 billion a year on the pursuit of ghosts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places while millions here are unemployed, our infrastructure is outdated, our colleges are unaffordable and our competitiveness in the global marketplace is weakening.

I would suggest to Mr. Weiner and others of his ilk to consider the long-term impact of these trends on the ability of the US to support Israel in the way to which it is now accustomed and to think about other ways in which Israel’s security can be enhanced. History teaches that empires rise and fall and walls, even iron walls, eventually crumble.
+7 # Guest 2010-07-19 12:56
It is appearing to me that in order for Capitalism
to exist, the US must be in a constant state of war!!!
I hope to hell that I'm wrong in this.....
-1 # Guest 2010-07-19 22:06
If you think that is bad, just wait until that ragtag group of barefeet goatherders insurgents get hold of some real weapons to fight with!
+3 # Guest 2010-07-19 21:56
Can you imagine The USA without war(s)? The demobilization of thousands and thousands of soldiers returning on the labor market and all the military industries facing thousands and thousands of employees' layoffs? Do you see where the prosperity lies? You have guessed right Chuckw 38. In USA prosperity is WAR!
+1 # Guest 2010-07-20 09:07
and of those thousands and thousands of returning soldiers,
some are brain damaged gang bangers who now know how
to acquire and use weapons
+1 # Guest 2010-07-19 22:03
Hell, the USA and it's "allies" can't even defeat a ragtag insurgency group of barefeet goat herders and they want to take on Iran?

Once again, most nations have their fools but only the US has them in high places!
+2 # Guest 2010-07-20 09:50
So, "if this assessment of an aware and skeptical Obama is accurate," then the president is brandishing the warheads to gain votes, not to educate the public or reveal policy based on national interest. This reminds me of what was said in the 2008 campaign season, that conservatives hoped he meant what he said and liberals hoped he didn't. Though it rarely turns out this way, one can still hope for a reality-based government that tells the truth.
0 # Guest 2010-07-22 23:50
war is terrorism - and profit for few - U$rael culture of Pro$it brought US to the last days of Soviet Union. Obama is playing Gorbachev - too little and too late.

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