The Prime Directive

It looks like the War Party is victorious, at least according to Philip Giraldi writing on The American Conservative blog:

“There is considerable speculation and buzz in Washington today suggesting that the National Security Council has agreed in principle to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian al-Quds-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants. The camp that will be targeted is one of several located near Tehran. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was the only senior official urging delay in taking any offensive action.”

Alarm bells ought to be going off across the nation. The presidential candidates ought to be debating whether or not this is the right course. Obama, the “antiwar” candidate, ought to be speaking out.

Instead, what we hear is… silence. If ever there was a scoop, then this is a major one. Yet not a word is being spoken about it in the “mainstream” media. So much for the supposedly highly competitive nature of the news business. While I’m a very big fan of The American Conservative – hey, they made me an associate editor! – one has to wonder: why do we have to read this on their blog and nowhere else?

Of course, the reason could be because it’s not true, but my sources are telling me that this isn’t just “speculation and buzz” – it’s for real. War is imminent. The markets sense it, too, which is why the price of oil keeps climbing to record levels.

Giraldi has more:

“The White House contacted the Iranian government directly yesterday through a channel provided by the leadership of the Kurdish region in Iraq, which has traditionally had close ties to Tehran. The U.S. demanded that Iran admit that it has been interfering in Iraq and also commit itself to taking steps to end the support of various militant groups. There was also a warning about interfering in Lebanon. The Iranian government reportedly responded quickly, restating its position that it would not discuss the matter until the U.S. ceases its own meddling employing Iranian dissident groups. The perceived Iranian intransigence coupled with the Lebanese situation convinced the White House that some sort of unambiguous signal has to be sent to the Iranian leadership, presumably in the form of cruise missiles.”

A decision to go to war, sub rosa back-and-forth between Washington and Tehran using the Kurds (probably the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which has close ties to Iran) as intermediaries, missile strikes near Tehran, the dissent of Robert Gates: all of this is very big news. Yet not a word is reaching the general public.

The same pattern that characterized the run-up to war with Iraq is being employed in the case of Iran. We’re acting on intelligence that is so overcooked the stench is overpowering. There is no evidence these alleged training camps even exist, or, if they do, that their purpose is to train Iraqi “militants.” Indeed, all efforts to show the media hard evidence for this phantom threat seem to have evaporated into thin air: these charges are the intelligence community’s equivalent of “vaporware.”

The irony is that this “training camp” tale is coming a bit late, because the Iranians did train, equip, and otherwise succor Iraqi “militants” all through the 1980s and ’90s – such as the militants of the Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (now known simply as the Islamic Council), which is today the biggest of the parties in Baghdad’s governing Shi’ite coalition. This is also true of the second largest component of the coalition, the Da’wa party – whose most prominent member is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Virtually all the present leaders of the government U.S. soldiers are laying down their lives for, including Maliki, lived in Iran for years, where they were given sanctuary and sustenance by the mullahs.

On the other hand, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr, which is presently taking on the government’s armed forces, is anti-Iranian and vehemently nationalist, the only viable counterweight to Tehran’s all-pervasive influence in postwar Iraq. Yet we are providing air support to the Iraqi army and police units battling them in the streets of Sadr City.

What sparked the decision to strike Iran wasn’t anything happening on the ground in Iraq, however. It’s all about Lebanon. As Giraldi puts it:

“The decision to go ahead with plans to attack Iran is the direct result of concerns being expressed over the deteriorating situation in Lebanon, where Iranian ally Hezbollah appears to have gained the upper hand against government forces and might be able to dominate the fractious political situation.”

Translation: The Israelis are demanding war with Iran, and the national security bureaucracy – thoroughly riddled with and corrupted by the neocons – has capitulated.

The Israeli failure to dislodge Hezbollah from its Lebanese fortress and subvert their growing political dominance – a direct result of the 2006 war – has Tel Aviv in a tizzy. The whole point of their “Clean Break” strategy, the linchpin of the American neocons’ decade-long drive to embroil us in Iraq, has been compromised and even reversed by Hezbollah’s continuing defiance. Tel Aviv wants them taken out – by the U.S., which alone has the firepower to do it.

This has been the real purpose of the “surge” all along – to prepare the ground for the final assault on Israel’s deadliest enemy in the region, which is Iran. This is why Israel’s lobby in the U.S. has made ratcheting-up tensions with Tehran their number-one priority, and clearly their relentless campaign is succeeding.

Once again, the prime directive of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East stands revealed for all with eyes to see: it’s all about Israel.

It is surely not in our interests to go after Tehran: ideologically, the Shi’ite mullahs are a necessary counterweight to the Sunni fanatics who are swelling the ranks of al-Qaeda. Yet we are actively encouraging and even funding similar groups, such as Jundallah, an Iranian Sunni terrorist group that apes al-Qaeda’s tactics, such as beheading its victims. As Seymour Hersh has reported, the same crazy covert operation is being carried out in Lebanon.

None of this makes any sense, until and unless one realizes that the purpose of the Great Middle Eastern War has nothing to do with the pursuit of American interests and everything to do with Israeli interests. Our foreign policy has been hijacked and placed at the disposal of a foreign power, one with a very powerful American lobby – so powerful that no U.S. politician dares defy it, including the sainted Obama.

In the early years of the war hysteria that enveloped the U.S. after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I was met with a large degree of skepticism when I maintained that the main force behind the U.S. attack on Iraq was the Israel lobby’s influence. Even my fellow anti-interventionists, including many on the Left, viewed this focus as an unreasonable and quite possibly unhealthy fixation, an exaggeration of a partial truth, rooted in a special animus for Israel. Perhaps, they thought, it was even evidence of anti-Semitism.

Yet as the years wear on and the facts pointing to the validity of my thesis accumulate, the reality can no longer be ignored. Why, in the name of all that’s holy, are we expanding a war that has proven to be such a monumental failure? Why are our leaders ignoring the evaluation of our own National Intelligence Estimate on the question of Iran’s nuclear program – which shows that they abandoned their nascent nukes, just as Saddam did – and insisting that Tehran will soon wield a nuclear sword, perhaps against Israel? Why are American politicians defying their own war-weary people and launching a conflict that will doubtless prove even less popular than the one in which we are currently engaged?

None of this makes any sense unless we accept the hijacking thesis: U.S. policy is the captive of foreign interests, specifically Israeli interests. We are, all of us, held hostage by the Israel lobby, which has a stranglehold on the political establishment in this country. That’s not a “conspiracy theory,” because it’s no secret: the effort to mold U.S. policy to suit Israeli interests is open to the point of brazenness.

That’s why Hillary Clinton can get away with threatening to “obliterate” an entire country – Iran, of course – in the name of “protecting” nuclear-armed Israel. And that’s why Obama is silent on this issue, except to take Hillary to task for voting in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman resolution. That resolution – passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate – designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a “terrorist” organization and gave the president advance permission to bomb those “training camps,” i.e., Iranian military installations on Iranian territory.

“The decision to proceed with plans for an attack is not final,” Giraldi writes. “The president will still have to give the order to launch after all preparations are made.”

If it’s down to George W. Bush, who reportedly fears that Iran’s acquisition of nukes will be his lasting legacy, then we’re really in trouble. An attack on Iran before his term is up seems a veritable certainty.

Where is the antiwar movement? Where are the supposedly “antiwar” politicians of the Democratic Party? These folks are nowhere to be seen, and certainly they are not being heard. The reason? They’re cowards, who are – to a man and woman – beholden to the Lobby. MoveOn.org, for example, is running ads against a war that is already five years old and widely abhorred, but is silent when it comes to the next war, which could break out at any moment.

The antiwar movement, such as it is, had better get up off its collective ass. Because we don’t have much time. As the sand in the hourglass rapidly diminishes, the war cries of the neocons and their allies in both parties are getting louder and more insistent. It’s time to start making some noise of our own – before it’s too late.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

One aspect of the Internet that has changed writing as an art is the matter of length. In the world of dead-tree publishing, it was almost impossible to find a venue for a 7,000-word essay like “Mishima: Paleocon as Samurai,” my latest essay to appear in Taki’s Magazine. It was simply too expensive to put out. Today, it’s all very different. At any rate, Mishima is one of my favorite writers, and I had great fun with this piece, so go check it out.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].