Five years ago, in a new National Security Statement, President Bush announced that;
“The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security.
“The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack.
“To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”
On August 26, 2002, in a major address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice-President Cheney developed the theme.
“On the nuclear question, many of you will recall that Saddam’s nuclear ambitions suffered a severe setback in 1981 when the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor.”
Nuclear ambitions? The Israelis launched a “pre-emptive” attack on a small French-built research reactor safeguarded by the International Atomic Energy Agency because of their assessment of Saddam’s “nuclear ambitions”?
The UN Security Council “strongly condemned” the Israeli attack as constituting a clear violation of the UN Charter, and “a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime, which is the foundation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
“But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we’ve gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors — including Saddam’s own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam’s direction.”
Cheney lied. Contrarily, Saddam’s son-in-law had provided the CIA documentary evidence in 1995 that all of Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” and their means of production had been destroyed, either in the Gulf War or on Saddam’s orders in the immediate aftermath. And UN inspectors had since confirmed that Saddam had made no effort to reconstruct them.
Nevertheless, quoth Cheney,
“Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.”
From the Tooth Fairy?
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.”
How to thwart Saddam’s alleged “aggressive regional ambitions”?
Well, how about launching a preventive attack, depriving him of ambitions as well as “his oil wealth”?
Okay, but in the six months it took Bush to get the necessary invasion force amassed on Iraqi borders, those pesky UN inspectors had reentered Iraq and were reporting to the Security Council that Cheney was wrong the Tooth Fairy had not supplied Saddam any nuclear weapons after all.
Worse still, China and Russia had made it clear to Bush that the UN Security Council Resolution  they had allowed to pass did not authorize the use of force against Iraq. Furthermore, they would not allow any resolution to pass that did.
Nevertheless, Bush launched his war of aggression against Iraq, anyway.
Back in 2002, all the while he was preparing to invade and occupy Iraq, Bush insisted he wanted a “diplomatic” solution to the alleged Iraqi nuke threat.
And since 2003 Bush has been insisting that he wants a “diplomatic” solution to the alleged Iranian nuke threat.
The problem is that all Iranian nuclear programs were and are subject to IAEA Safeguards and Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei keeps reporting that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”
In late 2004, Iran voluntarily entered into negotiations with the British, French, and Germans [E3], who purported to be negotiating on behalf of the European Union. Iran voluntarily suspended for the duration of the negotiations all uranium-enrichment activities.
The negotiations were undertaken by the Iranians in the hope they could obtain “objective guarantees” that the EU would defy the United States, would re-establish normal diplomatic and trade relations, and would, inter alia, respect both Iran’s “inalienable” rights and European obligations under the NPT.
Iranian officials made it clear (a) at the IAEA Board of Governors meetings in March and June, (b) at the Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty in April, and (c) in their Note Verbale to the IAEA of August 1st, 2005, that any attempt by the EU/E3 to turn their voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment activities into a cessation or long term suspension would be “incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement and therefore unacceptable to Iran.”
But that is exactly what Bush has been attempting to do using the strong-arm tactics he terms “diplomacy” ever since, denying Iran its “inalienable rights,” corrupting, in the process, the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council, itself.
Up until now the Russians and the Chinese have limited themselves to making it clear that failure by the Iranians to fully comply with the resolutions of the IAEA Board or Security Council could not be used by Bush as a pretext to launch another war of aggression.
Then, last week, Iran hosted a “summit” of leaders of the Caspian Sea littoral states Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran.
Russian President Putin met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and afterwards declared that “Iran is an important regional and global power.” Putin also said that he had seen no evidence that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program and announced that Russia would go ahead and complete the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
The summit, itself, resulted in a number of “milestone” agreements, including one prohibiting other countries such as the United States from using territory or facilities of one or more Caspian Sea littoral states for attacks on another “in any circumstances,” and another “disallowing” the passage on the Caspian Sea of any ship not flying the national flag of a littoral state.
Bush’s promptly convened an unusually lengthy press conference, in which to get off zingers like this one.
“We’ve got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel.”
“So I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”
So, if Bush is to be believed, he’s recently told Putin that he is willing to start World War III, not because Iran allegedly has nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel, or not because Iran has the capability of making the material to make nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel, or not even because Iran allegedly wants to make nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel. Now all it takes to start WWIII is some Iranians knowing how to make a nuke.
Well, since many Iranians have access to the internet, WWIII bring it on!