Last month, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told
assembled world leaders at the United Nations that the time had come to take
action against Iran.
"None disagrees," she said, "that Iran denies
the Holocaust and speaks openly of its desire to wipe a member state -- mine --
off the map. And none disagrees that, in violation of Security Council
resolutions, it is actively pursuing the means to achieve this end. Too many
see the danger but walk idly by -- hoping that someone else will take care of
it. . . . It is time for the United Nations, and the states of the world, to
live up to their promise of never again. To say enough is enough, to act now and
to defend their basic values."
Yet, later the same month, we are informed by Haaretz,
(frequently described as "the New York Times of Israel"), that the
same, foreign minister, Tzipi Livni had said a few months earlier, in a series
of closed discussions, that in her opinion "Iranian nuclear weapons do not
pose an existential threat to Israel." Haaretz reported that "Livni
also criticized the exaggerated use that [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to
rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears."
What are we to make of such a self-contradiction, such
And here is Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek
International: "The one time we seriously negotiated with Tehran was in
the closing days of the war in Afghanistan, in order to create a new political
order in the country. Bush's representative to the Bonn conference, James
Dobbins, says that 'the Iranians were very professional, straightforward,
reliable and helpful. They were also critical to our success. They persuaded
the Northern Alliance [Afghan foes of the Taliban] to make the final
concessions that we asked for.' Dobbins says the Iranians made overtures to
have better relations with the United States through him and others in 2001 and
later, but got no reply. Even after the Axis of Evil speech, he recalls, they
offered to cooperate in Afghanistan. Dobbins took the proposal to a principals'
meeting in Washington only to have it met with dead silence. The then secretary
of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, he says, 'looked down and rustled his papers.' No
reply was ever sent back to the Iranians. Why bother? They're mad."
Dobbins has further written: "The original version of
the Bonn agreement . . . neglected to mention either democracy or the war on
terrorism. It was the Iranian representative who spotted these omissions and
successfully urged that the newly emerging Afghan government be required to
commit to both." . . ."Only weeks after Hamid Karzai was sworn in
as interim leader in Afghanistan, President Bush listed Iran among the 'axis of
evil' -- surprising payback for Tehran's help in Bonn. A year later, shortly
after the invasion of Iraq, all bilateral contacts with Tehran were suspended.
Since then, confrontation over Iran's nuclear program has intensified."
Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran made
another approach to Washington, via the Swiss ambassador who sent a fax to the
State Department. The Washington Post described it as "a proposal from
Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested
everything was on the table -- including full cooperation on nuclear programs,
acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian
militant groups." The Bush administration "belittled the initiative.
Instead, they formally complained to the Swiss ambassador who had sent the
fax." Richard Haass, head of policy planning at the State Department at
the time and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the
Iranian approach was swiftly rejected because in the administration "the
bias was toward a policy of regime change."
So there we have it. The Israelis know it, the Americans
know it. Iran is not any kind of military threat. Before the invasion of Iraq I
posed the question in this report: What possible reason would Saddam Hussein
have for attacking the United States or Israel other than an irresistible
desire for mass national suicide? He had no reason, and neither do the
Iranians. Of the many lies surrounding the invasion of Iraq, the biggest one of
all is that if, in fact, Saddam Hussein had those weapons of mass destruction
the invasion would have been justified.
The United States and Israel have long strived to dominate
the Middle East, viewing Iraq and Iran as the most powerful barriers to that
ambition. Iraq is now a basket case. Iran awaits basketization. And, eventually
perhaps, the omnipresent American military bases, closing the base-gap between
Iraq and Afghanistan in Washington's encirclement of China, and the better to
monitor the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea areas.
There was a time when I presumed that the sole purpose of
United States hostile policy toward Iran was to keep the Iranians from
acquiring nuclear weapons, which would deprive the US and Israel of their
Mideast monopoly and ultimate tool of intimidation. But now it appears that
destroying Iran's military capability, nuclear and otherwise, smashing it to
the point of being useless defensively or offensively, is the Bush
administration's objective, perhaps along with the hope of some form of regime
change. The Empire leaves as little to chance as possible.
 Haaretz.com (Israeli newspaper), October 1, 2007
 Haaretz.com, October 25, 2007; print edition October 26
 Newsweek, October 20, 2007
 Washington Post, May 6, 2004
 Washington Post, July 22, 2007, p.B7, op-ed by Dobbins
 Washington Post, June 18, 2006, p.16
is the author of "Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since
World War 2," "Rogue State: A Guide to
the World's Only Superpower," "West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War
Memoir" and "Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American