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Commentary Last Updated: Apr 30th, 2008 - 00:25:36

First came Vietnam, then Iraq, now Iran lies directly in the crosshairs
By Michael Payne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Apr 30, 2008, 00:10

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History has a way of repeating itself but does anyone really pay any attention? First there was the horror of the Vietnam War that took the lives of more than 55,000 American troops and several million North and South Vietnamese. Did we as a nation learn anything from that bloody debacle? Apparently not much. Then shock and awe was brought down upon the nation of Iraq in March 2003 in what has been described as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of America. This time, have we finally learned our lesson? Maybe not as Iran appears to be directly in the crosshairs of the perpetrators of endless war.

America is now teetering on the brink of repeating the same mistakes once again as the Bush/Cheney administration appears to be bent on the initiation of another preemptive war in the Middle East and this time it is Iran that is being groomed as the next potential target.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

This saber rattling, the beating of the drums of war aimed directly at Iran now is heard continuously. Bush and Cheney make constant references to the threat that Iran poses. General Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, and Ambassador Crocker were quite clear in accusing Iran of supporting the insurgency in Iraq. Senators "Holy Joe" Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, the fawning puppets of John McCain, are trying to make the case to label Iran and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the reincarnation of Saddam Hussein and his evil empire. Will Iran and Ahmadinejad be the next problem that will be "addressed"? Is this d�j� vu all over again, or what?

And now even Hillary Clinton, the rapidly emerging warhawk as she tries to present an image of a macho commander in chief, has joined the chorus against the evil empire of Iran. It appears that Hillary and McCain have become allies in this new potential adventure as she has brought up a hypothetical situation whereby, if Iran were to deliver a nuclear attack on Israel, that we would obliterate it. Does she actually mean 70 million people, including kids? This kind of remark is just as foolhardy and nonsensical as when McCain used an old Beach Boys tune to croak out his own version and changing the lyrics to "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran." The thirst for yet more blood and destruction in the Middle East apparently has no end. Have these politicians lost their senses; lost all reason? Is any kind of diplomacy forever dead?

This dangerous scenario, rapidly developing, could well be the second coming of the shock and awe that has now virtually destroyed the culture and infrastructure of Iraq. In 2003, Saddam was the evil enemy with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) intended to destroy America. Now it is Ahmadinejad that is the chief villain who not only wants to develop nuclear weapons that would threaten America but who would also attack our surrogate in the Middle East, that exemplary, shining beacon of democracy, Israel.

Bush and Cheney and their trusty cadre of neocons have put their very experienced, well-oiled fear and propaganda machine into high gear once again, spreading fear and paranoia into the American psyche. Just as in 2003 the largely useless, lapdog American corporate media are using their unique "journalistic skills" to help spread this demented message. The most recent Bush strategy was to use General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker as programmed robots to spread this continued misinformation among our very sage and wise congressional committees. The clear message is that Iran is behind every rock in Iraq, cleverly orchestrating all elements of the resistance, providing weapons, undermining our noble objectives at every turn.

And now to John McCain, the leading cheerleader to stay the course, to never, ever give up, to fight forever if that is what it takes. With his supporting cast of Lieberman and Graham, McCain wants to defeat Al-Qaeda and their chief allies, the Shiites. No, wait, not the Shiites, then it must be the Sunnis -- or is it the Kurds? Oh hell, what difference does it make? We will take on all of them, including their mentor Iran. You would think that after taking all those classes in the Lieberman School of Middle East Wars, McCain could somehow get it straight.

If the Bush/Cheney agenda to make Iran the next exercise in the art of preemptive war is allowed to be carried further by McCain the warhawk there will be grave consequences. To try to put all this into perspective, here is what I believe is the apparent plan for Middle East domination. Those in positions of power in our government know full well that America is on the road to experiencing massive, enduring shortages of petroleum in the future -- its becoming evident to most Americans that we are in the beginning stages right now. World demand is outstripping supply, tremendous growth in the economies of China and India in particular, has resulted in their demand for additional oil to skyrocket. Petroleum fuels almost every facet of the economies of most of the nations of this world. There is no current fallback position whereby the reduction in the supply of oil can be offset by any alternative sources of energy. Oil is to the world as blood is to the human body; it is critical to the lives of 6.3 billion inhabitants of this planet.

Well aware of these facts long before most anyone in America had any inkling of the magnitude of these approaching problems, a powerful group of oil-connected neocons created the Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, in the late 1990's. Their manifesto called for American world dominance through military power. Included in their imperialistic intentions was the control of the lucrative petroleum resources of the Middle East. That plan was put into effect in 2003 with the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a few other nations in that area of the world have about 63 percent of the world's known petroleum reserves. Iraq was the easiest, most natural place to launch the mission to begin the process of controlling these huge resources. It is very apparent that Iran now is the biggest threat and impediment to the next phases of this ambitious plan and so Iran must somehow be totally neutralized. First Iran then on to Syria, Lebanon and the entire Middle East will be under US control and that of our surrogate, Israel.

The specter of a preemptive attack on Iran becomes more ominous each and every day. You may not read much about it in your newspapers or hear discussions on your TV, but the Internet is chock full of stories emanating from foreign journalistic sources that know exactly what is going on. As is the case in so many instances, Americans have no clue to what is going on but much of the rest of the world seems to be well aware. Some of the best writers in the world, including many well-respected Middle East experts, have zeroed in on this ultimate plan to control the Middle East -- the American media have not, their journalistic knowledge and drive has been non-existent. But, then again, they dance to the tune of Corporate America.

Bush/Cheney would need some type of provocation by Iran to use as the excuse to make such a preemptive attack. President Lyndon Johnson used that type of provocation in the Gulf of Tonkin incident that prompted the first large-scale involvement of American forces in Vietnam; the incident in August 1994, whereby North Vietnam patrol boats supposedly attacked two American destroyers. It was a complete fabrication but it worked when Johnson persuaded Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution gave Johnson the legal justification to escalate US involvement in the Vietnam War and we all know the disastrous outcome of that foreign policy blunder.

As most Americans have finally come to realize, the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was supposedly due to the massive cache of WMD that Saddam intended to use to attack America. While that also turned out to be a complete fabrication it worked, as the House and the Senate overwhelmingly approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution in October of 2002. This resolution gave President Bush the authority to attack Saddam Hussein if he refused to give up his WMD. Hillary Clinton and John McCain both voted for that resolution and the rest is history.

A scenario is unfolding in the seats of power in Washington and the White House that is eerily similar and just as frightening as we experienced in the buildup to the invasion of Iraq in the months prior to March 2003. Repeating the mistake made in 2002, the House and the Senate, in September of 2007, opened the door for Bush for another potential attack. They, once again -- including Clinton and McCain -- approved a resolution that designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

And, recently, another ominous sign materialized as Admiral William Fallon resigned (forced out is probably more accurate, because he made it known that he was at odds with the Bush/Cheney Iran policy) as the head of CENTCOM. General David Petraeus, the architect of the surge in Iraq, has been nominated to replace Fallon as CENTCOM commander. Fallon was in the way and now the White House has a strong proponent for taking a hardline against Iran. Very ominous, indeed.

The trigger fingers of those in control of the button are getting itchy. Years from now historians will document the events of 2008, prior to the Bush administration finally leaving, but what they write is now a big question mark. Congress is waiting in silence. Americans are worried about their homes, their jobs, their safety in our ever increasingly violent society. Just what is going to happen?

No one but a handful of individuals in power really knows what is likely to happen, but one thing is sure. If there is a repetition of the March 2003 shock and awe upon Iran, many horrific events will take place in this Middle East. If Iran is indeed attacked to destroy its alleged nuclear facilities and various military installations, the Strait of Hormuz, through which all of the billions of gallons of petroleum are shipped from that area to the world, will be blocked. The Iranians are said to have very advanced Chinese and Russian made missiles in their arsenal. Anyone want to bet that they wouldn't use them? Our naval force in the Persian Gulf would be in great danger if Iran rained down these missiles on them.

Secondly, the Green Zone in Baghdad, which contains our gigantic new embassy, the Iraqi government and our entire central military headquarters, will be in great danger as those same Iranian missiles could easily reach that area. The damage and the loss of lives would be catastrophic. That one area of Baghdad, if hit by missiles, would bring an abrupt end to the ability to maintain any kind of central Iraqi government. Military operations would suffer grave damage and the occupation would reach its final fatal chapter.

If this nightmare of all nightmares materializes, the entire world will undergo a massive shock to its very foundation. The supply of oil will be massively impacted, as the flow out of the Middle East will literally grind to a halt. The price of a barrel (most recently at a record high of near $120) will escalate to heights we cannot imagine. If America is now in a state of shock in paying an average of $3.50 per gallon at the pump, that will be nothing compared to the sky-high prices that we will experience if the Middle East explodes.

We can only hope and pray that this type of scenario will not be played out and that some of the deeper thinkers and cooler heads in this administration can somehow exert their influence to snuff out any plans to repeat the tragic mistakes of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. And that historians in future years will write that in 2008-2009 reason finally prevailed and a Middle East inferno was averted.

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