An interesting dimension of the Bush Administration’s attempts to catapult the propaganda about Iran has been reported in a series of separate articles, in the Guardian, the past couple weeks. They’re trying to sell a war to Britain. Thus far, Britain’s not buying.
On September 30, the Guardian reported that John Bolton was in England, doing what John Bolton does: warmonger.
John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, told Tory delegates today that efforts by the UK and the EU to negotiate with Iran had failed and that he saw no alternative to a pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities in the country….
He added that any strike should be followed by an attempt to remove the “source of the problem”, Mr Ahmadinejad.
Because that worked so well in Iraq, let’s try it again: bomb them, then remove their leadership. Because we’re allowed to do such things. Because we’re exceptional.
On Monday, the Guardian reported that some-time general, and increasingly full-time political hack, David Petraeus, was also in England, also to sell a war:
The commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, yesterday sharpened America’s confrontation with Iran, claiming that a leader of its Revolutionary Guard corps was in direct charge of policy in Baghdad.
The charge that Tehran’s ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, was a member of the Quds force, a unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, takes US accusations of Iranian meddling in Iraq’s violence to a new level. It strengthens suggestions that Washington is ratcheting up the rhetoric against Tehran in preparation for military strikes against Revolutionary Guard facilities in Iran.
Ratcheting up the rhetoric is right. Whether or not the rhetoric has any relation to the truth is, as always with the Bush Administration and its minions, irrelevant. And the Guardian had already reported that during last Spring’s standoff over the Iranian capture of fifteen British sailors, even Tony Blair’s government turned down Bush Administration offers of aggressive and provocative military patrols in Iranian airspace.
The latest encouraging news came from the Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, last Sunday:
Diplomatic relations between Britain and the United States over Iran are under increasing strain after Gordon Brown’s special security adviser warned that American claims about Tehran’s military capability should be taken ‘with a pinch of salt’.
As a new conservative campaign group with links to the White House prepares to make the case that Iran is a direct threat to the US, Patrick Mercer urged scepticism towards any US justification for strikes against the country.
What the Bush Administration is presenting as “evidence,” Mercer isn’t buying.
Mercer, who last month accepted a post as an adviser to the Brown government, said: ‘All that I heard when I was in Iran was British authorities saying “be careful about what you hear from America”. I’m not saying for one moment that it is necessarily wrong, but it’s got to be taken with a pinch of salt. Is it American rhetoric, propaganda or fact?’
The Observer says British military commanders have talked with America military commanders, but there has been no British offer of support for possible attacks. This would seem to be a potential key to preventing such attacks. If Prime Minister Gordon Brown is unwilling to don Tony Blair’s lapdog collar, Bush will have, essentially, no international backing for a new war. Our friends in Britain need to keep up the pressure, and be vocal and active in their support of Brown’s reticence.
There’s no telling what will or won’t be a deciding factor in Bush’s decision about Iran. Clearly, facts, the legitimacy of threats, and basic morality will not be factors. Being able to claim allied support might be. Pausing to consider the disastrous consequences of a war on Iran, one cannot help but conclude that the lives of millions of Iranians, and perhaps of what’s left of the America we once knew, may now lie in the hands of the British Prime Minister. Before the Iraq War, France and Germany tried to be good friends and allies by telling Bush what he refused to hear. If Britain now does the same, with Iran, it might make the difference. That much-touted special relationship now needs take on an unprecedented maturity.