An Antiwar Radio exclusive!
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, author of the book Chain of Command and many important articles about the Bush administrationâ€™s Iran policy, discusses his new one for The New Yorker magazine, â€œPreparing the Battlefield,â€ Secretary Gatesâ€™s warning about long term consequences of an air attack, the turning over of much of Americaâ€™s covert action under the control of the Joint Special Operations Command to avoid oversight, the backing of Sunni radicals in Iran, Baluchistan, Kurdistan etc. in order to try to provoke the Iranian government into escalating as an excuse for war.
MP3 here. (6:18)
Well it was before. Now the Turks are bombing the north again (whether actually killing PKK members or not is in dispute) and war with Iran looms. Andrew Cockburn reports in Counter Punch Bush’s new “finding” authorizing more covert support for anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian terrorist groups like the MEK, Jundullah and – irony anyone? – the PKK-allied Pejak.
The Sunday Times says the military is renewing plans for strikes at Quds Force targets in Iran, a further irony since the Quds Force is the father organization of the Badr Corps (AKA: Bush’s “Iraqi Army”).
And Secretary Rice has laid down the gauntlet, accusing Iran of everything under the Sun.
Any strikes against Iran seem almost certain to escalate into full scale war in southern Iraq, Iran’s nuclear facilities and who-knows-what else.
One notable portion of Cockburn’s article:
Interestingly, despite the bellicose complaints, Petraeus has made little effort to seal the Iran-Iraq border, and in any case two thirds of U.S. casualties still come from Sunni insurgents. “The Shia account for less than one third,” a recently returned member of the command staff in Baghdad familiar with the relevant intelligence told me, “but if you want a war you have to sell it.”
Cross-posted at Stress.
I’m not a big fan of the New York Times, but today’s front-page investigative report on the Pentagon’s managing of the news is absolutely first-rate. One of the Pentagon officials, Torie Clarke, the Pentagon’s main propagandist, said her goal had been to achieve “information dominance.” In other words, she wanted the Pentagon’s message to get out and crowd out the independent information from others. To do this, the Pentagon recruited retired military officers and fed them select information that was often at odds with reality. Wow! I’m already sounding like a spin doctor. What I mean in the earlier sentence is that the Pentagon lied.
The payoff for many of these retired officers was that various “defense” contractors for whom they worked got a better shot at military contracts. [Why “defense” in quotation marks? Because most of what the Department of Defense does has nothing to do with defense: it’s offense, much of which makes us less safe.]
Interestingly, some of the retired military knew they were being lied to and passed the information on as truth nevertheless. In other words, they lied. One, General Paul E. Vallely, a FOX News analyst from 2001 to 2007, stated, “â€œI saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south [in Iraq.]” But on his return, Vallely told FOX’s Alan Colmes, â€œYou canâ€™t believe the progress,â€ and predicted that the number of insurgents would be “down to a few numbers” within months. Of course, it wasn’t. And it turned out that Vallely didn’t “believe the progress.”
How did they rationalize their lying? Take Timur J. Eads. Please. Eads is “a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Fox analyst who is vice president of government relations for Blackbird Technologies, a fast-growing military contractor.” Eads said he had withheld the truth on television for fear that a four-star general would call and say, “Kill that contract.” I’ve heard of people running from battle because they might be literally killed. And I’m sympathetic. But lying because the consequence of telling the truth is that your employer might lose business and you might get fired? Wowee. Pretty scary.
The whole article is well worth your time.