H istory repeats itself, but always with new twists.
We are back to the good old days when a
Declaration of War preceded the start of a war. Such declaration
occurred on March 16th, 2006. Reversing the old order, we are now in the
to be followed shortly by an aerial
"Blitzkrieg" in the coming days.
In the old days, Congress declared war, and
directed the Executive to take action. In the new millenium,
the Executive declared war last March 16th, then Congress will pass
H.R. 282, "To hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening
behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran." This bill and
previous ones like it are in direct violation of the legally binding
Algiers Accords[pdf] signed by the United States and Iran on January 19,
1981, that states "The United States pledges that it is and from now on
will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly,
politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs"; however, this is
no interest to the
353 policymakers sponsoring the bill.
The US promised Russia and China that
the UN Security Council statement just approved will not be a trigger for
military action after 30 days; true to its promise, the US will attack before
the 30-day deadline imposed by the UNSC for Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment
activity, i.e. before the end of April. The "justification" is likely to be
an alleged threat of
imminent biological attack with Iran's involvement.
The Declaration of War against Iran
I n the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the
Congressional Declaration of December 8, 1941 stated: " Whereas the Imperial
Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government
and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it Resolved by
the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress
assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial
Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby
formally declared; and the president is hereby authorized and directed to employ
the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources
of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan."
Similarly, the formal war declaration against Iran, the
National Security Strategy of March 16, 2006, stated:
- "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran."
- "The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart
Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations
of its people for freedom."
- "[T]he first duty of the United States Government remains what it always
has been: to protect the American people and American interests. It is an
enduring American principle that this duty obligates the government to anticipate
and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats
can do grave damage."
- "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.
There are few greater threats than a terrorist attack with WMD."
- "To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United
States will, if necessary, act preemptively."
- "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating,
we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."
- "[T]here will always be some uncertainty about the status of hidden programs."
- "Advances in biotechnology provide greater opportunities for state and
non-state actors to obtain dangerous pathogens and equipment."
- "Biological weapons also pose a grave WMD threat because of the risks of
contagion that would spread disease across large populations and around the
- "Countering the spread of biological weapons .... will also enhance our
Nation's ability to respond to pandemic public health threats, such as avian
This has to be combined with the 2005 U.S. State Department "FINDING.
The United States judges that, based on all available information, Iran has
an offensive biological weapons program in violation of the BWC."
In addition, the March 16 declaration makes it clear that the US
will use nuclear weapons
in the war against Iran:
- ."..using all elements of national power..."
- "Safe, credible, and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical
role. We are strengthening deterrence by developing a New Triad composed of
offensive strike systems (both nuclear and improved conventional capabilities)."
and this is further reinforced by the just
"National Military Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction"[pdf]
that states "Offensive operations may include kinetic (both conventional and
nuclear) and/or non-kinetic options (e.g. information operations) to deter or
defeat a WMD threat or subsequent use of WMD."
There is of course also the
claim that Iran is a threat because it intends to develop nuclear weapons.
The sole purpose of that claim, which
flies in the face of all available evidence, is to
generate a diplomatic stalemate at the UN that will allow Bush to state
other nations share the US concern but not the resolve to act. However the
actual trigger for the bombing to begin will not be the
by now discredited nuclear threat, rather it is likely to be the
threat of an imminent biological attack.
There is no casus belli against Iran based on
its nuclear program. The
IAEA has found no evidence that in the 20 years of its development there
has been any diversion of nuclear material to military applications. The Bush
officially acknowledges that the issue with Iran arises from a
"loophole" in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that allows non-nuclear
countries to pursue uranium enrichment.
However it is not a loophole, the right to a full civilian nuclear program is
an integral part of the compromise, that made non-nuclear countries agree
to it. For the US to call it a loophole means to abrogate the treaty unilaterally
and propose a different treaty that non-nuclear countries will have no motivation
to agree to.
The Bush administration declares that a civilian nuclear program that gives
"capability" to build a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. It could apply exactly
the same logic to biotechnology.
The State Department says that "Iran is expanding its biotechnology and
biomedical industries by building large, state-of-the-art research and pharmaceutical
production facilities. These industries could easily hide pilot to industrial-scale
production capabilities for a potential BW program, and could mask procurement
of BW-related process equipment." Why isn't the US demanding that Iran stops
its biotechnology research and development, and that
it transfers all biotech related activities to Russia?
The key lies in
Executive Order 13292, which made information on "weapons of mass destruction"
and on "defense against transnational terrorism" classified. If concrete details
alleged biological weapons programs were made public, they would be subject
to public scrutiny and they would be discredited, as the
allegations on Iran's "nuclear weapons program" have been. The US is likely
to have "assembled" classified information on Iran's biological weapons programs
and shared it with selected individuals, including members of Congress, under
the constraint that classified information cannot be made public. For example,
June 25, 2004 House subcommittee "MEMBERS ONLY CLASSIFIED BRIEFING on Iran,
Middle East Proliferation and Terrorist Capabilities." The unclassified
portion of that
briefing states "It is time for Iran to declare its biological weapons
program and make arrangements for its dismantlement."
There is likely to be a
team of "experts" lined up by the administration that will support its
claims that Iran had a biological weapons program representing an imminent
threat. There is always room in science for differing opinions, and if an open
scientific debate is not possible because information is classified, any outlandish
claim can find some supporters in the scientific community. The
most likely biological threat to be invoked, because it has a
natural time element associated with it, is the
threat of a bird flu pandemic caused by a
deliberately mutated H5N1 virus carried
by migrating wild
C onsider for example
Dr. Ward Casscells, a renowned cardiologist that has of late
become an "expert" in bioterrorism. Even more recently, Dr. Casscells
joined the Army as a colonel . According to the US Defense Department,
"his years of research on now-spreading avian flu are now deemed cutting edge."
However, I know of no independent credible scientific body that makes the same
assessment: Dr. Casscells has written a total of four papers on the effect of
influenza on cardiac disease which have been cited by no other scientists. His
paper "Influenza as a bioweapon" has a grand total of 5 citations, meaning a
mere 5 other papers refer to it; "cutting edge" scientific papers have hundreds
or thousands of citations. His only other paper on the subject, "Influenza as
a bioterror threat: the need for global vaccination" has zero citations.
Dr. Casscells' outstanding credentials as a scientist will be invoked by
the administration if he vouches for the credibility of "intelligence" indicating
that a dangerous mutated bird flu virus has been developed in an Iranian underground
bioweapons laboratory. Dr. Casscells has been surveilling the Middle East to
"scope out the possibility for a widespread outbreak" of bird flu. Because
he has been advocating the view that
"Bird flu is poised to be an explosive problem" and has
predicted the use of influenza as a bioweapon, he is likely to be inclined
to believe such claims. Similarly his scientific colleagues at the
"Defense of Houston" committee, that work on anticipating bioterrorism threats
are highly lauded by the administration and very well
funded by Army grants.
Bush administration has spent
vast sums of money in combating bioterrorism threats, reportedly
over $7 billion per year, without any evidence or precedent for bioterrorism
there will always be plenty of scientists that will flock to
where the grant money is and devote efforts to validate conclusions that
are valued by the organizations giving the grants,
and news media duly publicize the
hyped threat of bioterrorism. Still, last year over
700 scientists including 2 Nobel laureates signed a petition objecting to
the diversion of funds from projects of high public-health importance to biodefense,
calling it a "misdirection" of priorities. Dr. Richard H. Ebright, a renowned
states that "A majority of the nation's top microbiologists – the very group
that the Bush administration is counting on to carry out its biodefense research
agenda – dispute the premises and implementation of the biodefense spending."
On the supposed threat of bird flu, while it is continuously being hyped by
, expert opinion is that it is not a serious threat
and is politically motivated. The blaming of bird flu spread on wild birds
is also highly questionable ,
On March 15th, right before the disclosure of the new National Security Strategy,
the bird flu casus belli against Iran, that would "necessitate" bombing
of Iranian facilities before the bird migration season begins in the
Spring. Several elements emphasized in the March 16 NSS appear to support that
discussed above. In a
March 20 press conference concerning federal preparedness for avian flu,
Secretary Michael Leavitt (who also
warned a few weeks ago to store tuna and milk under the bed to prepare for bird
flu ) stated "Think of the world if you will as a vast forest that is susceptible
to fire. A spark if allowed to burn will emerge as an uncontainable fire. That's
a pandemic. If we are there when the spark happens, it can be squelched. But
if allowed to burn for a time it begins to spread uncontrollably." An aerial
attack on Iranian installations may be touted as the "squelching" of the bird
flu pandemic spark.
Does Bush need congressional authorization to bomb Iran?
The answer is contained in the
Statement by the president of October 16, 2002, in signing into law the
congressional authorization to use force against Iraq. It states
"...I sought an additional resolution of support from the Congress to
use force against Iraq, should force become necessary. While I appreciate receiving
that support, my request for it did not, and my signing this resolution does
not, constitute any change in the long-standing positions of the executive branch
on either the president's constitutional authority to use force to deter, prevent,
or respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests or on the constitutionality
of the War Powers Resolution."
In other words: "I appreciate Congress' authorization but didn't need it and
will not need it next time with Iran."
War Powers Resolution encourages the president to consult with Congress
"in every possible instance",
yet allows the president to introduce Armed Forces into hostilities without
Congressional authorization; it simply compels him to terminate hostilities
within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes an extension. Plenty time enough.
I t is unlikely that there will be a public announcement
of the impending attack before it starts, since it would generate opposition.
do not want to be implicated and will deny any knowledge. Who will be officially
notified that an attack is about to take place? Most likely, Iran itself.
Direct conversations between the US and Iran are about to start, nominally
on the subject of Iraq only. They will also provide the only direct conduit
for the US to communicate with Iran without intermediaries. An "ultimatum" unacceptable
to Iran, as was delivered publicly
to Iraq on March 17th, 2003, could be delivered privately to Iran through
The reasons for our actions will be clear, the force measured, and the
The initial US attack on Iranian facilities is likely to be "measured": a
highly accurate strike on selected facilities "suspected" of bioweapons work,
cruise missiles launched from
submarines or ships in the Persian Gulf. That is a component of the
CONPLAN 8022 Global Strike mission, which
recently became operational and also includes
nuclear preemptive strikes.
The "clear" reasons and "just" cause for the administration to attack can
be stated as follows: if
a bird flu pandemic can cause 150 million deaths and there is even a one
percent probability that the
"intelligence" is right, i.e. even if there is a 99%
"uncertainty about the status of hidden programs", the
expected number of deaths that would be prevented by bombing the Iranian
facilities is the product of those two numbers, i.e. 1.5 million, vastly larger
than the few thousand Iranian casualties due to "collateral damage."
reaction by Iran to the attack, perhaps even a verbal reaction, will be
"aggression" by Iran towards the US and Israel, and result in large scale
bombing of Iranian missile, nuclear and other facilities. Does that sound absurd?
the US and
Iraq's no-fly zones well before the Iraq invasion, and Iraqi response was
"aggression toward planes of the coalition forces."
earth penetrating weapons may be used in the initial attack, and
certainly will be used in the large scale attack that will follow.
Why will this happen? Because it was
"pencilled in" a long time ago. The
actions of the US against Iran in
recent years have been clearly directed towards a confrontation, to
suppress the rise of Iran as a strong regional power that does not conform
to US interests.
Can it be Prevented?
small group of thugs is about to lead America across
a line of no return. On the other side of this line there is no nuclear
taboo, no restraint on preemptive nuclear attacks on non-nuclear nations, and
no incentive for non-nuclear nations to remain non-nuclear. A global nuclear
war and the destruction of humanity will be a distinct possibility.
Americans are largely
unaware of what is about to happen.
Half a million people go to the streets on immigration law, yet nobody is
demonstrating against the Iran war that will radically change the life of Americans
for generations to come. The more informed sectors of society, scientists, arms
control organizations, the media, the political establishment, the military,
are not taking a strong stand against the impending war.
Congress is silent.
Only people in the know can stop this. Resigning from the job is not good
. People in the know
have to come forward with information that brings the impending attack to
the forefront of attention of Congress and the American public and thwarts it.
Not doing so is being complicit in a plan that will bring tragic consequences
to America and the world.
Else, all that will be left is to
bring the perpetrators to justice. Danton, Robespierre, Mussolini, Petain,
Ribbentrop, Goering, Ceausescu also occupied positions of power and prominence
at some point in their careers.