Five years ago, in a new National Security Statement,
President Bush announced
"The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions
to counter a sufficient threat to our national security.
"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.
"To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the
United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."
On August 26, 2002, in a major address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice-President
"On the nuclear question, many of you will recall that Saddam's nuclear
ambitions suffered a severe setback in 1981 when the Israelis bombed the Osirak
Nuclear ambitions? The Israelis launched a "pre-emptive" attack on
a small French-built research reactor – safeguarded by the International Atomic
Energy Agency – because of their assessment of Saddam's "nuclear
The UN Security Council "strongly
condemned" the Israeli attack as constituting a clear violation of
the UN Charter, and "a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime,
which is the foundation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty."
"But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear
weapons. Among other sources, we've gotten this from the firsthand testimony
of defectors -- including Saddam's own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered
at Saddam's direction."
Cheney lied. Contrarily, Saddam's son-in-law had provided the CIA documentary
evidence in 1995 that all of Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction"
and their means of production had been destroyed,
either in the Gulf War or on Saddam's orders in the immediate aftermath. And
UN inspectors had since confirmed that Saddam had made no effort to reconstruct
Nevertheless, quoth Cheney,
"Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons
From the Tooth
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons
of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our
friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his
aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with
his neighbors – confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today,
and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth."
How to thwart Saddam's alleged "aggressive regional ambitions"?
Well, how about launching a preventive attack, depriving him of ambitions
– as well as "his oil wealth"?
Okay, but in the six months it took Bush to get the necessary invasion force
amassed on Iraqi borders, those pesky UN inspectors had reentered Iraq and were
reporting to the Security Council that Cheney was wrong – the Tooth Fairy had
not supplied Saddam any nuclear weapons after all.
Worse still, China and Russia had made it clear to Bush that the UN Security
Council Resolution  they had allowed to pass did not authorize
the use of force against Iraq. Furthermore, they would not allow any resolution
to pass that did.
Nevertheless, Bush launched his war of aggression against Iraq, anyway.
Back in 2002, all the while he was preparing to invade and occupy Iraq, Bush
insisted he wanted a "diplomatic" solution to the alleged Iraqi nuke
And since 2003 Bush has been insisting that he wants a "diplomatic"
solution to the alleged Iranian nuke threat.
The problem is that all Iranian nuclear programs were – and are – subject to
IAEA Safeguards and Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei keeps reporting that
"all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore
such material is not diverted to prohibited activities."
In late 2004, Iran voluntarily entered into negotiations with the British,
French, and Germans [E3], who purported to be negotiating on behalf of the European
Union. Iran voluntarily suspended for the duration of the negotiations
all uranium-enrichment activities.
The negotiations were undertaken by the Iranians in the hope they could obtain
"objective guarantees" that the EU would defy the United States, would re-establish
normal diplomatic and trade relations, and would, inter alia, respect
both Iran's "inalienable" rights and European obligations under
Iranian officials made
it clear (a) at the IAEA Board of Governors meetings in March and June,
(b) at the Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty in April, and (c) in their
Note Verbale to the IAEA of August 1st, 2005, that any attempt by
the EU/E3 to turn their voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment activities
into a cessation or long term suspension would be "incompatible with the letter
and spirit of the Paris Agreement and therefore unacceptable to Iran."
But that is exactly
what Bush has been attempting to do – using the strong-arm tactics he terms
"diplomacy" – ever since, denying Iran its "inalienable rights,"
corrupting, in the process, the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security
Up until now the Russians and the Chinese have limited themselves to making
it clear that failure by the Iranians to fully comply with the resolutions of
the IAEA Board or Security Council could not be used by Bush as a pretext
to launch another war of aggression.
Then, last week, Iran hosted a "summit"
of leaders of the Caspian Sea littoral states – Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan,
Azerbaijan and Iran.
Russian President Putin met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and afterwards
declared that "Iran is an important regional and global power." Putin
also said that he had seen no evidence that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons
program and announced that Russia would go ahead and complete the Iranian nuclear
power plant at Bushehr.
The summit, itself, resulted in a number of "milestone" agreements,
including one prohibiting other countries – such as the United States – from
using territory or facilities of one or more Caspian Sea littoral states for
attacks on another "in any circumstances," and another "disallowing"
the passage on the Caspian Sea of any ship not flying the national flag of a
Bush's promptly convened an unusually lengthy press conference, in which to
get off zingers like this one.
"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy
"So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III,
it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the
knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
So, if Bush is to be believed, he's recently told Putin that he is willing
to start World War III, not because Iran allegedly has nukes with which to allegedly
attack Israel, or not because Iran has the capability of making the material
to make nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel, or not even because Iran
allegedly wants to make nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel. Now all
it takes to start WWIII is some Iranians knowing how to make a nuke.
Well, since many Iranians have access to the
internet, WWIII – bring it on!