Wednesday, January 16, 2008


So it looks like the neocons really are bent on attacking Iran and will try to manufacture/manipulate any evidence they need to create an excuse to do so. The latest, of course, was the non-event of an "attack" by Iranian patrol boats, which has now been revealed to have been greatly trumped-up by the Pentagon.

WASHINGTON - Senior Pentagon officials, evidently reflecting a broader administration policy decision, used an off-the-record Pentagon briefing to turn the January 6 US-Iranian incident in the Strait of Hormuz into a sensational story demonstrating Iran's military aggressiveness, a reconstruction of the events following the incident shows.

The initial press stories on the incident, all of which can be traced to a briefing by deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in charge of media operations, Bryan Whitman, contained similar information that has since been repudiated by the navy itself.

Then the navy disseminated a short video into which was spliced the audio of a phone call warning that US warships would "explode" in "a few seconds". Although it was ostensibly a navy production, Inter Press Service (IPS) has learned that the ultimate decision on its content was made by top officials of the Defense Department.

The encounter between five small and apparently unarmed speedboats, each carrying a crew of two to four men, and the three US warships occurred very early on Saturday January 6, Washington time. No information was released to the public about the incident for more than 24 hours, indicating that it was not viewed initially as being very urgent.
The reason for that absence of public information on the incident for more than a full day is that it was not that different from many others in the Gulf over more than a decade. A Pentagon consultant who asked not to be identified told IPS he had spoken with officers who had experienced similar encounters with small Iranian boats throughout the 1990s, and that such incidents are "just not a major threat to the US Navy by any stretch of the imagination".

Does it strike anyone else as, um, unusual that this non-event in the Strait of Hormuz was blown way out of proportion just over a month after the Iran NIE was released saying that Iran had stopped their nuclear weapons program in 2003 and were unlikely to be able to produce a nuclear weapon in this decade? Do the neocons think we're that stupid? Do they really think we'll fall for a scenario that reads almost exactly like what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin 40+ years ago, another non-event that led to the escalation of the Vietnam War which just this month was revealed to have been even more manufactured/manipulated than previously thought?

And what's with Bush kissing Saudi Arabia's ass now? Here's what I wrote about that on the Hattiesburg American forum today:

It's no accident that all this is happening while Bush is trying to kiss up to Saudi Arabia and ask them to pump more oil (isn't more and cheaper oil what we're supposedly in Iraq for?). It's Saudi Arabia that would welcome an attack on Iran (even SA's enemy Israel supports this). Iran is Shiite, SA is Sunni. Iran is moving away from the dollar, SA is clinging to it (for political reasons rather than for economic reasons).

Essentially, this falsely trumped-up Iran situation looks like Bush is demonstrating that he'll give the Saudis what they want (i.e., an attack on Iran) if they'll give us what we want (i.e., more and cheaper oil).

So let us count the ways the neocons have tried to manufacture excuses to attack Iran--we'll put this latest non-event at the top of the list:

1. Accused Iran of provoking U.S. warships using small patrol boats
2. Accused Iran of having a secret nuclear weapons program
3. Declared Iran's Revolutionary Guard to be a terror group
4. Accused Iran of providing weapons to the Iraqi insurgency
5. Accused Ahmadinejad of wanting to wipe Israel off the map

And so on. What am I leaving out?

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