Bush Beats Drum for War

Jon Brooker 

Bush Cartoon
And so it begins again. The bellicose rhetoric for what could be called, phase three of President George W. Bush’s plan to eradicate the ‘'axis of evil’' has started. The US agenda to bring 'democracy' to nations it deems undemocratic is now focused on Iran. It has all been heard before but previously in the context of Iraq. Hawkish US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced this week that Iran “poses a major US challenge”. Speaking at a Congressional hearing in Washington she said the country was determined to develop nuclear weapons which, in the eyes of the US government, is unacceptable. She added that  Iran had become a “central banker for terrorism” in the Middle East.

Although White House spokesman Scott McClellan, speaking after Ms Rice, said a diplomatic solution was preferable to the US, alarm bells started ringing among those at the hearing. The uncompromising tone of Ms Rice seemed to indicate that the US would not be prepared to settle for anything less than total compliance with its demands.

Ms Rice criticised Iran’s government claiming it is defying the international community in developing nuclear weapons. She added: “We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran, whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different than the Middle East that we would like to see develop.”

As the UN prepares to meet to discuss the situation of nuclear development in Iran, many people feel a strong sense of déjà vu. The reason for this may be the nature of the US claims made about the embattled Islamic republic. That It is:

- a threat to the West
- developing unsanctioned nuclear weaponry (aka weapons of mass destruction)

And Washington's ruling neo-cons allege that Iran has a dangerous and outspoken, fundamentalist leader and that its extremist elements are the major cause of terrorism in the region who supply weapons and financial support to resistance groups in neighbouring Iraq. These are very similar claims to those levelled against Iraq, in the build up to the invasion of that country by the US and Britain, in the context of its relations with Afghan. In time it would come as no surprise to see this new US war-mongering becoming even more confrontational until military hostilities are finally declared against Iran. It is for the Bush administration, a tried and tested method with a now familiar murderous outcome.

But there are though a few important differences this time around. Firstly, it is difficult to argue that a potential attack on Iran would be for the purpose of liberating its people as there is little evidence of the country being run by an oppressive dictatorship. Secondly, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has verbally attacked Israel saying it should be 'wiped off the face of the earth”.

The latter of the two has left many Americans feeling that a military attack on Iran is necessary as the US has a powerful Jewish political lobby that rejects any threat to its staunchest ally in the Middle East. The American-Israeli alliance should never be underestimated.

Perhaps, most crucially at this stage, is the US fear of what it considers irresponsible or dangerous nations developing nuclear weapons. Iran’s government has expressed a belief that the country has as much a right to 'nuclear development' as have other nations. This situation begs the question, who decides who are the irresponsible or dangerous states? Let us not forget that the only power to have ever used nuclear weapons in warfare is the US.

The signs are scarily ominous. And oil has not even been mentioned, yet.