FOOL US TWICE: FROM IRAQ TO IRAN

BY: MARJORIE COHN, Professor of International Law at Thomas Jefferson School
of Law, and President of the National Lawyers Guild.

SOURCE: Published on 2-13-07 by Global Research (Canada).

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?conte
xt=viewArticle&code=20070213&articleId=4774

It's deja vu. This time the Bush gang wants war with Iran. Following a
carefully orchestrated strategy, they have ratcheted up the "threat" from
Iran,
designed to mislead us into a new war four years after they misled us into
Iraq.


Like its insistence that Iraq had WMD, the Bush administration has been
hyping claims that Iran seeks nuclear weapons. The International Atomic
Energy
Agency (IAEA), however, has found no evidence that Iran is building nuclear
weapons. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says there is plenty of time for
negotiation
with Iran.


Bush has sent two battle carrier groups, replete with nukes, to the Persian
Gulf
and a third is reportedly preparing to follow. In support of Bush's
case
that Iran poses a danger to the U.S., three unnamed American officials
ceremoniously trotted out metal parts found in Iraq and claimed Iran
supplied
them to
kill our soldiers in Iraq.


This "evidence" - or "packaging," as the Associated Press calls it - doesn't
pass the straight face test with most reputable observers. "The officials
offered no evidence to substantiate allegations that the 'highest levels' of
the
Iranian government had sanctioned support for attacks against U.S. troops,"
according to Monday's Washington Post.


Saturday's New York Times cited information gleaned from "interrogation
reports" from Iranians and Iraqis captured in the recent U.S. raid on the
Iranian
embassy in northern Iraq. They allegedly indicated money and weapons
components
are brought into Iraq over the Iranian border at night. If those people
indeed provided such information, query what kind of pressure, i.e. torture,
might
have been applied to encourage their cooperation. Recall that the
centerpiece
of Colin Powell's 2003 lies to the UN Security Council about ties between
Iraq
and al-Qaeda came from false information tortured out of Ibn al-Shaykh
al-Libi.


Any Iranian weapons in Iraq may belong to the Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shiite resistance group the U.S. used to
support.
Moreover, there could be old Iranian munitions lying around which are left
over
from the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s. A former high-level U.S. military
officer told me it was not uncommon to find large caches of weapons around
Iraq.
He cited the 2004 discovery of 37,000 American Colt 45 handguns in a
warehouse near the Iranian border on the Iraq side, likely procured "when
Saddam
was
our friend." The United States armed both sides in the Iran-Iraq conflict.


The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, released last week,
concluded that Iranian or Syrian involvement is "not likely to be a major
driver
of
violence" in Iraq.


Paul Krugman wrote that even if Iran were providing aid to some factions in
Iraq , "you can say the same about Saudi Arabia, which is believed to be a
major source of financial support for Sunni insurgents - and Sunnis, not
Iranian-backed Shiites, are still responsible for most American combat
deaths."
Indeed,
15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. But as Krugman mentions, the
Bush
administration's "close personal and financial ties to the Saudis" have
caused it to downplay "Saudi connections to America's enemies."


American troops are still fighting in Afghanistan. Yet the Bush
administration hasn't complained about the Taliban attacks on Afghanistan
that
originate in
Pakistan, a country with documented nuclear weapons. Of course the Bush
administration is cozy with the Pakistani regime of Pervez Musharref.


The government of Israel, which also has nukes, is fueling the call for an
invasion of Iran. On February 7, the Los Angeles Times cited Israeli
politicians
and generals warning of a "second Holocaust" if no one fails to prevent
Tehran from acquiring nukes.


Israel would like to start a war with Iran and supports this desire by
citing
a quote from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be
wiped off the map. But this is an erroneous translation of what he said.
According
to University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole and other Farsi language
analysts, Ahmadinejad was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini, who said the "regime
occupying
Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." Cole said this "does not imply
military action or killing anyone at all."

Furthermore, journalist Diana Johnstone points out the quote is not aimed at
the Israeli people, but at the Zionist "regime" occupying Jerusalem. "Coming
from a Muslim religious leader," Johnstone wrote, "this opinion is doubtless
based on objection to Jewish monopoly of a city considered holy by all three
of
the Abramic monotheisms." Iran has not threatened to invade Israel.


Indeed, only 36 percent of the Jews in Israel told pollsters last month they
thought a nuclear attack by Iran posed the "biggest threat" to Israel.
Americans concur. Seventy-five percent want negotiations in lieu of war with
Iran.


Yet Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, all beholden to the
pro-Israel lobby, have bought into Bush's dangerous rhetoric about Iran.

It would be sheer lunacy to make war on Iran. Three former high-ranking U.S.
military officers and a coalition of 13 British think-tanks and faith groups
have warned that an attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences.


Bush probably won't ask Congress to bless his Iran war. He will provoke a
confrontation and then claim we have to fight back. Last year, the New York
Times
documented a January 2003 meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair, where Bush
"talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation [with Iraq], including
a
proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the
United Nations in hopes of drawing fire."

A nuclear attack on Iran would violate U.S. obligations under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. Any attack would violate the U.N. Charter. All
treaties
we ratify become part of U.S. law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.
Additionally, twelve European, international, and U.S. legal and human
rights
groups issued an open letter warning of the illegality of any offensive
military action by the U.S. against Iran.
(http://www.nlg.org/news/statements/Military_Iran_2007.htm ).


Congress has tied itself in knots over a non-binding resolution on Iraq. If
our elected representatives responded to their constituencies instead of the
Bush gang's fear mongering, they would stand up to him and pass a modern day
version of Boland Amendment forbidding military action against Iran.

--MARJORIE COHN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marjorie Cohn is a Professor of International Law at
Thomas
Jefferson School
of Law, President of the National Lawyers Guild, and the
U.S. Representative to the Executive Committee of the American Association
Jurists. Her forthcoming new book, Cowboy Republic: Six Ways The Bush Gang
Has
Defied The Law, will be published in June.