Dr. Patrick Clawson is the Research Director for the ‘highly respected’ Washington Institute for Near East Policy. This Think Tank focuses on advocating Israeli interests within the greater Washington policymaking establishment. Like Israel, they don’t happen to like Iran, and very much would like the United States to go to war with that country in support of what they perceive are joint U.S.-Israeli ‘foreign policy interests’. But they have a problem. After the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington policymakers are a little reticent about a new war. Especially given that Russia and China have both expressed their objections in most strenuous terms. Like, as in: World War III. Maybe. Perhaps. Don’t f@#k with Iran because they’re our friends (with a sh!t ton of oil) kind of stuff.
Currently the staff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy have spent their time writing and publishing a report about Iranian nuclear weapons research that curiously spends the majority of content focusing on irrelevant facts about nuclear weapons production. Probably because for some weird reason they don’t want to put in writing what they’re willing to say on camera. Which strikes ‘some people’ as kind of stupid. But then some people say, being stupid is the prerogative of pompous Ph.Ds with too much warmongering on their minds.
That Iran lately has been found to have enriched uranium to 27% purity, which is short of the 90% needed to build a functional nuclear weapon but still worrisome, is not in doubt. That the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has anything objective to say on the matter is. Anyone who doubts this assessment should just go watch Dr. Clawson speak about his organization’s report, the full event of which is embedded here:
In glowing terms Dr. Clawson suggests that the United States should provoke Iran into firing the first shot in order to effect a false justification for Just War:
His choice of terminology is particularly galling. Here are his words:
…the traditional way that American gets into war is what would be best for US interests.
Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to give us World War II, as David Mentioned, you may remember that he had to wait for Perl Harbor.
Some people might think Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War I, you may recall he had to wait for the Lusitania Episode.
Some people might think Mr. Johnson wanted to get us into Vietnam, you may recall he had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode.
We didn’t go to war with Spain until the U.S.S. Maine exploded.
And, may I point out, that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the army until Fort Sumpter was attacked. Which is why he ordered the commander of Fort Sumpter to do exactly that thing which South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.
So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war.
Let’s untangle that tortured bit of logic.
Mr. Roosevelt certainly knew the war was coming, as did many others. The embargo with Japan was in response to overwhelming evidence of aggression throughout the Pacific. Germany and Japan, by their behavior, represented existential threats to the existence of the United States and had even parceled out U.S. land between themselves and their allies after a presumptive win. Like Mr Churchill before, who was by the bombing of Pearl Harbor himself experiencing first hand the danger of an ascendent Germany under Hitler, Mr. Roosevelt knew his time would come as well. As would America’s. But Mr. Roosevelt did not have to provoke Japan into taking that first strike. Japan struck secretly and with forethought. And this is clear from Mr. Roosevelt’s outrage during his Declaration of War address to congress. A Day That Will Live in Infamy, indeed.
Similarly, Mr. Wilson knew some kind of event would likely happen to draw him into World War I. The German embassy had even purchased advertisements warning Lusitania’s travelers what might await them (see: Wikipedia Entry on the Lusitania):
With Regard to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was quoted in Errol Morris’ documentary Fog of War as having said that he and President Johnson had received conflicting reports from the field over whether a torpedo had actually been fired. But they thought it had. So President Johnson went to Congress and requested authority to escalate the Vietnamese conflict in response. However, based on Mr. McNamara’s statement it can’t fairly be claimed that he and President Johnson arranged for the Gulf of Tonkin incident in order to escalate the war. Perhaps they took advantage of it. Perhaps not. But they certainly didn’t arrange it.
With regard to the Spanish-American war, the U.S.S. Maine exploded for unknown reasons. Mr. McKinley didn’t know why, but it was reasonable at that time to assume a Spanish attack. And there’s no doubt the administration supported Cuban resistance to Spanish occupation. For understandable reasons. Like when Cuba under Castro had formed an alliance with our primary enemy the Soviet Union, a foreign nation with a formidable military presence held land and basing close to United States territorial waters and shores. Spain certainly was no Soviet Union. But they were a colonial power with a history of European conflicts and known for their abuse of the Cuban peoples. So the Maine exploded, America kicked some Spanish ass, and the Treaty of Paris was signed transferring Cuba and other territories to the United States. But it can’t be said that Mr. McKinley provoked this war. He did not arrange for the U.S.S. Maine to explode.
And finally, with regard to the South Carolinian attack on Fort Sumter, Mr. Lincoln certainly knew an attack was coming. Fort Moultrie had already been abandoned after South Carolina seceded, Fort Sumpter was unprepared without weapons, munitions or supplies, and surrounded. Mr. Lincoln tried to resupply the fort, but was repelled by enemy forces. That’s a pretty good indication that the enemy doesn’t want your forces where you’ve got them stranded behind enemy lines. But it can’t fairly be said that Mr. Lincoln arranged for South Carolina to bombard Fort Sumter, and thus fire the first salvos to begin the Civil War. He just knew the time was drawing near.
But let’s ask ourselves, in what historical period could one say that a U.S. president had a clear idea that a chosen enemy hadn’t – in fact – first first and yet chose outright war regardless? Who might that have been? And under what circumstances? Why, I think that historical precedent is pretty recent. Hey, wasn’t that the second Gulf War? George W. Bush!!!
A war initiated based on the same rationale of a looming threat from a rogue nation researching weapons of mass destruction. In fact, it appears like exactly the same propaganda game plan in the looming run up to the Iran War as was promulgated by the Bush Administration just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Remember Mr. Bush’s “Smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud” warning that never happened? Here, it’s only 7 seconds long, give the video a whirl.
It was not just Mr. Bush and his foreign policy cabinet who uttered claims of a nuclear Iraq that later turned out to be false. Mr. Netanyahu also made statements about Iraq having nuclear enrichment “centrifuges the size of washing machines” which turned out incorrect. Juan Cole wrote about this falsehood and found a video of his testimony, speaking before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on September of 2002.
Yet America is weary of war. Especially wars fought on a false pretense of claims known to be untrue, as was the Iraq War. And here comes an Israeli lobbyist publicly recommending that the United States pick another fight just to ensure war begins? Hey, he slyly says, it doesn’t actually have to be true. Just make sure they fire the first shot! Or at least the public thinks they did. Great. Exactly what Americans need. The nation lost trillions of dollars, thousands of U.S. soldiers’ lives, and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Not even the thanks of Israel, who – through your lobbying efforts and that of AIPAC seem intent on dragging us into yet another war on that nation’s behalf.
Hell, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu just pushed himself onto the U.S. Sunday Morning political talk circuit stage a few weeks ago, ostensibly to promote this crazy Iran War policy. But there was also an obvious surreptitiously partisan angle to his actions. By making his statements only weeks away from a U.S. presidential election, he intervened and brazenly promoted the election of a sitting President’s competitor. Whether Romney or Obama ought to hold that big chair is irrelevant. What matters is that the Prime Minister of Israel ought to get the hell out of U.S. elections, as that’s not any of his business.
So Mr. Netanyahu, in speaking for his nation, again screams wolf, tacitly implying that one candidate over another might better deal with slaying that beast. But yet, like child’s tale The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf’, after screaming for help so many times others are weary to respond, there comes a time when that wolf might really appear. The United States is weary of war. Iraq was not the wolf we were led to believe. It’s quite possible that Iran, unlike Iraq, may well be building nuclear weapons. They could be that wolf. Were I them, I’d certainly be doing so. Look how North Korea put a stop to U.S. interference once they established their nuclear capability by testing a weapon. Nobody f*cks with North Korea any more. Why wouldn’t Iran want that? Woof. Woof.
The thing is, would a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities really be enough to stop the supposed Iranian nuclear weapons development program? Nor according to this report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which concluded that neither a U.S. led conventional bombing campaign, nor an Israeli fired nuclear first strike, could achieve more than delaying an Iranian nuclear program by a few years. So what does Mr. Netanyahu want? Another war of aggression leading to regime change? Zbigniew Brzezinski certainly doesn’t think an Israeli or American attack on Iran is a good idea. He claims that Russia and China could respond, leading to ‘world destabilization’ that could lead to the end of Israel as a state. Which sounds an awful lot like World War III. Good plan. NOT!
Mr. Clawson, your remarks have been interpreted by so-called ‘Internet Crazies’ to mean that you expect the United States to initiate a ‘false flag’ attack in order to instigate war with Iran. These remarks of yours from that 1hr30min lecture have been condensed into a two minute form where the author’s title says exactly that. It’s tough to disagree with their interpretation. Your equivocal statement, “I’m not recommending that,” notwithstanding, your words are plainly understood.
What a wonderful way to sell your policy. The nuts who think Israel, and their intelligence agency Mossad, planned up 9/11 and sold it to Cheney in order to instigate the Iraq War, you’ve given them some fodder to chew on here to further such beliefs. And after reading that Project for a New American Century document, which suggested that America needed a ‘new Pearl Harbor’ in order to achieve a policy of regime change across the Middle East, even a sane person might suspect bad faith in using those terrible events to further an unrelated policy aim. That PNAC document was written and promoted by most of the NeoConservative members of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy team. Which led to the disaster of Iraq. Though you probably don’t think it was that much of a disaster, because Israel didn’t pay for it. Well, it’s widely circulated throughout the Internet. And, there’s plenty of video evidence floating around of the various war falsehoods claimed by officials by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Just how does this policy benefit U.S. citizens or America? When a foreign Prime Minister demands and gets air time on major television news programs to promote a war agenda during election season, implying support for one candidate over another, shouldn’t U.S. citizens worry? And let’s be clear, for this proposed new war, Mr. Netanyahu expects the United States treasury to support and sustain its costs, and the American people to effect and die in battle enacting its policy. Regardless of even the loss to world moral and ethical standing of the American nation.
After the Iraq and Afghanistan debacles, after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, after the Guantanamo Bay gulag, and just recently President Obama asserts the so-called right to execute citizens extrajudicially, without any due process whatsoever… all in just over a decade. How the mighty have fallen. And now here is proposed yet another set of lies to justify another war that would further lead America down Rome’s path to that of a failed republic turned doomed empire, and ultimately… oblivion. Thanks Israel, AIPAC, and Patrick Clawson’s Washington Institute for Near East Policy. With friends like you, America should have paid the Soviet’s bar tab and saved ourselves the trouble. It might have been an evil empire, but at least they weren’t crazy.
To give you an idea what I really think about you, please watch this lovely video I created:
F@#k You Patrick Clawson
Major sources used for the video:
- Dr. Clawson’s statement, referenced above.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Declaration of War address to Congress. “A day that will live in infamy…”
- Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense 1961-68. From Errol Morris’ Fog of War.
- Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense 1975-77, 2001-06. From a war press briefing in February of 2002. ‘known unknowns versus unknown unknowns‘.
- George W. Bush, President of the United States 2001-08. From a White House Radio and Television Correspondents Association annual dinner event. 2004. ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction gotta be somewhere’.
- South Park – ‘He’s comin’ right for us!’
- Bagdad, March 22, 2003. CNN video: ‘Shock and Awe‘.
- South Park – ‘The Aristocrats‘ joke.
- Wesley Clark, General (retired). From a speech given on September 30th, 2006.
- Eric Shinseki, General (retired). Congressional testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, February 25th, 2003.
- Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense 1975-77, 2001-06. From a war press briefing given in response to Gen. Shinseki’s testimony the next day.
- U.S. Soldier survives Taliban Machine Gun Fire During Firefight.
- Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense 1975-77, 2001-06. From a war press briefing in April, 2003. ‘Stuff Happens!‘
- Wikileaks video release. Shooting of Reuters Journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, Saeed Chmagh, and others. ‘Collateral Murder‘.
- “Analyzing the Impact of Preventative Strikes Against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities“, Center for Strategic and International Studies. Page 90.