[Marxism] Tragedy follows Hilary Clinton's bombing of Iran

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Apr 22 23:34:35 MDT 2006

As the unspeakable Timothy Garton Ash goes, this is not bad. I still
think the Bush administration is determined to start the ball rolling on
war with Iran, even if Hilary ends up picking it up in 2009. But I
concede that if Bush's drive is defeated, the issue will still be on the
table when and if Hilary comes in, and she will surely pick up the





By Timothy Garton Ash 

** In retaliation, suicide bombers trained by Tehran massacred civilians
in Tel Aviv, London and New York ** 

Guardian (UK)
April 20, 2006 


May 7, 2009, will surely go down in history alongside September 11,
2001. "5/7," as it inevitably became known, saw massive suicide bombings
in Tel Aviv, London, and New York, as well as simultaneous attacks on
the remaining Western troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Total casualties
were estimated at around 10,000 dead and many more wounded. The attacks,
which included the explosion of a so-called dirty bomb in London, were
orchestrated by a Tehran-based organization for "martyrdom-seeking
operations" established in 2004. "5/7" was the Islamic Republic of
Iran's response to the bombing of its nuclear facilities, which
President Hillary Clinton had ordered in March 2009. 

Despite massive protests across the Islamic world, and in many European
capitals, the U.S.-led military operation had initially appeared to be
successful. The U.S., supported by British and Israeli special forces,
had bombed 37 sites, including underground facilities in which Iran was
said to be on the verge of making a nuclear weapon using its own version
of P-2 centrifuges. The model for these had been originally supplied by
A.Q. Khan, the rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist. U.S. forces had taken
down Iran's air defenses and destroyed much of its air force.
Inevitably, there were civilian casualties -- estimated by the Iranian
government at 197 dead and 533 injured. A Pentagon spokesman insisted
that "collateral damage" had been confined to "an acceptable level." He
claimed Iran's nuclear weapons program had been "knocked back to first

The U.S. Navy had also successfully broken an attempted Iranian naval
blockade of the Strait of Hormuz, one of the main arteries of the
world's oil supplies. A U.S. gunship had been damaged by an Iranian
underwater missile attack, but with no loss of American lives. In panic
on the oil markets, the price of crude oil had soared to more than $100
a barrel, but the Bush administration had built up America's strategic
oil reserves and the new Clinton administration was able to draw on
these. European economies were worse hit. 

As experts had predicted, however, the biggest challenge for the West
was Iran's ability to wage asymmetric warfare through Hizbullah, Hamas,
and its own suicide-bombing brigades. The Islamic Republic had for years
been openly recruiting suicide bombers through an organization described
as the Committee to Commemorate Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement.
As early as April 2006, it had held a recruitment fair in the grounds of
the former U.S. embassy in Tehran, claiming it already had more than
50,000 volunteers for operations against "the al-Quds occupiers" (that
is, Israel), "the occupiers of Islamic lands," especially the U.S. and
Britain, and the British writer Salman Rushdie. Recruits could also sign
up through the internet (http://www.esteshhad.com). While Hizbullah and
Hamas provided the infrastructure for the Tel Aviv bombings, the key to
the attacks on London and New York was the recruitment of British and
American Muslims through this group. The man who detonated the dirty
bomb at Euston station, Bradford-born Muhammad Hussein, had been
secretly trained by the Committee to Commemorate Martyrs at a camp in
northern Iran. 

With hindsight, it appears that the turning point may have come in the
spring of 2006. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, having proclaimed
his intention to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, announced that
his country had already successfully enriched uranium and hinted that it
had the superior P-2 centrifuge technology. Whether true or not, these
claims effectively destroyed the last hopes of achieving a diplomatic
solution through negotiations led by the so-called E3 -- France, Germany
and Britain. 

A long, tortuous diplomatic dance followed, with China and Russia
eventually agreeing to minimal U.N. sanctions on Iran, including visa
bans on selected members of the regime. These had little perceptible
impact on the Iranian nuclear program, but were successfully exploited
by the regime to stoke up an always strong national sense of
victimization. Meanwhile, the exposure of the clumsy channelling of U.S.
government financial support through a California-based monarchist exile
organization to a student group in Isfahan was used as a pretext for a
brutal clampdown on all potentially dissident groups. Several show
trials for "treason" were staged despite international protests. This
produced a further hardening of U.S. policy in the last years of the
Bush administration. In the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, the
Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, felt compelled -- perhaps against
her own better judgment -- to use the Iran issue to demonstrate that she
could be tougher than John McCain on national security issues. 

When she came into office, she was already committed to preventing Iran
obtaining a nuclear weapon, by military means if necessary. Meanwhile,
the Iranian regime had abandoned all restraint in its pursuit of that
objective, calculating that its own best chances of survival lay in the
swiftest possible acquisition of a nuclear deterrent. In February 2009,
an alarming intelligence report reached Washington, suggesting that
Tehran -- using a secret cascade of its version of the P-2 centrifuge --
was much closer to obtaining a bomb than had been thought. In a series
of crisis meetings, President Clinton, her new secretary of state,
Richard Holbrooke, and her new secretary of defense, Joe Biden, decided
that they could afford to wait no longer. Operation Gulf Peace, for
which the Pentagon had long made detailed contingency plans, started on
March 6, 2009. 

Washington claimed that it had legal authorization under earlier U.N.
Security Council resolutions sanctioning Iran for its non-compliance on
the nuclear issue, but these claims were disputed by China and Russia.
Most European countries did not back the operation either, producing
another big transatlantic rift. However, under enormous pressure from
his close friends among U.S. Democrats, the British prime minister,
Gordon Brown, reluctantly decided to give it his approval, and allowed
the token deployment of a small number of British special forces in a
supporting role. This provoked a revolt from the Labor backbenches --
led by the former foreign secretary, Jack Straw -- and a demonstration
of more than 1 million people in London. Even the Conservative leader,
David Cameron, mindful that a general election was expected soon,
criticized Brown's support for the American action. Brown therefore
postponed the British election, which had been provisionally scheduled
for May 2009. Instead of an election, the country experienced a tragedy.

Meanwhile, President Ahmadinejad faced a presidential election in June
2009. Unlike Brown, he was riding high on a wave of national solidarity.
Even the many millions of Iranians disappointed by his failure to
deliver on his material promises, and those who despaired of their
country's international isolation, felt impelled to rally round the
leader in time of war. 

Many prominent Americans criticized the U.S. military action. Some
claimed to know that the presidential spouse, Bill Clinton, was
privately among those critics, although in public he was loyalty itself.
But Dr. Patrick Smith of the Washington-based Committee for a Better
World, which had long advocated bombing Iran, demanded of the critics:
"What was your alternative?" 


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