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At least what I think should be your next big story.  That is covering the Bush administration’s rush to go to war with Iran.  I would hope that if you focused on this story with a series of hard hitting reports that perhaps you could help stop a war.  

Keith we’re all kind of fretting about this prospect of war with Iran.  This looks like it’s going to happen and the MSM is stating to fall in line and ‘report’ – perhaps transcribe is more accurate – the administration’s claims about Iran.  

NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski’s, a good correspondent, is reporting that ‘Pentagon sources’ are suggesting that Iranians were likely involved in the killing of five American soldiers in Karbala.  CNN is also reporting this.  Maybe Iranians were involved in this heinous attack, but Keith I think your reportorial instincts understand the ‘whys’ behind this kind of story.  Why is the Bush administration feeding the press this information on Iran’s activities in Iraq to the press at this time?  

More below:


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The Bush administration is beating the drums for war with Iran.  I don’t think the MSM will do a good job covering the motives of this administration.  I know you can.  Maybe you can make a difference Keith – maybe you can help stop a war.    

Perhaps the Iranians were involved in the Karbala murder/kidnappings.  I don’t know, but based on the disinformation campaigns before the Iraq War, all of us have reason to believe this could be a complete fabrication by this administration.  But even if Iran was involved in this attack, that in itself is no reason to go to war with Iran.    

In the last few days there has been a burst of reporting by the MSM of all of the Iranian activities in Iraq.  Can sources from this administration be trusted?  What are the motivations of these Pentagon/government sources?  

And why now?  Any follower of the news of the Iraq War knows that Iran has been involved on the ground in Iraq almost as long as we have.  Michael Ware, the great CNN reporter, has said that Iran has been involved in Iraq since the very beginning.  They’ve been building relationships and training and arming militias for the past three plus years.  As you know Keith, Tom Ricks will tell you that Iran had a better post war strategy for Iraq than we did.  

This is not new news.  What is news is that the Pentagon/NeoCON cabal in this administration now seems to be interested in spoon feeding to the MSM, and many in the lazy MSM will lap it up and send it out to the masses.  

I appreciate it Keith if you would shine your powerful reportorial spotlight on what appears to be the coming War with Iran.  There are lots of important elements of the story to cover.    

As I’ve said, one of the angles to cover involves the why now.  There are lots of longstanding links between the Iranians and the Iraqis.  They’ve already been working together.  Hadn’t the Bush administration already noticed this?  Tom Ricks could be an interview for some of this history.  

Who is pushing this?  The NeoCONS? Who in the Republican Party, what Democrats are paying lip service to the warmongers, what links might they have to the Israel Luked, how is being spun?  

Shine the light on this kind of warmongering.  From Homage to Herzliya The Lobby wants war with Iran:

For evidence of the war hysteria now sweeping official Israeli circles, readers of the Israeli (and overseas) press will note the attention paid to the seventh annual Herzliya conference, an event attended by top Israeli – and American – leaders, including a surprising number of would-be occupants of the Oval Office.

"There is no doubt that the war drums are beating pretty loudly here in Herzliya," reports Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times foreign correspondent, who was struck by "the number of top Americans who have bothered to come over for the conference." With US officials Gordon England and Nick Burns as the centerpieces, several serious presidential wannabes decorated the podium: Mitt Romney made a personal appearance, with John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and John Edwards addressing the conference by satellite. "I cannot think of any other country in the world that could summon up this level of American participation for a conference like this," writes Rachman. "Certainly not Britain."

Richard Perle, Jim Woolsey, and nutty Newt Gingrich rounded out the speakers list, adding their own notes of individualized hysteria to the chorus of warmongering. "A lot of these chaps," avers Rachman, "were very prominent in the drive to go to war in Iraq. Now, flushed by their undoubted success there, they are turning their attention to Iran."


Yet each of these American politicians – major candidates for the highest office in the land – pledged at Herzliya that we would go to war, if necessary, in order to stop the alleged Iranian drive to acquire nukes. Former (and aspiring) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threw out the CIA's assessment of 10 years before Tehran goes nuclear, and substituted his own: 1,000 days. The supposed imminence of an Iranian mushroom cloud looming over the Israeli skyline imparted a certain apocalyptic air to the proceedings, and the American candidates put on quite a show:

"US presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain, along with Newt Gingrich, were in Israel, seemingly competing to see who can be most strident in defense of the Jewish state during personal or video appearances at the conference here, just north of Tel Aviv.

"The four politicians called for ways to prevent Iran's government from acquiring nuclear weapons. While stressing the strong US-Israel ties, the presidential hopefuls all agreed that the US has to ratchet up sanctions on Iran and leave the possibility of a military attack ‘on the table'."

Romney may have won the hyperbole contest, but the big surprise was Edwards, who came in second with his declaration that preventing Iran from getting nukes is "is the greatest challenge of our generation." On the same day he ran an ad in Roll Call calling on Congress to oppose the "surge" in Iraq, he was telling the Herzliya conference that "All options are on the table to ensure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon."


Call these warmongers on their actions Keith.  Explore the idea that an attack on Iran might be in Israel’s interest, but not necessarily in American’s interest.  

Matt Yglesias wrote about some of these divisions and the underlying tensions in Smears for Fears:

This, of course, is true. I'm Jewish and I don't think the United States should bomb Iran, but Thursday night I was talking to a Jewish friend and she does think the United States should bomb Iran. The Jewish community, in short, is divided on the issue. It's also true that most major American Jewish organizations cater to the views of extremely wealthy major donors whose political views are well to the right of the bulk of American Jews, one of the most liberal ethnic groups in the country. Furthermore, it's true that major Jewish organizations are trying to push the country into war. And, last, it's true that if you read the Israeli press you'll see that right-wing Israeli politicians are anticipating a military confrontation with Iran.
Keith you could raise the issue of whether a U.S. blessed Israeli attack would in fact destroy the American-Israel alliance.  

The legal aspect of attacking Iran – you could interview John Dean on that and get a few good interviews from Senator Feingold.  

What is the actual nuclear threat from Iran?  You could note that Valerie Plame was working on nuclear proliferation in Iran when she was outed by the Cheney NeoCONS.  Outing Plame may have blinded the CIA, and now the Bushies want to claim Iran is on the verge of having a nuke.  You could report that the CIA has estimated that Iran might be 10 years away from developing a nuke – 1 nuke.  Many of the ex-CIA pros would be willing to talk about this, and how this administration has manipulated CIA intelligence in the past.    

The military buildup leading to an attack in Iran – MSNBC has a stable military experts that could cover this angle.  General McCaffery would be pretty good at talking about how stretched to the breaking point the armed forces are.  

Then you could focus on the possible disastrous consequences of an attack on Iran.  What might be the possible military losses?

An attack on Iran could result in the greatest U.S. naval defeat since Pearl Harbor and the first carrier losses since Japanese Kamikaze attacks of WWII.    

What losses the Navy might suffer was presaged by a war game called Millennium Challenge run by the Pentagon before the start of Bush’s Iraq Fiasco.

The Islamic ‘bad guys’ in this war game were directed by retired Marine Corps Lt. General Paul Van Riper.  From the SF Chronicle:

Van Riper played the role of enemy commander in an August 2002 war game called Millennium Challenge. The little noticed war game was based on an eerily familiar scenario: A U.S.-led fleet has steamed into the gulf to dislodge the dictator of a rogue nation. But before the sands had run out on an American ultimatum, Van Riper's simulated evildoers attacked the U.S. ships with theater ballistic missiles, swarms of small, fast attack boats and ship- killing cruise missiles.

By the time the virtual dust had settled, Van Riper's sneak attack had sunk 16 U.S. ships and damaged many more in the worst naval defeat since Pearl Harbor.

But the Navy didn’t lose after this initial catastrophe.  They assured themselves victory by changing the rules of the game after the war was underway.  From an Apr. 26, 2006 commentary by Joe Galloway of Knight Ridder Newspapers:
When the figurative smoke cleared it was found that the Red Forces had sunk 16 Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier. Thousands of Marines and sailors were dead.

The referees stopped the game, which is normal when a victory is won so early. Van Riper assumed that the Blue Force would draw new, better plans and the free play war games would resume.

Instead he learned that the war game was now following a script drafted to ensure a Blue Force victory: He was ordered to turn on all his anti-aircraft radar so it could be destroyed and he was told his forces would not be allowed to shoot down any of the aircraft bringing Blue Force troops ashore.

The Pentagon has never explained. It classified Van Riper's 21-page report criticizing the results and conduct of the rest of the exercise, along with the report of another DOD observer. Pentagon officials have not released Joint Forces Command's own report on the exercise.

Van Riper walked out and didn't come back. He was furious that the war game had turned from an honest, open free play test of America's war-fighting capabilities into a rigidly controlled and scripted exercise meant to end in an overwhelming American victory.

One other interesting fact about the ‘do over’ restart of the game was reported in Slate on March 28, 2003:

At that point, the managers stopped the game, "refloated" the Blue fleet, and resumed play.  

General Paul Van Riper would be a great interview for you Keith.  And we've got our own naval expert on Kos that you could interview - Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired.

The ground forces might end up with even greater losses.  The American Achilles heel in Iraq is the supply lines.  Pat Lang has reported on his blog they are hundreds of miles long and they run through the heart of Shiite territory.  He wrote this last July:

American troops all over central and northern Iraq are supplied with fuel, food, and ammunition by truck convoy from a supply base hundreds of miles away in Kuwait. All but a small amount of our soldiers' supplies come into the country over roads that pass through the Shiite-dominated south of Iraq.

Until now the Shiite Arabs of Iraq have been told by their leaders to leave American forces alone. But an escalation of tensions between Iran and the US could change that overnight. Moreover, the ever-increasing violence of the civil war in Iraq can change the alignment of forces there unexpectedly.

Southern Iraq is thoroughly infiltrated by Iranian special operations forces working with Shiite militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades. Hostilities between Iran and the United States or a change in attitude toward US forces on the part of the Baghdad government could quickly turn the supply roads into a "shooting gallery" 400 to 800 miles long.

Note that was another story last year reporting on Iranian infiltration in Iraq.  It's not new news.  In December Pat Lange wrote that a possible attack on the Madhi Army in Baghdad might produce the U.S. version of Stalingrad on the Tigris.  He’d be an excellent interview.  

Some of your colleagues on MSNBC are doing some commentary on this rush to war.  Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough are having discussions on their shows, but they are not for the most part reporting on this story.  Nor is anyone else on cable TV.

Keith you can do it.  You know which way the wind is blowing on Iran.  It’s a big story, an important story, and thanks to MSM compliance this administration is presently controlling the message. This could be a stunning defeat of American forces (if) when Bush attacks Iran, or winks when Israel launches an attack on Iran, or goads Iran into striking back after U.S. provocations.   It could be a disaster Keith – you know that.  I encourage you to use your platform to try and stop it.  

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to deepsouthdoug on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 07:34 AM PST.


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