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On September 7, 2002, the New York Times reported an explanation how the Bush administration would sell the invasion of Iraq.  The administration may be replicating this strategy for Iran.  

Today I received a message from a friend whose information from his Washington connections has often been prescient. As in 2002, he claimed, the rollout will start after Labor Day, with a kickoff on September 11. Someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions reported:

They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."


In 2002, the Times reported:

White House officials said today that the administration was following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.

The rollout of the strategy this week, they said, was planned long before President Bush's vacation in Texas last month. It was not hastily concocted, they insisted, after some prominent Republicans began to raise doubts about moving against Mr. Hussein and administration officials made contradictory statements about the need for weapons inspectors in Iraq.

   The White House decided, they said, that even with the appearance of disarray it was still more advantageous to wait until after Labor Day to kick off their plan.

   ''From a marketing point of view,'' said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, ''you don't introduce new products in August.''

   A centerpiece of the strategy, White House officials said, is to use Mr. Bush's speech on Sept. 11 to help move Americans toward support of action against Iraq, which could come early next year.

This September 11, we will have the reports from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, filtered through a White House drafted report.

I watched Vice-President Cheney's speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on August 26, 2002, in the residence where I was staying in Kabul, Afghanistan. I heard Cheney deliver his famous falsehood:


The Iraqi regime has in fact been very busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents. And they continue to pursue the nuclear program they began so many years ago. These are not weapons for the purpose of defending Iraq; these are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that Saddam can hold the threat over the head of anyone he chooses, in his own region or beyond.

We know the results.

This year, on August 28, President Bush spoke to another veterans' group, the American Legion. He called Iran "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," whose "active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust." He concluded:

Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late.

But this may just be test marketing, like Cheney's 2002 speech. After all "from a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

I cannot verify this report. But I also heard last week from a former U.S. government contractor. According to this contractor, someone in the Department of Defense called, asking for cost estimates for a model for reconstruction in Asia. The former contractor finally concluded that the model was intended for Iran. This anecdote is also inconclusive, but it would be consistent with the depth of planning that went into the reconstruction effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I hesitated before posting this. I don't want to spread alarmist rumors. The U.S. cannot mount a ground invasion or occupation of Iran, but it might be capable of an air attack and sea embargo.  The administration has prepared a legal justification by floating its plan to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.  Since the IRGC is under the command of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, the administration, with its usual legal acuity, could claim legal authority for an attack on Iran under Senate Joint Resolution 23 of September 18, 2001,which authorized the use of military force against "those who plan, authorize, commit, or aid terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests -- including those who harbor terrorists."  

There are too many signs of another irresponsible military adventure from the Cheney-Bush administration to just dismiss these reports. Perhaps it is just a clever attempt to ratchet up pressure on Tehran, but the history of this administration does not allow me to believe that.  I am putting these inconclusive reports into the public sphere in the hope of helping to mobilize opposition to a policy that would further doom the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and burden our country and the people of the Middle East with yet another unstoppable fountain of bloodshed.

Originally posted to BRRubin on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 08:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The most important issue there is (10+ / 0-)

    I am not an alarmist either.  It is only in the past two months that I have come to the conclusion that a Bush Administration bombing of Iran is a real possibility in the remainder of his term.  There is nothing more important for the progressive movement for the rest of this year and most of next year than to prevent a U.S. attack on Iran.

    "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -- Voltaire

    by WaitingForLefty on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 08:37:35 PM PDT

  •  so who in Congress will fight this? (5+ / 0-)

    I know Wes Clark is trying to do it from the outside. Maybe he should get into the damn race just so more people can hear his message.

    But I've already written both my Senators and my Representative about how important it is to prevent Bush from launching a war on Iran, and I got no commitment back from any of them (all among the most liberal Democrats). My Rep even keeps talking like Iran is somehow an enemy when there is no shred of evidence that's been presented to indicate that. Like all the talk about them seeking nuclear weapons--no evidence at all, although with the constant threats that are being made against them it wouldn't be surprising at this point.

    Maybe Russia and China should designate the United States Air Force a "terrorist organization" since they've killed a lot more civilians than the Revolutionary Guard have. Other than fighting against Saddam Hussein's army, I don't recall the Revolutionary Guard killing any foreign nationals at all, unlike Bush's military. Or is it just my memory failing me again?

    •  I honestly doubt many in Congress will fight this (0+ / 0-)

      Two reasons.

      First, they're going to get that the fix is in, and that fighting it will be pretty much impossible short of threatening to impeach the president. Which they won't do, because the "blue dogs" won't let them.  

      Second, because this is going to be sold, at least at first, as a bloodless air war; some kind of "Shock and Awe Part 2: Shock Harder". I have no doubt that the AEI crew know that this will be ineffective, and that the land response from the Iranians will provoke the American land war that they're really gunning for. They aren't going to be dumb enough to recommend a land war right off the bat, though. It'll be planes and bombs first.

      For more, see Shadow of the Hegemon- a liberal voice since 2002.

      by Demosthenes2002 on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 11:38:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not this time...... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Asinus Asinum Fricat, brentmack

    First of all, we don't have the military resources for an invasion.  All we could do is destroy some factories, which would set them back a few years, maybe.

    I'm not sure that Gates would follow the orders for such an assault.  If he were to refuse, and resign, it could cause a cascade of refusal along the ranks of senior officers.

    There would need to be a real, not imaginary Casis Beli (if by luck I got "precipitating action" spelled correctly) more than the vague accusations that we have heard.  And then there is Russia, who could step into the fray and become a new global power with their oil resources and their new ally Iran. BTW, they have recently restored heavy bombers, potentially with nuclear bombs, circling their country ready to bomb the West.

    I just don't think an attack on Iran could be pulled off after all we've been through in Iraq.

  •  can't believe this hasn't been rated up (5+ / 0-)

    This is unbelievably serious.

    D-Day, the newest blog on the internet (at the moment of its launch)

    by dday on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 09:40:13 PM PDT

  •  Please Rec This Story! (4+ / 0-)

    If this story can get enough attention before Labor Day, any media organizations that participate in the war-marketing campaign will be exposed as Cheney's Pravdas

  •  I have cross posted this (5+ / 0-)

    for discussion at the Somethingawful debate and discussion forums

    thanks Professor for alerting us to this.

  •  Not being Alarmist?!!?! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is evidence that the WH is planning a phony propaganda campaign to get us into a war with Iran.

    I'd say let's ring every alarm bell we can find!  The evidence has been acumulating, and this is surely a smoking gun.  

    Unless Americans are ready to attack Iran, they need to WAKE UP and start making some noise.

  •  Thanks for posting this here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Please keep posting info on this here.

    Just came in thru the other diary which mentioned yours.

    Have see the writing on the wall about this for some time.

    Cheney needs to go.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 11:01:01 PM PDT

  •  The loss of life would be catastrophic (0+ / 0-)

    As loss of life in Iraq has been.

    Clearly Cheney wants to move forward with this, it's been floated off and on for some time.

    Let's just keep being convinced they won't be able to pull it off. A few military people saying "NO" would stop the whole endeavor.

    As would several other possible situations and variables. So let's stay focused on that.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 11:05:17 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And thanks to Scientician for rescuing it.  Too late to recommend, but I definitely would if I could.  Thanks again.

  •  listen up folks, he's the best (0+ / 0-)

    Rubin is, quite simply, the best scholar (perhaps living or dead) on Afghanistan.  And an insightful observer of US policy in the region.  

    (I've never met him in person, I think I emailed him once, can't remember if I heard back, but I have no personal nor professional affiliation with him.)  

    When Rubin talks (writes), I listen (read).

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