The recent revelation that Iran has suspended its nuclear weapons program for the last four years marks a step towards, not away from, wider war in the Middle East. Policy-makers representing the liberal, imperialist wing of U.S. rulers dropped the Iran bombshell in order to hamstring the remaining neocons in the lame-duck Bush administration. The liberals want to prevent Cheney & Co., whom they view as inept war makers, from launching an undermanned, unilateral military strike on Iran in their administration’s last year.
With the U.S. war machine bogged down in Iraq, the liberal rulers are buying time. They hope a Democratic president can mobilize the vast forces — both U.S. troops and allies — needed for inevitable clashes not just with Iran but with rivals China and Russia. Toning down the U.S.’s image as a racist torturer (while in no way eliminating actual torture) is crucial to this process. That’s why a “new and improved” liberal-led CIA revealed that the corrupt, incompetent old neocon CIA had, back in 2005, destroyed videotapes of torture at Guantanamo.
LIBERALS TRY TO REMAKE DISCREDITED CIA FOR WAR EFFORT
The “December Surprise” on Iran comes not from the White House but from a spy apparatus, once discredited for its Iraq weapons-of-mass-destruction fiasco but newly rehabilitated by imperialist liberals. Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Rockefeller-led imperialists’ Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), boasted, “The intelligence community surprised everyone, including the Bush administration” (CFR website, 12/04/07). The liberal NY Times joined the chorus of praise: “The new national intelligence directorate is analyzing information more rigorously” (12/09/07).
Key to this pro-imperialist transformation has been Gen. Michael Hayden, CIA chief since 2006. Hayden serves the liberal wing. Bill Clinton chose him to direct the National Security Agency in 1999. His mentor in the Air Force was Gen. Charles Boyd, formerly executive director of the Hart-Rudman commission, which outlined U.S. capitalism’s plans for world domination for the next 25 years.
Boyd penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, “A Symphony for Hayden” at the time of his protégé’s CIA appointment last year. It was Hayden who blabbed about the Guantanamo torture tapes to pin the blame on Bush die-hards and cast his own crew as “reforming” white knights. Liberal Sen. Jay Rockefeller, while condoning torture, backs Hayden’s whistle-blowing because waterboarding “however well-intentioned, plays into the hands of our enemies” (NYT, 12/08/07). However, the Democrats were briefed about waterboarding back in 2002 and said nothing.
LIBERALS WANT TO BUY TIME FOR IRAN WAR…
Mobilizing the U.S. militarily and building popular support for its wars are the chief tasks the liberal rulers lay upon the next President. CFR chairman Richard Haass told National Public Radio (12/08/07), “The new president will inherit a tremendously complex world and a U.S. less well-positioned to deal with it because our military is stretched and worn down and because of anti-Americanism.”
The liberals understand that Iran won’t be a quick “hit-and-run” job. Robert Blackwill, counselor at the CFR writes, “If diplomacy fails and the U.S. attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, the result would likely be a long war, as Tehran isn’t likely to surrender. Such use of force would also further destabilize the Middle East, inflame the Islamic world, strengthen terrorist forces everywhere and would probably produce attacks on the American homeland” (Wall Street Journal 12/6/07). So, to give the rulers time to militarize the U.S., the new intelligence estimate sets the timetable for action beyond the Bush gang’s term, declaring, “Iran will achieve nuclear weapons capabilities somewhere between 2009 and 2015.”
…BUT MAY STRIKE SOON
Robert Gates, the liberals’ replacement for Rumsfeld (Gates has worked for the Baker-Hamilton commission and the CFR), said there was no telling when the pretext for a U.S. invasion would arise. “Iran could restart those efforts at any time.” At a recent conference in Bahrain, Gates urged U.S. Mid-East allies to “develop regional air and missile defense systems” and maritime security to prepare for war against Iran. He promised that the U.S. was hell-bent on expanding its war for control of the region’s oil. “The United States remains committed to defending its vital interests and those of its allies in Iraq and in the wider Middle East” (NY Times, 12/09/07). “Vital interests” has been code for Mid-East oil ever since Jimmy Carter used the term in his Carter Doctrine and began the military build-up to secure it after the 1979 Iranian ayatollahs’ ouster of the Shah, a U.S. puppet.
All the Democratic candidates seek to meet their capitalist masters’ needs in ways that will shed even more workers’ blood. Supporting any of them would be a grave error. The course for our class must be to join and build the revolutionary communist Progressive Labor Party, which has the long-term outlook of destroying the profit system and its ever-deadlier wars.