Sunday, February 26, 2012

Prevent Attack on Iran

OMNI IRAN NEWSLETTER # 14,  February 26, 2012, COMPILED BY DICK BENNETT FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE  (#11 Oct. 8, 2011; #12 Jan. 31, 2012; #13 Feb. 22, 2012)

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.   These newsletters offer information that enable us to examine morality and judgment of our leaders and their policies, of power.

STOP THE ATTACK ON IRAN.  No peacemaking is as important as opposing and hopefully preventing a war.  Speak up, write, call, donate, don’t give peace up.

Contents of #12

CLW: Stop the Threatening

Urge Obama to Use Diplomacy

New US Special Ops Task Force Near Iran

US Iran on collision Course?

Christian Science Monitor Timeline of Predictions

Preventing War
AIPAC War-Mongering
4th Nuclear Scientist Assassinated

West and Iran Ready to Continue Talks?

Obama Distancing from Israeli Attack?

NYT Reporting

Tell PBS and NPR

Contents of #13

US Weapons Ring Iran
Blum, Iran No Threat
Books by Trita Parsi
Weasel Words for War

Contents of #14
Beinart, Crazy Rush to War
Rabbi Lerner’s Ad
Provoking War, the “Northwoods” pLOY
Tomgram, From WWI to Iran, Hochschild on WWI

“ The Crazy Rush to Attack Iran “  Peter Beinart, The Daily Beast , Reader Supported News   Beinart writes: "How can it be, less than a decade after the US invaded Iraq, that the Iran debate is breaking down along largely the same lines, and the people who were manifestly, painfully wrong about that war are driving the debate this time as well?"


No War or Preemptive Attack on Iran-- Rabbi Michael Lerner via
11:00 AM (16 minutes ago)  Feb. 26, 2012
rabbilerner@tikkun.orgTikkun  to heal, repair and transform the world.   A note from Rabbi Michael Lerner Join or Donate Now!
Feb. 26, 2012
Dear Dick,
Would you please help us put an ad in the NY Times, Washington Post and maybe also Ha'aretz and Yediot in Israel, and other media, depending on how much money we can raise) to put public pressure on President Obama to NOT agree to overtly or covertly o.k. an Israeli preemptive strike on sites where Iran is developing its nuclear capacities)?  As of now, Iran does not have those capacities, and though Israeli leaders are arguing that they must strike now before it becomes impossible to block the development of nuclear weapons, U.S. intelligence sources said on Friday, Feb. 24th, that Iran had not made any decision to go forward with developing nuclear weapons. You can view the ad's content at  (though when it is layed out beautifully on a full page in the NY Times and Washington Post, it will not look as wordy as it looks now, and there will be room for the names of some who have signed and donated to it. These ads are expensive, but they've been effective for the political Right and we need to help make more visible the peace-oriented majority of Americans who don't support another war. We need to move quickly because high-level decisions on this are being made soon.
         A "preemptive strike" on Iran could easily lead to a new war in which the U.S. felt it had to defend Israel from Iranian retaliations, or in which Iran attacked U.S. interests in retaliation (knowing that Israel would not go through with an attack unless it had gotten at least covert assurances from the Obama Administration that it would provide protection for Israel, even if publicly it denied ever giving such assurances). The pressure from AIPAC (at whose convention next week Obama, Netanyahu, and Gingrich have all agreed to speak, and don't be surprised if they also invite Santorum), from Christian Zionists, and from the Republican party to give Israel blanket assurances for full backing could easily push Obama and the vast majority of Democrats in Congress toward protecting themselves against being called "weak and indecisive on national defense," and the way they might do that is to rally around an attack on Iran. Just as Congressional Democrats were unwilling to stand up against the Patriot Act, against the Bush-sponsored war in Iraq or the Obama escalation of the war in Afghanistan, so they may again capitulate to the call to "be tough."
       As much as we detest the oppressive and dictatorial regime of the mullahs in Iran, as much as we want it to be replaced by a democratic and human rights-respecting regime, we know that the only way that can happen is through an uprising of the people of Iran. An assault by Israel backed by the US (overtly or covertly) will only strengthen the horrific gangsters who have misused the language of Islam to justify their oppressive regime, twisting the doctrines of Islam away from their fundamentally decent and peace-loving essence to manifest a hateful and repressive side.But we don't believe this terrible regime  can be overthrown by Israel or the U.S., and we do believe that a first strike or so-called "preemptive strike" is a violation of international law, a war crime, and is both immoral and self-destructive (because it will push Iranians of all stripes into having to support the reactionary mullahs who will be hailed as the embodiment of the nationalist efforts to survive foreign assaults). We hope someday to see those mullahs brought to trial before an international court of justice, along with the leaders of many other countries who have engaged in human rights violations, but another war, started by Israel or the U.S., will make this less rather than more likely.So lets stop this before it starts. And it could start very soon.

The hawks will be dominating the media in the next few weeks as Netanyahu arrives in the U.S., AIPAC has its national convention, and Republican candidates for the presidency will be attacking Democrats and Obama for being "too soft" or even charging them with being "pro the Iranian government"!!!!  We need you to donate to help us put an ad in the NY Times, Washington Post and other media (on-line places like Huffington Post and Salon tell us) to oppose this possible attack on Iran and offset the appearance of the American people passively going along with the Right and the spineless as they lead us into yet another war. You can view the proposed text at You probably could have written it better, but at this point if you agree with the bottom line of "No war and no attack on Iran" please, please sign it and donate to make it possible. There may be parts of it you disagree with, which is why each part says "some of us" so that you are not committed to agreeing with every part of it, but only to saying "No War and No Attack on Iran." This campaign will cost at least $100,000. We can only do it if you believe it's worth it to you to donate more than you can afford to help us put pressure to not go along with this crazy plan. Imagine how much we would have saved as a society (many trillions of dollars that could have been used to help alleviate poverty, suffering, and fund medical research and housing and environmental advances) had we not gone to war with Iraq. Believe it or not, this is going to be a much worse war, and though Obama may think he is avoiding it, unless he uses his power to let Israel know that the US will stand publicly agaiinst the attack and refuse to get involved in a war with Iran, an attack on Iran has the potential of letting loose a war that will be far more likely to escalate wildly beyond US intentions once it is started.
So what we need from you is $1,000 or $500 or $300, and unless you tell us otherwise, we'll list your name on the ad (space allowing) as one of several hundred signatories if you can give that  much. And we'll be happy to get whatever you can give, even if it's only $25, though we may not have space in the ad to list all the donors who give less than $300 (though we will list your name on line unless you ask us not to do so). 
We have to act quickly if we are going to be able to have the money to publish this ad before final decisions are made to strike Iran. So please go to where you can donate to make this ad possible.
I know you share with me a desire for a world of peace. Later we may need to be involved in demonstrations or even non-violent civil disobedience, but right now all you need to do is to sign and donate to the ad (and if you don't want to have your name published, there's an option you can click when signing so that your name will not be made public). So please give generously even if it financially hurts. We have to stand together for our belief in a world of peace, and the only path to peace is a path of peace. Our means must be consistent with our ends. Stand with me on this one, please!
Love and blessings,
Rabbi Michael Lerner      Editor, Tikkun Magazine   Chair, the interfaith (including atheists and secular humanists) Network of Spiritual Progressives,   and Rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in S.F. and Berkeley California  If you wish to have me come speak in your community on my new book Embracing Israel/Palestine and its relationship to a possible war in Iran, contact . And please send this appeal to sign the ad opposing war or military strikes against Iran to everyone on your email lists or any Facebook, Twitter, or other social media to which you have access or Google list groups to which you belong, and appeal in your own name for their support for this cause (but feel free to post and use any or all of my letter here and the text of the ad as well).
Copyright © 2010 Tikkun® / Network of Spiritual Progressives®.
2342 Shattuck Avenue, #1200
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-644-1200 Fax 510-644-1255


Hornberger writes: "Another option for avoiding the appearance of being the aggressor power is the Operation Northwoods option. During the Kennedy administration, the Pentagon and the CIA wanted to invade Cuba to effect regime change there. But they didn't want to appear as the aggressor power. So, the Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a proposal that it unanimously approved and presented to JFK."

General Lyman Lemnitzer, center, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff concocted a 'top secret' plan to create a pretext for an invasion of Cuba in 1962. (photo: National Archives)

Don't Northwoods Iran

By Jacob G. Hornberger, The Future of Freedom Foundation
25 February 12
  Visit the National Security Archive at The George Washington University for more about Operation Northwoods. The full text of the so-called 'Northwoods Document,' presented to and then rejected by President Kennedy, is preserved as a PDF file here. -- JPS/RSN
  ll the buzz over possible war with Iran brings us a déjà vu feeling, given that U.S. officials prepared Americans with similar pre-war hype in the run up to their war on Iraq. WMDs. Mushroom clouds over American cities. An insane dictator. Threats to national security. Etcetera.
Keep in mind that Iran, like Iraq, has never attacked the United States. If President Obama gives his military and his CIA orders to attack Iran, the United States will once again be the aggressor nation, as it was in its war on Iraq.
That's one reason, of course, aggressors like to maneuver targeted nations into firing the first shot. In that way, the aggressor nation can tell its citizens, "We've been attacked! We're innocent! We have been forced to go to war to defend ourselves."
That's what President Franklin Roosevelt tried to do with the Germans prior to U.S. entry into World War II. He knew that the American people were steadfastly opposed to entering into another European war, given the large number of American soldiers who had died for nothing in World War I.
But the Germans refused to take the bait. So, FDR went into the Pacific in search of a "back door to war." By imposing sanctions and an oil embargo on Japan in the middle of its war on China, FDR figured that he stood a good chance of maneuvering the Japanese into retaliating with a military strike on U.S. forces in the Pacific.
FDR proved to be right. While the debate continues over whether FDR had actual knowledge of the upcoming attack on Hawaii, there is little doubt that he was anticipating an attack somewhere in the Pacific. When the attack came at Pearl Harbor, FDR had achieved his goal - U.S. entry into World War II.
The brutal sanctions that the U.S. government imposed against Iraq during the 1990s had much the same goal. The idea was that Saddam Hussein would not sit idly by and watch tens of thousands of Iraqi children die yearly and would instead retaliate with a military strike against U.S. forces in the region. Or the idea was that public agony in Iraq over the continuing deaths of Iraqi children would cause Saddam to be taken out by an internal military coup that would install a pro-U.S. regime into power.
But it was not to be. The children continued to die as each year went by, and Saddam remained in power. It was 9/11 and the fake WMD alerts on Iraq that enabled President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and achieve the regime change that the sanctions hadn't achieved.
As the sanctions against Iran produce ever-growing suffering among the Iranian people, will the Iranian regime sit back and simply watch it or will it retaliate with a military strike on U.S. forces in the region? It's impossible to predict, but what's easy to predict is the U.S. response to an Iranian military strike: "We've been attacked! We're innocent! We were just minding our own business! We have been forced to defend ourselves by bombing Iran."
Another option for avoiding the appearance of being the aggressor power is the Operation Northwoods option. During the Kennedy administration, the Pentagon and the CIA wanted to invade Cuba to effect regime change there. But they didn't want to appear as the aggressor power.
So, the Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a proposal that it unanimously approved and presented to JFK. The plan called for U.S. personnel to disguise themselves as agents of the Cuban government and to engage in terrorist attacks on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay. It also called for terrorist attacks within the United States that would be conducted by pro-U.S. forces disguising themselves as Cuban agents.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Operation Northwoods involved the proposed hijacking of an American passenger plane. The JCS proposed that a real plane containing American passengers would be hijacked by friendly forces disguised as Cuban agents. The plane would drop down off the radar screen and be replaced by a pilotless aircraft, which would crash, purportedly killing all the passengers. Under the plan, the real passenger plane would be secretly flown back to the United States.
Do you see the problem though? How could the real passengers be released back to their families without revealing that they hadn't really crashed?
Once all this had taken place, the Pentagon expected President Kennedy to look into the national television cameras and simply lie to the American people and to the world by falsely claiming that the Cuban government had attacked the United States.
Of course, the Pentagon and the CIA would be expected to lie as well. No doubt all documents relating to all this terrorist activity would have been classified and remained secret for the next century or at least as long as they could all be destroyed.
To Kennedy's ever-lasting credit, he rejected Operation Northwoods. Such might not have been the case if Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson had been president. Don't forget that just a few years later, Nixon would lie about the Watergate cover-up and Johnson would lie about the Gulf of Tonkin attack.
In fact, the Gulf of Tonkin incident provides another way that war could break out against Iran. In order to provoke the North Vietnamese into attacking U.S. forces, the Pentagon ordered U.S. Naval vessels to patrol in or near North Vietnamese waters. When that plan didn't work, the Pentagon simply made up a fake attack, falsely claiming that the North Vietnamese had attacked the U.S. vessels. Seizing upon the fake attack, Johnson secured the infamous Gulf of Tonkin Resolution from Congress that empowered him to launch his military invasion of Vietnam, an invasion that ended up costing the lives of almost 60,000 American men, who died for nothing.
The U.S. government has no business engaging in another war of aggression. It has already killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, none of whom had anything to do with 9/11. It has done the same to hundreds of thousands of Afghanis, most of whom had nothing to do with 9/11. It was killed countless people in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere, most of whom had nothing to do with 9/11.
Enough is enough. But if President Obama (or his possible successor) does decide to go to war with Iran, he should be required, on pain of impeachment, to follow the law that we the people have imposed upon him with our Constitution. He should be made to secure a declaration of war from Congress before sending our nation into war. At least in that way, Congress could ferret out whether the president, the Pentagon, and the CIA have employed a Pearl Harbor, Operation Northwoods, or Gulf of Tonkin scheme to justify their war.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
February 26, 2012
Tomgram: “Adam Hochschild, Antiwar Critics Forgotten on Oscar Night”
[Special Offer for TomDispatch Readers: Adam Hochschild’s new book on World War I, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918, was a big hit and boy did it deserve it!  With a front-page New York Times Book Review rave, it became a bestseller.  At the moment, it’s a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  It was also a big hit at TomDispatch when Hochschild offered to sign copies of the hardcover in return for a donation to this site.  Now, with the paperback just coming out, he’s ready to do it again. This time, you’ll get a signed, personalized copy of the new paperback in return for a donation of $85 (or more).  Just pay a visit to our donation page and check it out for yourself. For anyone who watched Downton Abbey or went to War Horse, here’s World War I as it really was, a remarkable tale, including the unknown story of that war’s critics.  (My book, The United States of Fear, is similarly available on the donation page for a contribution of $75 or more.)  Tom]

Here’s how, in his classic Vietnam War history, The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam summed up Washington life via the career of Dean Rusk, the hawkish Secretary of State under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson: “If you are wrong on the hawkish side of an event you are all right; if you are accurate on the dovish side you are in trouble.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, so many decades later, to be able to say that such a statement is thoroughly out of date in Washington and elsewhere in this country?  Unfortunately, on the evidence of the Iraq War years, it would be a lovely lie.

Where, after all, are those who went out into the streets in their millions globally to say: don’t do it, it’s madness! and the far smaller crew who said the same about the Afghan War?  Logically, they should be celebrated today.  They were on target.  To the extent anyone could, they saw it coming.  Logically, some of the more prescient among them should be our experts of the moment.  They should be the media’s go-to guys and gals as a war atmosphere builds vis-a-vis Iran that has eerie similarities to the pre-Iraq invasion period (despite the intervening decade-plus of disaster in the Greater Middle East). 

The antiwar figures who protested then, who said the war hawks of the Bush administration and the many pundits beating the war drums for them were fools, and an invasion a fool’s task, should be in the Rolodexes of every journalist reporting on American foreign policy, the Iran crisis, or our wars.  But when was the last time you heard from one of them or saw one spotlighted?

For years, to give a single example, on anniversaries of the Iraq invasion, my hometown paper, the New York Times, called on the very figures who had gotten it wrong or actively helped make it wrong to assess the war, to tell us just where we were.  Now, the urge to surge once again seems to have parts of the polity in its grips, as 58% of Americans in a recent Pew poll favor someone using military force to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.  (Of course, in a recent CNN/Gallup poll, 71% were already convinced that Iran has a nuclear weapon!)  At this very moment, the experts being called on are regularly those who were “wrong on the hawkish side.”  Meanwhile, the Republican candidates ( Ron Paul excepted) are all but swearing they will launch a war on Iran if elected.  In the midst of this, remind me: Is anyone in that mainstream world checking in with those who were “accurate on the dovish side”?  If so, I haven’t noticed, and I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to do so either.

Perhaps because they managed to snag the more impressive bird, the hawks remain eternally wrong and triumphant when it comes to war, and the doves remarkably right and yet eternally erased from the scene.  It’s a story that Adam Hochschild, author of the bestseller To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (just out in paperback), reminds us is anything but new. (To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Hochschild discusses the largely untold stories of those in England who opposed involvement in World War I and the message they offer for our own time, click  here,  or download it to your iPod  here.)  Tom

  “The Untold War Story -- Then and Now
Going Beyond the Tale of a Boy and His Horse”

Well in advance of the 2014 centennial of the beginning of “the war to end all wars,” the First World War is suddenly everywhere in our lives. Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse opened on 2,376 movie screens and has collected six Oscar nominations, while the hugely successful play it’s based on is still packing in the crowds in New York and a second production is being readied to tour the country.
In addition, the must-watch TV soap opera of the last two months, Downton Abbey, has just concluded its season on an unexpected kiss.  In seven episodes, its upstairs-downstairs world of forbidden love and dynastic troubles took American viewers from mid-war, 1916, beyond the Armistice, with the venerable Abbey itself turned into a convalescent hospital for wounded troops. Other dramas about the 1914-1918 war are on the way, among them an HBO-BBC miniseries based on Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End quartet of novels, and a TV adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong from an NBC-backed production company.
In truth, there’s nothing new in this.  Filmmakers and novelists have long been fascinated by the way the optimistic, sunlit, pre-1914 Europe of emperors in plumed helmets and hussars on parade so quickly turned into a mass slaughterhouse on an unprecedented scale. And there are good reasons to look at the First World War carefully and closely.

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