PResident Trump’s incitement to criminal mob violence and the occupation of the Capitol makes it clear that there is no limitation on the abuse of power he may commit in the next two weeks that he remains in office. As outrageous as his incendiary performance on Wednesday was, I fear he may incite something far more dangerous in the days ahead: his long-awaited war with Iran.
Is it possible that you are delusional enough to imagine that such a war would be in the interests of the nation or region or even in your own short-term interests? Your behavior and mood evident this week and for the past two months answers that question.
This week’s dispatch of the B-52’s nonstop round-trip from North Dakota to the Iranian coast, the fourth such flight in seven weeks, one at the end of the year, along with its build-up of American forces in the area, it is a warning not only to Iran but to us.
In mid-November, when these flights began, the president had to be deterred at the highest level from directing an unprovoked attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. But an attack “provoked” by Iran (or by militias in Iraq aligned with Iran) was not ruled out.
US military and intelligence agencies frequently, as in Vietnam and Iraq, provided presidents with false information that offered pretexts to attack our alleged adversaries. Or they have suggested covert actions that could provoke adversaries to some response that would justify US “retaliation.”
The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, in November was likely intended to be a provocation. If so, it has failed so far, just like the assassination of General Suleimani exactly a year ago.
But now there is little time left to generate an exchange of actions and backlash that will serve to block the resumption of the nuclear deal with Iran by the incoming Biden administration – a preeminent goal not only of Donald Trump but of the allies he has helped to gather. in recent months, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Evidently, it would take more than individual assassinations to induce Iran to risk responses that justify a full-scale airstrike before Trump leaves office. But US military and covert planning personnel are up to the task of trying to meet that challenge, on time.
I myself was a participant-observer of such planning, regarding Vietnam half a century ago. On September 3, 1964, just a month after I became special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for international security affairs, John T. McNaughton, a memorandum written by my boss arrived on my desk at the Pentagon. He recommended actions “that probably at some point trigger a military DRV [North Vietnam] answer … it will probably provide us with a good base to climb if we wish. “
Such actions “that would deliberately tend to provoke a DRV reaction” (sic), as McNaughton’s counterpart at the State Department, Undersecretary of State William Bundy explained five days later, could include “leading increasingly US naval patrols. near the North Vietnamese Coast, “that is, taking them within the 12-mile coastal waters that the North Vietnamese claimed: as close to the beach as necessary, to get an answer that can justify what McNaughton called” a Full-fledged squeeze in North Vietnam [a progressively all-out bombing campaign]”Which would follow” especially if an American ship sank. “
I have little doubt that such contingency planning, led by the Oval Office, to provoke, if necessary, an excuse to attack Iran while this administration is still in office, exists right now, in safes and computers in the Pentagon. , the CIA and the White House. . That means there are officials in those agencies, perhaps one sitting at my old desk at the Pentagon, who have seen on their secure computer screens highly classified recommendations exactly like the McNaughton and Bundy memos that hit my desk in September 1964. .
I will always regret that I did not copy and transmit those memos, along with many other files in my top-secret office safe at the time, all believing the false campaign promises of the president in that very fall that “we are not looking for anything.” broader war ”- to Senator Fulbright’s foreign relations committee in September 1964 instead of five years later in 1969, or to the press in 1971. The value of lives could have been saved from a war.
Current documents or digital files that contemplate provoking or “retaliating” for Iranian actions covertly provoked by us should not remain a further secret from the United States Congress and the American public, lest we be presented with a disastrous fait accompli before January 20, instigating a war potentially worse than Vietnam plus all Middle East wars combined. It is not too late for such plans to be carried out by this deranged president or for an informed public and Congress to prevent him.
I urge you to come out boldly today, this week, not months or years from now, after the bombs have started to fall. It could be the most patriotic act of my life.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism