Cheney Says Dems Can't Stop Bush's War With Iran

Seymour Hersh has a new report about how the Bush Team plan to prevent Congress from interfering with any actions Bush wants to take against Iran, even if this action violates legislation passed by Democrats to prevent funding of regime change in Iran.  Does anyone remember Iran-Contra scandal?

A month before the midterms, Cheney told participants of a national-security discussion that if the Democrats won control of Congress, it would not prevent the Bush Team from proceeding to take action against Iran:

"The talk took a political turn: what if the Democrats won both the Senate and the House? How would that affect policy toward Iran, which is believed to be on the verge of becoming a nuclear power? At that point, according to someone familiar with the discussion, Cheney began reminiscing about his job as a lineman, in the early nineteen-sixties, for a power company in Wyoming. Copper wire was expensive, and the linemen were instructed to return all unused pieces three feet or longer. No one wanted to deal with the paperwork that resulted, Cheney said, so he and his colleagues found a solution: putting "shorteners" on the wire--that is, cutting it into short pieces and tossing the leftovers at the end of the workday. If the Democrats won on November 7th, the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. The White House would put "shorteners" on any legislative restrictions, Cheney said, and thus stop Congress from getting in its way."

Bush Team is not concerned that the Democrats would cut funding for the Iraq war but that the Democrats might enact legislation that would prohibit the US from funding operations to overthrow or destabilize Iran:

"They're afraid that Congress is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, à la Nicaragua in the Contra war," a former senior intelligence official told me.

Seymour Hersh explains that in 1982, Democratic Rep. Boland drafted legislation to limit Pres. Reagan's ability to fund Contras to overthrow Nicaragua's government.  These Boland restrictions resulted in White House officials conducting "illegal fund-raising activities for the Contras, including the sale of American weapons, via Israel, to Iran. The result was the Iran-Contra scandal of the mid-eighties."

The White House does not intend to let any Boland-type law enacted today by Democrats hamstring whatever plans the Bush Team has for Iran:

"Cheney's story, according to the source, was his way of saying that, whatever a Democratic Congress might do next year to limit the President's authority, the Administration would find a way to work around it."

Consistent with Bush's history of shifting rationales for the Iraq war, there are indications that the Bush Team may spin military or other actions against Iran as the way to win the Iraq war.

The government consultant told me, "More and more people see the weakening of Iran as the only way to save Iraq."

The consultant added that, for some advocates of military action, "the goal in Iran is not regime change but a strike that will send a signal that America still can accomplish its goals. Even if it does not destroy Iran's nuclear network, there are many who think that thirty-six hours of bombing is the only way to remind the Iranians of the very high cost of going forward with the bomb--and of supporting Moqtada al-Sadr and his pro-Iran element in Iraq." (Sadr, who commands a Shiite militia, has religious ties to Iran.)

However, Iran may view any such US attack against it as actually enhancing the government's position domestically and in the region:

There are, however, other possible reasons for Iran's obstinacy. The nuclear program--peaceful or not--is a source of great national pride, and President Ahmadinejad's support for it has helped to propel him to enormous popularity. (Saddam Hussein created confusion for years, inside and outside his country, about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, in part to project an image of strength.) According to the former senior intelligence official, the C.I.A.'s assessment suggested that Iran might even see some benefits in a limited military strike--especially one that did not succeed in fully destroying its nuclear program--in that an attack might enhance its position in the Islamic world. "They learned that in the Iraqi experience, and relearned it in southern Lebanon," the former senior official said. In both cases, a more powerful military force had trouble achieving its military or political goals; in Lebanon, Israel's war against Hezbollah did not destroy the group's entire arsenal of rockets, and increased the popularity of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

As for the US status, an attack against Iran could unite Sunni and Shiite populations and the Arab world against the US, essentially creating the caliphate that Bush has asserted is the goal of the Islamic extremists:

The former senior intelligence official added that the C.I.A. assessment raised the possibility that an American attack on Iran could end up serving as a rallying point to unite Sunni and Shiite populations. "An American attack will paper over any differences in the Arab world, and we'll have Syrians, Iranians, Hamas, and Hezbollah fighting against us--and the Saudis and the Egyptians questioning their ties to the West. It's an analyst's worst nightmare--for the first time since the caliphate there will be common cause in the Middle East." (An Islamic caliphate ruled the Middle East for over six hundred years, until the thirteenth century.)

While the Iraq Study Group with Baker is preparing a report on options to fix the Iraq war, Rummy asked for alternative plans to be "quietly" prepared to "preëmpt new proposals, whether they come from the new Democratic majority or from the Iraq Study Group."

When asked to comment about this article, the Bush Team offered their usual non-denial denial. Cheney's office did not have a "record" of the discussion and the White House and Pentagon only stated that there were "unspecified inaccuracies."  The White House later told AFP that Hersh is "once again he is creating a story to satisfy his own radical views."

As always, Seymour Hersh wrote an article full of information. Please take a look.

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    Great diary, Patriot... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 03:16:28 PM EST
    They fully intend to attack Iran before Bush's term is up. I've been saying this since before the elections. Cheney's own words are too closely aligned with neocon wishes for any other conclusion to be reached.

    David Corn in his article in The Nation the morning of Nov. 07 quoted Cheney:

    "We've got the basic strategy right." He added, "It may not be popular with the public--it doesn't matter in the sense that we have to continue the mission and do what we think is right. And that's exactly what we're doing. We're not running for office. We're doing what we think is right."

    and asks:

    ...if 71 percent do not have faith in the White House's Iraq policy, why would Cheney make a point of declaring--defiantly--that he and Bush are committed to racing down that unpopular road? It was as if he were shooting the bird at the American public.

    Cheney was "shooting the bird". They've shown, as Corn explained so clearly, that they don't give a damn what anyone thinks. The elections meant squat to them. They're basically saying fu*k you to the whole country and the world. They'll fight tooth and nail, veto everything that comes out of a Democratic controlled House that doesn't go their way, and claim "inherent executive power" for any trouble the Senate gives them.

    They are going to continue following their neocon dream and try to realize their Iran fantasy sometime in the next two years.

    Operation Comeback, or how the neocons plan to save themselves.

    Prepare to Bomb Iran. Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities before leaving office.

    They do not care what the election results were. It has had no effect on their intentions.

    They see all the negative press and opposition as a PR problem for them. Nothing Else. Human lives, including American lives, are incidental numbers. Collateral damage. As is Americas reputation.

    Bush, Cheney, and Gates  are going to do things over the next two years that will make eveything they've done in the past six years pale into insignificance in comparison, and look like completely innocent sweetness and light. Like childs play.

    The little respect America has left in the world will vanish.
    They do not care.

    The American economy will be irreparably damaged.
    They do not care.

    America will become a pariah in the world - a rogue state.
    They do not care.

    Americans will be safe nowhere in the world.
    They do not care.

    Tens of thousands, maybe millions, will die.
    They do not care.

    Somehow, something needs to be done about the Military Commissions Bill.

    It will be Bush's last desperate bet. His "I'll show'em all" grab for the brass ring to justify everything he's done the past six years. You ain't seen nothing yet.

    How much more is it going to take, Nancy? Are the Democratic controlled Senate House going to be responsible, or complicit?

    Currently in the Persian Gulf-Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean:

    USS Enterprise (CVN 65) - Persian Gulf

    Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):

    • USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) - Persian Gulf
    • USS Nashville (LPD 13) - Persian Gulf
    • USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) - Persian Gulf

    Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):

    • USS Boxer (LHD 4) - Indian Ocean
    • USS Dubuque (LPD 8) - Indian Ocean
    • USS Comstock (LSD 45) - Indian Ocean

    thanks Edger (none / 0) (#2)
    by Patriot Daily on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 03:54:19 PM EST
    your comment is full of great info. hersh was interviewed by cnn blitzer today (think progress has part of the transcript) and stated also that the bush team is back to its old tricks of stovepiping intel and keeping intel away from the CIA on Iran!

    Sorry for taking all the space here... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 04:11:41 PM EST
    ...but, they are going to do it, I'm nearly certain of that.

    Unfortunately, it appears the Democrats are going to be complicit, unless enough pressure can be brought to bear on Pelosi. And I really don't see that happening. Do you?


    I also think that... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 04:22:45 PM EST
    ...all other political and social issues are nothing in comparison to this one.

    Except maybe this: And People Call Me a Pessimist --Billmon.


    i love chatting (none / 0) (#6)
    by Patriot Daily on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 07:38:38 PM EST
    with you. you always bring so much information to the table! So many dems really got a free pass after they voted for iraq resolution, with the public barely buying their explanations. My hope is that they realize we have a different temper of the times now, and the public is not likely to be so willing to give them another pass. And, given that cheney was talking about the WH response to any dem legislation to prohibit bush from taking certain actions against Iran, it may be that discussions of this type of legislation is circulating in DC unknown to the public. So, my hope is that the dems have learned something from the past and won't go down that road again.

    I hope so too... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 08:23:41 PM EST
    ...but I don't really see them moving to holding back any of Cheney/Bush foreign adventure fantasies yet. And even if they do, your mention of Cheney and his "shorteners" on legislative restrictions makes me nervous. It seems to me that there must be something illegal about it, but no one has challenged them in any serious way even on things like signing statements or claims of "inherent power", so why would they challenge "shorteners"?

    What are the dems so afraid of? Why do they seem to be rolling over? Why is Nancy Pelosi being so adamant that impeachment is "off the table" even in the face of obvious backstabbing and flagrant disingenuousness by Bush when he claims to want to work together? I don't trust him as far as I could throw him. Any conciliatory statements from him and the WH are obviously lies and smokescreens to divert from an agenda that sits there in plain view like an overweight elephant in the middle of a small room.

    Too many questions. Not enough answers. Why aren't these questions being asked publicly?


    Outer limits of insanity? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 19, 2006 at 06:02:31 PM EST
    Apocalypse Now?
    -- Will Thomas, February, 2006
    If you think the United States won't bomb Iran, you haven't read the script. First drawn up by Paul Wolfowitz for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in 1992, "Defense Planning Guidance"## called for the United States to attack any non-allied country about to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

    While a cowardly and comatose Congress continues to ignore what could be Bush's biggest folly, a panicked junta has already moved Burma's capital to remote Pyinmana, 200 miles to the north, after their Chinese allies warned of radioactive fallout from attacks on Iran's nuclear power reactors and production facilities dropping in deluges of radioactive rain over Rangoon. According to Wayne Madsen's intelligence review, "Thousands of government workers were given only two days' notice to pack up and leave Rangoon for the higher (and dryer) mountainous Pyinmana."

    ##"Defence Planning Guidance", Draft Excerpts

    If they do attack Iran and decide to use tactical nuclear "bunker buster" bombs the enormity of the resulting nightmare is mind numbing:

    Medical Consequences of a Nuclear Attack on Iran
    --Physicians For Social Resonsibility, May 2006

    From our map we can see that within 48 hours, fallout would cover much of Iran, most of Afghanistan and spread on into Pakistan and India. Fallout from the use of a burrowing weapon such as the B61-11 would be worse than from a surface or airburst weapon, due to the extra radioactive dust and debris ejected from the blast site. In the immediate area of the two attacks, our calculations show that within 48 hours, an estimated 2.6 million people would die.
    Over 1,000,000 people would suffer immediate injuries including thermal and flash burns, radiation sickness, broken limbs, lacerations, blindness, crush injuries, burst eardrums and other traumas. In the wider region, over 10.5 million people would be exposed to significant radiation from fallout (those in the light green to pink zones on the map above), leading to radiation sickness, future excess cancer deaths, genetic abnormalities in future generations, as well as high rates of stillbirths, miscarriages, malignancies and hypothyroidism. Most if not all medical facilities near the two attack sites would be destroyed, or located within the radiation 'hot zone' and thus unusable. Little or no medical care would be available to the injured in the aftermath of an attack, leading to many avoidable deaths.

    What to Do About Iran (none / 0) (#8)
    by NYBlue on Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 10:05:01 PM EST
    Attacking Iran while our troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan seems like an invitation for Iran to try to take us on directly in both neighboring countries....  Want a crazy regional war, then just pull Iran directly into it (Iran is obviously already involved, mostly indirectly, in both places).  

    Cheney doesn't have the answer but who does?  Any ideas about how to deal with the Iranian regime other than criticizing Bush/Cheney, which is fun, of course....?  Criticizing the American regime doesn't do anything to make matters any better in Iran for the people there or here (though it might keep them from getting worse).

    a little one on one chat (none / 0) (#9)
    by Patriot Daily on Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 10:21:43 PM EST
    would help, for starters, particularly given that there is no intel of the dangers that bush claims.

    Not Military, Not Political (none / 0) (#10)
    by taraka das on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 11:01:30 AM EST
    Bush, Cheney and the neocons are committed to a military strategy to stabilize Iraq and reshape the Middle East with colonial client states that serve the interests of an American global empire.

    Bush and his gang are as insane as Hitler and his Nazis, and there are too many parallels to ignore the analogy as if it were an unthinkable criticism. I'll spare you the long list of comparisons. If you don't know them, you either haven't been paying attention or you aren't boned up on the history of the Third Reich.

    The Democrats, most notably, Joe Biden and John Kerry, have recently been insisting that the solution to the Iraq debacle, and stabilizing the rapidly deteriorating Middle East, is a political and diplomatic problem, and not a military one. They advocate a gradual pullback of the military strategy while negotiating a regional political settlement for peace. It's an absurd idea. In the context of the present military theater, a gradual pullback would indeed encourage an offensive by guerrilla fighters to maximize our casualties and create propaganda for the jihad movement.

    While Bush's insane policies have CREATED the jihad movement instead of marginalizing, disrupting and disbanding the small band of thugs known as "al-queda," the Democrats' proposals would dramatically improve the growth of the movement Bush's insane policies have helped create.

    Murtha is a former marine, and it's about time someone started listening to him instead of marginalizing him in the name of "moderation," or denouncing him as a traitor and a coward.

    The military solution is immediate and rapid re-deployment of our troops, to accomplish these ends: 1) Move our troops somewhere where they are welcome and their presence stabilizes instead of de-stabilizes, like Kuwait and Kurdistan. 2) Pivot half of the forces in Iraq in a re-deployment to the Afghan border with Pakistan, and inform Pakistan that al-queda will be destroyed whether they do it or we do it. we need to fight al-queda where they actually ARE, instead of destabilizing Iraq to draw them over there.

    If we are fighting a global war, our military strategy needs to reflect that. But the problems with instability in the Middle East isn't being caused by al-queda. It's being caused by the presence of OIL there, and the desires of imperialists to rule the world by controlling that oil.

    And that's why the solution to the strategic problems in the Middle East is neither military nor political. It's ECONOMIC. Specifically, it's the imperial strategy of leveraging the scarcity of resources into economic, political and military power.

    That strategy benefits a tiny number among the human beings in this world, and leaves the rest of us struggling with war, poverty, famine, and disease. And it doesn't have to be that way. And it's about time someone showed some true visionary leadership, and stood up and said so.

    WATER is the most abundant resource on the planet. With electricity from wind, solar and biomass recycling, it can be transformed into hydrogen fuel.
    We do not need more nuclear plants making BOMB materials to harness this power. We can create a convergence of fuel and electricity production using point-of-use hydrogen fuel and electric power plants. Small power plants connected in a web, close to market, can provide our needs for fuel and electricity.

    The capacity gap used to dismiss this idea is a bogus argument because the overcapacity built into the current, wasteful infrastructure is a feature of the toxic nature of the means of production, and the means of distributing that power from toxic power plants.

    Toxic power plants (coal, nuclear) and toxic fuel production (oil refineries) can't be located close to markets, necessitating tankers, pipelines, tanker trucks and high voltage wire transmission, which is EXPENSIVE and WASTEFUL of both money and energy.
    By contrast, smaller, non-toxic means of producing fuel and electricity with a "just-in-time" inventory model, close to markets, eliminates the need to transport the electricity and fuel we use, and vastly improves efficiency, closing the capacity gap.

    Locally advantageous renewable resources will provide a variety of systems, but with a national project to rebuild the infrastructure, compatibility can be standardized to maximize the benefits of web-networking. Where do we get the money? SCRAP the 250 billion being tagged for new nuclear plants, and do this instead.

    And the benefits? It will produce jobs. It will increase potable water, since purified water is a byproduct of these systems. It will create a new export industry, as every country in the world will clamor for the technology that will open new breadbaskets, create abundant energy for development, and purify water to fight disease.
    This technology makes possible TRANSPORTABLE power plants.
    Energy costs, and the costs of doing business, will dramtically drop creating a new era of prosperity for investment.
    And the best of all? It would END the politics of scarcity. It would END the profit motivations for war, and it would take the legs out of the WASTEFUL enterprises for war.

    And global warming? Just the fuel substitution would alone would dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gas and stop the stampede by China and India to go down the fossil fuel path.

    Suadi Arabia can have what's hypocritical rulers have funded with gas dollars: a return to MEDEIVAL CIVILIZATION. The King of Suadi Arabia and his allies in AL-QUEDA and others can answer the Arabs when they look around and ask why they are living in medieval squalor when the rest of the world is prosperous and abundant.

    And we will help them. We will help them to overthrow the Arab despots and welcome them into the family of peace. But we can't do it by marching in to their country and forcing them to be "free."
    They must want to be free, and we must have no ulterior motives in helping them achieve it.
    It's a long term strategy, and it doesn't involve generations of warfare, and it won't take as long as Bush's futile and insane plans, and it's more sensible than the Democrat's current positions on what to do.
    But the Democrats can be persuaded. And that's our hope.

    Bush and Cheney must go, NOW (none / 0) (#11)
    by taraka das on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 12:02:09 PM EST
    In my above comment, I proposed a solution to the Iraq debacle, and a solution to regional instability in the Middle East, and a solution to energy resource scarcity, and a solution to global warming.
    NONE of these things can go forward with the war-profiteering war criminals in office now.
    You will not get reasonable approaches to serious problems with Bush and Cheney. They have given us ample reason to throw them out of office and into jail. Their stubborn lack of reasonable leadership makes them worthless to us as a nation, and dangerous to our interests and the interests of the world.

    They have committed crimes in pursuit of unconstitional powers and imperial warfare, and they keep enemies unhindered from harassing us, in order to fear-monger their way to anti-republican government.

    Bush and Cheney aren't just racketeers on a scale not seen since the Nazi conspiracy, they are also TRAITORS to the constitution, and by extension, traitors to the sovereign power of the United States, the people.

    How absurd the notion that our first order of business is to sit down with the war criminals and negotiate a crumb of an increase in wages for poor people to be doled out piecemeal over several years. It's an outrageous abdication of constitutional responsibility only eclipsed by the willing aiding and abetting of serial crimes by the last Congress!

    We have enough evidence in hand NOW to arrest these arrogant crooks and throw them in jail without bond til trial.

    Bush has rewarded his accomplice in war crimes by promoting him to the top law enforcement position. If the Constitution is the American creed, this is blatant and brazen blasphemy.

    This same fellow, AG Gonzales, is currently being considered for war crimes prosecution in Europe, along with another of the president's rewarded accomplices, George Tenet.

    William Haynes, also named as a war criminal, was promoted to the Ninth Circuit of Appeals.
    And these are just appointment examples of the gross and brazen contempt for the rule of law by the Bush Administration. Former AG Ashcroft made it the policy of the Justice Dept to refuse to obey the Freedom of Information Act.

    And Bush himself has signed bills into law that contained provisions inserted into the bill outside of the normal, constitutional process of legislation cited in the Constitution. That is, without the authority of Congress.

    And not content with THAT abuse, he has further asserted the power to alter, rewrite and abolish laws by fiat, a practice condemned by the ABA, and ignored by the Republican Congress.

    And the above abuse is compounded even more by Bush asserting JUDICIAL powers by means of fiat. It's the very definition of tyranny observed by the people who fought our revolution for independence.

    According to Justice Jackson, the prosecutor at Nuremberg, aggressive warfare is a crime against peace that includes within it the foundation for all other war crimes. Pre-meditated, imperial warfare to gain territory, resources, treasures and to overthrow the sovereignty of another state is a CRIME. None of the false excuses for the Iraq War given by Bush were true, and he knew they weren't true.

    The Bush Administration, and especially with the active involvement of VP Dick Cheney, has promulgated policies to commit SIX DIFFERENT KINDS of war crimes, including hundreds, at least, and possibly thousands of criminal acts, including torure. The torture crimes include evidence of torturing people TO DEATH.

    Is this not enough to immediately arrest these heinous monsters? Should we defer to them with respect, when they have contempt for the document that bestows their offices with authority?

    In which alternate reality is complete and direct contradiction of the rule of law considered to be upholding the constitution and faithfully executing the laws under it?

    How can we allow defrauding the Congress to start wars of profit and openly defiant contempt of the Supreme Court over the issue of WAR CRIMES? How can we allow such a precedent to stand?

    I submit that we cannot. And we can't solve the problems that we must address, in the immediate future, on such a foundation, and by coddling these outrageous traitors.

    Neocons Want to "stay the course" (none / 0) (#12)
    by Andy Hailey on Sat Dec 09, 2006 at 10:52:37 PM EST
    Cheney is not the only one with a plan to fix middle east, there are the other authoritarians, or neocons, that want to "stay the course" regardless.

    See comment # 1 (none / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 02:46:26 AM EST
    This boders dictatorship (none / 0) (#14)
    by DARRYLMAST on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 07:12:01 PM EST
    First of all Dick Cheney belongs in jail for being the deferred president of a military contractor while being a large policy maker in the government.  Cheney is not concerned about Iran but about writing himself a few more federal checks to Haliburton and in turn himself.  Cheney in 1923 would have been a cabinet member who would have went to Federal Prison like the rest of Warren Hardings cabinet.

    Cheney is a felon and should not be listened to in any way.  He commited treason knowing what he was doing and planned it for 5 years.  Premeditated treason.  He is the face of the worst corruption in the last 225 years.  Only English committed a worse atrosity against the State of the Union.  

    He has not committed High Treason he has committed treason as high as outter space.  Give me break already.  He has stole a couple billion for his personal pocket put it in the Camen Islands and is laughing at the Federal Governments ability to do anything about it.  Don't give him a trial just put him in with the rest of the terror guys at Guantanmo and try him as a war criminal.  That is what I think of anything Dick Cheney say.  He's a criminal mind pure and simple.