Below is a translation of “Lies and Dissension Regarding ‘The Tenth War’ in Top American Politics,” which appeared in the August issue of Globe, a Xinhua news magazine. 
“We create our own reality,” is a classic quote used by American President Bush during the Iraq war. Today, as the Iran nuclear controversy frequent the papers, a reexamination of this quote especially offers food for thought.
“We live in a ‘desert of the real’—an evermore virtual reality where fact and firsthand experience are displaced by media fictions.” Perhaps, the post-modern French philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s description is the best annotation to Bush’s quote, and history is indeed proving this.
From the 1960s until now, the United States waged nine wars. Before each war, the American government and media had to fabricate a set of huge lies.
In order to prevent Vietnam’s independence, the White House groundlessly concocted the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident;” in order to sustain its control of the Panama Canal, the United States condemned President Noreiaga for drug trading; in order to defeat Yugoslavia, the [American] media described the place of exchanging prisoners as the “concentration camps set up by Serbians;” in order to obtain the Middle East’s oil, Iraq unprecedentedly owned “weapons of mass destruction” …
Under the American government’s lie of “safeguarding justice,” it started imperial invasions one after another. At the same time, it also molded “classic example” one after another. If the Iran nuclear controversy should initiate America’s “tenth war,” what “ingenious” relationship actually exists among hegemony, war, and lies?
Reemergence of ‘Fire God’ (Pro-War) Faction
In those years, the new conservatives headed by Cheney had a well-known saying before the Iraq war, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.”
In February 2003, just before the American attack on Iraq, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz revealed that the then Under Secretary of State John Bolton blatantly said to Israeli offices that after defeating Iraq, the United States will start punishing Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Five years later, Bolton, who had retreated from Bush’s cabinet but who has been hidden and bearing patiently in the new conservative think tank research institute, again appeared in the news. This time there is only one target—Iran.
Firstly, on June 20, 2008, when the United States was conducting large-scale military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, the New York Times reveal a piece of news that immediately caused a large increase in oil price. The article quoted Bolton, stating that attacking Iran before the next president takes office is possible.
Thereafter on July 15, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled “Israel, Iran and the Bomb.” In this article, Bolton clamored that the United States give support to Israel to ensure the success of a successful Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facility. The article point out, “There was a time when the Bush administration might itself have seriously considered using force, but all public signs are that such a moment has passed. But the U. S. can support Israel … we should be intensively considering what cooperation the U.S. will extend to Israel before, during and after a strike on Iran. We will be blamed for the strike anyway, and certainly feel whatever negative consequences result, so there is compelling logic to make it as successful as possible.”
Bolton is the main go-getter in the “fire god” (pro-war) faction during Bush’s first term. This nickname represents advocating use of military power, advocating using military power to promote the American “democratic” ideal. Although the former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz have bowed out, Bolton has recently has frequently come to the public again, and his message is of considerable interest.
On July 7, the famed American journalist Seymour M. Hersh published an article in The New Yorker titled “Prepare for War: The Bush Administration Quickens Secret Actions Against Iran.” The article revealed that the United States Congress has appropriated up to $400 million for American special forces to carry out subversive activities and prop up dissidents in preparation for war.
The Double Face of Bush’s Secretary of State
Only July 17, 2008, as Israel and Iran’s disputes around Iran’s nuclear plans were escalating, news from Washington caused a stir. The United States Secretary of State Rice announced that the United States will dispatch the State Department’s number three man, Undersecretary Burns to participate in the negotiation meeting between the European Union’s High Representative of Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana Madariaga and Iran’s senior negotiation representative Jalili in Geneva on July 19.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper commented that this indicates a major turning point in U.S. foreign policy, and the foreign negotiator faction has won. However, perhaps like some analysts have pointed out, to pronounce right now the end of the “Cheney Era” is still too early.
In The New Yorker article, Seymour M. Hersh disclosed a heated dispute between the Cheney and Rice factions in December 2007. At the time, the plan to attack Iran backed by the pro-war faction headed by Cheney met strong resistance from part of the Pentagon senior commandeering staff, including chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Michael G. Mullen, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Rice opposed the plan among others. As Bush’s second term draws to an end, the dispute on the Iran controversy between Cheney’s small group and the State Department under Rice has become white-hot.
In Bush’s cabinet, Cheney, who is known as the “godfather” of the new conservatives, is undoubtedly the number one advocate of attacking Iran. Last February, while being exclusively interviewed by The Australian, Cheney blatantly pointed out, “The only thing worse than a military confrontation with Iran would be a nuclear-armed Iran.” Cheney also mentioned many times that a military attack against Iran is a must; there isn’t much time left.
However, some analysts believe that during Bush’s first term, the pro-war cabinet headed by Cheney undoubtedly dominated U.S. defense policy. But during his second term, the foreign negotiators had gained the upper hand. Therefore, they predict Washington will not attack Iran.
However, on July 3, 2008, Rupert Murdoch’s Australian published an article that initiated wide discussions. Senior editor Greg Sheridan, who had known Cheney for sixteen years, wrote in the beginning of the article, “I would guess, somewhere between a 30 and 40 percent chance that the Bush administration will bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of the year.”
What prompted Sheridan to make this prediction was his secret meetings with the U.S. Homeland Security advisor and senior officials in the two prior weeks. Sheridan, who has close ties with Washington, has always been considered as an “insider.” His relationship with Cheney and their prior tacit cooperation in the Iraq war are not news.
Sheridan believes that the policy of Bush’s secretary of state has two faces.
Bush understands that he is unpopular in many places in the world. It is also the case in the United States. Therefore as to some proposals regarding North Korea and Africa, he will, whenever possible, display a side of kindness, warmness, multilateralness. What Rice displays is precisely this side.
Bush also understands that history will judge him based on the result of the Iraq war, so he does whatever is possible to win the Iraq war, and this means he needs to follow Cheney’s suggestions. Rice opposed increasing troops in Iraq, but the plan to increase troops was carried out nevertheless. This is precisely Cheney’s side displayed by Bush’s cabinet.
At the end of the article, Sheridan asked, “[I]n the second half of 2008, does the Rice side of Bush or the Cheney side win the argument on Iran?”
Washington political commentator Steven Clemens seemed to give the answer. In his blog, he disclosed that from 2006, Cheney’s Homeland Security squad had met many times with the policy group of Bolton’s research institute. According to insider(s), Cheney is hastening the deployment of an “outflank policy” to prevent setbacks in the Iran policy struggle. The policy is to use the moment when global society enters into an impasse on the Iran question, and push Israel to carry out regular small-scale attacks against Iran’s nuclear facility.
Cheney’s Global Oil Domain
Recently, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan published a memoir—What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception. The forty-year-old McClellan, a core staff member who had been instrumental in Bush’s presidential campaign, alleged in this book that the Bush administration, in order to sell the Iraq war to the public, concealed the truth and launched a propaganda war.
Although that Iraq didn’t possess weapons of mass destruction was a well-known fact, on July 15, when being interview by the Canadian Broadcast Company on his memoir, McClellan revealed another truth: “Certain you can’t discount the large oil reserves inside Iraq and how much that plays into our national security interests and I don’t think you can discount how that plays into the vice president’s thinking.”
In February 2007, Cheney told The Australian, “And that gives them the capability to interfere with about 20% of the world’s daily supply of oil, 18mn barrels a day that flows in the Straits of Hormuz. And obviously a large part of the world’s oil production is within range of Iranian military capabilities.”
In the 1970s, the world’s oil prices rose 400 percent, creating a huge worldwide impact. The then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, “Control the oil and you’ll control the nations.” This well-known assertion speaks of the power philosophy of a few elites who have been hidden backstage and who have been determining America’s foreign and domestic policies. Cheney is precisely one among them.
After becoming the vice president, the first thing Cheney did was to comprehensively review and evaluate the U.S. energy policy. From the Cheney clique, although the price and cost of American military control of the security of Iraq oil and of the entire gulf region is high, it determined the entire Euro-Asian and other countries’ future—when oil is controlled, so is potential competitors’ economic development. This is a matter of life and death to Cheney and the new conservatives’ new imperial war.
On the basis of a large amount of demonstrative analysis, the German economist William Engdahl pointed out that in the next several years, most of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves will have been depleted. This is also the motive behind the Bush administration’s great risk in unilaterally attacking Iraq. Engdahl believes that because the world’s major oil fields are close to peak extraction level, an unprecedented energy crisis has already drawn near. Yet, the only region where there is still a large amount of untapped oil that can be developed at low cost is the Middle East.
What Bush calls the “evil axis”—Iran—occupies an unquestionably important strategic position in energy. According to the American oil security expert, Michael T. Klare, Iran will play a crucial rule in the future of world energy. Iran has considerable potential to increase oil production. Currently it produces approximately four million barrels per day, but in the future it can increase another three million barrels per day. Iran not only has oil, it is also the largest natural gas provider in the world. According to Oil and Gas Journal, Iran has an estimated 16 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves. In addition, from the view point of Washington, Iran is becoming a main oil and natural gas provider to its competitors such as China, India, etc. This makes Tehran of extra importance in international affairs.
Therefore, oil isn’t a simple commodity. As Venezuelan President Chavez had clearly set forth before his first election campaign, “Oil is a geopolitical weapon.”
This consideration has become a main strategic plan of the Cheney clique in the Iran question. According to Cheney’s global oil domain, American control of global energy will be unprecedented. Through controlling existing and potential oil production sites and transportation routes, the United States will decide who will get energy and how much they will pay for it, thus controlling the development process of its competitors and the world.
Deception Mechanism Recreates Reality
Not long after Iraq occupied Iraq, the scholar Edward Wadie Said published an article in Egypt’s Al-Ahram. “Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilise, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.” said Said. This is a “classic battle of mind control.”
In order to control popular will and create consensus, terms such as “enduring freedom,” “weapons of mass destruction,” and “evil axis” have been precisely placed among the target group—the average people.
During the Iraq war, through a series of media manipulations, the Bush administration successfully concocted “reality.” In 2004, the New York Times published an interview with one of Bush’s senior advisors, in which he said, “in what we call the reality-based community … [they] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. … That’s not the way the world really works anymore. When we take action, we are also creating our own reality. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”
Many people believe that this “senior advisor” is the “Bush-minded” Karl Rove. The role that the former White House press secretary McClellan played in those years was undoubtedly as an out and out member in the plan of “recreating reality” as Rove had mentioned above. McClellan in his memoir described how he and his staff continuously won the “axis of evil” propaganda war—by employing psychological research and purposefully creating terms such as “axis of evil.” The White House, through “labeling,” successfully turned complex regional politics into simple dualism of good and evil, thus creating the mirage of American troops fighting against the “axis of evil.”
A classic case took place before the first Gulf War. In October 1990, three months after Iraq invaded Kuwait, a Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah walked into the U. S. Congress. She cried before the members of the Congress that she had witnessed Iraq soldiers taking thousands of Kuwaiti infants from incubators, and saw them pass away on the frozen floor. Nayirah’s testimony shocked the anti-war American public and ultimately became the main factor in the American public supporting Operation Desert Storm.
After the end of the Gulf War, the “testimony” of the girl was laid bare. Nayirah was in reality the daughter of former Kuwaiti oil minister Al-Sabah. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, she wasn’t at all in Kuwait. This incident later on was boosted as a classic case by a public relations company. Un-coincidentally, the Kuwaiti girl’s father is Cheney’s old friend and an old acquaintance of the former Secretary of State James Baker, who later became a member of the Baker Institute’s board.
The same scenario is playing out. On December 3, 2007, the United States National Intelligence Council’s report pointed out that Iran had stopped the nuclear project in the autumn of 2003. The release of this report immediately initiated a huge wave. The American Alaska Report carried the headline “Bush and Cheney Exposed as Liars” afterwards. Yet, this report that was drafted by the highest U.S. intelligence institution has disappeared in the Washington political circle. According to the American reporter Seymour M. Hersh, this report was more or less openly despised by the Bush administration and was selectively “filtered out.”
Like the commentary in the political satire magazine CounterPunch, “To understand the Iraq war you don’t need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit. The war on Iraq won’t be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold.”
There is a scene in the 1998 Oscar-nominated film Wag the Dog: the U.S. president was involved in a sex scandal. Facing the pressure of the scandal becoming the headline news and the presidential election two weeks away, how should the White House respond? Wage a war! The White House crisis expert was ordered to save the president from the embarrassment. He hired a Hollywood film maker, who shot an illusionary war in Albania in the movie studio and concocted various news clips regarding the war thus successfully diverted the public attention.
Today, who can guarantee that such a seemly preposterous movie will not became reality?
 Globe, August 5, 2008