Paul Craig Roberts, the author of this article, is
Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at
the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the
Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and
was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He
is also co-author of 'The Tyranny of Good Intentions'.
by Paul Craig Roberts <PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com>
Friday, September 26, 2006 -- The neoconservative Bush administration
will attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons, because it is the only
way the neocons believe they can rescue their goal of U.S. (and Israeli)
hegemony in the Middle East.
The U.S. has lost the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Generals in
both war theaters are stating their need for more troops. But there
are no troops to send.
Bush has tried to pawn Afghanistan off on NATO, but Europe does not see
any point in sacrificing its blood and money for the sake of American
hegemony. The NATO troops in Afghanistan are experiencing
substantial casualties from a revived Taliban, and European governments
are not enthralled over providing cannon fodder for U.S.
The "coalition of the willing" has evaporated. Indeed, it
never existed. Bush's "coalition" was assembled with
bribes, threats, and intimidation. Pervez Musharraf, the American
puppet ruler of Pakistan, let the cat out of the bag when he told CBS' 60
Minutes on September 24, 2006, that Pakistan had no choice about joining
the "coalition." Brute coercion was applied.
Musharraf said Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the
Pakistani intelligence director that "you are with us" or
"be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone
Age." Armitage is trying to deny his threat, but Dawn Wire
Service, reporting from Islamabad on September 16, 2001, on the pressure
Bush was putting on Musharraf to facilitate the U.S. attack on
Afghanistan, stated: "'Pakistan has the option to live in the 21st
century or the Stone Age' is roughly how U.S. officials are putting their
That Musharraf would volunteer this information on American television is
a good indication that Bush has lost the war. Musharraf can no
longer withstand the anger he has created against himself by helping the
U.S. slaughter his fellow Muslims in Bush's attempt to exercise U.S.
hegemony over the Muslim world. Bush cannot protect Musharraf from
the wrath of Pakistanis, and so Musharraf has explained himself as having
cooperated with Bush in order to prevent the U.S. destruction of
Pakistan: "One has to think and take actions in the interest of the
nation, and that's what I did." Nevertheless, he said, he
refused Bush's "ludicrous" demand that he arrest Pakistanis who
publicly demonstrated against the U.S.: "If somebody's expressing
views, we cannot curb the expression of views."
Bush's defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel's defeat by Hezbollah
in Lebanon have shown that the military firepower of the U.S. and Israeli
armies, though effective against massed Arab armies, cannot defeat
guerillas and insurgencies. The U.S. has battled in Iraq longer
than it fought against Nazi Germany, and the situation in Iraq is out of
control. The Taliban have regained half of Afghanistan. The
king of Saudi Arabia has told Bush that the ground is shaking under his
feet as unrest over the American/Israeli violence against Muslims builds
to dangerous levels. Our Egyptian puppet sits atop 100 million
Muslims who do not think that Egypt should be a lackey of U.S.
hegemony. The king of Jordan understands that Israeli policy is to
drive every Palestinian into Jordan.
Bush is incapable of recognizing his mistake. He can only
escalate. Plans have long been made to attack Iran. The
problem is that Iran can respond in effective ways to a conventional
attack. Moreover, an American attack on another Muslim country
could result in turmoil and rebellion throughout the Middle East.
This is why the neocons have changed U.S. war doctrine to permit a
nuclear strike on Iran.
Neocons believe that a nuclear attack on Iran would have intimidating
force throughout the Middle East and beyond. Iran would not dare
retaliate, neocons believe, against U.S. ships, U.S. troops in Iraq, or
use their missiles against oil facilities in the Middle East.
Neocons have also concluded that a U.S. nuclear strike on Iran would show
the entire Muslim world that it is useless to resist America's
will. Neocons say that even the most fanatical terrorists would
realize the hopelessness of resisting U.S. hegemony. The vast
multitude of Muslims would realize that they have no recourse but to
accept their fate.
Revised U.S. war doctrine concludes that tactical or low-yield nuclear
weapons cause relatively little "collateral damage" or civilian
deaths, while achieving a powerful intimidating effect on the
enemy. The "fear factor" disheartens the enemy and
shortens the conflict.
University of California Professor Jorge Hirsch, an authority on nuclear
doctrine, believes that an American nuclear attack on Iran will destroy
the Nonproliferation Treaty and send countries in pell-mell pursuit of
nuclear weapons. We will see powerful nuclear alliances, such as
Russia/China, form against us. Japan could be so traumatized by an
American nuclear attack on Iran that it would mean the end of Japan's
sycophantic relationship to the U.S.
There can be little doubt that the aggressive U.S. use of nukes in
pursuit of hegemony would make America a pariah country, despised and
distrusted by every other country. Neocons believe that diplomacy is
feeble and useless, but that the unapologetic use of force brings forth
cooperation in order to avoid destruction.
Neoconservatives say that America is the new Rome, only more powerful
than Rome. Neoconservatives genuinely believe that no one can
withstand the might of the United States and that America can rule by
Hirsch believes that the U.S. military's opposition to the use of nuclear
weapons against Iran has been overcome by the civilian neocon authorities
in the Bush administration. Desperate to retrieve their drive
toward hegemony from defeat in Iraq, the neocons are betting on the
immense attraction to the American public of force plus success. It
is possible that Bush will be blocked by Europe, Russia, and China, but
there is no visible American opposition to Bush legitimizing the use of
nuclear weapons at the behest of U.S. hegemony.
It is astounding that such dangerous fanatics have control of the U.S.
government and have no organized opposition in American politics.