There has been much discussion of Scott Ritter's allegation that the White House has ordered plans for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities to be ready by June, made public in Olympia on Feb. 18 and first published on the UFPPC web site on Feb. 19. -- Ritter himself has emphasized that this date does not mean there has been any decision to act in June, and many experts dismiss the likelihood of a June attack. -- Prof. Michael Klare, for example, speaking in Seattle on Saturday, was confident that an attack could only occur after a Chinese and/or Russian veto of sanctions on Iran in the U.N. Security Council, and that this is months away. -- Jude Wanniski, however, in a piece published May 16 on the Antiwar.com web site, reports that "my reliable sources tell me it is because there is a timetable that makes it urgent for Bolton to be ready for action in June in order to cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of the plan to bomb the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr." -- Wanniski was Ronald Reagan's economic adviser from 1978 to 1981 and has connections to Republican circles. -- A plan to "cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" has not been so explicitly connected to the looming Iranian crisis before, to our knowledge. -- Wanniski also calls attention to a curious sentence in the 15th paragraph of a New York Times article last Saturday on the Bolton nomination: "[Republicans] argue that [Bolton] needs to be in place by June so that the United States will have the latitude it needs to press concerns about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program before the Security Council." -- The New York Times article is reproduced below. ...
THE BUSH-BOLTON PLAN TO BOMB BUSHEHR
By Jude Wanniski
May 16, 2005
Memo to: Republican senators
Buried down in Saturday's New York Times report on President Bush reaffirming his unqualified support for John Bolton as U.N. ambassador is the reason why almost all of you are ready to vote for his confirmation.
"Republicans are hoping to shame Democrats into a quick vote on Mr. Bolton. They argue that he needs to be in place by June so that the United States will have the latitude it needs to press its concerns about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program before the Security Council." [See #2 below]
Why the big rush? My reliable sources tell me it is because there is a timetable that makes it urgent for Bolton to be ready for action in June in order to cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of the plan to bomb the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr. That's because Bushehr, under construction with Russian supervision, will soon be ready to receive the Russian fissionable material enabling it to produce power. In 1981, remember Republican senators, Israel bombed the Osiraq nuclear power plant near Baghdad just before it was to be fueled by its French contractors. Once fueled, bombing is out of the question because of the radiation that would be emitted, with clouds traveling who knows where.
Of course, you must know by now that at the time the Israelis blew up Osiraq, the situation was quite different. We were in the midst of the Cold War, the United States was supporting Iraq in its war against Iran, and the Russians were supporting Iran. So when the billion-dollar Osiraq plant went up in smoke (with the help of the neocons who were already occupying the Pentagon in that first year of the Reagan administration), there was no reaction from Russia because the Israelis were essentially bombing us!! We also know by now that Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program at the time, but only began its (unsuccessful) clandestine effort after Osiraq.
The same is now true of Iran. If a month or two from now you are advised by President Bush that it is necessary to take out Bushehr to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, you would have to wonder if the neocons and their Likud allies in Tel Aviv aren't simply threatening World War III on a faulty premise. Wouldn't you? The situation now is quite different, with Bushehr a Russian project in Iran.
On a recent, quite incredible Fox News special, Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said we are already moving aircraft carriers into positions from which we could strike. He was then asked: "If you had to put a percentage on it, the chances that the U.S. will eventually have to take military actions against Iran, what would you put it at?" to which McInerney replied casually: "Well, I would put 1 percent of using ground forces, boots on the ground in Iran, I would put up 50 percent on a blockade, and I would put up 50 to 60 percent on precision air strikes on their nuclear development sites." He also observed casually that Iran wouldn't dare take on the United States. Perhaps the 60 million Iranians would greet our bombers with garlands and sweets. Do you see what I mean? Fox News, as you may know, is commonly known as "The War Channel," for similar work it did in promoting the war against Iraq.
Is Iran this kind of threat to anyone? As far as I can tell, ladies and gentlemen of the GOP Senate, the answer is "absolutely not," at least as long as they remain members in good standing of the NPT, which means they will permit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect intrusively and constantly, as they have been doing. It has been the mission of John Bolton and his underling Stephen Rademaker to "reform" the United Nations in a way that dissolves the NPT and the need for the IAEA, not only to pave the way for the bombing of Bushehr, but also to get out from under the NPT provisions that require all the nuclear weapon powers to make progress toward making the world a nuclear-free zone.
If you wish to really understand what's going on, instead of getting briefed by the same people who briefed you prior to the invasion of Iraq, please read Dr. Gordon Prather's commentaries on the crisis just around the corner. First, he writes "Strengthen the NPT or Else," in which he walks us through the misinformation that Bolton, Rademaker, and the neocons have been spreading on Iran's alleged violations of its treaty obligations. Dr. Prather, who by the way came to Washington under the patronage of Sen. Pete Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, and is no left-wing liberal, also penned a second column today for Antiwar.com, "Bush's Nutty Referral," which you have to read to realize how "nutty" it is.
There is also on the Antiwar.com Web site an overview of this looming crisis that I highly recommend, as it was highly recommended to me by Dr. Prather, "The Iran Crisis in Global Context." If you and your staffs do take my suggestions seriously and go to these links, I think you may have greater doubts about the Bolton nomination than you have now. If you have any doubts about Dr. Prather, check with your colleague Senator Domenici, who was instrumental in getting Prather an appointment as the Army's chief scientist during the Reagan administration.
This isn't too much to ask, is it? For good measure, I'd hope those of you who are reading this memo to the GOP senators and are among their constituents would urge them to take a second look before they send Bolton to the United Nations. His mission is not to clean up the so-called "Oil-for-Food Scandal" or promote UNICEF gift cards. It is to bomb the nuclear facilities in Iran after undermining the work of IAEA and the need for the NPT.
--Jude Wanniski, founder and chairman of Polyconomics, Inc., is a world-renowned political economist whose 1978 book The Way the World Works was named one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th Century by the editors of the National Review. He was an economic advisor to Ronald Reagan from 1978 to 1981.
IN FACE OF OPPOSITION, BUSH RENEWS SUPPORT FOR BOLTON
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
New York Times
May 14, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The White House on Friday renewed its defense of John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice for ambassador to the United Nations, urging the Senate to confirm him quickly even as leading Democrats vowed to stall the vote until the State Department turned over certain classified documents.
"We believe there is a majority of the Senate that agrees with the president that John Bolton is exactly the person we need at the United Nations during this critical time of reform," President Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan, said, adding that he hoped that "Democrats wouldn't try to play politics with this nomination."
But Mr. Bolton's future was very much hanging in the balance on Friday, while Republicans and Democrats in the Senate tried to figure out their next steps. The Republican leadership is hoping to have him confirmed by the end of the month. But with a showdown over judicial confirmations looming, and a decision by Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, to place an indefinite hold on the nomination, a quick confirmation is hardly assured.
At issue is Mr. Bolton's temperament and management style, along with accusations that he mistreated employees when they disagreed with his assessments about intelligence. On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took the unusual step of sending his nomination to the full Senate without an endorsement after a crucial Republican, Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, denounced him as unfit for the job.
The committee's action was a setback for both Mr. Bolton and Mr. Bush. The president had made a personal plea to Mr. Voinovich on the eve of the vote -- after the senator had already told Republican leaders he would not support Mr. Bolton. Despite his conversation with the president, Mr. Voinovich denounced Mr. Bolton in the most scathing terms, calling him "the poster child for what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be."
On Friday, Mr. McClellan was asked if Mr. Bush considered the outcome a defeat.
"The president had a good conversation with the senator the other day," Mr. McClellan said. "We respect his decision. But there are many others who agree that the president appointed exactly the kind of person that we need up at the United Nations during this time when they're moving forward on reform."
What happens next depends, in part, on negotiations between Senate Democrats and the State Department. That, in turn, will involve Senator Boxer and the hold she has placed on the nomination.
Under Senate rules, any senator can place a hold on any nomination. The hold can be lifted either by the votes of 60 senators or by the senator who called for it. With only 55 seats in the Senate, the Republicans are not likely to win a vote. And Ms. Boxer said Friday that she would maintain the hold until the State Department turned over certain classified documents, including those relating to Mr. Bolton's dealings with American intelligence agencies over Syria.
But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has so far refused to release the files, saying their disclosure would have a chilling effect on debates within the administration. On Friday, the State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher, held fast to that argument, saying, "We don't think anything further is required before the floor vote."
Mr. Bolton's chances for a floor vote are complicated by the fight between Democrats and Republicans over Mr. Bush's judicial nominees.
Democrats have vowed to slow Senate business to a crawl if Republicans exercise a rule change to prevent them from using the filibuster to block judges from confirmation. Aides to Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, say he wants to vote on Mr. Bolton after the fight over the judges but before the Memorial Day recess.
Some Democrats say that a filibuster against Mr. Bolton's nomination is unlikely. With Republicans already accusing Democrats of overusing the tactic, they do not want to look filibuster-happy.
But a spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Friday that Mr. Reid had not ruled a filibuster out, and Senator Boxer agreed. "Everything's on the table," she said.
Republicans are hoping to shame Democrats into a quick vote on Mr. Bolton. They argue that he needs to be in place by June so that the United States will have the latitude it needs to press its concerns about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program before the Security Council.
But Ms. Boxer said Democrats were hoping Mr. Voinovich's pointed speech would prompt other Republicans who have expressed doubts about Mr. Bolton to vote against him.
"I think that George Voinovich's speech was momentous in laying out the case against this nominee," she said.