Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dick Cheney Down Under - Part 5

Cheney Makes His Case For War On Iran

20% Of World's Oil Supply "Is Vulnerable To Iranian Military Action"

By Darryl Mason

It must be years since US Vice President Dick Cheney sat down for an interview with someone who wasn't a kindly old friend or simply too terrified to actually ask him some tough, uncomfortable questions.

No big surprise then that Cheney's main interview while in Australia was with journalist Greg Sheridan, who just happened to have backed the War On Iraq, through late 2002 and all through 2003 and 2004, with a white-hot fervour that threatened to spontaneously combust his heard.

Just how much of a good friend to Cheney is Greg Sheridan?

They've known each other for at least 16 years, met half a dozen times or more, and once attended a conference together where "a young man undressed on the stage".

Or you can try this description of his old mate for calibration: " never find Cheney hiding in the shadows, he's always in the bright light of the day"

Or this :
There is something bracing about Cheney's unrepentant attitude generally
Or this :
(Cheney) certainly presents as the very model of sweet reason...
Good God man, have you no shame?

Sheridan's the chief foreign affairs writer for Rupert Murdoch's flagship 'The Australian' newspaper, so you might think the idea of the United States launching a War On Iran would fill him with unease, even a tinge of horror, considering the near ceaseless slaughter of civilians in Iraq over the past four years of war and the general state of calamity and fallout the war has produced across the Middle East.

Well, you'd be wrong :
US Vice-President Dick Cheney believes a military confrontation with Iran would be a lesser evil than an Iran with nuclear weapons.

Yeah, but they don't have nuclear weapons. In the same way that Iraq didn't have nuclear weapons, even though Cheney infamously insisted Iraq did. Again and again and again.

But then, it's not really the the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons that concerns Cheney the most.

Sheridan helpfully cuts through the miasma of standard Cheney 'War on Terror' rhetoric and NeoCon-plated recent history lessons on the Middle East with this lone, floating sentence, which is probably the most important thing Cheney has said in months, and all but confirms a War On Iran will begin with or without the support of the UN Security Council :

Cheney also points out that 20 per cent of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz and is vulnerable to Iranian military action.

You can pin that quote to the fridge, because you are going to be hearing that reasoning for why a War On Iran is necessary a hell of a lot in the coming weeks.

It also explains why the US currently has two massive battle cruiser fleets near the Strait of Hormuz.

Now that the US can control the flow of 20% of the world's oil supply, by confronting Iran over its non-compliance with UN Security Council backed demands to halt its nuclear enrichment programs, you can pretty well guess what kind of bargaining chip the US will now use to get the backing from China, Russia and the rest of the Security Council for more hardcore sanctions against Iran.

Cheney will soon claim that US action on Iran will help to guarantee the continuing flow of 20% of the world's oil supply to oil-hungry countries like Indonesia, India, China and the US itself.

But that's all for later, let's get back to Sheridan's fawning portrait of the man himself : person he is avuncular, softly spoken, often deploying a little wry irony.

One of Cheney's most appealing qualities is that he tells it exactly as he sees it. There is never a trace of ambiguity in what he says...

Particularly when what he says is 80% distortion and spin.

Cheney had a lot to say to Sheridan, or through Sheridan, and the journalist appears not to have challenged or confronted Cheney on anything, least of all the real-time horrors of the Iraq War. But then, they're both guilty of creating that reality.

And to be fair to Sheridan, time for the interview was limited, and questions from the journalist would have cut into valuable propaganda time for Cheney.

Far be it for me to get in the way, too. Here's some highlights of the interview, where Cheney clearly spells out the case for a coming soon War On Iran :

"We've seen Iran in recent years led by a man who is a radical by most definitions - Mr Ahmadinejad - who espouses an apocalyptic philosophy and has made threatening noises to Israel and the US and others.

"They (Iran) are the prime sponsor of Hezbollah, working through Syria in the conflict with Israel last summer in an effort to topple the Government of Lebanon.

"Working through Hamas they have added to the difficulties of getting some kind of peace process started with respect to the Palestinians and the Israelis. They clearly frighten most of their neighbours.

"We believe they have engaged in providing improvised explosive devices to insurgents in Iraq. We've taken action recently to crack down on identifiable Iranian agents operating inside Iraq. We've made it clear to them that their conduct has been inappropriate."

Cheney also plenty of praise for Australia, for John Howard and Australia's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there's also fresh reasoning from Cheney of why they can't leave Iraq any time soon.

To do so would disappoint all those who believed in, and committed, to the War On Iraq.

People like Greg Sheridan, and others :

"People, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, who've signed on in this global conflict, with our backing and support - the thousands who've signed on to the Iraqi security forces, the millions who voted, people like Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and (Pervez) Musharraf in Pakistan - they didn't have to make the choices they've made. They decided to sign on with the US and its allies to fight the extremists. If the US were to decide it's too tough and to go home, it would have devastating consequences, for all of those people who bet the farm on this struggle."

And just in case the War On Iraq turns out to actually be the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the United States, Sheridan supplies a closing bit of praise for his old mate, that utterly ignores the humongous death tolls, destruction and third world living conditions that are now daily realities for more than a third of all Iraqis :

You may not agree with Cheney but he certainly lets you know what he thinks. If the US fails in Iraq, it certainly won't be because he lost his nerve.
No, if the US fails in Iraq it will because Cheney and his old mate, Donald Rumsfeld, denied repeatedly for more than TWO YEARS that the Iraqi insurgency was a reality and was ripping the country to pieces and both of them did nothing to try and stop it, even when veterans back from the war publicly begged them to face the reality.

Instead, Cheney said the "Saddam dead enders" were in "their last throes" and Rumsfeld shrieked about how well-informed people who tried to warn of how powerful the insurgency actually was were "Chicken Littles" crowing on about how "the sky was falling."

And all the while hundreds of American and British soldiers were being blown to pieces in roadside IED attacks and car bombings.

Obviously the most important thing of all in the scale of this monumental tragedy is that Cheney didn't lose his nerve.

Imagine if he had.

That might have constituted a livid horror beyond anything the Iraqis, or the thousands of Americans and Brits who lost family members over there, are now suffering through.

Well, for Cheney and his good mate Greg Sheridan at least.

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US Keeping "All Options" Open Regarding Iran

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