compiled by Dee Finney

6-28-08 - DREAM - I had this dream twice - for emphasis.

In the dream, in a school, we were older - more than kids, more like college age.  It was the end of the school year, and we were all happy to be finished and getting ready to leave school.  We were all in a celebratory mood.

All of a sudden, George W Bush came into the room with a big smile on his face and grabbed me by the hand and pulled me with him out of the room.

Everyone's faces changed and they looked shocked and stunned.  They all looked like they were asking themselves questions - like "Where is he taking her?  Why did he choose her instead of me? 

I didn't know the answers to those questions any more than they did.  I was just as shocked.

George continued to pull me along with him outside - no secret service was tagging along.

He was running now and he pulled me with him as he ran up some green metal stairs two at a time.  I could hardly keep up with him.

I saw that we were on a foot-bridge - the whole thing was painted bright green.  It was a really high bridge and on the far end, the stairs down were very steep and thin so that we had to almost slide down - hanging onto the railing.  It seemed that it would be almost impossible to climb those stairs back up once we reached the bottom even if we had wanted to.

We were now in what looked like a park with green grass and sparse half-grown trees.

I could see a river off to our right.

George was still pulling me with him and all of a sudden he stopped and a look of fear came over his face and he was looking across the river.

My eyes followed his eyes to see what he was looking at.

Someone across the river was lighting the bottom end of a rocket or missile which was about to take off across the sky in our direction. The flames were already bright red and  rising.

Was it the fourth of July?


Bolton predicts Israeli Iran strike
Sat, 28 Jun 2008 03:24:32
Former US Ambassador to the UN says Israel is likely to take military action against Iran after the upcoming presidential election in the US.

John Bolton, a controversial foreign policy adviser to US President George Bush, told Interfax that Israel would not attack Iran's nuclear capability before the November election but might do so before the next president is inaugurated.

"It is clear that they (Israeli officials) will know at that time who is going to be the next president," Bolton said.

"However, the Israelis will feel more secure at the time when President Bush is still in the White House. But my point of view does not mean that Israel has made any particular decision," he noted.

"It is hard to evaluate the consequences, because the event is going to be quite dramatic, he said," he concluded.



Time running out for nuclear program talks, Iran warns

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says Tehran could take drastic steps in response to pressure aimed at halting its uranium enrichment efforts.

By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 26, 2008

BEIRUT -- The powerful speaker of Iran's parliament warned Wednesday that his nation could take drastic steps in response to economic, political and military pressure meant to halt controversial parts of its nuclear program.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran's parliament and a former nuclear negotiator, said there was "only a little time left" for talks before Iran would make unspecified moves that the West would regret.

  Larijani, who is close to supreme leader Ali Khamenei, did not specify what Iran would do. But Tehran's options include kicking out International Atomic Energy Agency monitors now keeping an eye on Iran's nuclear program or stepping up its uranium enrichment program to produce weapons-grade material.

Iran currently produces only reactor-grade uranium suitable for energy production.

"A little time is left for having interaction with Iran," Larijani told lawmakers, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. "The final whistle is going to be blown for your defeated game."

Tehran insists its nuclear program is meant only to meet civilian energy needs. The U.S., some European powers and Israel allege the effort is meant to ultimately produce nuclear weapons. They are using diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions and hints of future military action along with offers of potential business, political and security cooperation.

The carrot-and-stick approach is meant to cajole Iran into halting its expanding uranium enrichment efforts at its facility near the city of Natanz. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana presented a package of incentives on a trip to Tehran this month. Iranians say they are considering the proposals, though they insist they will not halt enrichment.

But Western media reports that Israel was practicing military operations aimed at Iran's nuclear program and the EU's decision this week to slap sanctions against Iran's largest bank have angered officials in Tehran.

"If you are willing to hold talks with Iran over the proposed package, then why have you adopted a confrontational approach before the package was studied?" Larijani asked.

Larijani's remarks Wednesday capped two days of defiant rhetoric against Western pressure. Many Iranians fear the U.S. is preparing for a possible military attack before President Bush leaves office.

"We advise U.S. officials to be careful not to face another tragedy," Mohammed Hejazi, an official in the military's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Wednesday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. "If you want to move toward Iran, make sure you bring walking sticks and artificial legs because if you come, you will not have any legs to return on."

A day earlier Khamenei, Iran's top political and military authority, called the White House "the most resented rulers and policymakers" of the world.

"The 'Death to America' slogan, which was once coined and chanted by the Iranian nation, has now spread to other nations too," he said.

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a relative moderate who tried unsuccessfully to liberalize Iran's foreign and domestic policies, told an audience in Norway on Tuesday that U.S. policies had made the world more insecure, unstable and violent.

"The United States has to realize that they cannot resolve all their problems through aggression and force," Khatami said at a conference in Oslo promoting dialogue between the Islamic world and the West.

The Message from former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark

Message from Ramsey Clark
former US Attorney General

Impeachment is not a political question. Impeachment is a constitutional duty. It is the one power and highest duty the Constitution rests in the Congress to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States when the President, Vice President, and other civil officers of the United States commit treason, bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

George Bush has deliberately, falsely and systematically mislead the Congress and the American people concerning the most criminal, costly and harmful acts of his administration, leading us to war, tragic loss of human life, the devastation of Iraq, military expenses reaching trillions of dollars, disruption of the economy that will take decades to overcome, a contemptuous assault on the Bill of Rights, an international humanitarian disaster, deliberate antagonism and provocation of nations and people, most once friendly, and an enlarging assault on the earth's environment.

On June 5, 2008, a long delayed five year U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study and 170-page report unanimously found President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top officers had made false charges and systematically presented a more dire picture about Iraq than justified by intelligence provided only to them. The Committee included both Democrats and Republicans.

Today President Bush is exerting all his power and influence to repeatedly urge Europe, Israel and others to support an attack on Iran which he intends to commence in the remaining months of the presidency. Iran is larger than Iraq and Afghanistan, has millions of people, richer by a multiple, unimpaired by recent war and will fight fiercely if attacked. He is negotiating a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq placing the U.S. on Iran's border.

Nancy Pelosi Pulled Iran Bill On Request of Israel Ron Paul: in a speech given on 06 June 2008, congressman Ron Paul, tells how speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, acting on behalf of Israel and AIPAC, 'deliberately' pulled a supplemental bill requiring congressional approval for attacking Iran.

The next several Presidents of the United States will spend their time in office miserably fighting wars started by Bush, as our economy is consumed in military spending.

Impeachment, a Constitutional duty, is the only way to prevent George W. Bush and his cabal from vastly enlarging the disastrous wars he has already inflicted on the world and the American people. The House of Representatives must quickly consider Bills of Impeachment long overdue, and the Senate must prepare to sit in judgment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney other officers who are implicated.
Ramsey Clark

United States and Israel against Iran

Gareth Porter & Dennis Bernstein

Dennis Bernstein: We focus on potential war by the United States and Israel against Iran. We're watching that closely. The drums of war are beating again in the Middle East, as we say. And the war that may be brewing between Israel and the U.S. and Iran has the potential to dwarf the consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as deadly and horrific as that's been. The latest warning sign came in the New York Times reported last Friday that in early June, Israel had carried out a major military exercise. U.S. officials called it "a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities." The exercise involved more than a hundred Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters. The same week, Germany's Der Spiegel reported that Israel's leadership has concluded that diplomacy has failed to stop Iran's nuclear program and that military action is unavoidable, a warning that was earlier sounded by the German foreign minister. These ominous developments come after months of escalating threats and charges by the U.S. and Israel against Iran for its actions in Iraq and Lebanon and Gaza and for supposedly pursuing nuclear weapons despite repeated international atomic agency findings to the contrary. Top Bush officials have taken trips to the region, perhaps for military consultations. Andrew Cockburn reports that earlier this year, the Bush administration secretly authorized a sweeping covert action program against Iran, including assassinating officials. And there have been reports in The Asian Times, the Times of London, and by former CIA officer Philip Giraldi that a U.S. strike on Revolutionary Guard camps inside Iran has already been authorized. So is this all for show simply to pressure Iran or is a war really possible?

With us to examine these developments is Gareth Porter. He is the author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. He is a contributor to InterPress News Service, The American Prospect, The Nation, and

Gareth Porter, it is good to have you in the studio... You've done some interesting investigations in terms of what has been leading up to this, and the role that the U.S. is playing with Israel in a potential attack on Iran. In particular, you found out and wrote about how Cheney and his allies actually tried to win approval for strikes against Iran's Revolutionary Guard camps last August. Can you talk about this incident and why there was a little bit of restraint?

Gareth Porter: Right. This is, I think, very important for the simple reason that it does provide a kind of smoking gun evidence, if you will, that this whole unfolding threat to Iran has not been simply a psyops, simply an intimidation operation. We know now for a fact that Dick Cheney did, in fact, propose within the Administration that they attack Revolutionary Guard bases in Iran that were supposedly connected with supplying or training the Iraqi Shiite militiamen coming back to Iraq to fight U.S. occupation forces. And this would be done if and when they could get some kind of concrete evidence that would basically convict the Iranians of some direct involvement in the fight in Iraq.

What we now know is that the Pentagon responded to that proposal very quickly and very strongly by arguing that it's not going to be on to simply go out and launch a so-called limited strike without considering what is going to be the consequence of that in terms of escalation on the Iranian side and then what are we going to do, assuming as they did assume, that the Iranians would in fact respond by targeting probably American bases, American personnel in the Middle East and probably in Iraq. And assuming that, then what would the United States do in response and how far are we going to go up the escalatory ladder?

That was the issue that they raised, according to a former State Department official who went on the record with me: Jay Scott Carpenter. This is the first time that a former Bush administration official had actually gone on the record and said yes, there was in fact not only a Cheney proposal officially within the Administration, but a very important and very high-level debate over that. And the result of it was, in effect, that the Pentagon -- and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were supporting them on this, according to Jay Scott Carpenter. They supported the Pentagon officials who said, "No, we can't do this without figuring out how far we're going to go", and the implication being that we're not going to support an all-out war with Iran, which would -- certainly, the obvious implication that was being drawn from the Cheney proposal, that that's what he really wanted.

Dennis Bernstein: Any sense how close Cheney got to having his way?

Gareth Porter: No, you can't really find out from a single source who was obviously getting this somewhat indirectly, because he was not personally involved in the meetings themselves, just how close we might have come to that. But the impression that I got was that the response was so negative and so strong, and that it was so unanimous within the Pentagon, including the military leadership, that Cheney was really put on the defensive, that he did not have the kind of arguments that he could come back with to basically counter this very strong argument by the Pentagon against his proposal. But what I did point out in my article is that this was the second time that Cheney had been, in a way, checkmated or stopped by the National Security bureaucracy in Washington - if you will, the permanent government - from making moves toward sort of setting up a war with Iran.

The first time was in early 2007. It was in February 2007 - or January/February 2007 - when Cheney essentially ordered the military in Baghdad to put out a briefing that would essentially take the position that Iran had been manufacturing these explosively formed projectiles which were armor-penetrating explosives, which were killing American troops in Iraq. And he was arguing that Iran is really fighting a proxy war by supplying these to the Iraqi Shiite militia. Well, the Defense Department, the State Department, and the NSC all said, "We can't say that. There's no evidence for it. And we've already been through this once with Iraq. And we'll all have egg all over our faces and our credibility will be shot." And so they said no to that. And so it looked like Cheney was checkmated because it went into the interagency process and essentially they sent the briefing back to the authors and said, "Do it again and do it right so that it's consistent with the evidence." Well, this time, in February 2007, Cheney did an end-run around the bureaucracy by getting Petraeus, who was going out to become the top commander in Baghdad of the U.S. forces, to agree that as soon as he arrived, they would, in fact, give that same military briefing that gave the Cheney line that the bureaucrats said no to. And that's exactly what happened. Within 24 hours of Petraeus's arrival in Baghdad and his taking over the command of U.S. forces, that briefing was given. The State Department, I guarantee you, did not know it was coming until two days beforehand.

Dennis Bernstein: Now you're saying then, you are suggesting - or more - that General Petraeus was an active player, that he was a willing partner in what appears to be a Cheney operation or deception

Gareth Porter: Absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind.

Dennis Bernstein: Say a little more about that.

Gareth Porter: Clearly, what happened was that Petraeus, when he got his job, it was on the condition that he would support the Bush-Cheney policy, both in Iraq and with regard to Iran. And that's exactly what happened. When he went out there, from the White House, from the Cheney wing of the White House, to have the military briefers give that briefing, which had been vetoed in Washington.

Now, that was just the first step in this. We later see Petraeus in September of 2007, after he's been out there several months, give an interview with Brit Hume of Fox News Television in which he said - I won't try to put forward the same words that he used - but he said, in effect, that we have been saying to the White House and to CENTCOM that we need to do something about the allegation or reality of Iranian interference in Iraq, implying very clearly that he was supporting the Cheney proposal to attach the Iranian bases, which are connected, supposedly, with that issue.

Dennis Bernstein: And, of course, given the short tenure that he had in Iraq, it gives one the impression that he was really an agent in this process. So he gets in, he does a few things, and then he's kicked upstairs. That was very interesting. Everybody wondered if he was so successful, so effective, The Man, then why did they take him out so fast? But maybe he had a mission.

Gareth Porter: He is not an independent actor. Petraeus is a man who has been sent to Iraq to carry out the policy of the Bush White House, and he will do the same thing on Iran. And that is why his being named to replace, in effect, Admiral Fallon as commander of CENTCOM is so important and why it sets up a situation in which Cheney and Bush can do an end-run around the opponents of war with Iran in Washington.

Dennis Bernstein: And, of course, you take out the unwilling general and you put in the willing general.

Gareth Porter: Exactly. And he's arriving - and this is very important - the timing of his arrival is late summer, early fall. It's going to be August or September. So I think that we can say that the period of maximum danger about U.S. intentions -- which I think that there is a serious possibility that they do intend to attach Iran - it will be after the arrival at CENTCOM in Tampa of General Petraeus in later summer or early fall.

Dennis Bernstein: ...We did hear - and Reese Ehrlich did some significant reporting on what was happening at the border, and the fact that the United States, with Israeli intelligence such as Mossad, were already busy going back and forth over the border. There was a great deal of counterinsurgencies. There are connections between what was going on there and this.

Gareth Porter: If you mean the connection between the Israeli role in Iraq and Iran, of course they're connected in the sense that Israel is very deeply involved in all of the Cheney -Bush policies in the Middle East. There's a very, very close working collaboration across the board, whether it's Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, or other parts of the Middle East. They are very, very closely working together on a common strategy. At least they discuss common strategies. That is not to say that everything Israel does has been planned ahead of time by the White House with the Israelis. In fact, the White House neocons, including Cheney, wanted Israel to go much farther in 2006 than they actually did. They wanted them to take down the Syrian regime instead of stopping in Lebanon. So there's not a perfect correlation, by any means.

Dennis Bernstein: Now following up right on that, that brings us to these recent exercises. The United States reported them as if they were surprises. It's like, oh, they'd better tell the New York Times that Israel did an exercise because they didn't know it was happening. Let's talk about what this exercise has to do with the relationship between the U.S. and their push toward war in Iran. What about this story?

Gareth Porter: First of all, I think we have to see that the purpose of this story -- from both Israeli and Bush Administration point of view - was to implicate the United States more deeply in the Israeli policy, to give the appearance to the world and to the American people that the Bush Administration is speaking, not on behalf of Israel, but speaking with Israel, announcing that this is taking place and giving it their interpretation, in a way that was useful to Israel.

But there's a second point here that I think you also need to keep in mind. That is that Israel is not likely to strike Iran without the direct involvement, militarily, of the United States. The United States will be involved in some way if Israel strikes Iran, whether it's sending American bombers or simply providing the intelligence and other support for an Israel strike. They have to do it with the Americans; they can't do it successfully without the Americans.

© 2008 Gareth Porter & Dennis Bernstein



Bush disappointed by Iran's rejection of nuclear offer

PARIS (AFP) — US President George W. Bush said Saturday he was disappointed that Iran had rejected the "generous" European offer to settle the crisis over Tehran's suspect nuclear programme.

"I am disappointed that the leaders rejected this generous offer out of hand. It is an indication to the Iranian people that their leadership is willing to isolate them further," Bush said at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday presented a new offer to Iran on ending the six-year standoff over its nuclear drive but Tehran once again rejected the proposal's key demand to halt nuclear enrichment.

"Iran's stance is clear. The precondition of a halt and suspension of nuclear activities cannot be brought up," Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said in Tehran.

Bush said that western demands that Iran freeze nuclear enrichment were "just and fair" and suggested that the United States and Europe were united in confronting Tehran.

"Our allies understand that a nuclear-armed Iran is incredibly destabilising. They understand that it would be a major blow to world peace," said Bush.

Iran insists its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

Sarkozy, who has toughened the French stance on Iran since coming to power a year ago, reiterated that a nuclear-armed Iran would be an "unacceptable threat to world stability."


Congress Rushes to Encourage Iran Attack

On October 11, 2002, the Senate passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution. It did so influenced by what anyone paying attention now knows was a campaign of fear-mongering lies organized by the neocons surrounding Vice President Cheney.

The Congress is about to repeat that disgraceful performance. House Resolution 362, which Rep. Ron Paul properly calls “just more war propaganda” will likely come to the floor and pass after the July 4 recess. It positively encourages George W. Bush, whom you might suppose is the most discredited U.S. president in the country’s history and the most inclined to take vicious irrational military action, to take actions which would constitute a declaration of war on Iran.

What better indication is there than this that the entire system is bankrupt? Two years ago the American people voted for Democrats supposing that their victory would end the war in Iraq. Instead the majority party has voted to fund and continue the war, while sheltering the war criminals from meaningful investigation on the grounds that to do otherwise would be “divisive.” The entire political class is united in this fear of divisiveness!

It was okay for the country to divide on the question of the Clinton impeachment drive in 1998. A president had lied to an over-reaching special prosecutor about details of his sexual life. But Nancy Pelosi can’t work up the moral outrage to allow impeachment proceedings against the president who used disinformation to invade a country in violation of international law resulting in the slaughter of a million people.

Indeed, rather than punishing the Bush regime, or even holding it to account, the Congress eagerly, dutifully, rushes to assure the Israel Lobby that, yes, it is still blind and stupid. It has learned nothing. Yes, it was lied to. Does it care? Nah. Willing to forgive!

“Intelligence failures. But hey, all the world’s intelligence services thought Saddam had WMD…” That’s the line justifying the 2002 vote. How many senators and Congress members note the obvious and are willing to acknowledge: “They wanted war, so they lied to get it”? Few.

Instead they ask: What more can we do for you, AIPAC? Don’t worry, we’re totally aboard the program! How else can we use the U.S. military—forced to deploy against its better instincts—to alter Southwest Asia to your satisfaction? How, Mr. Cheney, can we help realize your vision of a region bristling with U.S. military bases, crisscrossed by U.S.-financed oil and gas pipelines, oilfield upon oilfield controlled and secured by the Empire?

How can we disconnect the present from the past, unite rhetorically with the masses’ disillusionment with the Iraq and Afghan wars while still surging towards the big confrontation with Iran?

Recall the Lennon/McCartney lyric: “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…” Maybe that’s what they’re doing, these politicians. Maybe they’re sleepwalking towards war with Iran. The less kind interpretation is that they know what they’re doing and have no qualms. Either way the immanent vote will show that knowledge, information, exposure don’t matter. There’s no paucity of information but of nerve. There is no moral indignation. No power wielded appropriately, acknowledging the crimes that stare us in the face and doing something about them.

The honest amoral opportunist politician thinks: “Well duh. Of course it’s all about control of the Middle East. And yeah, they lied through their teeth to get support for the war. And yeah, I might score some points by saying the war in Iraq was a mistake—although no way I’m gonna say it was a crime or get radical about it or get called ‘anti-American’ for not supporting our troops, our heroes. But hey, let’s not be naïve. That’s just the way it is. And now whatever’s happening in Iraq—which let’s face it, isn’t even on the news anymore so not a big issue—Iran’s a separate issue. I can say Bush was wrong to invade Iraq, and still vote for this resolution on Iran, and stay friendly with AIPAC.”

Those in power want to cement their Lobby ties, their military-industrial complex ties if not their neocon/Cheney ties. If that means voting for war on Iran, no problem. This is the system working, well and efficiently. The delusion of the democracy, the delivery of more war. The passage of House Resolution 362 will loudly proclaim to anyone listening that the system sucks and is itself the problem.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Gary.
Iran In The Crosshairs: As Fears Of An Air Strike Increase, Little Opposition Is Heard
By Ira Glunts
29 June, 2008

When the United States invaded Iraq in order to destroy a nonexistent nuclear threat there were national and world protests. Opposition to that war was loudly voiced by American politicians and world leaders, as well as in mass demonstrations across the globe. Despite the protests, the war proceeded as planned. Today it seems that it is generally agreed that the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation were catastrophic mistakes.

Now the same people that gave us Iraq and remain just about the only supporters of their own failed policy there, are signaling that it is necessary to destroy the Iranian nuclear threat. And again, one problem is that this threat may not exist. This time, however, the opponents of the threatened attack are surprisingly few, even as the signs of a coming air assault on Iran continue to increase. This lack of articulated opposition to military action against Iran, especially by members of the Democratic party and their supporters, increase the chances that the Bush/Cheney administration will widen the war in the Middle East either directly or by using Israel as a proxy.

"Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex," according to David Martin of CBS News. Martin quotes Michael Oren, a CBS analyst, who is an American-born Israeli and well-connected to his government's reliable sources, as stating, "[t]he Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize [sic]." While Israel pressures the Americans via diplomatic and military channels, the U.S. Congress will shortly give its overwhelming support to two identical non-binding resolutions which will demand that President Bush impose a military blockade on Iran.

H.Con Res. 362, the House version, and S.Res. 580, the Senate version, demand

…that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program…

These resolutions are a direct result of the efforts of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who shortly after their annual convention in early June, deployed 5000 activists to 500 separate meetings on Capitol Hill, using their vast influence to promote this anti-Iranian legislation among U.S. lawmakers.Both resolutions will have the wide bi-partisan support in both branches of Congress that AIPAC-sponsored bills invariably receive. Even if the idea of the blockade goes nowhere, the resolutions signal that the vast majority in Congress will either support or will not object to military action against Iran.

Rumors and threats of either an imminent U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran have been increasing during the past month. According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Army Radio quoted an unnamed senior member of President Bush's entourage as saying, during the President's visit to Israel, that Bush and Cheney were "of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for." The White House immediately denied the report. President Bush had just given a particularly bellicose speech to the Israeli Knesset where he bluntly pledged that the U.S. would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Reminiscent of his "Axis of Evil" speech, the President listed Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as enemies and spoke about a "battle of good and evil."

The Asia Times claimed that Bush plans an air attack in Iran before August. The source is an unnamed former assistant U.S. Secretary of State who is active in the foreign affairs community. The article goes on to say that Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Lugar have been briefed about the planned attack. Both Senators denied receiving any briefing, but since the information is classified it would be impossible for them to verify the existence of such a plan without violating the law. According to the Asia Times, the target of attack would not be the Iranian nuclear installations but rather the Quds force, which are the elite forces of the Iranian army.

Time magazine in an article titled, "A Clamor for War," treats the possibility of an attack against Iran as worrisome and real. The piece says that many in the Congress think that the administration will "bomb Iran between November and January."Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had a 90-minute meeting with President Bush in Washington at the beginning of June. It had been widely reported that Olmert would make the case for an American air attack against Iran. After their talk Prime Minister Olmert proclaimed, "we reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less [sic] question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and American resoluteness to deal with the problem.

George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it and intends to act on the matter before the end of his term in the White House."When Michael Gordon reported in the New York Times on June 20, that Israel had a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran which involved 100 fighter planes using NATO airspace off the coast of Greece, neither the U.S. nor Israel denied the report. Prior to that report Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Transportation Minister, who is in the inner defense cabinet, told the Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, that Israel would attack Iran since the sanctions are not working.

One thing is certain. There is a clear possibility of a strike against Iran in the near future. The CBS story claims that Israel is now telling the United States, either you do it or we will. Unfortunately, whoever does it is courting a major disaster. An attack on Iran could provoke a retaliation which could quickly widen into a third American war in the region. Vulnerable targets include Israel, shipping in the Gulf, and American troops in Iraq. The reasons for attacking Iran are clearly less about that country's nuclear threat and more about the neo-con project for American hegemony in the region, as well as what the current Israeli government perceives as its security interests.

It is all too reminiscent of the false reasons given for invading Iraq. Unfortunately, just as before the Iraq war, many American political opposition voices are reluctant to criticize an aggressive Iran initiative for fear of being labeled weak or unpatriotic.It is disappointing that the Democrats who came to power in 2006 by purporting to be antiwar, are proving yet again that just as they have been incapable of stopping the Bush/Cheney debacle in Iraq, they are equally ineffectual in opposing the looming next war, the one with Iran.

Ira Glunts first visited the Middle East in 1972, where he taught English and physical education in a small rural community in Israel. He was a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces in 1992. He lives in Madison, New York where he writes, works as a college librarian and operates a used and rare book business with his wife.

(Emphasis added - B.M.)


Impeachment is now too little, too late

impeachment proceedings now are compelling.

For one, those who want to oust Bush from office would surely want to oust Cheney as well, so he wouldn't be next in line. Even to remove the president alone by impeachment would be unprecedented. To impeach the vice president at the same time and to do so in wartime on the eve of a new election? Unthinkable!

Besides, what Democratic congressman is going to risk the ridicule of his constituents for sacrificing the probable victory of a popular candidate? Put as simply as possible, it's just too late in the game.

Granted, there are arguments that should be weighed against fears and doubts. When a people have the privilege of electing their leaders and they choose not to hold a corrupt government accountable for its actions, they sacrifice that privilege and even sacrifice their national identity. Further, their silence could encourage corruptible future politicians to seek office.

Bush deserves to be impeached. Some key items in Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment include: Bringing us into a preemptive war against Iraq by intentionally misrepresenting Iraq as a security threat; establishing permanent U.S. bases in Iraq; providing no viable plan for the war's aftermath; illegal detainment and secret torture of suspects; illegal spying on American citizens; violating laws by the use of signing statements; failure to plan for the Katrina disaster and respond adequately; etc.

Kucinich's charges in essence say Bush used the Iraq War he ingenuously launched to grant himself close to unlimited - and sometimes illegal - powers. By his actions he also alienated free world countries, raised the national debt and supported big business at the expense of the middle class.

If to impeach now is foolhardy, not to impeach is to accept the unacceptable. And not to impeach now after Kucinich's resolution is to turn one's back on what little is left of congressional idealism. But by waiting too long, Congress leaves itself no choice.

Although the Constitution makes no mention of presidential censure as a usual outcome of impeachment proceedings, the Senate could act to censure President Bush regardless. And the country does need to make such a statement.

Only two presidents have been impeached - Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton late in 1998, but Clinton was acquitted in 1999.

Consider what deeds President Clinton was impeached for - then consider the charges against Bush.

Today, the Democratic Party has much to regret for not acting before impeachment became an exercise in futility.

Loretta Schertz Keller is an artist and a freelance writer. She lives in Altadena.