Archive for February, 2007

Talk Nation Radio for February 21, 2007 Beshara Doumani, Harold Smith, on Middle East Risk Factors

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

February 21, 2007
MidEast Expert Beshara Doumani and US Defense Policy Expert Harold Smith Discuss Risk Factors in the Middle East

Click here to listen to the audio.

Click here to listen to one of Beshara Doumani’s recent interviews (January 17, 2007) with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti on KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkley. Dr. Barghouti is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Professor Beshara Doumani of UC Berkley describes some of the unknown history and impact of the Palestinian crisis on U.S. Military policy towards Iraq and Iran. And according to Beshara Doumani a bit of information can lead to a positive improvement in the way Americans view the people of the Middle East. “The level of ignorance is such that any time you can reach people with some information it tends to have drastic sort of transformative power.”

Try AFSC the service organization of the Quaker’s (American Friends Service Committee) for information on how to hold educational workshops and forums on issues relating to Israel/Palestine.

Dr. Harold Smith is Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor with the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) where he focuses on the impact of technology on foreign and defense policy. He looks at U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, specifically Iran, and considers some of the recent comments of the leaders of Iran, the U.S., and Russia. Harold Smith described Start II (see Cooperative Threat Reduction Program) for members of Congress in 1996 when he was Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs with responsibilities for reduction and maintenance of the American and NATO arsenals of unconventional weapons.

Dori Smith: Beshara Doumani welcome to Talk Nation Radio.

Beshara Doumani: Thank you for having me.

Dori Smith: Let me ask you first to just discuss how Israel and Palestine issues fit, or should fit, into the larger discussion about U.S. policy in the Middle East in general and specifically toward Iran. We don’t hear much mention of the way Israel and Palestinian questions in general should come up in this discussion about Iran.

Beshara Doumani: First of all any discussion of what U.S. policy is is driven by concerns about what are the actual goals or intentions behind this policy. It’s very important for people to know that the credibility of the United States is on the line and has been because of it’s completely one side support of Israel in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Whatever the United States says about the Middle East, about Iraq or about Iran, is colored in people’s minds by the double standards when it comes to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

The general lack of trust in the United States is one issue that has to be dealt with and it can only be dealt with through a different policy on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, a policy that supports fairness, justice, for all.

It’s no secret that Israel not only has very close ties to the United States but also it has been pushing very strongly, including its allies here in this country, for a much more aggressive stance towards Iran. Many ask is the United States’ problem with Iran a result of purely U.S. domestic considerations or does it have to do with some larger U.S. strategy.

Personally I think it’s a combination of both but the role of Israel and its supporters in pushing for a tougher line with Iran cannot be discounted as an important element here. There are other ways in which this issue is related. One is that the United States pours in billions of dollars of support to Israel, which is seen as its main ally in the region, its enforcer so to speak. Iran, under the Shah, use to be in that position, but the 1978 Islamic revolution in Iran sort of locked down that second pillar of U.S. strength in the area and created a huge vacuum which has sucked in an enormous number of U.S. troops and military equipment to try to fill in that vacuum that Iran use to play under the Shah as the policeman of the Gulf.

So now that the United States is there and in a very big way militarily with bases all over it needs very much the support of the people of the region or at least the regimes that rule the people in the region. These regimes, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, Egypt, Jordan, etcetera, their credibility is also tied to what happens on the Palestinian/Israeli front because that conflict has become entirely symbolic of all that is wrong with the Middle East and all that needs to be fixed in the Middle East and where people stand on that issue affects very much their position on where they stand in terms of their opinion about the United States.

Dori Smith: Professor Doumani what about the rhetoric here? There have been several times when language seemed to be heading in the direction of precipitating a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran; could rhetoric lead us into a war?

Beshara Doumani: I don’t see it that way. I see the rhetoric as part of a calculated propaganda effort very much the way that the Iraq war was sold to the U.S. people by an administration that had no clear case to make but they sort of did a big commercial on Iraq and kept it up day after day. And I think they are doing the same thing deliberately again in the case of Iran.

It’s not a question of people sort of mouthing off about Iran and then finding themselves slipping, sliding into that war. The level of rhetoric is being raised deliberately, strategically, conscientiously in a way that fits into a larger goal.

It may or may not lead into a war but it keeps in the mind of every American this sense of being almost at war. That plays very much into whole policies built on the politics of fear. That is designed really to allow this administration to get its way on a number of other things in terms of not just international and foreign policy but also domestic policy issues. And in that sense whether or not there is an actual attack on Iran, the denomination of that country, the raising of the level of rhetoric to a sort of near war hysteria serves a variety of purposes and its almost like war has already broken out in people’s minds.

I just can’t imagine anybody launching a war against Iran at this time. It just would be devastating, not just for the region but for world peace in general. The United States is already in two hot wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s in several other minor wars including Somalia and other places; they are stretched thin. Iran is no push over. It has three or four times as many people as Iraq and it hasn’t been under twelve years of devastating sanctions like Iraq was. It’s not a little picnic.

On the other hand everything that the President seems to be doing points to the possibility of war. So my mind and reasoning say one thing but my eyes are telling me another. There has been a big change in the leadership of the intelligence community and in the Pentagon; taking out people who were opposed to war in Iran, putting in people who were for it. The change of command in the Central Command to somebody in the Navy who specialized in strategic air strikes, I would say it’s about a 60 to 40 percent chance that there might actually be a military invasion of Iran using air power; of course I can’t imagine the possibility of a ground war.

The consequences of that I think will make what happened in Iraq look like a picnic.

Dori Smith: George Bush has said recently that the President of Iran isolated himself. But can’t we also say that Bush is terribly isolated right now with his support waning? Under these circumstances is it possible that the Neocons would see some sort of an engagement with Iran as potentially regenerating support for their militant policies?

Beshara Doumani: What you are describing is what I call a sort of a doubling down scenario where somebody is losing at a game of poker and they just have whatever money left, they are all alone, and instead of accepting the fact that they lost, get out and try to work up for another day, they instead just shove all of their money in the middle of the table and say, ‘all or nothing’.

What you are describing is an ‘all or nothing’ scenario. A beleaguered president completely isolated from public opinion in his own country, from the vast majority of the military leadership, from the vast majority of the intelligence community, from their allies in Europe and elsewhere. So going in to see if another war would somehow rally the people around them and let’s not forget that the leader of Israel, Ehud Olmert, is in exactly the same situation, his popularity also plummeted to record lows, his government is beset with scandals of one sort or another, and again, Iran is seen as the savior in the sense of it would unite all Israelis around Olmert.

There are people who have made this argument. That this is what is going on. I don’t know. I think in many ways the war or possibility of war against Iran has been building up since the late 1970s, ever since the Islamic revolution took place and created that power vacuum. Everything we’ve seen since then, the first Gulf War, the second Gulf War, the invasion of Kuwait, it’s all tied to this one central fact, that Iran is a big vacuum and it happens to sit between the two biggest pots of oil and gas resources in the world in the Caspian Sea and in the Persian Gulf. And control over Iran is really critical to controlling the most strategic piece of real estate in the world.

In that sense it’s not just about Bush. It’s not just about a beleaguered president. It’s about a kind of a trajectory in U.S. policy beginning with the rapid deployment forces under Carter to the establishment of the Central Command of 300,000 soldiers under Reagan, to again, a series of wars in the region in which the United States has become more and more involved.

Now with the collapse of the Soviet Union we also see the reshuffling of U.S. Military bases and a very big concentration now around the Caspian region and in the Gulf away from the traditional theaters of North Korea, South Korea, or Germany, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. There are large structural forces at work here and Bush is only really just one page in a longer story in that sense.

So he may or may not lead this country into a disastrous war again. I don’t know. It’s very possible. But at the same time, even if Bush is voted out of office in 2008 before there is a war in Iran it may still happen under another president. The Democrats aren’t much better than the Republicans when it comes to the issue of Iran or the issue of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. They are not happy with the Iraq War but a lot of them support a unilateral pro Israel policy just as much, and they also raise the level of rhetoric against Iran saying just as much. So we’re looking at a long term problem.

Dori Smith: Americans don’t know much about Iraqis or Palestinians. There are various untold histories here. I know that’s something of a specialty of yours. How does that work against our prospects as a society to work for peace that we don’t know much about the people that we are dealing with and who have the most at stake.

Beshara Doumani: This is a question that concerns me a great deal as an educator. I know for a fact that the United States is almost alone in the world in having a public discourse on what’s going on in the Middle East that’s almost completely removed from reality. Certainly there is a huge gap between academic knowledge, professionally gathered knowledge about the Middle East, that you see on most campuses and in most books that are published, would be completely different from the way that the Middle East is portrayed in television news and newspapers and Hollywood, etcetera.

The fact is that most Americans don’t read printed news like in newspapers. Only 15 or 20 percent do. The rest get it from television news which doesn’t give them much time or much context to understand what’s really going on. This is a very big problem because the Palestinians or the Iraqis are seen as less than human people don’t understand; they can’t even feel the consequences of the policies of their own government and how it really affects their lives. And I know for a fact that as soon as someone gets some basic information about what the Middle East is like, the histories of these conflicts and so on, they immediately become appalled at the position that their government has taken all of these years.

So there is a very important and very difficult educational mission we have to be on all the time and thanks to radio shows like yours where people get exposed to more than just the sound bites. But it’s very difficult as you know because the media in this country has become concentrated in a few hands and the corporate media in this country continues to represent that region as one that is home to sort of eternal conflicts. ‘They will always be in conflict, it’s a naturally violent place, they’re not like us, and there is only this sort of western-like democratic country of Israel struggling valiantly for survival against this sea of Muslims. And as long as they see it that way then any war and any imperial sort of conquest in this region is justified. How many Iraqis die or what does it feel like to be part of an entire population like the Palestinians, where over three million to four million people are living largely in public air prisons surrounded by walls and barbed wire and so on. They just don’t even know that that exists. Or if they hear about it they sort of dismiss it because it’s not about ‘us’ it’s about ‘them’.

This is a very big problem but it also means that the level of ignorance is such that any time you can reach people with some information it tends to have drastic transformative power on these people. And I’ve traveled a lot and talked a lot and most of the people I’ve met on the East Coast, the Midwest, in the South, or the West Coast, who take the time to listen; I find that they are fair minded and they can grasp the situation much better and they teach themselves more details later on.

Dori Smith: The corporate media in America has not tended to discuss the possibility of Israeli forces operating in Iraq. What about Middle Eastern news services that you turn to. Do stories about that come up?

Beshara Doumani: I think is it’s more accurate to say that there are persistent reports of several thousand Israelis who are operating mostly in Northern Iraq in the Kurdish regions. These reports have not been confirmed to my mind persuasively but of course it doesn’t take much to imagine that what goes on in Iraq is extremely important to Israel and therefore they would be very much invested in trying to have a say in what happens there as much as possible. And we do know that they are certainly welcomed by many of the Kurdish factions for help in terms of their ties to the United States in terms of military equipment in terms of their intelligence and so on and so forth. So in the Arabic press and in the European press there have been reports like this all of the time and I think most people are aware of it but that story has not been heard much here in this country.

Dori Smith: Beshara Doumani thank you so much for speaking with us.
Beshara Doumani: You are absolutely welcome.

Dori Smith: Beshara Doumani teaches history at the University of California, Berkley. See Amazon for the book, Academic Freedom after 9/11 which he edited, published by Zone Books.

We turn next to Dr. Harold Smith, Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkley. Under the Clinton Administration Harold Smith served as Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs. He continues to serve as an advisor to contractors, think tanks, and defense industry laboratories. Harold Smith welcome to Talk Nation Radio.

Harold Smith: It’s a pleasure to be here Dori.

Dori Smith: There is a high level of concern about possible wider war and conflict with Iran. What is the general thrust of what you have been saying as you have traveled and discussed this topic?

Harold Smith: First of all let’s take Iran as it is today; Mr. Ahmadinejad the President, is not the first to mask domestic difficulties behind international intrigue and ambition. We all know he pretends to foresee the rebirth of Persia, Darius, and etcetera. He also is I think truly on the way towards trying to get a nuclear weapon and he has effectively masked that behind a need for nuclear power. That sells well but he cannot overlook the problems that he has at home. The recent elections have been going against him. He has failed to deliver on the domestic promises he made when he was elected. That is oil revenue sharing. Improved infrastructure, roads, hospitals etcetera, and he has failed to crack down on corruption.

Rafsanjani, (Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,) the former President won an overwhelming victory in the assembly of experts which will pick the next religious leader so that cannot be overlooked. The mayor of Tehran who succeeded Ahmadinejad has been hinting that there is corruption in the Ahmadinejad tenure as Mayor. And finally Khatami, the former President, has been speaking at Harvard and he has presented, as he put it, the bruising of Iran’s reputation.

Another way of looking at it is that polls in Iran as I understand it can best be described as finding Ahmadinejad to be tiresome. So I would say that he may not be a power center for too many more years that patience might be the best policy for the United States to follow. But I have summarized my opinions this way. I think the regime in Iran will change unless we try to change the regime. So you can see why I’m so strongly in favor of patience.

Now you’ve asked, ‘will there be war in Iran?’ I think that is highly unlikely. We are stretched far too thinly in Afghanistan and Iraq to do much more than posture which seems to me what we are doing. And I don’t think that benefits us very much either. We are doing, we the United States, are doing a good job along with the European allies in imposing sanctions so that I don’t think stronger action than that would be in any way useful. In fact I would even go so far as to say we would be better off opening an embassy in Tehran and opening discussions with them. That would be very hard for the Present administration to do given what they have said, ‘axis of evil’ and all that, but let’s say the next administration, Democratic or Republican, I think would be well advised to open an embassy and start talking. We had a breakthrough in Korea. Maybe we can have a breakthrough in Iran.

Dori Smith: In the background of all of this we are hearing more and more about a new arms race in the Middle East. And with the President of Russia now saying that the Bush administration may be sparking another arms race, more of a focus is now on that possibility. What would your advice be to the present administration in terms of their present policy toward Iran, toward the North, what would you tell them about what they are doing in terms of how it could have repercussions of other countries trying to get the bomb?

Harold Smith: I’m very pleased with the results in Korea which I think are a direct result of Mr. Bush deciding that he has to compromise his unilateral instincts to some extent. Obviously, what I’ve recommended in Iran would be another step in that direction.

I think we need to do much more in the sense of America as a leader but a leader of a coalition of powerful nations, which we can do and which I think this administration is starting to do. There has been a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by George Shultz, Bill Parry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, all of these gentlemen are noteworthy and all of them are respected, and they are strongly calling for a world of no nuclear weapons. That will be very hard to achieve but there are steps that can be taken in that direction and I think the administration would be well advised to do that.

Among those are some of the obvious ones such as sending the Comprehensive Test Ban (treaty) to the Senate for ratification. Another would be trying to revise the Non Proliferation Treaty so that it is not as unbalanced as it has become thanks to the U.S./India deal in which the acknowledged nuclear powers would hopefully agree to specify reductions in their arsenals and at the same time we should revise that treaty to allow any nation to have nuclear power provided they accept international fuel and give back the spent fuel. This has been sometimes called the ‘front end back end’ technology and there is a fairly strong movement led by the Nuclear Technology Initiative that’s a not for profit that Warren Buffet has given 50 million dollars to and which is trying to implement this idea that nations can have nuclear power without having to build enrichment facilities or separation facilities which of course is the real concern in Iran.

Anyone who can enrich fuel for nuclear power can continue the enrichment process and make fuel for a nuclear bomb. If we could internationalize that under say the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been doing a very good job in my opinion, I think we would be taking a long step down the road where the Irans and North Koreas would have an even more difficult position to defend if they tried to manufacture or create nuclear weapons. So I think there is much that can be done here.

Dori Smith: Do you think we stand on a fragile precipice right now with this administration in terms of the construction perhaps of new bases, the expansion of others, the move into other parts of Europe and the East? Are we heading in the direction that might be dangerous as President Putin has suggested it could be dangerous that U.S. Forces, the militarization if you will of U.S. policy, is potentially going to lead us down a path that we can’t retreat from at some point?

Harold Smith: Unfortunately Dori your question is well placed. If the United States were governed by parliamentary constitution Mr. Bush’s popularity is so low that there would be a vote of no confidence and we would have a new Prime Minister so to speak. But we don’t we have a constitution which will keep this administration in office until early 2009. So there is some concern that the Bush Administration will continue down this road of unilateral military action which I think is dangerous and I think Mr. Putin was on point in a number of suggestions and criticisms that he made. But whereas I said patience is necessary in dealing with Iran, the American people are going to have to be patient with the Bush Administration.

I would like to see a strong debate in the country on just the question that you asked and I think that debate is coming and I doubt that the administration can take too many unilateral steps that will as you put it lead us down an irreversible path simply because we are stretched military and economically; we are running deficits both in the administration of our government and in our trade balance which severely ties the hands of those who would like to take extensive military action. And I doubt very much that this Congress will provide the funds to take on even new tasks. They are already beginning to debate the power of the purse in cutting back on our actions in Iraq. So I think we will have to be willing to debate and willing to be patient but these are dangerous years. I can’t deny the fundamental premise of your question.

Dori Smith: In the sense that the Bush Administration has recently been discussing weapons; what weapons Iran might be trying to obtain; what weapons Iran might be sending across the border into Iraq; this is a tension producing discussion. Yet, we did hear Robert Gates try to diffuse the potentially inflammatory discussion that was raised after Putin’s speech having to do with weapons parts that were provided to Iran. We are now talking about much different weapons; we are talking along the lines of missile parts right?

Harold Smith: Yes, they are modern conventional weapons.

Dori Smith: So he did say that we wouldn’t want them to feel that they can’t obtain these items. (NPR)

Harold Smith: It was a mark of Mr. Gate’s smooth diplomacy in trying to diffuse that issue. After all it’s perplexing that the Administration has known about these kinds of parts, according to the Press since 2004. Why they would choose to raise it now, I’m a bit concerned. But I don’t want to say that’s a tempest in a teapot, but it’s only the modern shaped charges or so called explosively formed fragments. That’s not going to stem the tide one way or another in Iraq and I think Gates was absolutely correct in going soto voce on what he thought was the importance of that subject.

We have serious serious problems in Iraq but I don’t think they are tied to these explosive devices or arms from Iran they are tied to the enormous Shiite/Sunni hatred; the Kurds in the North would not be accepted as a separate state by the Turks. The situation is grim in the MidEast, no question, but I don’t think the flow of these conventional weapons across the border is an important consideration given the magnitude of the problem.

Dori Smith: Professor Harold Smith thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

Harold Smith: It was my pleasure Dori thank you for asking me.

Dori Smith: Harold Smith is Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Professor with the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkley. He served as Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, and in 1996 he described Clinton doctrine on the Start II nuclear talks with Russia before U.S. Congress. For Talk Nation Radio, I’m Dori Smith. Talk Nation Radio is produced in the studios of WHUS at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. to listen live Wed. at 5 PM. and for transcripts and discussions.

George W. Bush delivers his “Axis of Evil” speech, January 2002; this link is from the White House site.

Beshara Doumani on Lebanon, 2006.

Dr. Harold Smith on Start II and reducing weapons of mass destruction.

Russian gen. warns on missile defense VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press

MOSCOW – In a statement reflecting the growing distrust between Moscow and the West, a top Russian general on Monday warned that Poland and the Czech Republic risk being targeted by Russian missiles if they agree to host U.S. missile defense bases.

Francis A. Boyle Interview — Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to Stop the Guns of August, an attack on Iran

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Click to listen to the audio Summary: Professor Francis A. Boyle discusses the Neoconservatives in the Bush administration he met in college and explains their dangerous agenda. To prevent World War III he urges members of Congress to begin impeachment proceedings immediately, cut funds to Iraq, and use the War Powers Act to strengthen opposition to strike on Iran.

The influence of a man has never yet grown great without his blind pupils. Nietzsche

Had not the philosopher thundered against democracy and parliaments, preached the will to power, praised war and proclaimed the coming of the master race and the superman–and in the most telling aphorisms? A Nazi could proudly quote him on almost every conceivable subject, and did. William L. Shirer (1959) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, on Nietzsche

It was the Chicago Straussian cabal of pro-Israeli Neo-cons who set up a separate “intelligence” unit within the Pentagon that was responsible for manufacturing many of the bald-faced lies, deceptions, half-truths, and outright propaganda that the Bush Jr. administration then disseminated to the lap-dog U.S. news media in order to generate public support for a war of aggression against Iraq for the benefit of Israel and in order to steal Iraq’s oil. Francis A. Boyle

Talk Nation Radio interview with Francis A. Boyle
February 7, 2007

Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to prevent Wider War in the Middle East and Bring U.S. Forces Home from Iraq

Welcome to Talk Nation Radio, a half hour discussion on politics, human rights and the environment, I’m Dori Smith. According to a Newsweek poll more than half the country, 58%, now say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over. Much of the reason for their dismay is the war in Iraq. Yet, leading Democrats have been resisting calls from peace groups and progressive Democrats to issue a resolution to impeach Bush and Cheney.

Professor Francis A. Boyle joins us for the half hour. He is a leading American professor, practitioner and advocate of international law and exactly four years ago on January 17th his draft impeachment resolution against George W. Bush appeared in Counterpunch.

Professor Boyle’s latest piece on impeaching the President and Vice President is dated January 20th 2007. His title is, ‘Immediate Impeachment: Preventing the Guns of August in Eurasia.’ You can find it online at

Prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 the White House failed to heed warnings from military and intelligence analysts about possible repercussions from the violent overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Now it seems the U.S. is again failing to heed warnings about the potential risks of an attack on Iran. I asked Professor Boyle his view on why the present administration ignores such warnings:

Professor Francis A. Boyle: Well you have to understand the Neo-conservative mentality. I went to the University of Chicago with these people, (Paul) Wolfowitz and all the rest of them, and I went through the same program, the Department of Political Science run by the Neocon founder Leo Strauss. His mentor in Germany before he came to the United States was Karl Schmidt who went on to become the most notorious Nazi law professor of that benighted era who tried to justify in legal terms every hideous atrocity the Nazis inflicted on anyone.

So the Neocons had been thoroughly brainwashed I would say, as they attempted to do to me at the University of Chicago, in Schmidt, and Strauss, and Nietzsche and Machiavelli. These are the people we are dealing with. They are extremely dangerous, very bright, cunning and ruthless, and they are really out to dominate and control the two thirds of the world’s hydrocarbon resources in Eurasia. –An objective that Zbigniew Brzezinski identified a while ago in his book, The Grand Chess Board.

I also went through the same PHD program at Harvard in political science that produced (Henry) Kissinger, Brzezinski, Huntington, and the rest of these people. They gave me Kissinger’s old office at the Center for International Affairs. In fact, Kissinger and I had the same international relations teacher, Hans Morganthau, and when I was 21 years old Morganthau offered to call up Kissinger at the White House and get me a job on his National Security Council which of course I declined to do.

So we simply cannot underestimate at all what these people are up to. For example, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams –he was a classmate of mine at Harvard Law School; he’s one of these people. Abrams was responsible for personally murdering 35,000 people down in Nicaragua. He was in charge of the Contra war. And I say that having been down there myself in 1985, we had a delegation of lawyers, Ramsey Clark, Len Weinglass and two French Canadian lawyers, and we were off in the war zone near Matagalpa investigating Contra atrocities at a time when the Contras said they would kill any Americans on the grounds that they were presumptively Sandanista sympathizers. And later they would kill Ben Linder.

So this guy Abrams has already killed 35,000 in Nicaragua and he should be in jail rather than Deputy National Security Advisor. He is running Bush’s entire policy toward the Middle East. He is also a fanatical Zionist affiliated with the Likud Party in Israel, as is true for many but not all of these Neo-conservatives. This is an extremely dangerous situation. These Neocons want to take on Iran as a favor to Israel. They believe that what is good for Israel is good for the United States.

Dori Smith: The Bush administration has created puzzling alliances. Are they now refusing to reduce their presence in Iraq on behalf of the Saudis who urged them to stay or else they would get involved in Iraq? And as we understand it Ahmed Chalabi who would have been the leader of Iraq according to the plan that was originally on the table in 2003, had alliances with Iran which became much more important and relevant as more and more Shiites came into power under the U.S. occupation.

Who is our ally and who is not? Some have suggested that the Bush administration might put more pressure on Iran or attack Iran because they want to show the Sunni that they are more inclined in the direction of supporting them. Talk about that puzzling problem of who our allegiances are with and perhaps in the context of OPEC too.

Francis A. Boyle: These are all our puppets and they do pretty much what we tell them to do. We shift around one puppet to another to another as it suits the Neocon’s interest. The point is the 22,000 troops, the new troops the President is sending to Iraq, is probably part of this strategy of escalation generally in the Gulf being coordinated with plans to attack Iran. Again it’s somewhat reminiscent of the Nixon administration bombing Laos and Cambodia on the alleged grounds that somehow it was going to get us out of Vietnam.

So we have to understand I think these people would like to expand warfare in the region and not tamp it down. For that reason they will make alliances with whomever they want to to promote this policy. They have even said earlier, the Neocons, that they want to rewrite the Sykes-Picot agreement that basically carved up the Middle East between the British and the French during the First World War.

John Bolton, another Neocon, just said the integrity of Iraq is not in our interest and if Iraq is to be carved up into three pieces so be it. Indeed that’s been the objective all along here is to destroy Iraq as a viable state. Huntington identified that in his book, Clash of Civilizations that Iraq was really the only state that could provide leadership for the Arab world in its confrontations with the West over oil and its confrontation with Israel. So Iraq had to be destroyed as a state and it pretty much is destroyed as a state and that suits the Neocon interests quite well. So now they are moving on to Iran and it appears maybe Syria as well.

Dori Smith: I want to return to your topic of impeachment as a way to prevent wider war, to stop this march into what could well be wider chaos. We have seen Russ Feingold introduce a measure that would ban war funding. What else would you like to see members of Congress do, talk about that in the context of your major work here on impeachment and what the Bush administration has done of a criminal nature in terms of international law and US law.

Francis A. Boyle: Right. As is very clear if you have been following the debate over the so-called ‘surge’ you have moral cowards and hypocrites like Senator Biden saying well we basically have to go along with the President because he has all the power. Which is ridiculous. Anyone who has studied the situation knows two things: One, the Congress has the power of the purse and can terminate the surge and terminate the war immediately if it so desires. I’m very happy to see Senator Feingold introducing his legislation to do exactly that. That’s what we need to support, not these cop outs by Senator Kennedy or what Biden is doing or Hagel or the rest of them. We need to cut off the funding. That was the way the Vietnam War, Cambodia, Laos Wars were all ended.

Second, building on the Nixon precedent, use impeachment: We need to pursue both prongs simultaneously. The same thing happened with Nixon. Congressman Bob Drinan, a friend of mine recently deceased, introduced the first bill to impeach Nixon over his bombing of Cambodia. So we have two prongs here, cutting of the funds, which Senator Feingold is starting and impeachment which must be started in the House. We need a member of Congress willing to put in bills certainly against Bush and Cheney and try to head this attack against Iran off, to do the best we can under the circumstances.

Dori Smith: Who do you think might be the most effective person to introduce this bill and what is in the works in that regarded?

Francis A. Boyle: We just need one person to introduce the bill with courage, integrity, principles, and of course a safe seat. In Gulf War one I worked with the late great Congressman Henry B. Gonzales on his bill of impeachment against Bush Sr. We put that one in. I did the first draft the day after the war started. So in my opinion there is no excuse for these bills not to have been put in already. In fact, on 13 March 2003, Congressman John Conyers convened a meeting of 40 to 50 of his top advisors, most of whom were lawyers, to debate putting in immediate bills of impeachment against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft, to head off the war.

There were draft bills sitting on the table that had been prepared by me and Ramsey Clark. And the Congressman invited Ramsey and me to come in and state the case for impeachment. It was a two hour debate, very vigorous debate, obviously all of these lawyers there. And most of the lawyers there didn’t disagree with us on the merits of impeachment. It was more as they saw it a question of practical politics. Namely, John Podesta was there, Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, who said he was appearing on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and they were against putting in immediate bills of impeachment because it might hurt whoever their presidential candidate was going to be in 2004. Well at that time no one even knew who their presidential candidate was going to be in 2004.

I didn’t argue the point, I’m a political independent. It was not for me to tell Democrats how to elect their candidates. I just continued arguing the merits of impeachment. But Ramsey is a lifelong Democrat and he argued that he felt that putting in these bills of impeachment might help the Democrats and it certainly wasn’t going to hurt them in 2004.

Well the Democrats did lose in 2004 but as Ramsey and I were walking out after a two hour debate adjourned (I had offered to stay as long as it took to polish up my bills of impeachment and get them put in right away, because the war started, it was going to start in four days) I turned to Ramsey and I said Ramsey I just don’t understand it, their arguments make no sense, why did they not take me up on my offer to stay and polish up those bills of impeachment and put them in right away to head off a war? Sadly, Ramsey said, “I think most of the people there want a war.” That was 13 March 2003.

It’s very clear that high officials in the Democratic Party, certainly on the DNC, have been complicit with the Bush Administration in this war against Iraq from the get go. The Democratic national committee still vigorously opposes putting in any bills of impeachment against Bush and Cheney. Podesta made that very clear to us on 13 March 2003. Also, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a very courageous person, has reported that the DNC put enormous pressure on her not to file bills of impeachment despite the fact that I know she wanted to do it. We were in contact with each other. Likewise, Congressman Lewis from Georgia made a statement that Bush should be impeached. He was then invited on Fox News. Susan Estrich was substituting and Estrich is a member of the DNC, a very powerful member, she had headed the Dukakis campaign in 1988, and she literally savaged Congressman Lewis, showed him absolutely no respect when he tried to argue the point of impeachment. And by the end of the session she had basically bullied him into saying that well, maybe Bush shouldn’t be impeached.

So we have the problem that the DNC opposes impeachment for partisan political reasons. Also, they are heavily funded by pro Israel sources who also want to see the United States attack Iran and do Israel’s dirty work for it. So it’s really for the constituents of some of these members of Congress to directly confront them and to demand first that they support the Feingold Bill to cut off all further funding for this war and second, put in immediate bills of impeachment against Bush and Cheney to stop what could be an homicidal aggression against Iran that could set off a third world war.

I’m not exaggerating here. President Putin, before Bush attacked Iraq, stated that attacking Iraq could set off WWIII. Bush should have paid attention to that. I think there was an implicit threat there. Walter Cronkite said that if Bush attacked Iraq he could set off WWIII. So far that hasn’t happened fortunately but if he attacks Iran too I think that could happen. And it would not bother Bush and the Neocons at all. Bush sees himself as a war lord like Churchill and would like to set himself up in that capacity. And the Neocons want to see chaos in the Middle East. They want to redraw the borders in the Middle East to suit the interests of Israel.

Dori Smith: The war powers clause, could that be another avenue for slowing or stopping the march toward wider war?

Francis A. Boyle: Yes. That’s very clear as well. Finally now there are some members of Congress starting to talk about that. Evoking the War Powers Resolution on Iraq and also stating that the War Power’s Resolution Bush has on Iraq does not apply to Iran. But it appears that the Bush administration is implicitly at least taking the position that the War Powers Resolution they got on Iraq may support an attack on Iran. And when (Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice was asked a direct question on that issue inherent she refused to say that the Iraq Resolution could not be used against Iran. That has been why they are making these spurious allegations that Iran is actively involved in the war in Iraq. So this is very dangerous. They very well might try to bootstrap an attack on Iran to the Resolution they procured originally against Iraq in 1992.

That resolution of course was procured by the Bush people against Congress by fraud and lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that somehow Iraq was tied into Al Qaeda and the attacks of 9/11. That really is a crime. It’s perpetrating a fraud on the United States Government which is a felony.

The latest so-called “surge” requires additional authorization from Congress under the War Powers Resolution itself. Indeed we have to understand that Congress passed the War Powers Resolution to prevent a repetition of the Vietnam War as well as to close alleged loop holes that previous presidents going back to Truman had used to justify military force abroad without the expressed consent of Congress.

One of the issues in Vietnam, of course, was incremental escalation of U.S. troops. There was Eisenhower and then Kennedy and then Johnson–soon we had 550,000 U.S. troops there. They put in language and a requirement into the War Powers Resolution itself specifically to deal with this, (paragraph 3) saying quote, ‘In the absence of a declaration of war (and we don’t have one against Iraq,) in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation,’ the War Powers Resolution is triggered.

At the time of Bush’s January 10th press conference we had about 132,000 troops in there. He announced an additional 21,500 and that clearly was a substantial enlargement. He clearly required authorization from Congress to do this, prior authorization.

Finally now some members of Congress have said this but Bush and Cheney have dismissed this out of hand, saying well he’s the Commander in Chief and as Bush said he’s the “Decider”. Well the Commander in Chief clause was only put in there at the Philadelphia Conference for the drafting of the Constitution in order to guarantee and secure civilian control over the U.S. Military establishment.

That’s why it’s there. The War Powers were securely logged in both houses of Congress. This was debated at Philadelphia. In fact, one member at Philadelphia wanted to give the President alone the War Powers and that was just summarily rejected as dangerous. There was another proposal to give the War Powers to the President together with the Senate. The problem there was that at that time the Senate was not directly elected by the people it was appointed by the states.

Finally, the conclusion was that the safest location for the War Powers would be both houses of the United States Congress representing as best as possible the American people. The theory here was to clog the machinery of war, not make it easier.

In my opinion we have numerous impeachable offenses. Since that debate Ramsey Clark and I had before Congressman Conyers and his legal experts the Congressman just put out a report–he is keeping track of impeachable offenses. You know I send my analyses in there. You can find the report on his web site. It came out in August. The impeachable offenses up until then are all in that report. This is not a drafting problem at all. This is a political problem that we face that the Democratic Party, the top honchos, the top leaders, have been complicit with Bush on this war from the outset and it is that complicity I submit that people are going to have to deal with.

Dori Smith: Can the American people play a big role? Can members of the Military play a big role?

Francis A. Boyle: We are all going to have to do it together. The American people made it very clear in the November 2006 elections that they wanted an end to the Iraq War. Nothing could have been clearer. And yet right after the elections Bush says that he is going to go ahead with this so-called, “surge” anyway and the elections and the opinion of the American people be damned. He really threw the gauntlet down for all of us. And now it also appears to retrieve the situation in Iraq they are preparing to attack Iran. So it’s really back in the court of the American people. Are we going to let this happen or not? That was my reason I wrote my piece on immediate impeachments. I think the support is out there to stop these people and I believe we are going to have to stop them and impeachments of both Bush and Cheney are the way to go as soon as possible.

Even putting aside Iran we owe it to U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq. The latest report I saw was that at a minimum 3065 members of U.S. Armed Forces had been murdered in Iraq by Bush and Cheney and the Neocons. And I use murder as a technical term of art. I was originally hired here to teach criminal law, taught it for a number of years, and murder involves voluntary killing with malice of forethought. And its’ very clear Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, all the Neocons, lied their way into this war and murdered those troops. These troops are our mothers and our fathers, our brothers and our sisters, and our sons and our daughters. And we are going to have to stop this war and save them from being further murdered by Bush and these fanatical Neocons.

We also saw just yesterday in the New York Times, the Pentagon had a report on its web site indicating that in fact, 50,000 troops had been injured in Iraq and not the lower figure they were using of 20,000. They backtracked on that up and down. The Pentagon always lies about U.S. casualties in wartime. My guess is that the real figures are a lot more than they are reporting.

Then, of course, there are the dead Iraqis. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, the rest of them, have murdered a minimum of 650,000 Iraqis, that’s according to the Lancet report last spring. You know if you extrapolate from that we are now up to 700,000. And the longer this goes on those figures are going to increase for both Americans and Iraqis. My guess is given this “surge” we are going to see a bloodbath in Baghdad for both the civilian population of Baghdad and U.S. Armed Forces, the 18,000 being sent there.

We really have to stop this bloodbath. We have to pull these troops out. We have to get rid of Bush and Cheney. At a minimum we owe it to our own Armed Forces who have been put in harms way in our name to stop this war and to stop certainly further development of conflict and violence to Iran that could set up a regional if not global war.

Dori Smith: Is there a way to use arguments of potential illegalities in the operation itself and the fact of the unconventional weapons use to also bring further challenges to this policy?

Francis A. Boyle: Yes. If you have a look at the latest revision of the Pentagon’s operational war plans you will see that pursuant to the Bush national strategy doctrines of 2002, calling for aggressive warfare, even if by means of weapons of mass destruction–they have now integrated tactical nuclear weapons into our war plans. Today under Bush Jr. and the Neocons tactical nuclear weapons are just another weapon to be used in the inventory and are to be used along with conventional weapons. I’m certain that based on prior experience we have tactical nuclear weapons on the one aircraft carrier task force already there and a second one on its way.

Likewise we have given Israel so-called nuclear bunker busters that they do have and they do have the fighter bombers that we provided to use them. I don’t know if they will start with using nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran. It might start with a massive bombing campaign with conventional weapons as was done against Yugoslavia by Clinton for 78 days, but if that does not do the job, both the Neocons in the United States and their cohorts in Israel affiliated with the Likud Party, and many of these Neocons are Zionists affiliated with the Likud Party like Elliott Abrams at the Deputy National Security Council, are fully prepared to use nuclear weapons. They would have no problem at all in using nuclear weapons.

Personally I think the Neocons as I suggested have this Neo Nazi mentality. I believe that they would like the opportunity to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and indicate to the world—we here in the United States are fully prepared to use nuclear weapons and we just used them against Iran.

So I don’t believe there are really any restraints on these people from using nuclear weapons, whether in Israel or the United States, and I believe that if they decide that it will be ‘necessary’ to use them they are fully prepared to use them. Indeed, the reports coming out, Seymour Hersh, the high level planners in the Pentagon were opposing plans to use nuclear weapons but eventually as we have seen Bush Jr. has made a clean sweep of everyone in the Pentagon standing in his way. I think the last sources of opposition to the use of nuclear weapons in the Pentagon is now gone.

Dori Smith: Professor Francis A Boyle teaches international law at the
University of Illinois. Professor Boyle thank you so much for spending this time with us.

Francis A. Boyle: Thank you again for having me on and my best to your listening audience.

Dori Smith: Professor Francis A. Boyle is the author of eight books including, Destroying World Order out from Clarity Press, as well as, Defending Civil Resistance Under International Law, a text often used by those who have engaged in some form of civil disobedience where a point of law is sought. For Talk Nation Radio, I’m Dori Smith. Talk Nation Radio is produced in the studios of WHUS at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. to listen live Wed. at 5 PM. and for transcripts and discussions.

Contact Dori Smith at for information on how to air this free weekly radio program on local stations near you.

Other books by Francis A. Boyle are available at or click here Or try Clarity Books.

Biowarfare: Who Poses a Threat, by Francis A. Boyle Foreword by Jonathan King, M.I.T.

November 15, 2004 A War Crime in Real Time Obliterating Fallujah By FRANCIS A. BOYLE

Immediate Impeachments: Preventing “The Guns of August” in Eurasia
By Prof. Francis Boyle Global Research, January 20, 2007

CounterPunch, January 17, 2003 Draft Impeachment Resolution Against President George W. Bush by FRANCIS A. BOYLE professor of law, University of Illinois School of Law, 108nd Congress H.Res.XX, 1st Session, Impeaching George Walker Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.

It’s About the Rule of Law, Impeaching George W. Bush, By FRANCIS A. BOYLE
Professor of Law, University of Illinois School of Law

Important Links on Impeachment:

John Conyers
Michael Rattner’s latest book on Impeachment

Click to listen to the audio Summary: Professor Francis A. Boyle discusses the Neoconservatives in the Bush administration he met in college and explains their dangerous agenda. To prevent World War III he urges members of Congress to begin impeachment proceedings immediately, cut funds to Iraq, and use the War Powers Act to strengthen opposition to strike on Iran.