Rather than an attack with "bunker-busters", the first attack of the war was made with a "bank-buster", and it came in the form of a shot across the bow of the global banking system. The hypocrisy couldn't be clearer, not that this will matter much to the Iranian victims -- unless the truth suddenly becomes as important to the world's bankers as it is to some of the world's bloggers.
The first alleged casus belli against Iran was supposed to be its purported pursuit of nuclear weapons. The Iranian leadership has renounced any desire to obtain such weapons; the international governing body, IAEA, has inspected Iran repeatedly without finding anything resembling a program designed to develop nuclear arms, and technically sound experts such as Scott Ritter scoff at the notion that Iran is even close to developing any nuclear capability.
There's irony in the American threat to use nuclear weapons against Iran, supposedly in order to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons itself. If the subject matter were any lighter; if there were not literally millions of lives at stake immediately, and many more thereafter; the irony would almost be funny.
But it's not. It is an affront to any sensibility not tainted by "American exceptionalism": the widespread American belief that the United States is uniquely blessed with democracy and liberty and therefore has the right to dictate the foreign and domestic policies of every other country on Earth -- at the point of a weapon if feasible. In other words, everyone save Americans -- and only those blinded by the propaganda barrage -- can see that this line of "reasoning" is bogus.
But that's just the beginning. Now, apparently because of the American failure to create a credible nuke-related casus belli, they've turned to a new game -- charging Iran with laundering money, supporting terrorism, and committing financial crimes detrimental to the world's financial community.
Using little-known provisions in the "USA PATRIOT Act", the exceptional Americans are cracking down on Iran for doing what comes naturally to the Bush administration: money-laundering, supporting terrorism, and endangering the global economy.
The "PATRIOT Act" itself is exceptional: it was passed by a Congress that hadn't read it and signed by a "President" who had never been legitimately elected; it strips Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms from American citizens and at the same time it purports to give the American administration control of global systems; it's an enormous piece of legislation amending hundreds of laws which was presented to the House only a month after the attacks of September 11, 2001 -- supposedly in response to those attacks and supposedly in order to prevent future attacks.
The problem, of course, is that the attacks of September 11 were never properly investigated; the sham investigation initiated by the White House didn't even get started until a year after the "PATRIOT Act" was made law; thus there was no way for the drafters of the "PATRIOT Act" to know what changes in legal and security structures would have been needed for the United States to prevent future attacks of the kind -- assuming, of course, that the United States National Security apparatus was not already fully prepared to prevent the attacks of 9/11, and for some reason chose not to do so.
The final assumption appears to be completely unjustified, but even if it were true, the "PATRIOT Act" would still be an abomination. So it's only fitting, in an Orwellian kind of way, that it would be used to start a war of aggression against a peaceful country that has never threatened the United States.
The accusations against Iran may be true, in part. It appears that Iranian banks have altered records to obscure some transactions. And Iranians have been accused of funding terrorism in the Middle East and of providing weapons for use against the Americans in Iraq. No credible evidence has ever been presented to support the weapons charge, but for the sake of the current analysis let's pretend it's a valid allegation. Let's just add up the charges, put them in context, and see what we've got.
A couple of Iranian banks were caught pulling a couple of shifty stunts. Does anything like that ever happen with American banks? Tell the truth, now.
The American intelligence services operate with black budgets in the multi-billion dollar-a-year range; they ship and sell weapons and drugs all over the world to generate even more billions (not to mention assisting the twin scourges of murder and drug addiction); Americans shipped pallets of hundred-dollar bills to Iraq which then simply disappeared; the list of money-laundering crimes goes on and on, and the financial crime not only tolerated but in fact perpetrated by official US government agencies runs in the hundred-billion dollar-a-year range; and the US has the gall to accuse the Iranians of laundering money. Nice.
Did Iranians send weapons to Iraq to be used against the Americans? Have Americans ever sent weapons to Iraq to be used against the Iraqis? Tell the truth again. Have they sent men to fire those weapons? Let's tell the whole truth: They're using radioactive ammunition, too.
The Americans have openly spent hundreds of billions of dollars every year for the past five years to fund their attack on a defenseless nation which had not threatened them. They have shipped more than a million men and women to fight there, at least 4,000 of whom have died in Iraq. Countless others have been wounded, physically or mentally or both. And that's just the American side of the damage sheet. On the Iraqi side it's much worse -- as usual when American troops destroy a foreign country. Tell the truth; it's good for all of us.
How many countries has the United States done this to? Count invasion and occupation; count bombing and inciting terrorism; count starting civil wars and setting up death squads; count covert subversion and overt sabotage of democratic processes; count Vietnam and Guatemala and Chile and Somalia and Grenada and Haiti and Iran and ... oops! did I just mention Iran? Strike that. Trust me: it's the Iranians who are to be feared for inciting terrorism. Just ask George Bush.
Are the Iranian banks to be feared for jeopardizing the global financial system? Again you can ask the Americans, but don't mention Enron or BCCI or (fill in the blank here _____) or any of the other tips of corrupt American financial icebergs that have been floating around sinking unsuspecting voyagers on the rough waters of national and international finance. Why? Just because, that's why!!
Because is the key word in all this; because the Americans claim to control the global financial system; because the Americans accuse the Iranians of certain crimes against that system; because Americans are exceptional and can never be held to account for obvious and egregious crimes against humanity; because of all these factors the allegations against a few Iranian banks have been spun into a threat against all Iranian banks -- and all banks which deal with Iranian banks!
The threat goes like this: the allegedly offending Iranian banks are to be isolated; all banks which do business in Iran are to be treated likewise; all banks which do business with any Iranian bank likewise as well. It's an international quarantine on Iranian banking interests, based on allegedly anti-terrorism provisions of the "PATRIOT Act". The inevitable result will be widespread poverty in Iran. The obvious intent is provoke the Iranian government into doing something that could be used as a casus belli -- a "case for war".
Two drippingly ironic facts are hidden in all this maneuvering.
First, the United States has no international legal right to quarantine Iran as it is doing -- with heavy-handed blackmail and threats of "cooperate with us or you'll be next". No nation or national bank wants to be seen as cooperating with terrorism -- and yet, in their efforts to eschew "terrorists" and cooperate with the Americans -- this is exactly what they're doing.
Secondly, by invoking these financial threats -- threats which could lead to genocidal economic blockade -- the Americans have provided the Iranians with a casus belli of their own, to be used against the United States. But Iran doesn't want war; so it doesn't need a casus belli. What it needs -- what is always needed when a schoolyard bully starts picking on a little kid -- is strength in numbers among the potential victims.
The "schoolyard bully" analogy may not be particularly apt in the context of international relations; but then again in this case it might be just perfect.
To everybody except the exceptional Americans, there appears to be one rogue state in the world. Its dubious public pronouncements are willingly swallowed by an increasingly centralized "news" media and broadcast to gullible idiots everywhere; the result is death and destruction on a scale and of a type heretofore unknown in the history of human conflict.
The residue of depleted uranium munitions will render a large chunk of the Middle East unfit for human habitation forever -- and the radioactive debris is spreading, slowly and inexorably, to the rest of the world.
But Iran is a threat! Iran must suffer sanctions! Iran must be isolated and punished! It's unbelievable -- or not -- depending on how low you think the Bush administration will stoop. (Here's a helpful hint: there's no limit!)
If the depleted uranium alone isn't enough to make the nations of the world band together against the schoolyard bully; if the Bush doctrine -- preemptive war, anywhere, anytime, based on the flimsiest lies -- is not enough; if the countries of the world are not drawn together by the enshrinement of torture and indefinite confinement as national norms in a country known (rightly or not) as a world leader for human rights; perhaps this overt act of war against Iran can provide the impetus. After all, the "justifications" used by the Americans also apply -- in every case and with overwhelming force -- to crimes committed by the Americans themselves.
Therefore, in my view, it is time for an alliance of all the life-affirming countries of the world -- an Axis Against Evil that could be based on a document as simple as the following:
WHEREAS the American use of radioactive ammunition in Iraq and Afghanistan poses an existential risk to humanity and all other forms of life all over the world,It sounds like a crazy idea, but if we get two or three dozen of the right signatures, the American imperial project is finished.
WHEREAS the United States has nuclear weapons, has used them, and has threatened to use them again, while Iran has no nuclear weapons and no plans to develop any such weapons,
WHEREAS the United States of America has a long history of terrorism and fomenting terrorism,
WHEREAS covert agencies of the United States government regularly launder billions of dollars a year,
WHEREAS American banks are currently -- as always -- a grave threat to the global financial system,
WHEREAS America is currently and obviously guilty of all the crimes of which Iran is accused, and many more, on an unimaginably greater scale,
WHEREAS the American administration is now threatening Iran with economic destruction, allegedly to further the prevention of terrorism,
WHEREAS the blackmail tactics used by the United States in attempting to isolate Iran are reprehensible and typical, and constitute a form of terrorism in and of themselves,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that from this day forward and until all said issues are resolved to our satisfaction, we shall do NO BUSINESS with any American Business and NO BANKING with any American Bank, nor shall we enter into any transaction with any Bank or Business doing Business with any American Business or Banking at any American Bank; and we will do our coercive best to make sure that all Banks and Businesses within our jurisdiction do the very same.
[your position; circle one]
(President) (Prime Minister)
(Grand Poobah) (Petite Poobah)
Otherwise we are.
NOTES: My main computer has been down for the past several hours; I wrote this post on a machine that is not much more than a typewriter. It's a lovely discipline, for sure, but the piece is not as well-annotated as usual, nor does it quote any sources. Therefore:
 If you didn't click the links above, please do so now:
John McGlynn: The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran
Chris Floyd: Worried Just a Bit? Bush Launches Economic 'Shock and Awe' on Iran
 If you are a world leader, you are invited to sign the declaration above. Otherwise, please bring it to the attention of your leader(s).