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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- It's frightening to realize that one of every three Americans is bonkers. They think George W. Bush is a good president, doing a good job. They cling to the belief that the war in Iraq was essential for national security and, although there have been some setbacks, the United States will prevail and "victory is our only option."

Polls show a sorry one-third of the American people are still attached to the lies, myths, hoaxes and deceptions that formed the basis of our policies toward Iraq and the ongoing disaster the war has brought. This one-third is so resistant to the truth and so consumed with delusion that their views are beyond political conversion and only medical intervention makes any sense. They're nuts. And we all know far too many of them.

A handful of people consumed with political power and/or greed escape the nut brand. Blind partisans and political hacks stick with Bush and his puppeteer, Vice President Dick Cheney. So, too, do corporate moguls, oil barons, military contractors and the super-rich who are the beneficiaries of raids on the U.S. Treasury and the taxpayer-funded largess they receive from this vile administration. But the normal, the sensible and the sane have long abandoned them.

It's revealing that so many shills in the corporate media are card-carrying members of the sorry one-third, still echoing the administration's lies and failing to challenge "Bubble Boy" Bush's aversion to reality.

But Bush and his dwindled supporters remain dangerous as they gear up to sell the war with Iran just as they did with Iraq. They are again using fear and deceit to propagate the aggression and imperialism the neocons employ to foster U.S. domination of the world's resources.

The Project for the New American Century types have long had Iran in their crosshairs, just as they did Iraq. It has nothing to do with fighting terrorism and everything to do with controlling oil and Israel's "security." In spite of their failures in Iraq, these crazies still dominate the Bushevik foreign policy and world view. Make no mistake about it -- they're aiming their guns at Iran.

They figure this is the time, since Bush's days are numbered and another war will divert attention from the mess in Iraq. Just bomb the bejesus out of Iran's nuclear facilities and watch the 24-hour media coverage bolster public support for the president.

Never mind that such aggression will set off a regional or even world war; these arrogant bastards don't care. Dominance is their game, and the deaths of thousands of Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqis and Iranians don't matter in their brutal calculations. They will simply create fear to justify an attack. We know their game.

The poster boy for this mentality is Douglas J. Feith, the former under-secretary of Defense for Policy and a PNAC alumnus. He led a rump intelligence group, a little workshop for war in the Pentagon that fabricated links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Cheney and Bush used the lies repeatedly, and their allies in the media joyfully trumpeted the morphing of bin Laden into Saddam.

The lie campaign worked so well that, at one time, nearly 60 percent of the American people believed Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Feith pruned and cherry-picked the information -- or disinformation -- and dodged the normal reviews from the broader government intelligence services.

When the lies were exposed -- no weapons of mass destruction and no Saddam-al-Qaeda connection -- the Busheviks simply wrote off the systematic deceptions as "intelligence failures."

Failures, my ass. The plot was a great success. They wanted to invade Iraq and they did. They'll do the same things to justify bombing Iran.

The Pentagon's acting inspector general Thomas F. Gimble finally blew the whistle on Feith's dirty work. His report -- the first major review and criticism of the Defense Department's selective intelligence-sifting operation -- shows how information was distorted.

The campaign began shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and Feith and his little band of liars sought out anything and everything they could find to show that Iraq and al-Qaeda worked in collaboration.

One memo they generated in July 2002 was titled "Iraq and al-Qaeda: Making the Case." Rumsfeld and Cheney drooled when they got that kind of material. They just "knew" Saddam and bin Laden were brothers bound in terror. Why couldn't the CIA and the French, German and Russian intelligence services just open their eyes?

Four years too late, the Pentagon watchdog revealed that Feith and his lie brigade "developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaeda relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the intelligence community."

In a moment of sublime understatement, Gimble said Feith "did not provide the most accurate analysis of intelligence to senior decision makers." Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said of the report exposing the intelligence manipulation, "I can't think of a more devastating commentary."

Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said, "Armed service members in particular are paying a terrible price" for the deceptions.

But Feith and the other neocons who hijacked American foreign policy and brought us the Iraq fiasco are getting another chance to spread more havoc in the Middle East as they plan and orchestrate a military assault on Iran. Nothing gets more respect in the Bush administration than failure.

Britain's Guardian reports that "U.S. preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage, in spite of repeated public denials by the Bush administration." The paper's sources point to a offensive next year as Bush prepares to leave office.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last Friday, "I don't know how many times the president, Secretary Rice and I have had to repeat -- we have no intention of attacking Iran."

But former CIA officer and National Security Council staff member Vincent Cannistraro told the Guardian that "planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place."

In a chilling report titled "From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq" in the March issue of "Vanity Fair" magazine, Craig Unger details the designs to attack Iran. "The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war have been using the same tactics -- alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on WMD -- to push for the bombing of Iran," he writes.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, told Unger, "It's absolutely parallel. They're using the same dance steps -- demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux." Unger traces the neocon designs on Iran to the views of Richard Perle and other neocons including Feith who wrote a report in 1996 for the Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies, an Israeli-American think tank.

The report titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" contained "the kernel of a breathtakingly radical vision for a New Middle East. By waging wars against Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, the paper asserted, Israel and the U.S. could stabilize the region. Later, the neoconservatives argued that this policy could democratize the Middle East."

Before the craziness contained in "A Clean Break" was tried out in Iraq, a significant addition was made to the list of targeted nations -- Iran. It came from Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel's newly elected prime minister.

He met with Perle and made his pitch to include Iran on the list of nations in need of "democratization." Two days later, addressing Congress, Netanyahu argued, "The most dangerous of these regimes is Iran." Perle and Feith have served as advisers to Netanyahu and Israel's Likud Party.

Unger writes, "Ten years later, 'A Clean Break' looks like nothing less than a playbook for U.S.-Israeli foreign policy during the Bush-Cheney era. Many of the initiatives outlined in the paper have been implemented -- removing Saddam from power, setting aside the 'land for peace' formula to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon -- all with disastrous results."

With that record in mind, Bush is now allowing the most radical elements of the Likud Party in Israel and their neocon allies in the United States to dictate the next move in the Middle East. As Unger argues, we are on the path Netanyahu staked out in his speech and taking the fight to Iran."

While Iraq bleeds and disintegrates as a nation, Bush plans even more violence in the Middle East. The already over-stretched U.S. military is being pressed to do the jobs civilians are refusing to do there.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is asking that military personnel temporarily fill "more than one-third of 350 new State Department jobs in Iraq that are to be created under the new strategy," The New York Times reports.

The State Department is supposed to be expanding provincial reconstruction teams in Baghdad and western Anbar Province. But too few experienced career Foreign Service officers have volunteered for the jobs outside the Green Zone, so Rice wants the Pentagon to pick up the slack.

Why don't the neocons volunteer to implement their ideas? Let's ask Feith, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, his brother Frederick, Dick Cheney's daughter Elizabeth, the entire staff at the neocon bunker and the American Enterprise Institute to sign up to help in Iraq.

What better way to demonstrate the sincerity of their convictions? The truth is, most of the neocons are physical as well as moral cowards. They let others do their dirty work and die. They have other priorities.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com February 13 2007