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This article appears in the August 5, 2005 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Cheney's 'Guns of August'
Threaten the World

by Jeffrey Steinberg

Lyndon LaRouche, on July 27, issued an international alert, covering the period of August 2005, which is the likely timeframe for Vice President Dick Cheney, with the full collusion of the circles of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to unleash the recently exposed plans to stage a pre-emptive tactical nuclear strike against Iran.

The danger of such a mad, Hitler-in-the-bunker-style aggressive military action by the Cheney circles would be even further heightened, were the United States Congress to stick with its present schedule, and go into recess from July 30 until Sept. 4. With Congress out of Washington, and with President George W. Bush on extended vacation in Maine and Texas, the Cheney-led White House would almost certainly unleash a "Guns of August" attack on Iran, LaRouche warned.[1]

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called for the Senate to remain in session for much of August—at least until the stalled Defense Authorization Bill is thoroughly debated and passed.

On July 27, after the Senate defeated a cloture vote which would have blocked a series of amendments to the bill, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had indicated that he would hold the defense bill until September, a move that Reid strongly opposed.

The 50-48 defeat of the cloture (60 votes were need to shut down the debate and freeze any new amendments), in which seven Republican Senators voted "no" along with all but three Democrats, represented another strategic defeat for Cheney et. al. Thirty amendments are pending, including several that would freeze base closings until all American troops are home from Iraq; would give the Congress clear jurisdiction to oversee interrogations at places like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib; and would set uniform codes for interrogations, under the Geneva Convention. The President has threatened to veto the bill if it passes with any of these amendments.

Sources close to Senator Reid indicated that Reid's concerns go beyond the issue of the Defense Authorization Bill per se, and reflect his own recognition that something has gone extremely afoul at the White House.

Indeed, a growing number of U.S. Senators, from both the Democratic and Republican parties, have voiced growing concern to EIR and others about the brutish behavior of top White House officials, particularly Dick Cheney. In a series of private White House "negotiating sessions" with leading Senate Republicans over the amendments to the Defense Authorization Bill, Cheney was reportedly livid, branding senior members of the Senate from his own party as "traitors" for not bowing to White House demands. As the result of this obscene behavior by the Vice President, the three most powerful Senate "defense caucus" Republicans—John Warner (Va.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and John McCain (Ariz.)—have broken with the Bush Administration on this issue.

Grounds for the Alert

LaRouche based his "Guns of August" alert on a series of factors, reported to him over the recent days, beginning with the qualified report, from a former U.S. intelligence official, published in the Aug. 1 issue of American Conservative magazine, that Dick Cheney ordered the Strategic Command (STRATCOM) to prepare contingency plans for a conventional and tactical nuclear strike against hundreds of targets in Iran, in the event of a "new 9/11-style attack" on the United States.

As EIR reported several months ago, the Bush Administration, under CONPLAN 8022, had already placed the relevant "mini-nukes" under the control of theater military commanders, as part of a new "Global Strike" doctrine of pre-emptive nuclear war, a doctrine originally conceived by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby, when Cheney was Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.

Other reports since the beginning of the year have corroborated the focus on military plans against Iran:

* On Jan. 17, The New Yorker magazine published an article by Seymour Hersh, "The Coming Wars," outlining Pentagon plans for combined aerial and commando attacks on Iran, aimed at destroying the country's purported underground nuclear weapons program, and instigating a popular revolt against the mullahs.

* On Jan. 26, UPI intelligence correspondent Richard Sale reported that the U.S. Air Force is flying provocative combat reconnaisance missions over Iranian territory, from bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. The purpose of these missions, he wrote, is to "template" Iran's air defense systems, in preparation for a bombing campaign against at least 14 suspected secret nuclear weapons facilities. Sale added that U.S. Special Forces and Israeli commandos are aiding Iranian exiles from the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), as well as Iraqi Kurds, to conduct cross-border incursions, to plant sensors near target sites.

* On Feb. 19, Scott Ritter, the former U.S. Marine who led UNSCOM weapons inspection teams in Iraq during much of the 1990s, told an audience in Olympia, Wash., that he expected the United States to launch a bombing campaign against Iran, perhaps as early as June. He told the audience that President Bush had received, and signed off on, plans for an aerial attack on Iran.

The Nuclear Option

In the Aug. 1, 2005 issue of The American Conservative, retired CIA officer Philip Giraldi wrote: "The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran, there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections."

The British Factor

The recent bombings in London have provided Tony Blair with his own "Reichstag Fire" incident, and the full resources of the British "liberal imperial" faction can now be expected to weigh in behind the brutish Cheney circles in Washington.

The most compelling evidence of this "Guns of August" plan, LaRouche emphasized in discussions with colleagues, is the pattern of eyewitness reports of Dick Cheney's state of mind. Cheney is living out an American version of "Hitler in the bunker," lashing out at Republican Senators who have dared to resist his mad tirades, accusing anyone who fails to follow his orders—including senior members of the United States Senate—of being "traitors" and worse.

And finally, LaRouche identified a series of reports from highly qualified Congressional, military, and intelligence community sources, who have confirmed the essential features of the American Conservative account of Cheney's "Dr. Strangelove" schemes for a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Iran. These sources have emphasized that these Iran plans are not merely military contingency studies, but represent the policy intentions of Cheney. The fact that such a plan is crazy, LaRouche stressed, does not mean that Cheney won't carry it out—quite the contrary.

Walls Closing In

The immediate context for Cheney's psychological flight-forward is the growing revolt against the Bush Administration by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives, and the accelerating probe by independent counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into the "outing" by "two senior Administration officials" of CIA non-official cover officer Valerie Plame Wilson.

Furthermore, Cheney's synarchist controllers in London are also up against the wall, facing a meltdown of their entire global speculative financial system. It is the imminent crash of the post-Bretton Woods system that is the driver behind the push for war and chaos on the part of Cheney et. al. The fact that a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran is being specifically linked to a new 9/11 "Reichstag Fire" incident, provides the key to the whole stage-managed affair.


The Fitzgerald probe, which began in December 2003, has already identified Cheney's chief of staff Lewis Libby, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, as two of the officials who spoke to reporters and revealed Plame's identity. Plame's husband, Amb. Joseph Wilson, had been dispatched to Niger in 2002 to assess reports that tht country was supplying Saddam Hussein's Iraq with yellowcake uranium to make a bomb. When Wilson came back and reported that the story was a hoax, the Cheney circles were not pleased. (See "From the Congress" report in National.)

But beyond Libby and Rove, the Fitzgerald probe has zeroed in on the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), the high-level agit-prop team assembled by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card in August 2002, which includes Rove, Libby, Karen Hughes, then-National Security Advisor Condi Rice, her deputy and successor Stephen Hadley, and others.

Furthermore, independent counsel Fitzgerald has recently focused attention on a June 10, 2003 State Department memo, which identified Plame. That memo was circulated among a number of neo-con officials, including Bush's nominee for UN Ambassador, John Bolton—prior to the Robert Novak outing of Plame in a mid-July 2003 syndicated column.

[1] The classic book The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman (New York: Macmillan, 1962) describes the events of the first 30 days of World War I. In the early days of August 1914, Germany, enveloped by European alliances, was in a full-scale mobilization, hoping to implement its plan of sweeping through France, and occupying Paris, within one month. Instead, the war bogged down into four years of trench warfare, on the Western Front, along with war on the Eastern Front (Russia), and spread also to the Balkans. The vacation month of August has been the occasion for the start of other wars as well; Hitler's attack on Poland began on Sept. 1, 1939.

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