US officials discuss sending up to 120,000 troops to Middle East as war propaganda begins over Iran

USS Lincoln
John McEvoy

The Donald Trump administration is edging Washington closer to war with Iran. After pulling out of the Iran deal in 2018, the US once again applied crushing economic sanctions on the country. And recent reports show that top US officials are now drafting plans for war that could involve as many as 120,000 troops.

Military plans

On 13 May, the New York Times published a lengthy article detailing US “military plans against Iran”. It showed that hard-liners in the Trump administration, led by national security adviser John Bolton, have discussed a plan:

that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.

It added that the plans:

do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops.

And that:

Officials said they believed the most likely cause of a conflict will follow a provocative act, or outright attack, by the Revolutionary Guards’ navy.

On 13 May, Trump had claimed:

If they [Iran] do anything, they will suffer greatly.

US “openly laying the groundwork for another war”

In recent days, the US government has deployed an aircraft-carrier strike group, as well as B-52 bombers, towards the Persian Gulf. This comes on top of years of the Trump regime ramping up tensions with Iran.

Congressmember Ilhan Omar claimed “Trump and… Bolton are openly laying the groundwork for another war”:

Former US army colonel Lawrence Wilkerson also argued recently that Trump’s team was “setting the stage for a war with Iran”.

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, insisted: “We do not need to fight another unnecessary war”.

Attacks on US forces and nuclear weapons

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors Iran’s nuclear activities. According to a US Congressional Research Service report delivered on 10 May, the IAEA:

has verified that Tehran’s declared nuclear facilities and materials have not been diverted for military purposes.

The New York Times suggestion that Iran might “accelerate work on nuclear weapons” is therefore misleading. And a provocative recent cartoon showing Iranians hiding nuclear bombs just adds fuel to the fire:

The cartoon also suggests that a non-existent nuclear weapons programme has somehow replaced the family’s food. But as with corporate media coverage of Venezuela, the cartoon omits that US sanctions have been the cause of widespread economic suffering in Iran.

Misled, and still misleading

This is all quite incredible for a newspaper which apologised for its coverage of the invasion of Iraq. In 2004, the New York Times admitted:

it had been misled about the presence of weapons of mass destruction

Misled – but also doing the misleading. And today, the paper seems to have rejoined the latter camp.

CBS, meanwhile, reported on 13 May that:

Iran or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow holes in four ships — two Saudi oil tankers and two others — in the straight of Hormuz, according to an initial [US government] assessment

The significance of this “assessment” begs the question: will the Persian Gulf incident become a repeat of the Gulf of Tonkin lie (used to justify war in Vietnam)?

As the US continues to ramp up tensions with Iran, it’s vital to recall the lessons of the invasion of Iraq. That means, unlike the New York Times, questioning official narratives justifying foreign aggression.

Featured image via Screengrab/CBS Evening News

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. US failure to win its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the rest prove that to get what it wants the US doesn’t have to win a war, it just needs to smash a country to rubble and ensure no functioning system emerges which can rebuild it. They don’t need to rebuild a country to steal its assets or strategic location; on the contrary, a functioning country offers better resistance to it.

      The US may be fooled into thinking destroying a country equals winning a war, but a war against Iran and its allies might not just lead to US defeat but destroy it as a functioning country leading to its own ruin.

    2. Raising price of oil is in US Shale oil industry interests. Exxon is a de-facto branch of US State Dept. Trump was picked and chosen to carry off this war. Only a clown could do it. NYTimes may pull many more de-senitization “cry wolf” shenanigans to make the public lose interest. The political game in the US is played at a very high level. and it’s dirty as hell.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.