The Betrayal of Obama

Mattis: Obama Failed to Respond to Iran Bomb Plot on U.S. Soil Because of Nuclear Deal

By Matt Margolis September 5, 2019

After the surprise resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis last December, Democrats were quick to politicize the news, and have certainly been hoping ever since that Mattis would provide them with new information they could use to attack Donald Trump. He does have a memoir coming out, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, but it looks like it’s Barack Obama and Joe Biden who get the bulk of the criticism.

Prior be being Secretary of Defense under Trump, Mattis served as commander of U.S. Central Command under Obama and Biden. Mattis had predicted that Iran would continue to provoke the United States. Mattis’s warning went ignored, and when Iran committed an act of war on American soil, he was not told about it, and the United States never responded to it.

The duty officer at his Tampa, Florida, headquarters on Oct. 11, 2011 told him that the attorney general and FBI director had held a press conference to announce the arrest of two Iranians who had planned a bomb attack on Cafe Milano, a high-end restaurant in Washington that was a favorite of the rich and famous, including Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir.

As Mattis writes, “Attorney General Eric Holder said the bombing plot was ‘directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Qods Force.’ The Qods were the Special Operations Force of the Revolutionary Guards, reporting to the top of the Iranian government.”

Many pundits questioned the administration’s assessment that the Iranian government was involved in the plan. Despite Iran’s long history of overseas assassination plots, some observers were skeptical that the theocratic regime would attempt such an audacious attack.

Mattis is certain, however: “I saw the intelligence: we had recorded Tehran’s approval of the operation.”

Mattis writes, “Had the bomb gone off, those in the restaurant and on the street would have been ripped apart, blood rushing down sewer drains. It would have been the worst attack on us since 9/11. I sensed that only Iran’s impression of America’s impotence could have led them to risk such an act within a couple of miles of the White House, Absent one fundamental mistake — the terrorists had engaged an undercover DEA agent in an attempt to smuggle the bomb — the Iranians would have pulled off this devastating attack. Had that bomb exploded, it would have changed history.”

In response to the plot, Mattis believed a forceful reaction was necessary. “I believed we had to respond forcefully. My military options would raise the cost for this attack beyond anything the mullahs and the Qods generals could pay.” But, Obama wasn’t interested. “We treated an act of war as a law enforcement violation, jailing the low-level courier.”

Why didn’t Obama want a forceful response to the act of war by Iran? His secret nuclear deal.

He explains his thinking: “I wanted calculated actions, to restrain the regime so it couldn’t thrust us into a war. If you allow yourself to be goaded and trifled with, one of two things will happen: eventually a harder, larger fight will explode, or you will get moved out of the neighborhood,” he writes.

“In my view, we had to hold Iran to account and strike back when attacked. But there was a reason for the administration’s restraint. The administration was secretly negotiating with Iran, although I was not privy to the details at the time.”

Those negotiations would lead to the Iran nuclear deal, signed in 2015. Mattis is critical of the agreement, which President Trump withdrew from last year. “In my military judgment, America had undertaken a poorly calculated, long-shot gamble. At the same time, the administration was lecturing our Arab friends that they had to accommodate Iran as if it were a moderate neighbor in the region and not an enemy committed to their destruction,” Mattis writes. “As long as its leaders consider Iran less a nation-state than a revolutionary cause, Iran will remain a terrorist threat potentially more dangerous than Al Qaeda or ISIS.”

Obama and Biden also refused to listen to Mattis’s warnings about Iraq.  Mattis recounts in his memoir how Joe Biden refused to listen to Mattis’s warnings about a sudden withdrawal from Iraq, but that “the general’s assessment fell on deaf ears.” According to Mattis, “Vice President Biden and his assistants listened politely. But as we spoke, I sensed I was making no headway in convincing the administration officials not to support Maliki. It was like talking to people who lived in wooden houses but saw no need for a fire department.”

Mattis’s predictions proved true in the end. “Iraq slipped back into escalating violence. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion,” Mattis writes. The damage done by the ignorance of Obama and Biden cannot be understated. “It would take many years and tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents, to break ISIS’s geographic hold,” Mattis explains. “All of this was predicted — and preventable.”

Mattis believes that his reaction to Cafe Milano bomb plot, as well as his opposition to pulling out of Iraq, contributed to his being fired by Obama. “In December 2012, I received an unauthorized phone call telling me that in an hour, the Pentagon would be announcing my relief,” Mattis writes. “I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray.”

Mattis believes that Iran was and still is the biggest threat in the region, and he predicted Obama’s failure to punish Tehran for an act of war just because he was desperate for a nuclear deal would come back to haunt the United States.

_____

Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis

Liz Cheney to Expose Her Father’s Legacy (Revelation 13)

Liz Cheney demands Warren provide list of U.S. cities to be nuked

Rep. Liz Cheney (R.-Wyoming.) wants to know which cities Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would sacrifice to a nuclear attack.

In the early morning hours of July 31, Cheney, apparently responding to the first night of the Democratic debate, tweeted this loaded question at Warren: “Which American cities and how many American citizens are you willing to sacrifice with your policy of forcing the US to absorb a nuclear attack before we can strike back?”

Cheney was referring back to the segment of the previous evening’s presidential debate when moderator Jake Tapper asked whether, as president, the candidates would declare that the United States would never use nukes first.

Warren said that she would adopt that policy.

Cheney, it seems, took that to mean that a President Warren would vow to do nothing while America got nuked. Or that a country wouldn’t be deterred by America’s massive ability to retaliate against any strike.

For many, the assertion called to mind Cheney’s famous father, Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney the elder has been heavily criticized for encouraging the invasion of Iraq based on bogus weapons of mass destruction intel, and generally being a torture-condoning, warmongering, friend-shooting, Blackwater-connected political figure. (More recently, there was that time Christian Bale thanked Satan for inspiring him to play the former VP in Vice.)

Reactions to the tweet ranged from the obvious, “There is no winning a nuclear war,” to the vicious, “Wow damn didn’t realize that the desire to murder entire nations was a trait you could inherit from your dad,” and several logical souls who pointed out that Warren did not say that.

Someone even referenced Maslow’s hammer.

Harvard Business School professor Gautam Mukunda was among those appalled by Cheney the younger’s nuclear ambitions, “A little self-awareness might lead you to the conclusion that, having made your career entirely on the coat-tails of your war criminal father, maybe you’re not the best person to weigh in on the wisdom of preventive war? Your Dad’s Iraq catastrophe springs to mind, somehow,” he tweeted.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the Warren campaign and will update with their response.

It is worth noting that the United States has long had a policy of being willing to strike first in a nuclear war.

But on the same token, it’s pretty crazy to suggest that a president not being willing to launch a preemptive nuclear attack is the equivalent of them letting nuclear warheads rain down on our nation.

Trump About to Fatally Worsen Obama’s Mistakes

Column: Trump in danger of repeating Obama’s Iran mistake

Bobby Ghosh15 hrs ago

President Donald Trump, who seems obsessed with undoing his predecessor’s legacy, is in danger of repeating Barack Obama’s fundamental mistake on Iran: Making the confrontation with the Islamic Republic almost exclusively about nuclear weapons.

In recent weeks, Trump has on several occasions repeated his willingness to negotiate with the regime in Tehran, even as he slapped more sanctions on Iranian institutions and individuals, and threatened “obliteration” if Americans are attacked. While not quite the same as talking softly and carrying a big stick, it is at least a simulacrum of a strategy — except that, as I have written before, the administration hasn’t properly defined its objectives.

But when pressed for a definition, Trump has talked mostly about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, suggesting that preventing such an outcome would be the purpose of any talks with Tehran. “I think they want to negotiate,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press program. “And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look, they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon.”

He said that was the message he sent Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei through Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: “I said, ‘Send the following message: You can’t have nuclear weapons. And other than that, we can sit down and make a deal.’” But that is exactly the signal Obama sent — through his secretary of state, John Kerry — after the Iranians agreed in 2013 to negotiations aimed at ending the economic sanctions. And the principle was enshrined two years later in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: Tehran would give up its nuclear ambitions in exchange for access to international markets and billions of dollars in frozen assets.

The deal was deeply flawed. In effect, it gave the Iranian regime a shield to cover its other dangerous activities — supporting genocide in Syria and terrorism elsewhere, along with the development of ballistic missiles — and more money with which to conduct them. The Iranians did just that, stepping up assistance to Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen.

At the same time, the JCPOA allowed Iran to maintain a stockpile of enriched uranium, and the possibility of resuming its pursuit of nuclear weapons in 10 or 15 years.

After Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal last year, the State Department signaled that any future negotiations would encompass all of Iran’s malign behavior, not just its nuclear program. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a list of 12 demands the regime would have to fulfil before a new deal could be struck: These included the ending of support for groups like Hezbollah and the termination of the ballistic-missile program.

But in his eagerness to “make a deal” with Khamenei — and perhaps imagining a photo-op akin to his little walkabout with Kim Jong Un in North Korea — Trump seems be losing sight of the non-nuclear threat represented by Tehran. In his NBC interview, the president made only a fleeting reference to Iran’s ballistic missile program, but it was clear where his priorities lay: “Here’s what I want: anything that gets you to the result.”

Then he repeated that Iran could not have nuclear weapons.

It is a position Obama would have approved. And, if he had any sense, so would Khamenei.

Bobby Ghosh is a columnist and member of the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board. He writes on foreign affairs, with a special focus on the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.

Obama’s Contribution to the Iran Situation

Obama’s ‘original sin’ led to Iran’s uranium enrichment, James Carafano says

Sam Dorman

Iran revealed the “deep flaws” in its nuclear deal with the United States when it threatened to further enrich uranium as a response to heightened sanctions, James Carafano, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, argued on Friday.

“One of the ultimate sins of the Iran deal was we let them have enrichment,” Carafano said while appearing on “America’s News HQ.”

Carafano, a retired lieutenant colonel for the army, argued that if former President Obama’s administration had taken enrichment off the table, “we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Former President Obama’s “original sin,” Carafano said, made economic pressure less effective. “Now, we’re right back where we started.”

Carafano’s comments came as Iran threatened to bypass the enrichment cap set by Obama and get closer to the level needed to manufacture weapons. Former Obama officials have pointed the finger at Trump, arguing that his decision to leave the nuclear deal was the reason for heightened tensions in the region.

But, according to Carafano, the Obama administration’s deal was insufficient.

“It really wasn’t a break, it was just a push button,” Carafano said. “And so if Iranians can essentially — at the flip of a switch — proceed back on a nuclear enrichment program and back on the path to the bomb, it really raises the question: well, what were the benefits of the Iran deal to begin with?”

Carafano predicted that Iran’s strategy would fail given that Europeans seemed poised to further increase sanctions in an effort to force the rogue nation’s hand on complying with limits in the nuclear deal.

While the administration has repeatedly threatened to use force in response to major provocations, Trump has maintained a willingness to talk with Iran’s government.

On Wednesday, Trump made that threat even clearer, tweeting that the U.S. would “come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten back before.”

Sam Dorman is a reporter with Fox News. You can follow him on Facebook here.

How Obama and Clinton have Sped up the Bowls of Wrath (Revelation 16)

Image result for obama hillary and bill clinton

Reckless Obama-Clinton uranium deal

I got a good chuckle out of Jim Sathe’s reply to my criticism of Hillary Clinton where he stated that she “was the most qualified person to ever be nominated for the presidency.”

Really?

According to Sathe, her credentials are greater than Washington, Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, etc.

Seriously?

Another major flaw from Hillary was the so-called “Uranium One” deal, which took place while she was Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. Under the agreement, Russia has access to approximately 20 percent of our uranium supply.

Ask any Idaho National Laboratory scientist or researcher and they’ll tell you that uranium is an important material. Meanwhile, Obama and Clinton carelessly allowed Russians to get ahold of a portion of our strategic uranium supply.

Day after day, Democrats accuse President Trump of collusion with the Russians even though the Mueller Report could not cite any specific evidence. The irony here is that the Obama-Clinton uranium deal is a very serious case of collusion with Russian leaders.

I have said this before and I’ll say it one more time: Trump is a big-mouth New Yorker from Queens who sometimes lacks diplomacy laced with occasional obscenities. I do not like him when he talks that way, but Trump’s commonsense, executive and organizational skills far outweigh his loose tongue.

Now, it’s time for local Idaho Democrats, and their national peers, to own up to their leaders’ flaws or are they going to continue to live in the narrow realm of acute liberal politics?

Bob Ziel

Iranian Horn Attack’s Christianity

IRAN AGENTS STORM CHURCH, TEAR DOWN CROSS AT 100-YEAR-OLD CHRISTIAN PLACE OF WORSHIP

Iranian intelligence agents have shut down a church in the country’s northwestern city of Tabriz, storming the place of worship and tearing down a cross that stood on its conical spire.

The Christian Iranian rights group Article Eighteenhas said Iranian regime security officials charged into the 100-year-old church May 9, took down its cross, changed all the locks and ordered the church warden to leave.

According to the group, members of the Assyrian Christian community that worshipped at the Presbyterian church had been living in a state of fear after pastors from nearby churches were barred from visiting the Tabriz church, a National Heritage site, in the days after Christmas.

Those fears were realized earlier this month when agents from the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), a state owned holding company built on confiscated assets and under the direct control of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, descended on the church. As well as taking down the cross and threatening the custodian, the agents reportedly installed monitoring instruments.

While the church had been confiscated by the Iranian authorities in 2011, local worshippers had been permitted to continue using the building and carry out Assyrian language services. Article Eighteen’s Advocacy Director has said the confiscation and eventual destruction of Protestant churches in Iran has become a part of a noticeable strategy.

“In most cases the government has been unable to repurpose them, especially if they were listed. So they typically remain as empty buildings, often neglected, and turn into ruins before being demolished,” Mansour Borji explained.

The human rights group Amnesty International has decried the treatment of the Christian minority by the Iranian government. Under the constitution of the Islamic Republic, the country’s Assyrian and Armenian Christians are permitted freedom of worship. However, they are not allowed to hold services in Persian, as this could be interpreted as proselytizing, and converts face harsh sentences of between 10 and 15 years in prison.

Ahead of Christmas last year, Iran arrested more than 100 Christians during a week-long crackdown. Many of the 114 detained were converts, who were accused of spreading Christianity, The Telegraph reported.

Christian groups have said imposition of harsh economic sanctions on Iran under the administration of President Donald Trump has had the unintended consequence of worsening the plight of Iran’s Christians.

“There are many reports that this has contributed to the government’s ever-increasing dependence on hardline Islamic ayatollahs, who naturally see Christianity as a threat to their power,” said Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern. “For this reason, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing an increase in Christian persecution.”

Iran continues to suppress Christianity

Iranian Intelligence Shuts Down Church, Removes Cross

The Assyrian Christian community in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz has been left in a state of shock after intelligence agents forced a Presbyterian church to close earlier this month, Assyrian International News Agency (Aina) reports.

Religious freedom charity Article18 said: “Intelligence agents stormed the 100-year-old church, officially recognized as a national heritage site in Iran, on Thursday, May 9, changed all the locks, tore down the cross from the church tower, and ordered the churchwarden to leave.”

“They made it clear that the Assyrian people are no longer allowed to hold any worship service there,” Article18 reported.

The source also said church members had been fearful since just a few days after Christmas when agents from the intelligence ministry prevented pastors from other churches to visit the Tabriz church for a joint-worship service with other Assyrian and Armenian Christians.

Quoting a source, Aina reported on May 9, “a large number” of agents from the ministry of intelligence and a state agency called Eiko entered the “church compound and changed all the locks on the doors, removed the cross from the tower, installed some monitoring instruments and started to threaten and force our custodian to leave his place inside the compound immediately.”

Eiko, also known as the executive headquarters of Imam’s directive, is under the direct control of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Eiko was established from thousands of properties confiscated in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. A Reuters investigation found that the organization built “its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians,” also seizing property from members of religious minorities, business people and Iranians living abroad. It falsely claimed many properties were abandoned.

The 100-year old church, owned by the Assyrian Presbytery, was “confiscated” by a revolutionary court order in 2011. The congregation, however, were able to continue using the building for services in the Assyrian language – until this month’s raid.

“Many churches owned by Protestants have been confiscated in Iran,” according to Article18’s advocacy director, Mansour Borji.

The reason can be deliberate targeting of any institution remotely linked with Americans.

“In most cases, the government has been unable to repurpose them, especially if they were listed. So they typically remain as abandoned buildings, often neglected, and turned into ruins before being demolished, as was the case with the church in Kerman.”

 

SEE ALSO:

Christians from Iran’s historic Assyrian and Armenian communities are recognized minority, who are usually able to freely practice their faith, providing they don’t open their doors to Muslim-born Iranians by holding services in Persian.

The Islamic Republic authorities have not yet responded to the news concerning the century-old church in Tabriz.

The Assyrian presence in Iran goes back 4,000 years.

The Assyrian community in Iran numbered approximately 200,000 before the 1979 revolution. Many Assyrians left the country in the after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, primarily for the United States. Current estimates of the Assyrian population in Iran range from 50,000 in 2007 to 32,000 in 2015. The Iranian capital, Tehran, is home to the majority of Iranian Assyrians; however, approximately 15,000 Assyrians reside in northwestern Iran, in the city of Urmia and various Assyrian villages in the surrounding area, in West Azarbaijan province, northwest Iran.

Assyrians were the first people who warmly welcomed an American Presbyterian missionary and linguist, Justin Perkins, on his arrival in Urmia.

Justin Perkins, known as the first U.S. citizen residing in Iran, established a missionary center in Urmia in 1835.

Perkins, later dubbed the “Apostle of Persia”, was assigned to look after the remaining members of the Assyrian Church of the East in northwestern Iran.

Appointed by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Perkins began preaching, generally with the full consent of the local Assyrian church clergy, and often in their churches.

Dozens of Assyrians left Iran for America through Perkins and his successors, mainly settling in Chicago.

The Nefarious Leaders of Babylon the Great

Trump, Obama and Congress will all be to blame for what happens with Iran

An F/A-18F Super Hornet flies over the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea on Wednesday. (Handout/Reuters)

Difficulties with Iran will recur regularly, like the oscillations of a sine wave, and the recent crisis — if such it was, or is — illustrates persistent U.S. intellectual and institutional failures, starting with this: The Trump administration’s assumption, and that of many in Congress, is that if the president wants to wage war against a nation almost the size of Mexico (and almost four times larger than Iraq) and with 83 million people (more than double that of Iraq), there is no constitutional hindrance to him acting unilaterally.

In April, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was pressed during a Senate hearing to pledge that the administration would not regard the 2001 authorization for the use of military force against al-Qaeda and other nonstate actors responsible for 9/11 as authorization, 18 years later, for war against Iran. Pompeo laconically said he would “prefer to just leave that to lawyers.” Many conservatives who preen as “originalists” when construing all the Constitution’s provisions other than the one pertaining to war powers are unimpressed by the framers’ intention that Congress should be involved in initiating military force in situations other than repelling sudden attacks.

The Economist, which is measured in its judgments and sympathetic to the United States, tartly referred to the supposed evidence of Iran’s intentions to attack U.S. forces, allies or “interests” as “suspiciously unspecific.” Such skepticism, foreign and domestic, reflects 16-year-old memories of certitudes about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction: Remember Secretary of State Colin Powell spending days at the CIA receiving assurances about the evidence. There also are concerns about the impetuosity of a commander in chief who vows that military conflict would mean “the official end” of Iran, whatever that means.

U.S. policy makes easing economic sanctions against Iran contingent on Iran doing 12 things, most of which (e.g., halting development of ballistic missiles, withdrawing from Syria, ending support for allied groups) it almost certainly will not do. This U.S. policy is congruent with U.S. disregard of this truth: Any nation, however prostrate, poor or ramshackle, that ardently wants nuclear weapons can acquire them. Just four years after Hiroshima, the Soviet Union, which had been laid to waste by World War II, became a nuclear power. China was an impoverished peasant society in 1964 when it detonated a nuclear weapon. Pakistan’s per capita income was $470 in 1998 when it joined the nuclear club. In the more than a decade since North Korea acquired nuclear weapons, U.S. policy has pronounced this “unacceptable.” But U.S. behavior has been to accept it while unfurling the tattered flag of arms control — hoping to talk North Korea into giving up what it has devoted three decades to develop.

Fifteen years ago, Condoleezza Rice, then President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, said that an abstraction (the “international community”) would not “allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon.” Allow? In 2012, President Barack Obama said: “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment. I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” If — probably when — that policy fails, we shall have a policy of containment, or a major war.

Trump’s national security apparatus might include a plucky cohort of regime changers who, undaunted by 18 discouraging years (Afghanistan, Iraq), cling to the fatal conceit that U.S. policies, such as sanctions, can manipulate the internal dynamics of societies such as Iran’s. In any case, today’s president is, in one respect, like his predecessor: Obama denied that hundreds of U.S. airstrikes that killed hundreds in Libya and helped to destroy a regime constituted involvement in “hostilities.”

Trump recently vetoed a congressional resolution that would have terminated U.S. involvement with Saudi Arabia and its allies in the war in Yemen, by the terms of the 1973 War Powers Resolution. It forbids the “introduction” of U.S. forces into “hostilities” for more than 90 days without congressional authorization. It defines “introduction” to include the assignment of U.S. military “to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the . . . military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged . . . in hostilities.”

The U.S. military is providing intelligence, logistical support and, for a time, occasional in-flight refueling of Saudi bombers. This certainly constitutes involvement in the commanding, coordinating and movement of military forces. This is similarly certain: Whatever the United States does to Iran militarily will be decided unilaterally by this president. But his predecessor, and today’s Congress and previous Congresses, will be implicated in the absence of restraint by laws or norms.

Updating Babylon the Great’s Nuclear Arsenal

Updating America’s Nuclear Arsenal for a New Age

April 8, 2019, 8:00 AM EDT

Destroyer of worlds.

Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

More than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, nuclear war may be something to worry about. At the moment, tensions between India and Pakistan, North Korea’s small arsenal, Iran’s nuclear program, and the U.S. withdrawal from its treaty with Russia on intermediate-range nuclear missiles are all roiling the status quo of global security.

But the U.S. can best prepare for the next nuclear age by sticking with the two-pronged strategy that worked so well during the Cold War: deterrence combined with arms control. That means pursuing two seemingly contradictory goals: seeking to shrink the number of nuclear weapons around the globe, while simultaneously maintaining and improving a nuclear arsenal potent enough to dissuade adversaries from doing anything stupid.

The difference is that there are now three great powers involved. The U.S. needs to modernize its arsenal to counter rising threats from China and Russia, and pursue arms-control treaties with them both.

On the diplomatic side, President Trump should welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to extend the New START agreement, which drastically reduced overall U.S. and Russian arsenals but is set to expire in 2021. Eventually, China should be persuaded to join the pact. Though still well below the START limits, its arsenal is growing. And the U.S. should seek to renegotiate the abandoned Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty as a trilateral pact that also includes Beijing.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has much work to do to modernize its own nuclear-weapons systems. The military was helpfully promised upwards of $1 trillion over 30 years for the project.

The priority should be the submarine fleet, the leg of the U.S. nuclear triad that best combines stealth, mobility and accuracy. The Navy needs full funding to replace its aging Ohio-class ballistic-missile subs with the new Columbia class, scheduled to enter service in the early 2030s.

The ground-based leg of the triad consists of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in underground silos in the Great Plains. These would cause such vast damage, they would be useful only in the event of an existential crisis. Given this limitation, it makes little sense to entirely replace them. The Air Force should instead upgrade the Minuteman, and could cut its numbers considerably.

That leaves the air leg, which now depends on outdated stealth technology and archaic B-52 bombers. The Air Force is buying at least 100 B-21 Raiders, but unless this new long-range plane proves capable of penetrating ever-more-sophisticated air defenses, it won’t be more than a stopgap. Long term, the service needs to consider drones, air-launched missiles and other cutting-edge alternatives to manned planes.

At the same time, the Pentagon needs to upgrade the weapons themselves, placing a new emphasis on its stockpile of less-powerful tactical weapons that can be “dialed down” to lower yields. The enemy is more likely to fear that the U.S. will really use an atomic weapon if it is not as destructive as the one dropped on Hiroshima.

Russia has reportedly adopted a doctrine known as “escalate to de-escalate,” which involves using limited numbers of such lower-yield weapons to buy time in the event its conventional military finds itself overmatched by U.S. or Chinese troops. Of course, this approach gambles that there could be such a thing as limited nuclear war.

The Pentagon also needs to catch up with Russia and China in developing hypersonic glide missiles that can evade ground defenses after re-entering the atmosphere, and to work on missile defenses capable of destroying enemy vehicles at launch rather than in mid-course. To develop such a deterrent, the U.S. will first have to build a vast network of space-based detectors and greatly expand research on high-energy lasers.

Deterrence can be grim business, in that it involves building more deadly nuclear capacity. But this strategy has helped avert nuclear war between superpowers for decades. A 21st-century reboot should aim to do the same.

—Editors: Tobin Harshaw, Mary Duenwald.

To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net .

How the Beast from the Sea Lied to US

Iraq: How we were lied into war

Eric S. Margolis /24 Mar 2019 / 19:15 H.

SIXTEEN years ago, the US and Britain committed a crime of historic proportion, the invasion and destruction of Iraq. It was as egregious an aggression as Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland.

Large numbers of Iraqi civilians died from 2003 to 2007. Iraq’s water and sewage systems were bombed, causing widespread cholera. The UN estimated 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result. Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state, said it was “a price worth paying”.

But not so much for the 4,424 US soldiers killed in Iraq, or the 31,952 wounded, many with devastating brain and neurological injuries. Nor for US taxpayers who forked out over US$1 trillion for this botched war and are still paying the bill hidden in the national debt.

In 2003, Iraq was the most advanced Arab nation in social welfare, health, education, military power, and industrial development. But it was run by a megalomaniac, Saddam Hussein, who had been helped into power and sustained in his long war against Iran, by the US, Britain and their Arab satraps.

When Saddam grew too big for his britches, Washington lured him into invading Kuwait, another American-British oil satrapy. A hue and cry went out from Washington and London that Iraq had secret nuclear weapons that threatened the world. War, thundered US-British propaganda, was urgent and necessary.

As I knew from covering Iraq for many years, it had no nuclear weapons and no medium or long-range delivery systems. What it did have was a laboratory at Salman Pak staffed with British technicians producing lethal toxins for use against Iran. I discovered this secret operation and reported it. Meanwhile, the Iraqis were threatening to hang me as an Israeli spy.

I watched with disgust and dismay as the US and Britain launched massive broadsides of lies against Iraq and those few, like myself, who insisted Baghdad had no nuclear weapons.

Almost the entire US and British media were compelled to act as mouthpieces for the George Bush/Tony Blair war against Iraq, trumpeting egregious lies designed to whip up war fever. US media, supposedly the tribune of democracy, became lie factories, putting even the old Soviet media to shame.

The New York Times led the charge, along with the three main TV networks. I was in Iraq with its star correspondent, Judith Miller, who became a key agent of the pro-war campaign. So too the Murdoch press in Britain and Fox News. When the BBC tried to question the torrent of lies about Iraq, it was crushed by Tony Blair. A leading British nuclear expert who questioned the nuclear lies was murdered. Iraq was polluted by US depleted uranium shells.

Journalists like me were intimidated or marginalised. I was dropped by a leading US newspaper, a major Canadian TV chain, and by CNN for whom I had been a regular commentator. I was told the Bush White House had given orders, “get rid of Margolis”. My sin: insisting Iraq had no nuclear weapons and was not threatening the US. Things became so absurd that the story went out that Saddam had “drones of death” that were poised to attack America.

Of the US media, only the McClatchy chain and Christian Science Monitor reported the war honestly. Nearly all the rest of America’s TV talking heads brayed for war. Most are still there today, demanding war against Iran.

Who was behind the war? A combination of big oil, which wanted Iraq’s vast reserves, and the Israel lobby, which wanted to see Iraq destroyed by US power. The Pentagon was taken over by pro-war neoconservatives: Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld.

George Bush, an ignorant fool, was putty in the hands of vice-president Dick Cheney, a pro-war megalomaniac. The CIA played along. Even the respected former general, Colin Powell, made a fool of himself before the UN by claiming Iraq had hidden weapons. It had chemical weapons, all right, but we had the receipts to show they came from the US and Britain.

No one in the US or Britain ever faced trial for war-mongering and killing vast numbers of people. The lying media escaped well-deserved censure. As for the lying politicians who brought on this disaster, they blamed poor intelligence and bad luck. Those few who opposed the war of aggression remain sidelined or silenced.

Eric S. Margolis is a syndicated columnist. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com