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Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Cuba and Iraq Iran

I have drawn an analogy between the U.S. occupation of Cuban land at Guantanamo and the the contruction of the monumental new American embassy in Iraq. I've also discussed the Platt Amendment that the U.S. forced on Cuba and its relevance to Iraq.

And as we reach the 45th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, the most overt attempt by the U.S. to overthrow the Cuban government, Joseph Palermo, writing at the Huffington Post, reminds us of another key lesson from the history of Cuba:

In April 1961, in preparing for the Bay of Pigs invasion, the CIA had painted several of its own planes with Cuban Air Force insignia, and the pilots pretended to be "defectors" from Castro's own military when they provided air support for the invading operatives on Cuba's south coast.

On April 15, 1961, two of the freshly-painted B-26 bombers were forced to emergency land in Miami after Fidel Castro's air defenses riddled them with bullets. The Immigration and Naturalization Service announced that the crews had "defected" to the United States, and their identities had to be kept secret lest Castro's goons kill their families.

Fast forward to 2002, according to a leaked memo from the British government, President George W. Bush suggested to Tony Blair prior to attacking Iraq that the United States should paint aircraft with "United Nations" colors, and then provoke Saddam Hussein to fire on them, thereby creating the pretext for an invasion.

In 1961, the United Nations Ambassador, Adlai Stevenson, told the world that the CIA planes were from "Castro's own air force" that "took off from Castro's own air force fields." (They had taken off from Nicaragua.)

We should be suspicious if "defectors" from the Iranian Air Force begin bombing in support of a U.S. invasion. We should be equally suspicious if the Iranians fire upon some "neutral" planes (or ships) giving Bush a pretext to launch the war.
My only difference with Palermo is that I don't think the U.S. is going to need, or even want, any pretext for assaulting Iran; they already have all the "reasons" they need. I still don't think they are going to attack, but only on "practical" grounds. But if they decide to, they will. The lack of a Gulf of Tonkin moment won't be an impediment.

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