Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Facts? The Neocons Don't Give a Damn, They Just Want War With Iran

It is my view that a political and policy war has been raging for at least two years in official Washington. On one side are arrayed various ideological fanatics and right wing lunatics, led by "Dick" Cheney, who are pressing for a war with Iran. On the other is the relatively sane part of the foreign policy establishment and the leaders of the military, who have been warning that such a war would be a catastrophe. This war has been fought mostly out of sight, but it has often erupted into the media through leaks and stories given "on background". It is my guess that Bush leans toward the lunatic side but has been restrained by the Pentagon. (Rumors have circulated of a revolt by the Joint Chiefs of Staff against the Cheney backed faction.) The whole story of this will only come out much later. But now the sane people have scored a big victory: the release of the new National Intelligence Estimate that Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003. In other words, all the saber rattling and threats emanating from the White House have been about a threat that didn't exist--just as was the case with Iraq. So this will quiet things now, right?

Maybe not.

Defending his credibility, President Bush said Tuesday that Iran is dangerous and must be squeezed by international pressure despite a blockbuster intelligence finding that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

Bush said the new conclusion--contradicting earlier U.S. assessments--
would not prompt him to take off the table the possibility of pre-emptive military action against Iran. [Emphasis added] Nor will the United States change its policy of trying to isolate Iran diplomatically and punish it with sanctions, he said.

"Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," the president told a White House news conference a day after the release of a new national intelligence estimate representing the consensus of all U.S. spy agencies.

Did you see that? He STILL retains the option to pre-emptively strike, even though his purported casus belli has been shown to be a phantom. (By the way, here's Bush lying, in a painfully obvious way, about when he first heard of the NIE estimate.)
And, predictably, the hardcore Neocons are brushing this all aside, particularly the hate-filled, war-intoxicated Norman Podhoretz, now a chief advisor to Giuliani. In fact, according to Larry Johnson, posting at TPM, the whole neocon coven is in an uproar:
“How can you trust the intelligence community to get it right on Iran? They got Iraq wrong in 2002 and now this?” The “this” is the NIE on Iran and its search for nukes.

That in a nutshell is one of the prevalent reactions of neocons and Bush true believers. But wait, there is more. John Bolton told Wolf Blitzer that the NIE was the handiwork of exiled State Department officials hell bent on undermining Bush and this country.

Well, I think it’s potentially wrong. But I would also say many of the people who wrote this are former State Department employees who, during their career at the State Department, never gave much attention to the threat of the Iranian program. Now they are writing as members of the intelligence community, the same opinions that they have had four and five years ago.

This is one of the neocon talking points. Check out the ravings of Norman Podhoretz, a senior statesman of the neocons. The Pod Man wrote:

I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.

But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.”

This blog was one of the first to report that the NIE was being delayed for political reasons. George Bush tried his moron act again today (i.e., “I didn’t find out about this until last week.”) but this time the turd ain’t floating. The news that Iran ended its nuclear program in 2003 was briefed to George Bush in the Presidential Daily Brief. He has known about this, I am told, for at least one year. George Bush is lying when he insists he had no inkling, until last week, that the intelligence community believed Iran halted its nuke program in 2003.
No, folks, the possibility of a war with Iran HAS NOT BEEN eliminated. Cheney's people have reportedly been pressing this issue on an almost daily basis. How long will it be before the Boy King yields to his worst impulses anmd decides to go along with an idea that would make the Iraq invasion look like a tea party.
Yes, the sane people won a round today. But the outcome of the war is still very much in doubt.

UPDATE: You really owe it to yourself to read Juan Cole's assessment of all this here.

1 comment:

pablo said...

I found one reader comment in Juan Cole's blog particulary interesting, hitting the nail right on the head as far as I am concerned. Comment was from reader Jeff and is as follows...

I have long suspected that Iraq was in fact all about the oil, as Greenspan admitted, but that it and everything about Iraq and Iran and Afganistan has more to do with China than anything else.

What really astonishes me is the short-sightedness of this strategy. Securing the last dwindling sources of easy oil isn't a plan. That would be like Germany invading Mongolia during WWI to secure their supply of horses.

The country who figures out how to fly war planes and power tanks and military vehicles and ultimately their national economy WITHOUT petroleum is going to be the dominant power of this century. That's where I'd be putting my money and brains, if I were president - into research.

However, I suspect the ultimate kernel of this entire strategy is greed. The next economy-driving energy resource will probably either be free or almost free. That's why they're not spending money trying to find it, because there's no money to be made off it, and they know that as long as the world is dependent on oil, and as long as oil is running out, every barrel will be that much more valuable, and as long as they don't have to fight or send their own kids to fight, they might as well keep making money from it.