Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bush's trigger finger getting itchier over Iran

If you had any lingering doubts that the Bush administration is spoiling for a pre-emptive strike against Iran, this should remove them.
Despite the Bush administration's insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush.
This Reuters piece quotes from a longer article in The New Yorker by Sy Hersh, who lays out the latest insider buzz on the "redirection" of White House Middle East policy. Apparently even in the dim reaches of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the reality that the occupation of Iraq has strengthened Iran's status in the region has finally penetrated the conventional neo-con wisdom.

It appears the new strategy is to empower the Sunnis, who are the group that is inflicting the most casualties on our troops, in order to contain the influence of the new Shia government in Iraq and mitigate its growing alliance with Iran. And as is usual in this White House, the behind the scenes action is being conducted in compete secrecy, even from our own government agents who should rightly be included in the planning.
A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. “We haven’t got any of this,” he said. “We ask for anything going on, and they say there’s nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, ‘We’re going to get back to you.’ It’s so frustrating.”

The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)
Yeah, well that's what they said right up until the moment they invaded Iraq and they also conducted "contingency" drills beforehand, so forgive me if I find the denials less than assuring. Maybe instead of reading My Pet Goat, Bush should have been reading the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Granted at the moment, this is as usual based on unnamed sources but taken within historical context of the runup to Iraq, Americans should be taking this news very seriously and consider whether we're in more danger from Iran or from a White House that is so willing to again gamble our future on half-baked strategies in order to save face for the president.

Bush has got nothing to lose. Any new mess he starts now will endure well past his presidency, assuming he actually plans to give up the office when the time comes, as will the current debacle in Iraq. How many times can we afford to allow him to fail us before the American people ask him to step down for the greater good?

Update: Michael van der Galien at TMV doesn't think it's such a bad thing to be threatening airstrikes and rounds up some reactions from Blogtopia that don't necessarily agree with him, while Cernig shorthands the key points of Hersh's piece with his usual impeccable precision. I'm with Cernig - I can hear those war drums in the distance and I can't say that I like it.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous rockync said...

Hey, the smoke has been rising on this for weeks and you know what they say; where there's smoke, there's fire.......

2:51:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It's getting too close for comfort Rocky.

3:12:00 PM  

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