Saturday, February 03, 2007

Iran attack off the table?

In the words of my all time favorite pundit, Yogi Berra, it looks like deja vu all over again. Our new Defense Secretary Gates assures us the White House is not planning to attack Iran. Forgive me if I find that less than reassuring since his predecessor and our president insisted practically until the day before we invaded Iraq, that war was a choice of last resort. Unfortunately for them, their promised weeks long cakewalk dissolved into a years long quagmire, long enough for the truth to catch up with the false rhetoric. Fortunately for the rest of us, this means they can no longer depend on the propaganda and fradulent fear mongering to sell the need for a new conflict.

This time the calls for hard evidence are coming from all quarters and challenges to the soft intel are coming from both inside and outside government circles. And as harsh analysis of the administration's mishandling of Iraq continue to emerge, The White House won't find it so easy to spin us into another war of The Decider's choice. Indeed, his latest decision to "surge" is still being sharply disparaged even as the remaining loyalists' attempts to smear the dissenters as unpatriotic and defeatist fall flat.

It would appear "unserious" is the new realistic and pity poor Gates who is reduced to refuting the Congressional Budget Office's strong cost projections for the ill-fated surge strategy with weak assurances that the real costs would be a mere fraction of the CBO's numbers. Another hard sell to a discontented public who remember similar claims that Iraq would cost about $30 billion total and now listen to our president plead for yet another $245 billion just to get through a few more months of nation building abroad while Americans struggle to make ends meet at home.

None of which is to say we can let our guard down with this president. Real costs have never clouded his drive to pursue his sunny visions of victory. As the inimitable Heretik puts it, "Stuff happens in Iraq over and over again. And stuff may happen in Iran too if somebody doesn’t say stuff it."
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