Iran sept 4
September 4, 2007 § Leave a comment
I am still working to bring together the raw sources for a start on Iran. I had emailed TPM that such an effort was needed, along the lines of what they did with social security. Must have been in the air as TPM is doing a lot of bringing threads together. So this is a fishnet approach to what may be relevant. I’ll start being more focused tomorrow, but needed these for reference.
And almost all of them are coming from hysterical leftists, not the White House or the Pentagon. “Bad Rabbit” impugns White House diplomacy on this issue, when it’s White House opponents who are fanning all the flames.
Am I the only one who thinks this entire issue is somewhat circular in nature, with the Left screaming about a plot they invented themselves?
Actually, Harry, there are plenty of articles:
Dec 2005 – Is Washington Planning a Military Strike? (Spiegel Online)
Feb 2006 – Thousands would die in Iran Strike (AllBusiness.com)
April 2006 – US planning for Iran strike (smh.com.ua)
May 2006 – US military, intelligence officials raise concern about possible preparations for Iran strike (Raw Story)
June 2006 – Former CIA Analyst says Iran strike set for June or July (prisonplanet.com)
Feb 2007 – Target Iran: US able to strike in spring (Globalresearch.ca)
Mar 2007 – Air strikes against Iran would accelerate nuclear weapon development (Think Progress)
April 2007 – US ready to strike Iran on Good Friday (Jerusalem Post)
May 2007 – Iran’s air defense can repel US air strikes (en.rian.ru)
June 2007 – Lieberman urges Iran Air Strike (commondreams.org)
Sept 2007 – The Iran Plans (The New Yorker)
All Americans want to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and interfering on the ground inside Iraq. Yet President Bush’s saber rattling gives the US little additional leverage to engage and dissuade Iran, and, more than likely, simply accelerates a dangerous slide into war. The United States can do better than this.
They predicted that Iraq would be a war that would last “six days, maybe six weeks, definitely not six months.” Obviously the cycle has been delayed by the quagmire of the Iraq conflict.
After a brief interruption of his New Hampshire vacation to meet President Bush in the family compound at Kenebunkport, Maine, French President Nicolas Sarkozy came away convinced his U.S. counterpart is serious about bombing Iran’s secret nuclear facilities. That’s the reading as it filtered back to Europe’s foreign ministries:
Addressing the annual meeting of France’s ambassadors to 188 countries, Mr. Sarkozy said either Iran lives up to its international obligations and relinquishes its nuclear ambitions — or it will be bombed into compliance. Mr. Sarkozy also made it clear he did not agree with the Iranian-bomb-or-bombing-of-Iran position, which reflects the pledge of Mr. Bush to his loyalists, endorsed by Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent. But Mr. Sarkozy recognized unless Iran’s theocrats stop enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), we will all be “faced with an alternative that I call catastrophic.”
A ranking Swiss official privately said, “Anyone with a modicum of experience in the Middle East knows that any bombing of Iran would touch off at the very least regional instability and what could be an unmitigated disaster for Western interests.”
de Borchgrave: Sarkozy came away from Kenebunkport convinced that Bush is nuts enough to attack Iran.
09.04.07 — 5:12PM // link
The Likely Trigger
You may have noticed the Iran boomlet over the last few days, the pitter-patter of rumors and hints that either a major military action or an Iraq-style PR/agitprop roll-out is set to start this week. Spencer Ackerman is looking into this over at TPMmuckraker.com. And his reporting suggests that the ‘source’ of all this chatter is an order Dick Cheney has sent out to his proxies at the right-wing thinktanks to start laying the ground work for war with Iran. In the short run, the aim is to open up a new front in his struggle with Bob Gates and the Joint Chiefs (who think two wars are enough for now). In the medium term, the goal is getting the war started well ahead of the end of Bush’s term.
For the moment, however, my attention is fixed on one of those ‘hints’, Reuel Marc Gerecht’s piece in the current Newsweek, in which he argues that war with Iran is most likely to come not because of Bush-Cheney warmongering or a breakdown in negotiations but rather “an Iranian provocation.”
It is worth stepping back for a moment to savor this claim in its full flavor. Clearly, this must be the kind of ‘provocation’ comparatively weak states again and again through history seem to make against extremely powerful states — just before the latter provides a thorough beating to the former. One can of course think of various examples over the decades and centuries.
As the agitprop engines start churning again, it is worth stepping back and considering an undeniable fact. Iran is not a rival power to the United States. The idea that Iran is a threat to the United States in conventional military terms is laughable. A terrorist threat? Sure. But that’s a very different kind of threat.
Another point: Iranian meddling in Iraq. Some points are so obvious that to state them seems almost redundant. But what exactly are we doing? This isn’t to put our efforts in Iraq and Iran’s on equal terms. The mullah’s regime in Iran is brutish, illiberal and thuggish (though the comparison was a bit more helpful before Dick Cheney was our poster-boy of the rule-of-law, western civilization and democratic values). Like most people I put intervention based on my ideals on a different footing with that of those whose ideals I don’t agree with. But to say that Iran — which has deep historical and religious ties to Iraq and is … well, right there — is meddling while we’ve been occupying and running the country for four years is just silly. You may say that these are just aggressive ways of phrasing the issue and these fact are all known. So what’s the difference? But the slow build up of lies and misdirections, over time, affects our thinking and our ability to reason at all coherently.
Whatever else we decide about Iran, we would do ourselves a big favor by wiping away the cobwebs of lies, distortions and various ways of up being down. We’re running Iraq. We want it to model itself after us and suit our interests. The Iranians don’t want that and they’re trying to throw sand in our gears. And we’re going to threaten them to try to make them back down. And since they are a revisionist power we don’t want them to exist anyway so we may just attack them regardless. These are all terms and explanations that at least have some bare relation to the situation at hand. They might be too cynical about our national aspirations and ideals if it weren’t for the fact that the people controlling the US government today don’t believe in our national ideals. So it’s the same difference anyway.
There is no question of our policy to Iran. That is to say, no question of the issue in the abstract or the issue if conducted in the hands of sane and/or experienced foreign policy practitioners. There is only our policy over the next eighteen months as conducted by George Bush and Dick Cheney. For that reason, even hypotheticals or abstract discussions about threats of force to prevent the progress of the Iranian nuclear program are profoundly misguided and dangerous.
Given the track record, who would trust these incompetents to expand our military involvement in the Middle East for almost any reason whatsoever? And relatedly, who would trust that a ‘threat of force’ as a leverage to diplomacy is not what it has usually been with the Bush White House: a feint toward diplomacy to leverage the use of force?
White House Watch — News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration – washingtonpost.co
“[Bush] said he saw his unpopularity as a natural result of his decision to pursue a strategy in which he believed. ‘I made a decision to lead,’ he said, ‘One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?'”
White House Watch — News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration – washingtonpost.co
This time, Bush visited Al-Asad Air Base — an enormous, heavily fortified American outpost for 10,000 troops that while technically in Anbar Province in fact has a 13-mile perimeter keeping Iraq — and Iraqis — at bay. Bush never left the confines of the base, known as ” Camp Cupcake,” for its relatively luxurious facilities, but nevertheless announced: “When you stand on the ground here in Anbar and hear from the people who live here, you can see what the future of Iraq can look like.”
Reference a comment from early 2007 from military analyst William Lind: link
Incurious George has offered no new strategy, nor new course, nor even a plateau on the downward course of our two lost wars and failed grand strategy. He has chosen instead to escalate failure, speed our decline and expand the scope of our defeat. Headed toward the cliff, his course correction is to stomp on the gas.
The debate about what to do next in Iraq is framed as if Iraq was an island. Should the US troops leave now or later? Only if the Iraqis meet certain conditions? Stay there until “we win”? Roundly ignored is that the effects of the way the US presence in Iraq is called down depend greatly on a closely related decision: what the US and its allies plan to do about Iran.
I don’t see any point to contributing to a cycle of useless panic, but if Victor Davis Hanson is worried about war with Teheran, I’m worried and then some. “Don’t Bomb, Don’t Bomb Iran,” wrote one of conservativedom’s most interesting war analysts on Friday at National Review Online.
The Coffee House | TPMCafe
According to Rosen who has lived in Iraq, has spent months in the war zone and is fluent in Iraqi Arabic, arguing over whether the war is lost or about the merits of the surge is moronic. Iraq no longer exists as a country. We essentially finished off Iraq as a nation.