Joseph Cirincione has written a chilling Foreign Policy article, Fool Me Twice, in which he argues that the Bush Administration is preparing to attack Iran:
Three years after senior administration officials systematically misled the nation into a disastrous war, they could well be trying to do it again.
…For months, I have told interviewers that no senior political or military official was seriously considering a military attack on Iran. In the last few weeks, I have changed my view. In part, this shift was triggered by colleagues with close ties to the Pentagon and the executive branch who have convinced me that some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran.
…It is the administration’s own statements that have convinced me. What I previously dismissed as posturing, I now believe may be a coordinated campaign to prepare for a military strike on Iran.
I have also written here in this blog about the prospect of war against Iran: Bush Looking for New Military Adventure in Iran? I should note that Aipac and the pro-Israel lobby have been sounding the drumbeat of war for some time since Israel views a weakened Iran as beneficial to its security in the Middle East.
Cirincione recounts the budding Bush strategy to paint Iran as a rogue nation and notes the eerie resemblance to the bellicose and trumped up charges we heard from Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet and Bush in the runup to the Iraq war:
It is now trying to link Iran to the 9/11 attacks by repeatedly claiming that Iran is the main state sponsor of terrorism in the world (though this suggestion is highly questionable). It is also attempting to make the threat urgent by arguing that Iran might soon pass a “point of no return” if it can perfect the technology of enriching uranium, even though many other nations have gone far beyond Iran’s capabilities and stopped their programs short of weapons. And, of course, it is now publicly linking Iran to the Iraqi insurgency and the improvised explosive devices used to kill and maim U.S. troops in Iraq, though Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace admitted there is no evidence to support this claim.
In my mind I think: “Congress couldn’t possibly allow Bush to get away with yet another disastrous military adventure like Iraq, could they? Would they not have learned their lesson the first time??” But then the author points out that Democrats are so squeamish about taking anything less than a hawkish position on national security issues they may be boxed into a corner by their own previous statements:
…The administration might be able to convince leading Democrats to back a resolution for the use of force against Iran. Many Democrats have been trying to burnish a hawkish image and place themselves to the right of the president on this issue. They may find themselves trapped by their own rhetoric, particularly those [read, Hillary Clinton] with presidential ambitions.
This brings up the interesting question. What would Hillary’s position be on a military strike against Iran? It sure would burnish her credentials to support one. But I know I’d never vote for her ever again in my life if she did. She’d have to face the question which voter segment can she afford to jettison in deciding what her position is with regard to Iran.
In order to avoid the fog of war, lies and propaganda that allowed the Bush Administration to sell the American people a bill of goods regarding the Iraq war, Cirincione has a sensible set of proposals to open the debate up to the light of day and reason:
The administration should now declassify the information it used to estimate how long it will be until Iran has the capability to make a bomb. The Washington Post reported last August that this national intelligence estimate says Iran is a decade away. We need to see the basis for this judgment and all, if any, dissenting opinions. The congressional intelligence committees should be conducting their own reviews of the assessments, including open hearings with independent experts and IAEA officials. Influential groups, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, should conduct their own sessions and studies.
An accurate and fully understood assessment of the status and potential of Iran’s nuclear program is the essential basis for any policy. We cannot let the political or ideological agenda of a small group determine a national security decision that could create havoc in a critical area of the globe. Not again.
One wonders whether this story in the Washington Post about a “gigantic” 700 ton “bunker buster” bomb test planned for the Nevada desert this June could be part of the upcoming campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities:
The test is aimed at determining how well a massive conventional bomb would perform against fortified underground targets — such as military headquarters, biological or chemical weapons stockpiles, and long-range missiles — that the Pentagon says are proliferating among potential adversaries around the world.