Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bush and Iran

In non-baby-related news, here's the lede from the Washington Post this morn:
A Blow to Bush's Tehran Policy

President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III. But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program. (emphasis mine)

The new intelligence report released yesterday not only undercut the administration's alarming rhetoric over Iran's nuclear ambitions but could also throttle Bush's effort to ratchet up international sanctions and take off the table the possibility of preemptive military action before the end of his presidency.

This is, of course, fabulous news for Iranians and Americans alike, if totally unexpected. I think all the 'very wise men' inside the Beltway were completely blindsided by this announcement -- conventional wisdom seems to have been that Cheney was making a strong push for bombing Iran before their term is up. Gareth Porter reported several weeks ago that:
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.
So not only were the dissenting opinions not removed - they actually comprised the main conclusions of the NIE. Kevin Drum has some speculations about why it was eventually released. Best guess is that new confirming evidence was recently received and some in the intelligence community wanted to put the brakes on Bush's sabre-rattling.

But damn, can you believe they thought twisting and censoring the evidence to justify yet another war would work a second time? How many days until this maniac is out of power? Oh yeah, 412 to go.

No comments: