We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq.
--Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Feb. 14, 2003
We haven't received any information there is a parallel, ongoing, active nuclear weapon program [in Iran].
--Mohammed ElBaradei, Oct. 28, 2007
Almost every day, you see some story about leaked plans for attacking, invading, or nuking Iran. The latest comes from Esquire Magazine and a story titled, "The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know." In that story, two White Housers warn that Bush/Cheney -- and mostly Cheney -- want war with Iran. There's some pushback from the State Department, but war is inevitable.
Here's the thing; everything out of the White House needs to be taken with a grain of salt. For something "The White House Doesn't Want You to Know," we sure seem to know one helluva lot about how much Bushies want war with Iran. How much of this is actual whistleblowing and how many of these "leaks" are meant for Iran? Is the White House trying to play good cop/bad cop with Iran, casting Condoleezza Rice as the good cop and Dick Cheney, suffering from the quiet malady of neocon madness, as the bad cop?
The "we're about to attack Iran!" story's been going strong since at least October of 2006, when the USS Eisenhower was sent to the Persian Gulf. "This build-up of naval power around the coast of Iran, according to some military sources, is in preparation for an air attack on Iran that would target not just Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, but its entire military command and control system," wrote Dave Lindorff at the time.
From what we know about the Bush White House, the idea of cooler heads prevailing seems unlikely for a lot of reasons -- most obvious is that history has proven that there aren't any cool-headed people in this administration. Rice's predecessor, Colin Powell, was pushed out for not being a team player and now Rice is a dissenting voice? Not likely.
If the ongoing threat of secret war plans with Iran is just propaganda, it doesn't mean that we're safe. The problem with the Bush administration is that they have a bad habit of operating as if their propaganda were true. It's hard not to see parallels with the BS about WMD in Iraq. Not only did Donald Rumsfeld say we knew exactly where Saddam's Death Ray was, but Colin Powell showed the UN General Assembly satellite images of what he said were chemical weapons facilities. It was all BS, but they went ahead anyway -- with only the evidence that they'd manufactured.
Given this, it wouldn't be very surprising to see the US go to war again as part of a bluff taken to an insane extreme. The problem for the Bush administration this time around is that everyone on Earth knows they're all lying sacks. They literally have almost zero credibility. When the US announced that we'd be stepping up sanctions against Iran, we didn't get a lot of support. The Bush administration, trying to play the tough guy, looked weak as hell. The Tehran Times wrote, "Ironically, the U.S. has become isolated in its endeavor to isolate Iran." Clearly, Iran is less than impressed. Good cop/bad cop only works when the bad cop is scary. Without support, the Bush administration couldn't possibly go to war with Iran. The US military is spread far too thin, thanks to a snipe hunt in neighboring Iraq. And with Turkey on the verge of joining the Iraqi civil war, we've really got our hands full already.
And the lack of support isn't only in the international community. Bush is a very unpopular president with a very unpopular war. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows that 65% of respondents oppose the war in Iraq. It seems unlikely that they'll be excited about the prospect of war with Iran.
If the Bush administration is actually gearing up for war with Iran, it may be gearing up for disaster. In any case, the idea -- like all the lies about Iraq -- is to freak everyone the hell out. And to change the subject. Iraq is a huge problem for the Bushies and attempts to blame problems on Iran have so far failed to catch on. The neocons, who probably did plan on war with Iran from day one, are having a damned hard time getting to phase two. Almost literally no one stands with them. Even some Republicans are spooked. "This whole thing . . . reminds me of the movie Dr Strangelove," the Sunday Times reported an unnamed GOP congressman as saying.
It's frightening because none of it makes any damned sense at all. That Iran is the cause of the insurgency in Iraq is ridiculous on it's face and there's no real evidence that Tehran is looking at developing nuclear weapons. In fact, a vastly underreported fact is that Iran has probably already experienced peak oil and needs an alternative source of revenue. Associated Press reported that Iran had suffered a "staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports" in December of 2006 and that "if the trend continues income could virtually disappear by 2015." If Iran became a major power generator, they could sell energy regionally.
In other words, it may be that Iran is doing exactly what Iran says it's doing -- pursuing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The fact that there's no evidence to the contrary would, among a saner bunch of people than the Bushies, be cause to calm down.
But the problem isn't that administration is playing a game of good cop/bad cop. The problem is that, in truth, there are no good cops in the White House and the quiet neocon madness of Cheney is the quiet neocon madness of them all. They cannot be relied on to act rationally.
So my advice is to take "leaked" reports of imminent war with Iran with that grain of salt. But don't ever, ever dismiss them entirely.
Technorati tags: politics; Iraq; Bush; Cheney; neocon; War with Iran may be White House propaganda -- but that doesn't mean we shouldn't worry