Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The rush to war with Iran isn't over

The recent National Intelligence Estimate saying Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 is great news. First, it's great news for the cause of world peace. More immediately, though, it imposes a new barrier to the Bush Administration's drumbeat for war with Iran.

Unfortunately, though, we can't assume that we're free from the danger of yet another war started during the Bush presidency. They have another path to war.

Several months ago, the Bush Administration signaled that the first act of war would not be an attack on nuclear facilities, but cross-border attacks from American troops in Iraq:

In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq - arming and training militants - would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.

A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.

The way we end up in an all-out war with Iran is not starting with a massive invasion, as happened in Iraq, but as a result of attacks and reprisals that bring us stumbling into all-out war. Stumbling into full scale war may or may not be the intention of the Bush Administration, but that doesn't really matter once we start down that path.

The trigger event is still a cross-border attack related to labeling the Quds Force as a terrorist organization: in other words, the Kyl-Lieberman resolution that John Edwards condemned and Clinton supported. This danger still exists, despite the good news about the nuclear weapons.

Two final notes: it's hard not to conclude that Iran's halting its program in 2003 was related to a significant event that happened on its border in the same year. While the Iraq invasion was a huge mistake, this may have been the small silver lining.

Second, an amusing Fox News report from September:
Germany's withdrawal from the allied diplomatic offensive is the latest consensus across relevant U.S. agencies and offices, including the State Department, the National Security Council and the offices of the president and vice president. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, the most ardent proponent of a diplomatic resolution to the problem of Iran's nuclear ambitions, has had his chance on the Iranian account and come up empty....

Vice President Cheney and his aides are said to be enjoying a bit of "schadenfreude" at the expense of Burns. A source described Cheney's office as effectively gloating to Burns and Rice, "We told you so. (The Iranians) are not containable diplomatically."
What's the German term for schadenfreude that actually ends up all over one's face?

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