This is such insanity. Here are some snippets from Sy Hersh in the New Yorker.
In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”
The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.
The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.
Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, “The President has made it clear that the United States government remains committed to a diplomatic solution with respect to Iran. The State Department is working diligently along with the international community to address our broad range of concerns.” (The White House declined to comment.)
I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group. (A spokesman for the agency said, “The C.I.A. does not, as a rule, publicly discuss the relative size of its operational components.”)
“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”
Lots of bloggers are all over this. Tristero at Hullabaloo is just one instance.
So, let’s recap. The Bush administration cherry picked intelligence information, if not just making it up, to sell their already-decided-upon war on Iraq. Regardless of the reasons behind the war itself, they totally botched it up completely in so many regards, it’s hard to keep track. They push the blame on everything bad on everyone else and never take any responsibility at all. George Bush hides behind the skirts of the military, except when they disagree with him, at which point, he forces them out. Polling results in this country have consistently, for the past year, shown a very significant percentage of the U.S. want us out of Iraq. The Republicans were soundly whipped in the last elections, yet Bush decides he is going to escalate his war.
Now, it seems as if Bush and his cronies, and most especially Dick Cheney, want to start an action against a much larger and more formidable country in Iran. They are already changing their justifications for this “need”. Initially, such action was necessary to stop Iran from gaining possession of an atomic bomb. However, as the American public seems a bit more skeptical of claims of that nature, the rationale has already changed to “protection our troops in Iraq from those nasty Iranians”. All of which points to the fact that, once again, the desire for military action has been laid and the justifications for that action are nothing more than a trial balloon, to see which is most palatable to the American public.
This is completely freakin’ insane. It’s a cross between Kafka and “Groundhog Day”. Has no one in the political arena or in the national media learned anything? Must we go through another “worst political blunder in the history of the U.S.”, just so we can have absolute proof that Bush and Cheney are completely out of control?