The story thus far — a multinational diplomatic effort to resolve the Iran nuclear standoff, explained yesterday in this post, is still underway. Time is critical — the situation must be diffused before Tehran gets a bomb or Washington drops bombs.
As it’s unlikely Tehran has sufficient weapons-grade uranium to do much nuclear mischief right now, the latter outcome is the more immediate threat.
George Bush’s explanation of his volte-face over a proposed Iran-India gas pipeline project appeared slightly disingenuous. “Our beef with Iran is not the pipeline,” the US president said on Saturday after withdrawing previous objections and giving the go-ahead to Washington’s new friends in Delhi. “Our beef with Iran is the fact that they want to develop a nuclear weapon.”
But US fears about Iranian nukes, discussed in Vienna yesterday, are hardly the whole story. Washington is compiling a dossier of grievances against Tehran similar in scope and seriousness to the pre-war charge-sheet against Iraq. Other complaints include Iranian meddling in Iraq, support for Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon, and human rights abuses.
Our meddling in Iraq and human rights abuses are an entirely different matter, of course.
Mr Bush regularly urges Iranians to seize the “freedom they seek and deserve”. In Tehran’s ministries, that sounds like a call for regime change. He has ignored past Iranian offers of talks and tightened US economic sanctions.
Official Washington’s quickening drumbeat of hostility is beginning to recall political offensives against Libya’s Muammar Gadafy, Panama’s Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, which all ended in violence. Rightwing American media are urging action, deeming Iran “an intolerable threat” that is the “central crisis of the Bush presidency”. [emphasis added]
Lord, how many central crises can one administration stand?
Yesterday’s ABC News report that Iran is making roadside bombs known as IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices, which begs the question — how are they “improvised” if they are being manufactured?) and shipping them to Iraq for use against Americans has the righties worked up into a nice lather. The old war, with Iraq, just wasn’t much fun any more. But here is the promise of a bright, shiny new war to play with!
It’s “a casus belli, if we want it,” says Captain Ed.
“Gee, how convenient is that?” asks John Aravosis. “Suddenly after 3 years we conveniently find ‘evidence’ of Iran arming the Iraqi insurgents, only a mere weeks after Bush starts laying the groundwork for attacking Iran.”
An odd part of this story is that for now it remains an ABC exclusive; I haven’t found independent corroboration. This suggests a plant. (Or, it also could suggest stupidity — see Newshog for evidence it’s an old story that ABC has confused for a new story.) On the other hand, ABC quotes Richard Clarke as finding the evidence credible. So let’s assume for a moment it’s true.
The ABC report doesn’t make clear exactly which Iraqis the bombs are going to. Righties assume the bombs are going to “terrorists” which is a possibility. Or they might be going to insurgents. Or Shia militias. Or all of the above. What the righties never stop to consider is that Iran’s importing of bombs into Iraq is a consequence of our invasion of Iraq. In other words, we created the conditions that brought this about.
The moral is, he who lets slip the dogs of war is likely to get bit.
I see the Bushies and their hard-right base continuing to fight the Middle East tar baby until they get the desired outcome (can anyone explain what that is?) or until the keys to the war machine are wrestled from their hands. One can only imagine the unintended consequences of a U.S. bombing of Iran. Unfortunately, Bushies are famously imagination-challenged. Will we have to listen to Condi say, “No one could have anticipated we would start World War III”?