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May 22, 2006

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One more crazy speculation. At least according to Woodward, Rove wouldn't let Bush start the Iraq war before the election. I'm sure there are other reasons why Rove lost his policy portfolio ... but could his belief that a war time election doesn't serve the Republicans be one of them?

And in other news, they appear to be worried about once and future President-elect Al Gore. And thus far, he has returned fire loads better than he ever did in 2000. I'd love for Al to start working Iran into his shtick. "If we hadn't gone to war in Iraq ... if rather than going to war in Iran ... we invest in the future, we can alter the course of global warming."

On Tweety's Sunday show there was much discussion of Gore and whether he could run again. The pundits seemed to agree that he had the name recognition and fundraising contancts, plus the goodwill of the blogosphere, and would be able to mount a late attack better than anyone else.

The Dems have asked for a NIE on Iran. Olmert's statement that Iran was "only a few months away from acquiring the technology needed for building a nuclear bomb" has been transformed into an impending mushroom cloud, although the CIA estimate that it is around 10 years from actually having a deliverable bomb still stands.

I sincerely hope that the people are somewhat more discerning this time around and "won't get fooled again". I would also hope that cooler heads would gently let Bush know the disaster that awaits the US if he goes ahead with this mad plan. I truly cannot understand how israel thinks it would be better off after a war with Iran.

If Bush did attack after the Nov midterms (and after a Dem victory) I can imagine it might change some minds about how vigorous oversight needs to be.

Somewhat off-topic, but I just finished reading "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. My main conclusion from reading that book is that Al Gore deserves to be President. I've never been a big Gore supporter, but the book makes a very convincing case that choosing leaders who are ahead of the curve in recognizing looming environmental disasters is key to the survival of civilization. I was especially struck by how well his descriptions of the leadership failures of past civilizations track with the actions of the Bush Administration since the book was published. The administration is doing exactly what has lead to past collapses.

I think you are right on, William Ockham. I've read Collaps and am an amateur archaeolgist headed to Peru in July to join a team exploring factors in collapse of the WAMI empire, which predated the Inca.

Rove and company may be thinking that after the mid term elections may be too late,as it looks increasingly likely that the Dems will regain control of Congress.There are many irate conservatives who are already planning to stay away from the polls in Nov.,or purposely vote Democrat

I think you're right about Collapse, William. I also think it's a question of whether Gore can set the terms of debate. He might be able to. I'm encouraged that he got Drudge to pull his smear.

I don't see what benefit will accrue to Bush if he attacks after a Dems win in Nov. The time would be before the mid-terms to rally the base to support the CINC and to try and paint the Dems in a corner. Unless of course the Dems come out united and strong aginst a debacle in Iran.

That would then set up the mid-terms as a clear mandate election - support Bush and his wars or the Dems and get out of all the mess.

Well, last time they made Congress vote just before elections. So I could see him forcing the vote, but not the bombings. But if it looks like impeachment happens, we'll have bombings. We're going to have to physically remove these fuckers.

I'd love for Al to start working Iran into his shtick. "If we hadn't gone to war in Iraq ... if rather than going to war in Iran ... we invest in the future, we can alter the course of global warming."—emptywheel

Run or not, Mr. Gore, please do above soon.

Consider one more crazy speculation. It seems that Libby and Rove have been on the path of delaying resolution of the Plame outing and lying about talking about Plame, apparently waiting for the right moment for the pardons to come down. Loosing the dogs of war from the carriers and cruisers now steaming toward Iran would provide a cover story and a diversion for pardons all around. The Commander in Chief needs his team in place during war, after all. Not suggesting a wag the dog or going to war to save Rove. But the wise use of coincidence and timing to serve two purposes.

Well, it seems to me that the propaganda on Iran has been bubbling around for quite some time - it certainly ramped up a few notches in the summer of last year after the election of Ahmadinejad, with the very rapid introduction of smears and speculations regarding his participation in the US Embassy siege and bloody anti-dissident operations. The most amusing one was the BBC's John Simpson's reprise of his "I met Osama bin Laden and he wanted to kill me story" alleging that he thought that he'd met Ahmadinejad during the siege, but it was a long time ago, couldn't be sure, but gosh, it did look like him.

With regards to the Amir Taheri story, it strikes me that it comes in the context of a lot of senior Republicans, foreign policy grandees and erstwhile foreign allies suggesting that the Bush administration should start bilateral negotiating tracks with Iran, and should also get involvd with the multilateral tracks with the EU-3 as well. I guess that they're trying to get these people to just fucking shut up, as they might actually gain traction. It's a pre-emptive strike by the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bolton axis with the intent of spiking diplomatic initiatives.

dan

You're right about some bubbling support for negotiation. But one of the reasons why the Iraq propaganda started hitting hard (after bubbling around for quite some time) is because they needed to force Powell into the fold and pressure the Senators who, having seen the evidence, weren't convinced.

EW

I get the feeling we're in the farce stage of historical repetition.

The Bush administration's diplomacy on Iran - such as it is - is going nowhere because there's no coherent policy beyond regime change, without any plan of how to achieve it that doesn't involve a million man march on Teheran and an extremely bloody war. There is a rear-guard action being fought to spike the potential for engagement, but there doesn't seem to be any "positive" plan that is capable of being implemented.

They've managed to poison the well with both Russia and China in the last 2 months, with calculated insults that have collapsed the potential for even a mild Chapter 7 resolution ( none too clever if you're trying to build up pressure on Iran and manufacture consents internationally for an attack ); El Baradei is calling for the Iran dossier to be sent back to the IAEA so that the permissive no-notice inspection regime can resume; clear blue water is emerging between the EU-3, who want to do a deal, and Washington, which prefers a "cost-free" solution; Annan is critiquing the "ad referendum" approach as unproductive; and the Director of Planning for the JCS, Lt. Gen Victor Renuart, was cited in the UK press as effectively stating that military action against Iran was too risky and that diplomacy had to be made to work. Curiously, Renuart's comments never seem to have appeared in the US press - but it was nothing short of an opening salvo by the uniformed military against any aggressive operation.

The Taheri piece was hardly a crafted piece of propaganda - it referred to non-existent legislation, put forward by a non-existent government department headed by a non-existent official ( it doesn't look good if you get involved in expensive libel actions, hence the need to fabricate these details ) - that was debunked within a matter of hours by an Iranian Jewish MP and an Israeli analyst. Since then a few more credible rapporteurs have confirmed the lie.

When the administration big guns - Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Rice - start deploying to explain why the US must take military action against Iran if the diplomatic routes don't produce a solution, then I'll accept that we're into the countdown to war.

The problem is that the administration is simply too weak and too discredited to do this at present, talking the talk will simply send oil and pump prices to politically damaging levels, and, crucially, they lack the requisite level of international support for this option to be even remotely credible. In recent weeks Pakistan, Bulgaria, Turkey and Azerbaijan are all reported to have flipped the Bush administration off with respect to basing and airspace rights for action against Iran; in the case of Turkey, they're actually in a formal tactical alliance with Iran to curb Kurdish irredentist pressures emanating from Northern Iraq, and are backing it up with the coordinated application of military force.

I don't doubt that there is a faction in Washington that is desperate to go to war against Iran - but they are running out of time at a rate of knots. I'd suggest that the window of opportunity for this year is almost closed now.

I'd also add that the situation with regards to the run-up to the Iraq war was quite different. I don't recall many US political heavyweights arguing for direct negotiations with Saddam.

This time there is a bevy of serious Republican figures pre-emptively arguing for direct diplomatic engagement, long before the Bush administration has even got close to getting a war on.

dan

I do hope you're right.

But I'd also like the anti-stupid-war left to more actively denounce the war--to set the terms of debate. These guys are nuts. And they believe (rightly in some cases) that if they lose, they'll be exposed to all sorts of criminal prosecutions. Which means all the sane points you raise may not prevent them from getting their war.

EW: Kudos for having puzzled out the Bolton connection earlier. I think that you have the closest thing to airtight confirmation of that surmise that one can expect to have without a tape recording.
Dan: Ditto on the hpe that you are right. A similar hope is one of the only things keeping me from having nigth terrors right now. But there is indeed as you note a powerful contingent trying to ramrod the war through -- and it may find a fertile ground in Bush's messainic, "history'll prove me right with my bold, clear vision" delusion. It's just a matter of whether there is any voice other than Iago in his ear right now. With all due respect to the 18th Brumaire, I'm afraid that there is a dilaectical possiblity that the Great Bearded One missed in that essay -- history repeating itself as a tragi-farce.

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