Not Going to War With the President You Have
Now, I know. It's the last weekend of summer. I should be posting some light and fluffy beach-oriented funnies or something (and I had intended to), but in the end I realized that if indeed the speculation is right, and the campaign begins in earnest next Tuesday, any protests then will, like they did for Iraq, get drowned out in the media frenzy to micro-market the fear with catchy logos and booming voices across Fox News and the like.
The time for level-headed analysis is now. Before Chris Wallace and Brit Hume and the talk radio hacks turn on their mikes to make otherwise rational Americans quiver in their homes or rush out to stock up on duct tape. So what is the level-headed truth?
A report released Thursday showing a slow but steady expansion of Iran’s nuclear technology has exposed a new divide between United Nations arms inspectors and the United States and its allies over how to contain Tehran’s atomic program.The Bush administration, though, which clearly has Iran in its cross-hairs is minimizing this report much in the same fashion it minimized scepticism (and there was plenty) that Iraq had WMDs.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in its report that Iran was being unusually cooperative and had reached an agreement with the agency to answer questions about an array of suspicious past nuclear activities that have led many nations to suspect it harbors a secret effort to make nuclear arms. The agency added that while Tehran’s uranium enrichment effort is growing, the output is far less than experts had expected.
“This is the first time Iran is ready to discuss all the outstanding issues which triggered the crisis in confidence,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the I.A.E.A. director general, said in an interview. “It’s a significant step.”
But the Bush administration and its allies, which have won sanctions in the United Nations Security Council in an effort to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment, saw the latest report as more evidence of defiance, not cooperation.Now there's a part of me that thinks (hopes is more like it actually) that ratcheting up the pressure on Iran is mere sable rattling and that in and of itself is actually a good thing. Iran is not a state I trust in the least ,and their human rights record is revolting. The idea that they might get the bomb is indeed something the international community should be alarmed about and work to prevent.
“There is no partial credit here,” a State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, said Thursday. “Iran has refused to comply with its international obligations, and as a result of that the international community is going to continue to ratchet up the pressure.”
But even if that's all it is, sable rattling can provoke actual conflict, and let's face it, the country can ill afford to start another war under its current leadership. Seriously. Anyone out there who believes this administration would wage a war with Iran and then win the peace with even a modicum of competence, please raise your hand. For those of you with hands raised, I'd ask, based on what evidence?
If the speculation turns out to be correct, and the airwaves are even more filled with this sort of thing
come Tuesday and beyond, I hope the overwhelming majority of Americans will stop and think hard about the likely outcome of going to war with the president we currently have, again.