Friday, September 21, 2007

Bush won't attack Iran unless......

Now that I’ve had some time to ponder about Steve Clemons’s article, Why Bush Won't Attack Iran, which I briefly posted about yesterday, I’ve decided the qualifiers in the article negate his opinion that Bush won’t attack Iran.

Those qualifiers are the influence on President Bush of both Vice-President Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives, who want to exercise the military option against Iran.

Cheney: In Clemons’s article posted yesterday at, Clemons admits that he first reported that a member of Cheney’s national security staff, David Wurmser, had mentioned that they might need to “end run” the president to narrow his choices regarding Iran….

“We should also worry about the kind of scenario David Wurmser floated, meaning an engineered provocation. An ‘accidental war’ would escalate quickly and ‘end run,’ as Wurmser put it, the president's diplomatic, intelligence and military decision-making apparatus. It would most likely be triggered by one or both of the two people who would see their political fortunes rise through a new conflict -- Cheney and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Cheney may or may not be responsible for comments made by his staff members. However, I learned enough about Cheney from the excellent Washington Post four part series, The Angler,
published this past June, to know that he exercises tremendous influence over Bush. From the first article, A Different Understanding with the President: “Two articles, today and tomorrow, recount Cheney's campaign to magnify presidential war-making authority, arguably his most important legacy….

Before the president casts the only vote that counts, the final words of counsel nearly always come from Cheney.” [emphasis mine]

The Neocons:
Clemons’s comment: “What we should worry about, however, is the continued effort by the neocons to shore up their sagging influence. They now fear that events and arguments could intervene to keep what once seemed like a ‘nearly inevitable’ attack from happening. They know that they must keep up the pressure on Bush and maintain a drumbeat calling for war.”

Glenn Greenwald has described Bush’s relationship with neoconservatives in his book, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency and in his March 14, 2007 post, The president receives "lessons" from his neoconservative tutors: “On February 28, George Bush hosted what he called 'a literary luncheon; to honor 'historian' Andrew Roberts. Accounts of that luncheon -- which describe the ‘lessons’ the guests taught the President… really provide an amazing glimpse into the Bush mindset and his relationship with neoconservatives….

“The White House invited a tiny cast (total: 15 guests) of standard neoconservatives and other Bush followers to the luncheon, including Norman Podhoretz (father-in-law of White House convict Elliot Abrams), Gertrude Himmelfarb (wife of Irving Kristol and mother of Bill), Mona Charen, Kate O'Beirne, Wall St. Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot, etc. etc. The Weekly Standard's Irwin Stelzer was also invited and wrote about the luncheon in the most glowing terms.

"Stelzer's account provides truly illuminating insight into what neoconservatives have been filling the President's head with for years now, and demonstrates how they have managed to keep him firmly on board with their agenda. The most critical priority is to convince the President to continue to ignore the will of the American people and to maintain full-fledged loyalty to the neoconservative agenda, no matter how unpopular it becomes.

“To do this, they have convinced the President that he has tapped into a much higher authority than the American people -- namely, God-mandated, objective morality -- and as long as he adheres to that (which is achieved by continuing his militaristic policies in the Middle East, whereby he is fighting Evil and defending Good), God and history will vindicate him….

“…[T]he neoconservatives left Bush with the overarching instruction -- namely, the only thing that he should concern himself with, the only thing that really matters, is Iran. Forget every other issue -- the welfare of the American people, every other region around the world -- except the one that matters most.” [emphasis mine]

So Steve, I’m sorry, but I’m still alarmed about the prospect of an attack on Iran.

(Photos: Cheney and the Angler series: Washington Post; Uncle Sam with a gun: Adbusters)

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