Monday, September 03, 2007

The Rollout War: Michael Ledeen of the A.E.I. vs. Mohamed ElBaradei of the I.A.E.A.

Mohamed ElBaradei

It seems that the debate about whether or not to attack Iran has shifted from within the Bush Administration to a larger arena.

Last May I posted Cheney center of war talk targeting Iran, directing readers to Steve Clemons's post Cheney Attempting to Constrain Bush's Choices on Iran Conflict: Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush, which describes "...the conflict between Condi Rice and her supporters, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Cheney and his 'team and acolytes.' Rice is leading the diplomatic effort; Cheney supports 'hot conflict' with Iran.”

The conflict between Rice and Cheney, if it existed, appears to be over. On September 1, a post at Daily Kos, WH departures- Cheney consolidates power? opened with, “Today's Financial Times puts what for us must be a chilling slant on the recent departures of Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales from the Bush administration. Coupled with today's piece in the NYT suggesting that Condoleezza Rice's influence in the Bush Administration is waning, the FT article makes the case that while we've been celebrating the collapse of the Bush cabal, Mr. Cheney has been consolidating his power….”

Concerning whether or not to attack Iran, Condi is out. So who is in? Michael Ledeen, who is the Freedom Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute [A.E.I.]. Ledeen has a rich history as a neoconservative. He’s also a shady character.* The best source of information on Ledeen’s position on Iran is Steve Clemons’s Michael Ledeen's Dangerous Obsession, posted August 18, 2007. Clemons reports that Ledeen told him that he “…[O]nly supported the Iraq War because it provided momentum and pre-positioning of American military forces to then go after Iran [and] is not going to feel self-actualized until America unleashes a considerable portion of its arsenal against the nation and people of Iran.”

According to Scott Horton, who posted The New Rollout on September 1, “And no sooner does this [evidence of plans to attack Iran] appear in the blogosphere [see my posts here and here] than we see what may be the first bit of ground-preparation for the rollout: Michael Ledeen’s new book, set for release right on schedule a week after Labor Day, and it’s called—get this– Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction."

The voice of reason whose facts negate the basis for an imminent attack on Iran is Mohamed ElBaradei (photo), Direction General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Steve Clemons comes to the rescue again with The I.A.E.A. Iran report, posted August 31st. Clemons includes a link to the full report by ElBaradei along with “…[c]lips from the Summary [that] underscore that ElBaradei sees Iran moving in a positive direction and setting its nuclear program up for high level transparency that had not been previously the case…”**

In his post, Clemons concludes, “At a minimum, ElBaradei's report probably stalls somewhat the neoconservative effort to start yet another war….”

Ledeen vs. ElBaradei….keep your eyes open for the next few weeks to see who’s winning.

*For more information about Michael Ledeen:
1. July, 2006 Vanity Fair article, The Wars They Wanted, The Lies They Needed
2. Ledeen’s blog, Faster, Please!

** For more information about the I.A.E.A. Iran report, August 30th Reuters article, Iran atom work at slow pace and not significant: IAEA.

(photos: Ledeen:; ElBaradei:

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