When I saw a clip of John McCain in April of this year joking about the need to bomb Iran- I couldn’t believe that it was real. Alas it was; the Arizona senator joked about attacking the sovereign nation during a campaign stop in South Carolina in April, singing, to the tune of the Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann”: “That old, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway.”
I am simply dumb struck by not only that twisted use of sabre rattling as humor, but also by the Bush administration and the Republican Presidential nominees (with the excpetion of Ron Paul) reaction to a new assessment by American intelligence agencies that concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.
The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.” Iran is continuing to produce enriched uranium, a program that the Tehran government has said is designed for civilian purposes. The new estimate says that enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade, a timetable essentially unchanged from previous estimates.
Rather than painting Iran as a rogue, irrational nation determined to join the club of nations with the bomb, the estimate states Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.” The administration called new attention to the threat posed by Iran earlier this year when President Bush had suggested in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III” and Vice President Dick Cheney promised “serious consequences” if the government in Tehran did not abandon its nuclear program.
Yet at the same time officials were airing these dire warnings about the Iranian threat, analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency were secretly concluding that Iran’s nuclear weapons work halted years ago and that international pressure on the country had been effective.
With the new information about Iran made public, what did President Bush say today at his news conference? “I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program,” Bush said. “The reason why it’s a warning signal is they could restart it.”
Whoa that is some incredible spinning. If the American people or the media buy this spin- well we deserve whatever we get.
In the his press conference President Bush also said that in August he had been told that there was new intelligence but he hadn’t been told until last week, what that intelligence was.
Whoa again! Is the President saying that he didn’t ask the question? That is complete incompetence. If he didn’t ask the question he is indeed the stupidest President in our nation’s history. While I don’t think that the President is that bright, I don’t think he is that retarded. So the alternative conclusion is that he knew- but kept fear mongering wih images of World War III anyway. Does that remind anyone of the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud???
After all, Seymour Hersh wrote about this in the New Yorker quite a while ago and the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) has been stating that Iran’s weapons program was not active quite a while ago. So how could it be possible that the President of the United States didn’t know? Quite frankly it isn’t.
What about the Republican presidential candidates? The Republican side, candidates have been jockeying for months to appear toughest on Iran — even tougher than Bush. During a forum sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition not long ago, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said it was “absolutely necessary” to keep military force on the table, former senator Fred Thompson said he would “not allow Iran to become a nuclear threat,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said a military strike was not “some far-flung idea” and in fact “we are poised and ready to act.” And of course there is McCain’s inane “Bomb Iran” song.
After the new National Intelligence Estimate have the Republicans seen that the saber rattling is akin to the blundering that brought us into Iraq? Oh wait- they all think (with the exception of Ron Paul) that going into Iraq was a good idea.
The Republican side was particularly silent on the new NIE. Romney, Thompson and McCain issued no statements on the matter yesterday and spokesmen did not respond to e-mails requesting comment. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the newly minted first-tier candidate in Iowa, likewise had nothing to say.
Only Giuliani responded to the development, although his statement made no mention of the salient fact that Iran’s nuclear weapons program evidently closed down four years ago, focusing instead on its continued enrichment program. “For years now, the Islamic Republic of Iran has defied and played games with every international effort aimed at persuading the country to halt enriching uranium,” Giuliani said. “Sanctions and other pressures must be continued and stepped up until Iran complies by halting enrichment activities in a verifiable way.”
I am sure that within the next few days the Republican campaigns will find a spin on this report. Unless they are in the same shape as the Scarecrow in the Wizard of the Oz- in search of a brain- they had better come up with better spin than the President’s inanity today. But what sort of a spin can one put on lying, deceit, war mongering and the heinous act of putting young Americans in harms way for political gain? I hope none; but with this crowd of ineptitude and demagoguery anything is possible.