Following on No Comment’s “Setting the Stage for the Next War” (June 21, 2007), we hear further murmurings about possible conflict with Iran from across the Atlantic. The international community remains without meaningful progress on the Iranian nuclear issue, and accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq mount with the increasing urgency of the U.S. mission there. Now, the Guardian reports that it has learned from anonymous U.S. sources of an increasing tilt within the Bush administration towards military action against Iran:
The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.
The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.”
The article suggests that once again Vice President Cheney has prevailed over Condoleeza Rice and Robert Gates. Cheney wants war at all costs, before Bush leaves office. The two senior cabinet officers consider this foolish and self-destructive.
In the meantime, a heavy U.S. Navy presence in the Persian Gulf, which the Pentagon insists is solely the result of routine rotations of carrier groups in and out of the region in support of operations in Iraq, leaves doubt as to peaceable intentions on the part of the United States. Add on top of this news from back in late May that the Bush administration has authorized non-lethal covert CIA action within Iran, and it seems clear that the Pentagon has been instructed to prepare for a dramatic and sustained aerial strike against Iran—if Bush gives the go ahead.
How exactly does Cheney keep the president in his thrall? Supposedly fueling Cheney’s justification for encouraging war is the belief that Bush’s successor, Democrat or Republican, won’t have the appetite to deal with Iran. The White House remains in a Neocon-induced trance, the Guardian reports with some convincing detail. And in the Neocon Neverneverland, a wide consensus against a given policy provides precisely the justification for pursuing that policy. There are seventeen more months to wait until adults arrive in the White House, and until that time, anything could happen.
Evan Magruder contributed to this post.