August 22, 2006
At Bush’s press conference Monday, he made two things clear. First, there’s no way he’s getting us out of Iraq.
“We’re not leaving, so long as I’m the President,” he said.
As part of his ever-changing justification for being in Iraq, he did mention the dirty little three-letter word oil, interestingly enough.
Here’s what he said: “A failed Iraq . . . would give the terrorists and extremists an additional tool besides safe haven, and that is revenues from oil sales.”
I guess he thinks it’s OK to refer to Iraq’s vast oil supplies now, three and a half years after launching the war, whereas it would have been too crass to mention them before.
But it makes little sense to suggest that Iraqi nationalists would hand over their oil to Al Qaeda, which is blowing up innocent people. If the U.S. leaves, the Iraqis—Sunnis and Shiites alike–are more likely to go after Al Qaeda, not less.
That likelihood doesn’t fit into Bush’s script, though.
But attacking Iran does, and that was the second ominous noise that Bush made on Monday.
Bush warned a couple times of the “danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Asked about Tehran’s influence, he said, “Iran is obviously part of the problem. They sponsor Hezbollah. They encourage a radical brand of Islam. Imagine how difficult this issue would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon.”
He called Iran “a central part of creating instability, trying to stop reformers from realizing dreams.”
Then he fused Iran and Iraq together, joining the Islamic state and the failed state into one single enemy.
In broken syntax, he laid it out: “The question facing this country is will—do—we, one, understand the threat to America? In other words, do we understand that a failed, failed states in the Middle East are a direct threat to our country’s security? And secondly, will we continue stay engaged in helping reformers, in working to advance liberty, to defeat an ideology that doesn’t believe in freedom? And my answer is, so long as I’m the President we will.”
In response to a question about Tehran’s growing influence, despite his efforts to curb it, he said, most threatening of all: “The final history in the region has yet to be written.”
This was Bush the Deluded speaking, the messianic militarist who believes he’s writing the final history of the region, or at least transcribing God’s wishes for it.
And his transcription machine is an F-16.
Republicans to Spy Agencies: Make Iran Scarier
Posted on Aug 24, 2006
Senior Bush officials and other top Republicans are apparently angry that U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t issuing more ominous threats about Iran. The GOP’ers, marred by (but unrepentant for) their Iraq debacle, are eager to use their lethal Tonka Toys once again—this time in Iran.
Check out an intelligence expert at AMERICAblog who argues that Iran poses no imminent threat to the U.S.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 — Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.
Some policy makers have accused intelligence agencies of playing down Iran’s role in Hezbollah’s recent attacks against Israel and overestimating the time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.
The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks, surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday. They echo the tensions that divided the administration and the Central Intelligence Agency during the prelude to the war in Iraq.
AJ at AMERICAblog:
… Iran is simply not an imminent threat, nor is it a threat to vital U.S. interests in ways that would necessitate an aggressive response (supporting anti-U.S. terrorist action, for example). For intelligence analysts to state those facts isn’t being “gun shy,” as Rep. Holt (D-NJ) unfortunately put it, rather it’s a simple reflection of accurate assessments based on the facts available. The House intel committee is right to say that we don’t have enough information on Iran, but analysts have to work with what they have, not politicized conjecture. There’s a difference between connecting and explaining the dots and creating new ones to reach a preordained conclusion.
Further, despite some assumptions to the contrary, intelligence agencies have a natural (and wholly understandable) predisposition towards warning. Rarely do analysts downplay potential problems because there’s generally a much higher price to pay for underestimating a threat than overestimating it. Certainly intelligence agencies got Iraq’s WMDs wrong, but the march to war was led by political leadership, not by the agencies and certainly not by analysts.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sits down in Tehran for an interview with CBS’ Mike Wallace.