It's been said, anonymously under the cover of secret interview, that the Bush administration wants to hit Iran before Junior slinks off into retirement. Though the administration may or may not want to discuss Iraq and regional security issuesÂ with them.
Iran has already stated a willingness to see oil prices remain high, a not inconsiderable reminder of their ability to hit us where it really hurts. The U.S. government has, perhaps in response, been planning to give them a big serving of Jehovah's Jell-o Bomb-style mini-nukes. Surely an excellent way to explain to the Iranians that they don't have any need whatsoever for a nuclear deterrent.
Now considering that the Bush administration has given Iran every reason to think that they'd better build a bomb, and fast, it might be nice to know whether or not they were very far towards that goal. It might behoove us to have questions, like ... Who do they have working on it, if anyone? Is there any overlap between their civilian nuclear program, which is geared towards reactors unsuitable for supplying a weapons program, and any secret military research they may be either considering or engaged in? El-Baradei says there's no evidence of such overlap, but admits that there is an atmosphere of confusion and mistrust surrounding the question. Finally, what information or technology have they received from other nuclear powers?
The likelihood that American intelligence has a good answer to any of these questions based on current direct knowledge is apallingly low. Why? Because of the Bush administration.
Two key events facilitated by the Bush administration are likely to have crippled our ability to gather intelligence on Iran even moreso than the military's gay-hunting among military intelligence translators, some of whom spoke Farsi. One was trusting Ahmed Chalabi, the banking criminal who let the Iranian government know that the U.S. had broken their intelligence communication codes, which he must have been told by someone with access to classified information. The other is the outingÂ of Valerie Plame by Scooter Libby (& friends), who was tracking the weapons network passing information to Iran, and the increased scrutiny that anyone in significant contact with her or the also-outed CIA front company she worked for would have been subjected to.
In spite of our limited ability to know what's going on in Iran, it might be nice to work out a deal with them. Maybe our assurance that their paranoia is unjustified for their assurance that they'll stop funding activities that we consider to be against our national interest. Ease the tension a little, especially when the world and mideast security situation is so uncertain. The Iranians thought so, too. And in 2003Â they offered the Bush administration a dealÂ that they would do what the U.S. says it wants them to do if the U.S. would quit trying to overthrow their government. Naturally, this offer was declined.
Do you feel safer now?