Monday, January 17, 2005

Birthdays, Awards, and Naked Aggression---It's Another Morning in America

Happy Birthday Gentlemen
Now avert your eyes:

Seymour Hersh is reporting that Bushco, not content with having opened one gaping, unstanchable flow of blood and chaos in the Mideast, is looking to slash open another in Iran. CNN, in stories yesterday and today, spoke with Hersh and the droids at Bushco, and The New Yorker, in a piece just posted online yesterday, runs the story from the man himself. Meanwhile, the BBC, in a story that appears based on a reading of The New Yorker piece, is also reporting that US commandos are operating inside Iran, running reconnaissance missions. In the New Yorker story, Hersh notes that efforts by our European allies to engage the US in negotiations with Iran to give up its nulear weapons program have been fruitless, and Europe doubts it will succeed without our help. But Bush has a much different focus: he's got a war machine and he's gonna use it. Hersh lays it out:
"The Administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer. Much of the focus is on the accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected. The goal is to identify and isolate three dozen, and perhaps more, such targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids. “The civilians in the Pentagon want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible,” the government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon told me."
Of course, the really stupid part of all this is that Bush is relying on intelligence help from Pakistan, and got it in exchange for giving a pass to A.Q. Khan, who has been sowing nuclear seeds all over the world with his black market activities. But as usual, all is not as it seems. Hersh goes on to outline the "other" motive for invasion:
"The immediate goals of the attacks would be to destroy, or at least temporarily derail, Iran’s ability to go nuclear. But there are other, equally purposeful, motives at work. The government consultant told me that the hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been urging a limited attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to a toppling of the religious leadership. “Within the soul of Iran there is a struggle between secular nationalists and reformers, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the fundamentalist Islamic movement,” the consultant told me. “The minute the aura of invincibility which the mullahs enjoy is shattered, and with it the ability to hoodwink the West, the Iranian regime will collapse”—like the former Communist regimes in Romania, East Germany, and the Soviet Union. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz share that belief, he said."
He goes on to draw the picture of a Pentagon in an ongoing turf war with the CIA, seeking to sidestep congressional oversight, and eventually freezing out other intelligence orgs entirely:
"The most insidious implication of the new system is that Rumsfeld no longer has to tell people what he’s doing so they can ask, ‘Why are you doing this?’ or ‘What are your priorities?’ Now he can keep all of the mattress mice out of it.”
Clueless but highly paid White House flack Dan Bartlett pooh-poohed the story as "riddled with inaccuracies." Well, I'll give them that. If anyone should be able to recognize "inaccuracies", it would be the Bushco gang.

And as of the drafting of this post, not a word about in in the NYTimes.

In happier news, over at my new vacation home, The American Street, voting has begun for The Perranoski Prizes, a second annual award for lefty bloggers. Get over there and make your voice heard; it may be the only election in which you'll be able to do that until the regime collapses.

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