Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Will Bush Bomb Iran?

Steven Clemons at Salon does not believe President Bush will bomb Iran despite that Vice President Cheney is lobbying for war.

According to Clemons, Bush is siding with his military advisers, who oppose bombing Iran, and against the neocons led by Cheney, who are in favor of it. Clemons apparently has some impressive channels into the Administration, for he seems to know what's going on. The trouble is, he leaves me unconvinced the US will avoid war:

Despite holding out a military option, ratcheting up tensions with Iran about meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan, and deploying carrier strike-force groups in the Persian Gulf, the president is not planning to bomb Iran. But there are several not-unrelated scenarios under which it might happen, if the neocon wing of the party, led by Vice President Cheney, succeeds in reasserting itself, or if there is some kind of "accidental," perhaps contrived, confrontation.
I'm inclined to believe one of those "several not-unrelated scenarios under which it might happen" is likely to happen. Among other scenarios, Clemons raises the possibility that Israel might strike Iran with cruise missiles, which he believes would lead to the US and Iran going to war. It's sad -- but realistic -- to think the actions of Israel could control whether the US bombs Iran. But in a way that's no worse than if Cheney and the neocons "reassert themselves", for neither Israel nor the neocons have the interests of the American people at heart.

At any rate, Clemons opens his article with this possibly illuminating anecdote:
During a recent high-powered Washington dinner party attended by 18 people, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft squared off across the table over whether President Bush will bomb Iran.

Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Carter, said he believed Bush's team had laid a track leading to a single course of action: a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Scowcroft, who was NSA to Presidents Ford and the first Bush, held out hope that the current President Bush would hold fire and not make an already disastrous situation for the U.S. in the Middle East even worse.

The 18 people at the party, including former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, then voted with a show of hands for either Brzezinski's or Scowcroft's position. Scowcroft got only two votes, including his own. Everyone else at the table shared Brzezinski's fear that a U.S. strike against Iran is around the corner.
Folks inside the Beltway are notorious for their ignorance of American public opinion, but they are certainly tuned into what each other thinks. And it seems that most people inside the Beltway think war is coming.

Let's hope they're wrong.


Why Bush Won't Attack Iran

Related Articles:

US Administration Gives Fox News Its Marching Orders

Prediction: Administration Will Attack Iran


Rambodoc said...

Fascinating story, indeed!
I have believed from the 1980s that Iran needed to be bombed to Hell and back for the hostage crisis alone.
Iraq being such a mess will surely deter the hawks a bit. But there is no denying that this country has been fighting a war on the West for decades, without ANY retaliation of any sort.

Mahendra said...

Paul, I very much like the way you've been monitoring each and every expression leaked to the media regarding the US waging a war with Iran. I've almost come to rely on your blog to find the latest on this news! :-)

As I've expressed several times on your blog before, I pray and hope that the Administration gets wise. Bombing another country just when you're finishing a political term can indeed define your legacy. It is not Cheney who's going to be remembered, it is Bush. Will he want to be rememebered in history has the Bomber Bush? That is the question.

Nita said...

I don't know much about American politics but I don't think that Bush will actually bomb Iran. As everyone has already said, Iraq is still a mess.
In any case, Pakistan is so unstable now that one needs to find out where that country is heading to...! Developments there will impact any decision that American makes.
On another note, I saw that you made 45 posts in September alone! That's prolific, great going!

Oemar said...

Really difficult to predict but I dont think that war is round the corner... and yes as you have already mentioned in your post, a lot depends on Israel. So finally, it all depends on which is stronger - US influence in Israel OR Israel lobbyists in Washington. Looking at the present scenario, I doubt US is ready to commit a large number of troops at a new location.... but then again, if Democrats and presidential candidates start raising the "osama-not-caught-still" issue, then the present govt might try to divert attention from this failure by creating a new problem (read bombing Iran)

Paul said...

Hi Rambodoc! I'm no fan of the Iranian government either. But I worry that bombing Iran would result in a far larger mess than we're prepared to handle. For one thing, I think it would turn nearly every Muslim nation on earth against us.

Thank you, Mahendra! I'm not sure how accurate my predictions are, but I try to get the facts they're based on correct. Like you, I hope we don't go to war with Iran. But I fear it's more likely than not we will go to war sometime in the early summer of 2008.

Thanks, Nita! I hope you're right and we do not go to war with Iran. You raise a good point about Pakistan that I hadn't considered. Do you think if we bombed Iran, it would destabilize Pakistan?

Hi Oemar! I've been reading reports that the Israeli lobby wants us to bomb Iran. I hope they are not nearly as influential as folks say they are.

Ashwin said...

Bombing Iran would destabilize the entire ME further than it is right now.

The masses would then have a legitimate reason to hate the USA beyond religion. It would simply be war.

Paul said...

I believe you're right, Ashwin.

Nita said...

Ashwin raised a valid point...
another thing...the US seems to need Pakistan and sees the country as an ally of sorts, although the relationship has deteriorated of late. So once the leadership issue there is settled, the US might feel more comfortable taking a decision.
on the other hand, i believe 6 months down the line there may be some serious changes in american politics...

Paul said...

I suspect that any attack by the US on Iran will destabilize Pakistan, Nita. That will neither be good for the US nor the region, especially since Pakistan has the bomb.