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.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.
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.
Let's hope they're wrong.
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