As I wrote this morning, the surge to justify war on Iran is well underway and gathering pace.
Adding to the drumbeats I noted earlier, we should also add a remarkably weasel-worded piece from Bill Kristol, as he cites a MNF-I report of the arrest of someone they guess is an iranian agent in Iraq:
A senior administration official last week discounted to me the importance of going after such targets in Iran--while not denying they exist and that we know where they are. The explanation wasn't convincing at the time. In light of this fresh evidence, and in light of the fact that the Iranians have been shelling targets in Kurdistan, in northern Iraq, that they claim are supporting violence in Iran, one has to ask: "Why are terror training camps in Iran, camps that are directly training terrorists to attack U.S. troops, off limits?"I'm sure Kristol is aware that not denying such camps exist is a far cry from agreeing they do - you cannot prove a negative. But I'm also sure he thinks his audience are too dumb or patriotically blinkered to notice.
The MNF-I statement Kristol cites is likewise weasel-worded, based on "assessments" (guesses) that a man fingered by previous detainees (who according to reports are confessing after torture by the MeK or Iraqi Army) is believed to be (guessed to be) involved with Iran's Quods force purely on the strength of his being an arms dealer to insurgent groups (despite arms dealing being the growth industry in Iraq). The fixing of intelligence around the policy which is implicit in US military statements on Iraqi meddling is in general quite obvious - as it has been in military statements on other matters - yet overlooked in the rush to demonize further the hostage-takers of '79.
The same careful dishonesty about sources is apparent in the much-touted document "Iran's Proxy War against the United States and the Iraqi Government" by Kimberley Kagan and jointly published by the newly-formed Institute For the Study Of War (of which she appears to be the only employee) and Kristol's Weekly Standard. Her citation for several of her accusations against Iran is a TIME article by Michael Ware - an apparently unbiased source - but she neglects to mention that Ware's article itself is based on a U.S. intelligence document mysteriously and conveniently leaked to TIME. Other than that, it's military statements and stenography of Bush administration leaks by the likes of Michael Gordon.
Then there's today's FOXNews op-ed by Alireza Jafarzadeh, in which he decries the latest IAEA report on Iran as a case of being "hoodwinked by the ayatollahs". He points to two areas where the IAEA still have outstanding questions without noting that the nuclear watchdog says it is satisfied that iran intends clearing up those areas in the near future. Then he crows for several paragraphs about how the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)brough Iran's nuclear program to light in 2002. There is, however, no mention of the many occasions when the IAEA have investigated NCIRI allegations of 50,000 hidden operating centrifuges and massive tunnel networks under tehran and found them to be utterly false.
Nor are Jafarzadeh and FOXNews admitting to his own very close relationship to NCIRI, the political wing of the MeK, a terrorist group dedicated to Iranian regime change in favor of their own Marxist/Islamist leanings and their messianic leader. The MeK has long been a favorite of neocons working for war with Iran, protecting them in their Iraqi camp despite court cases alledging their help in Saddam's atrocities. There's good reason to believe the MeK are already being used by the Bush administration to conduct proxy attacks on iran.
Very few of the shills shaping this propaganda push, I suspect, actually believe their own rhetoric - even the "divine mandate" stuff the neocons traditionally bait their traps for the nationalist and intellectually lazy with. For many, the prime cause is one of a decades-old affront to
But one prominent British think-tank is warning Gordon Brown to just say no to Bush. According to David Mepham of the Institute for Public Policy Research:
“The first two months of Gordon Brown’s premiership have seen a welcome change of tone in British foreign policy. But it is looking increasingly possible that the US will take military action against Iran in an attempt to halt its nuclear programme. Such action would be disastrous, making a fragile and dangerous situation immeasurably worse.I've mentioned before that if the Bush administration were serious about Iran, they'd be doing what they eventually did with North Korea. Instead, it seems, they may be preparing nukes of their own.
“Gordon Brown’s Government should pursue a more creative and calibrated policy towards Iran that offers a realistic prospect of de-escalating the current crisis, not least by trying to influence the thinking of the US administration before it is too late. If the Americans are prepared to negotiate with the North Koreans on nuclear issues, surely it is makes sense for them to talk to Iran. How Brown handles Iran over the next year could be as defining for his foreign policy as was Blair’s decision to back George Bush in going to war with Iraq.”