Last night Clinton was assailed by fellow Dems for enabling war with Iran and yesterday a poll revealed that a bare majority of Americans would be OK with that war. Yet despite claims made by the Bush administration and their foreign allies in demonizing Iran, there is no actual evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program (while Pakistan, the world's biggest proliferator and terrorist enabler, gets a free pass).
So why the drumbeat for war, which has gained such massive traction simply by repetition? Well, there's a complex of reasons, primarily neoconservative fuelling of a sense of American honor and power besmirched by this upstart nation back in '79. Competition for control of the region's oil and gas resources certainly plays a part. Some people even, no doubt, honestly believe that attacking Iran is part and parcel of the War On what has turned out to be some Terror (just ask the MeK or PKK).
But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino let the cat out of the bag on one little talked about factor behind the drumbeat the other day.
"This is a country that is enriching and reprocessing uranium and the reason that one does that is to lead towards a nuclear weapon,"She said in attempting a rebuttal of IAEA head el-Baradei's assertion that the nuke watchdog had no evidence of Iranian wrongdoing despite countless leads provided by the U.S. which have turned out to be false ones.
"The reason that one does that is to lead towards a nuclear weapon." Oh really? Could Dana maybe explain that to the conservative Howard government in Australia, who are actively considering a massive multi-billion investment in enriching and reprocessing facilities? Could she explain that to Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands - all of whom have enrichment facilities but no nukes (and to non-weapon nations Belgium, Italy and Spain who hold an investment interest in the French Eurodif enrichment plant)? Could she explain it to the good people of America while she's at it? After all, her own administration are aggressively pushing new enrichment and reprocessing ventures too, even though the U.S. uses plutonium rather than uranium in its weapons. Ditto with France, the UK, Russia and China.
And that's where the cat leaps out of the bag. You see, Iran's closing of the nuclear fuel cycle is a direct threat to the Bush administration's plan for a very lucrative nuclear fuel cartel - primarily selling enriched uranium to nations like Egypt who have just announced plans for several nuclear power plants. Uranium is at its highest price ever and is expected to keep rising for the next two decades at least. Reprocessing and storage deals are worth billions to nations like Russia should they be willing to take the world's waste. That willingness to take nuke waste is essential to the Bush administration's own plans for an expansion of nuclear power in the U.S.
And here in the States, the primary beneficiaries of all of these plans - from new power plants to the uranium cartel known as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, or GNEP - are the selfsame energy corporations that have made out like bandits from the escalating price of oil and preferential deals since Bush started meddling in aggressive foreign policy.
Like the man said - always follow the money.