It's fitting that the UK's Daily telegraph, which has become as much a foreign mouthpiece for the War party as ever the Weekly Standard is here in the U.S., should have the first interview with ex-Cheney aide David Wurmser since he left office.
The interview has turned into three different Telegraph articles today. In the first, Wurmser accepts the "neoconsevative" label while also saying that "There's nothing 'neo' about me,"..."I'm a very medieval sort of guy." Medieval seems a sufficient characterization of all the neocons - in their world view, their xenophobia, their opposition to education or healthcare for the masses, their quasi-religious justifications for their crusades. Yes "Medi-cons" suits them very well indeed.
In another, he says he isn't "a big fan of democracy per se" and that he favors engendering either regime change or outright war with Iran by engineering American intervention to topple the Syrian government.
But he really gets warmed up to that last in the third article, which is one of the Torygraph's headline pieces today.
"We need to do everything possible to destabilise the Syrian regime and exploit every single moment they strategically overstep," said David Wurmser, who recently resigned after four years as Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser.Wurmser then goes on to say something that the Telegraph has decided to take as a categorical denial of reports that he was doing the D.C. rounds on behalf of Cheney to agitate fro war with Iran.
"That would include the willingness to escalate as far as we need to go to topple the regime if necessary." He said that an end to Baathist rule in Damascus could trigger a domino effect that would then bring down the Teheran regime.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the first since he left government, he argued that the United States had to be prepared to attack both Syria and Iran to prevent the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that could result in a much wider war.
...Although Mr Wurmser's recommendations have not yet become US policy, his hard-line stances on regime change in Iran and Syria are understood to have formed the basis of policy documents approved by Mr Cheney, an uncompromising hawk who is deeply sceptical about the effectiveness of diplomatic pressure on Teheran.
..."If we start shooting, we must be prepared to fire the last shot. Don't shoot a bear if you're not going to kill it."
It was "fantastical" to suggest that he or Mr Cheney would "try to cause a war that the president expressly doesn't want", he said. "Everything that was done was to execute the policies of the president and not to subvert them."Funny, but I don't read Wurmser's words as being at all placatory of the suggestion that attacking Iran, or at least preparing the political ground for such an attack should he decide to launch it, is Bush's policy already.
Maybe I'm just cynical, maybe it's that I've seen too many times how the current administration, its current and former members, can lie simply by being careful about their word choice. Witness Bush's own weasel words today on torture - they amount to saying America doesn't torture because the Bush administration have unilaterally decided to revise the definition of torture to exclude what America does. The rest of the world isn't fooled, however, and is unlikely to be fooled by Wurmser's careful parsing so as to give Bush plausible deniability in Cheney's war hyping.