Victor Davis Hanson, "historian":
Iran, like Libya, likely came to a conjecture around (say early spring 2003?) that it was not wise for regimes to conceal WMD programs, given the unpredictable, but lethal American military reaction.I wonder if he recalls this from February 2003?
After all, what critic would wish now to grant that one result of the 2003 war-aside from the real chance that Iraq can stabilize and function under the only consensual government in the region-might have been the elimination for some time of two growing and potentially nuclear threats to American security, quite apart from Saddam Hussein?
The United States now distinguishes between Iran and the other countries that President George Bush lumped together in an "axis of evil" and does not plan to target the Islamic republic after the likely war in Iraq.Of course not, it happened in this dimension.
Despite growing concern about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, its assistance in the "war on terrorism" and the evolution of liberal thought there put it in a different category from Iraq or North Korea, the Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, said.
"The axis of evil was a valid comment [but] I would note there's one dramatic difference between Iran and the other two axes of evil, and that would be its democracy. [And] you approach a democracy differently," he said. "I wouldn't think they were next at all."
Hanson is bright enough to know he's bullsh*tting. At the time when the NIE released today says Iran halted its weapons program, there were no nuclear-related sanctions in place, American firms (including Halliburton) were blithely bypassing sanctions from way before the news of Iran's nuclear endevours broke and the White House were making nice with Iran over Iraq.
Are we to imagine that Cheney got in his Tardis and reversed time's flow so that later sanctions and threats would influence Iran's decision before the fact? Ridiculous. That would really be historical revisionism!
No, the most likely explanation is that IAEA inspections scheduled as soon as Iran's nuclear program was revealed - to say nothing of the snap inspections Iran's signing of an additional protocol would mandate - were going to find any current weapons efforts (which in any case could not have been at all advanced), so they were quietly dropped and hidden under a bureaucratic stone. Score another for the UN's nuke watchdogs, who were right about Iraq too. In fact, the only nations to successfully manage the proliferation path to nuclear weapons are those who have done so outside of the much-maligned NPT - Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea. That seems to me to make a very strong case for insisting those recalcitrant nations fully sign up to the NPT, additional protocols and snap inspections and all, or face UNSC sanctions.
As to Hanson's question:
Are [Democrats] now to suggest that Republicans have been warmongering over a nonexistent threat for partisan purposes?I would bloody well hope so! Because once they had done cozying up to Iran during the initial invasion of Iraq, that's exactly what happened. "Real men go to Tehran" and all that. But it was already a Tehran with no nuclear weapons program.
Update As usual, John Cole and his commenters boil the rightwing's arguments down to their essentials, leaving the wanna-be Imperials with no clothes.
Wingnuttia will be divided into two equally insane camps:And:
1. The Iraq War is a success because it forced Iran, who had nothing to do with it, into giving up its nuclear ambitions….or not, so we have to bomb them.
2. The Intelligence Community is wrong, so we need to bomb Iran.
Post-hoc rationalizations do not come more stupid. One could just as reasonably argue that Iran saw the chaos in Iraq and the fecklessness in the White House, and concluded that they no longer needed a nuclear weapon now that not only was Saddam defeated but the Great Satan had put itself into an untenable and and unwinnable strategic position in Iraq.
Who needs to piss off the international community when some cretin in Washington has handed you regional supremacy on a silver platter?