Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran...or not?

The drumbeat to attack Iran after 10 years of clusterfucks in Afghanistan and Iraq is eerily similar to the lead in to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  So, it's good to see articles like this rather than "analysis" by Judith Miller.

Talk of war over Iran’s nuclear program has reached a strident pitch in recent weeks, as Israel has escalated threats of a possible strike, the oratory of American politicians has become more bellicose and Iran has responded for the most part defiantly. With Israel and Iran exchanging accusations of assassination plots, some analysts see a danger of blundering into a war that would inevitably involve the United States. 

Echoes of the period leading up to the Iraq war in 2003 are unmistakable, igniting a familiar debate over whether journalists are overstating Iran’s progress toward a bomb. Yet there is one significant difference: by contrast with 2003, when the Bush administration portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, Obama administration officials and intelligence professionals seem eager to calm the feverish language.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a CNN interview on Sunday that the United States had advised Israel that a strike now would be “destabilizing,” adding that Iran had not yet decided whether to build a weapon. And American officials are weighing an Iranian offer to renew nuclear talks as a stream of threats from Tehran continued on Tuesday and international nuclear inspectors reported their mission to Iran had failed. 

The difference between the Bush administration's flogging of the press, the military and the intelligence community, and Obama's quiet imposition of stricter sanctions while not making an invasion seem inevitable can't be overstated.

That said, the overheated rhetoric shows little sign of decreasing, if last night's GOP "debate" is any indication.  There seemed absolutely no awareness of the two wars we've just spent 10 years losing, to countries without an airforce or navy.  Andrew Sullivan calls it "amnesia."  Roy has a more obvious explanation.

The debacles of 2006 and 2008 were rougher on them than I thought. The Republican Party clearly suffers from a traumatic brain injury.

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