Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hoping for Peace, Preparing for War

The Guardian thinks that a strike against Iran, administration denials notwithstanding, will come this spring. The ostensible reason is Iran's nuclear weapons program and their repeated intention to use those weapons once they have them.

Vincent Cannistraro, a Washington-based intelligence analyst, shared the sources' assessment that Pentagon planning was well under way. "Planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place."

He added: "We are planning for war. It is incredibly dangerous."

The bad guys in The Guardian scenario are the neo-cons at The American Enterprise Institute and in the Vice-President's office, including the Great Satan himself:

Neo-conservatives, particularly at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, are urging Mr Bush to open a new front against Iran. So too is the vice-president, Dick Cheney. The state department and the Pentagon are opposed, as are Democratic congressmen and the overwhelming majority of Republicans. The sources said Mr Bush had not yet made a decision. The Bush administration insists the military build-up is not offensive but aimed at containing Iran and forcing it to make diplomatic concessions. The aim is to persuade Tehran to curb its suspect nuclear weapons programme and abandon ambitions for regional expansion.

If another reason were needed surely this would qualify:

The most lethal weapon directed against American troops in Iraq is an explosive-packed cylinder that United States intelligence asserts is being supplied by Iran.

The assertion of an Iranian role in supplying the device to Shiite militias reflects broad agreement among American intelligence agencies, although officials acknowledge that the picture is not entirely complete.

Perhaps the picture is not complete because in recent weeks four American helicopters have been shot down in Iraq with missiles believed to have been supplied by Iran.

Iran is making it clear that they will nor desist from building nuclear bombs and they are doing all they can to kill Americans in Iraq. If diplomacy fails, which it often does, to persuade Iran to give up it's maniacal obsession with triggering Armageddon, what exactly do Bush's critics on the left suggest we do?

The question is important and must be answered now by every person who cares about this country and the world, so that we don't have any ex post facto Kerryesque declamations of having been against the action before one was for it.

The question boils down to this: Should we allow Iran to continue to do what they're doing or should we stop them? Those are the alternatives. Let's not have any flummery about "involving the world community," and other such evasions favored by politicians. Assume we explore every diplomatic strategy and Iran remains obdurate. Should we then resort to force?

Anyone who refuses to go on the record with a forthright answer to this question forfeits, in my mind, his or her right to be taken seriously in the coming debates.


Speaking Their Minds

This video is a shocker, at least to me. Not because the discussion was particularly compelling - it wasn't, in fact it was disappointing - but because of the makeup of the panel, which consisted of three Christians in the media, and most of all because it was on CNN.

This segment was actually the second part of a feature the first part of which presented two atheist couples who alleged having been persecuted because they were atheists, a charge I find a little hard to believe, actually.

Again, neither segment was very enlightening, both were, in fact, pretty shallow, but the fact that CNN would even air the second segment is noteworthy.


Hillary's Nightmare

This must keep Hillary Clinton awake at night:

Veterans of Al Gore's past are quietly assembling a campaign to draft the former vice president into the 2008 presidential race - despite his repeated statements that he's not running.

His top policy adviser from his 2000 presidential campaign and other key supporters met Thursday in Boston to mull a potential Gore campaign.

And, in the background, groups have been lobbying for Gore's return to presidential politics.

"He certainly has the right political climate. How many political candidates are being nominated for Nobel prizes and winning Oscars?" said Dylan Malone, co-founder of and organizer of a political action committee trying to draft Gore.

In 2002, Gore asked Malone to stop a draft effort he had begun; Malone did. Malone started up again and, so far, Gore hasn't waved him off.

"The difference is dramatic. His time has come," Malone said. "We're raising tens of thousands of dollars fairly easily. Our mailing lists are growing so quickly we have to buy new computers."

Now, if Republicans would persuade Newt Gingrich to join the fray we'd have a real contest between ideologies and ideas. Neither man is seen by their respective parties as perfect, but Al Gore is not a Kerryesque flip-flopper with his finger to the wind as Senator Clinton is. He has been nothing if not consistent in his left-wing positions. Hillary seems willing to say whatever she thinks she must to get the nomination and get elected.

Newt, on the other hand, has probably the brightest, most fertile, mind of any of the candidates in the race. He also has the virtue of being a fairly consistent conservative, a trait of which neither Rudy Guiliani nor John McCain can boast. Guiliani is a social liberal or libertarian and McCain is completely unpredictable.

A race between Gore and Gingrich would offer the voter a battle of ideas as classic as it is rare in our politics. It wouldn't be a test of who could fool the most people into thinking that they are what they're not. Gore tried that in 2000 and got burned, and it's doubtful that he'd make the same mistake again. It's too bad that neither man has indicated as yet that he will be a candidate.