Friday, December 07, 2007

World War III

It's Pearl Harbor Day, a day when we're reminded of the horrors of war. I was at Pearl Harbor a year ago; it's a sacred place.

Below is an article from the Washington Post that reminds me that we're going backward when it comes to peacemaking.

Bush told in Aug Iran may have halted nuclear program

By Tabassum Zakaria


Wednesday, December 5, 2007; 11:21 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush was told in August that Iran may have suspended its nuclear weapons program, the White House said on Wednesday, a day after Bush said he was not given a full report on the issue.

A new intelligence estimate released on Monday said Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003, raising questions about whether the president was aware of that when he increased his rhetoric against Tehran.

Some Democrats seized on this week's intelligence report to suggest Bush took an aggressive stance against Iran even though he knew that U.S. intelligence had a different picture of the threat posed by Tehran.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Bush said he was informed of the intelligence report last week, but said U.S. intelligence chief Mike McConnell told him in August there was new information on Iran.

"He didn't tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze," Bush said.

On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said McConnell told Bush in August that Iran may have suspended its nuclear weapons program and that the new information might cause the intelligence community to change its assessment on Iran.

I'm going to be accused of bashing the president here, because "politics" is such a dirty word that one can't discuss foreign policy without being accused of partisan hackery. So I'll say it right up front. I think he's a bad president. I'm not sure he's a bad man, and I was quite touched by his conversation with Jenna on Ellen Degeneres' show this week. He obviously loves his family very much. He is also funny and charming.

But I think he's a bad president. I think our country is in serious danger, danger we weren't in seven years ago. I think we are largely unaware of the damage that has been done to our relationship with the rest of the world. I don't think that's bashing. It is my opinion, based on information like that in the article above.

This administration has been laying the groundwork for war with Iran. I think if you asked them, they might even admit that. It's pretty clear. So this report is alarming, since the president actually used the phrase "World War Three" in a speech in October regarding the Iranian regime and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

If, back in August, the US Intelligence chief told him that it was likely, or even possible, that they had suspended their program, then this saber-rattling is not only dangerous (which it would be either way), it is also unfounded.

It may be that this Intelligence Estimate is wrong. The President has certainly asserted as much all week. That is most assuredly a possibility. We know that the intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program was wildly innacurate. Or it was made up--history will have to let us in on that one.

I'm pretty sure history will report that this administration has handled truth in a devastatingly careless way. Yeah, they all do. Yeah, it's been raised to a new art form since 2001.

I am a liberal.

I'll give you a sec.

Over the shock?

Okay. So anyway, I'm naturally suspicious of conservativism--although this is more a function of my faith than my political leanings. I just can't find support for most conservative positions in the person and teaching of Jesus Christ. And I'm doing my best to try to follow that guy--failing gloriously at times, but trying. So yes, I have suspicion of those who don't put emphasis on caring for the poor and who are actively working against the marginalized. And that description fits a lot of conservative platforms, though it certainly doesn't fit all conservative people.

But this isn't about conservatives, anyway. This is about neoconservatives. This is about an agenda which sure seems to be hellbent on "World War III." The current administration bends facts until they break, manipulates (or dismisses) intelligence, and foments fear of The Other in order to advance its goals, which seem to have something to do with taking over the Middle East.

Does the President really want us to believe that intelligence chief Mike McConnell came to him and said "We have new intelligence about Iran," and the President of the United States said "Okay, Big Mac, thanks for lettin' me know."?

Are we supposed to believe he didn't ask what the intelligence was? Or does he--does this whole neoconservative steamroller--just not care what we think? Do they think we'll go blithely on with our lives, paying no attention to the man behind the curtain, fiddling with our remote controls while Washington burns?

I think they might.

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