- NEW YORK -- You've heard
this song before. There's this country, see, and they hate America. They'd
nuke us if they had the chance, you bet they would. Damn Muslim religious
fanatics! Guess what? They have weapons of mass destruction! Either that
or their scientists are about to develop them. Whatever--we can't let that
happen. We've gotta hit them before they hit us! What's that? Of course
we're sure! Our intelligence says so. Huh? No. We can't show you the proof.
We'll say this much...a little bird told us. A little exile bird that wants
to run the country after we overthrow the current regime. They wouldn't
lie, and neither would we. And while we're at it, can we borrow your son
for the next few years?
- Colin Powell, disgraced by his 2003 fictional anthrax
speech at the U.N., is closing his run as Bush's poodle-in-chief with a
bravura repeat performance. His last big PR project: conning us into war
- The Administration's sales pitch for "Attack on
the Ayatollahs" reads a lot like the one for "So Long, Saddam."
There's a supposed "grave and gathering threat"--a nuclear-capable,
America-hating Iran. Even as presented, the intel is sketchy. Iran, Powell
says, has "been actively working on delivery systems"--missiles
that could carry nukes. During the Cuban missile crisis, JFK went on television
to show us the satellite photos. Powell thinks we should believe him just
because. "I have seen intelligence which would corroborate what this
dissident group is saying," says the outgoing Secretary of Rationalization.
Not that there's much there there: "I'm talking about information
that says that they not only had these missiles, but I'm aware of information
that suggests they were working hard as to how to put the two [missiles
and nuclear weapons] together." Bombs haven't even started falling
on Tehran and the WMDs have already become WMD-related programs.
- Powell's intel is enough to make a 2005 gold star mother
pine for George "Slam Dunk" Tenet. First, it's ancient. The Iraq
WMD info ended in 1998 and was proven wrong in 2003. Powell's claims that
Iran obtained schematics for an atomic bomb from Pakistan are even older,
dating to 1996. Moreover, the Iran sourcing--the National Council for Resistance
in Iran (NCRI)--makes Ahmed Chalabi look like a Boy Scout. The NCRI, a
front organization for the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), is a bizarre, Shiite,
pro-Baathist (yes, you read that right) guerilla army infamous for crushing
the 1991 Kurdish uprising on Saddam's orders. Better yet, it's designated
as a "known terrorist organization" by Powell's own State Department.
- Only the Bushiban know whether they plan to invade Iran.
But, as Time magazine reports, "the neoconservative hawks who championed
the Iraq war have long advocated an aggressive pursuit of regime change
in Iran." Washington kremlinologists are waiting to see whether Bush
will promote anti-Iran neocon John Bolton from Undersecretary of State
for Arms Control to Deputy Secretary of State. A Bolton ascension, goes
the word on K Street, probably means a third war. At bare minimum, writes
centrist New York Times scribe Nicholas Kristof, "the United States
will discuss whether to look the other way as Israel launches airstrikes
on Iranian nuclear sites," a move that could easily lead to a broader
conflict if Iran retaliates by attacking U.S.-occupied Iraq or Afghanistan,
or Israel itself.
- Does Iran pose a threat to the U.S.? The rejoinders are
obvious. If Bush cared about real threats, he'd go after North Korea, which
has at least six nuclear weapons and an intercontinental ballistic missile
(ICBM) that can hit the U.S. Of course, North Korea isn't the second biggest
member of OPEC. Iran is, with 10 percent of the earth's proven oil reserves.
Besides, no one with sense believes Bush about anything.
- But enough snark.
- Iranian nukes, minus a high-precision long-range delivery
system, can't do us much harm. Iran's Shahab-3 missile has a maximum range
of 800 miles, far enough to hit Israel. But that's Israel's problem. Iran
has no ICBMs capable of traversing the Atlantic and accurately hitting
an American target--and no immediate prospect of developing one. Besides,
the Iranian government has repeatedly made overtures to the Bush Administration
to talk about their nuclear program, only to be rebuffed. It would be truer
to say that the U.S. is a threat to Iran.