The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rolling Stone: Neocons have pushed Iranian war for years

There have been several stories in Rolling Stone over the last few months that have caused quite a stir in the press-- or at least the blogosphere. "Worst President Ever?" was one, and then there was Robert Kennedy, Jr's piece on voter fraud in Ohio. A new story, Iran: The Next War?" should do the same.

The right-wing press will have a fit, of course, but we've seen plenty of evidence lately that the neocons are crafting foreign policy, and they want war. Bad. Read the article, and wait for the firestorm.

[Iran expert and career employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency Larry] Franklin—a devout neoconservative who had been brought into Feith's office because of his political beliefs—was hoping to undermine those talks. As FBI agents looked on, Franklin entered the restaurant at the Ritz and joined two other Americans who were also looking for ways to push the U.S. into a war with Iran. One was Steven Rosen, one of the most influential lobbyists in Washington. Sixty years old and nearly bald, with dark eyebrows and a seemingly permanent frown, Rosen was director of foreign-policy issues at Israel's powerful lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Seated next to Rosen was AIPAC's Iran expert, Keith Weissman. He and Rosen had been working together closely for a decade to pressure U.S. officials and members of Congress to turn up the heat on Tehran.

Over breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton, Franklin told the two lobbyists about a draft of a top-secret National Security Presidential Directive that dealt with U.S. policy on Iran. Crafted by Michael Rubin, the desk officer for Iraq and Iran in Feith's office, the document called, in essence, for regime change in Iran. In the Pentagon's view, according to one senior official there at the time, Iran was nothing but "a house of cards ready to be pushed over the precipice." So far, though, the White House had rejected the Pentagon's plan, favoring the State Department's more moderate position of diplomacy. Now, unwilling to play by the rules any longer, Franklin was taking the extraordinary—and illegal—step of passing on highly classified information to lobbyists for a foreign state. Unable to win the internal battle over Iran being waged within the administration, a member of Feith's secret unit in the Pentagon was effectively resorting to treason, recruiting AIPAC to use its enormous influence to pressure the president into adopting the draft directive and wage war against Iran. (. . .)

In recent weeks, the attacks by Hezbollah on Israel have given neoconservatives in the Bush administration the pretext they were seeking to launch what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calls "World War III." Denouncing the bombings as "Iran's proxy war," William Kristol of The Weekly Standard is urging the Pentagon to counter "this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities." According to Joseph Cirincione, an arms expert and the author of Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, "The neoconservatives are now hoping to use the Israeli-Lebanon conflict as the trigger to launch a U.S. war against Syria, Iran or both."

Now that I think about it, Al Franken has been playing a clip of Bill Kristol being interviewed shortly after the Iraq invasion in which he dismisses as 'pop sociology' the notion that there could be any tension between religious sects in Iraq. It's long been a secular nation, he argues, although any college student with a rudimentary knowledge of Iraq (or Tito's Yugoslavia) wouldn't dare take such a position. You'd think that would be a big black mark on his status as informed conservative commentator, but it increasingly looks as though we're in for a repeat of the lead-in to Iraq.