Where's The Program?
McClatchy's top notch Jonathan Landay reported yesterday that experts say there is no evidence that Iran is "right now" pursuing a nuclear weapons program, despite bellowing to the contrary from the usual suspects in the Bush Administration.
We have every reason to believe that the clown show in the White House is angling for another war, yet the stupid talk from Bush and Cheney may very well be nothing more than misguided warnings to Tehran. People who follow this stuff closely say that the Israelis aren't making a big fuss about Iran right now, and they usually are the best canary in the coal mine as to imminent military action by this administration.
Furthermore, with Pakistan set to descend into ongoing chaos for weeks if not months, their military will not be doing as much as they should to contain the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Waziristan, making the situation in Afghanistan even worse than it is now. How can an administration that has bungled both Iraq and Afghanistan handle new simultaneous challenges in Afghanistan and Iran at a time when CENTCOM wants resources moved out of Iraq and back into Afghanistan?
Even if like me you ascribe to the belief that the surge has worked militarily to allow the Iraqis a last window to undertake bottom-up local reconciliation, all of that would be undone by a strike against Iran any time in the next 6 months, leaving Bush with a legacy of setting the region on fire. And despite his claims to the contrary, Bush is concerned about his legacy as all presidents are, and wants to leave behind some successes in the region. To that end, he will pressure Musharraf any way he can to hold elections and give up the army post, a nonstarter because Musharraf's coup has already doomed his chances of winning the presidency without some Florida-style vote rigging.
But until the administration gets Pakistan calmed down and gets the Turks to avoid crossing the border in northern Iraq to go after the Kurds, CENTCOM has way too much to worry about to put into place an attack against Iran. Besides, the world community gradually is realizing that there isn't an empirical case that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. And even if the oil producing nations would like to see oil go to $120-150 a barrel, attacking Iran would sink this economy less than a year before a presidential election, virtually handing the White House and Congress to the Democrats.