More and more it seems as if February 2007 to Iran is like September 2002 to Iraq. Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post is talking about the Bush administration’s attempt to convince people Iran’s a grave threat to American interests (hat-tip to Lindsay).
For a long time now, Bush admininstration officials have been promising reporters proof that the Iranian government is supplying deadly weaponry to Iraqi militants.
The administration finally unveiled its case this weekend, first in coordinated and anonymous leaks to a trusting New York Times reporter, then in an extraordinarily secretive military briefing at which no one would speak on the record, journalists weren’t allowed to photograph the so-called evidence, and nothing even remotely like proof of direct Iranian government involvement was presented.
To be honest, I’m not sure how the administration is planning to go to war based on that. Most Americans don’t even want the troops in Iraq anymore; they don’t tolerate attacks on them, of course, but to me, “Iran is supplying weapons to Shi’a militias” sounds awfully weak compared to “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over New York.”
On the other hand, it’s possible the administration is trying to get around its unpopularity by phasing in the lies. In Iraq, it started from an imminent nuclear threats and then went down to “WMD-related activities.” It’s possible that now it’s doing the opposite: first introduce Iran as a possibly hostile force, then accuse it of orchestrating the entire civil war, and then talk about its nuclear program…
Krugman’s apparently saying that there’s no way Congress will approve another war resolution. I disagree: no serious Presidential candidate has made any statement opposing a war on Iran, and all but one either have made pro-war statements or have a general pro-war disposition. The Democrats are less spineless than they were in 2002, but not by much.
I don’t think a rush to war with Iran is going to be as much of a cakewalk (pardon the horrific pun) as the rush to Iraq was. Even in the mainstream media, which was disgustingly servile in the run-up to Iraq, there is a lot of exasperation and a general “not again” atmosphere surrounding the administrations claims. That and an attack on Iran is hugely unpopular, and the administration doesn’t have a recent 9/11 to harp on and poison the wells of any critics.
I think if the issue comes up, congress will delay action as long as possible to avoid any culpability, which is also unfortunately their apparent gameplan on Iraq.
Bush is probably going to attack Iran this spring, regardless of polls or Congressional disapproval, unless Amadinejad and the Mullahs cave in and agree to international inspection of all their nuclear facilities.