Wednesday, December 05, 2007

World War III averted -- for now

Bush v. Gore (2000) . . . "Curveball" . . . non-existent WMD . . . the Valerie Plame "outing" . . . Abu Ghraib . . . Guantanamo Bay . . . embracing Putin . . . the whole goddamn Iraq war . . . is it possible for President Bush's credibility to drop even further?

Yes, it is.

Until yesterday, the Decider and his still-militant minded inner-circle (and their sycophants in the right-wing media) had been rattling the sabers on Iran for the past six months, making claims that stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program was essential to stop World War III before it started.

Or, in his own words: "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

According to the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (the same document that Bush ignored in August 2001 when he was informed that al-Qaeda was poised to strike the United States using commercial airliners), it turns out that Iran stopped whatever pretenses it had to making nuclear weapons in 2003. It also turns out that the Decider was told about the report's general conclusions back in August, and more specifically what the report -- reflecting the opinion of all 16 American intelligence agencies -- said before he gave an October speech warning Iran to stop making nuclear weapons or risk . . . World War III.

During his press conference yesterday, the Decider admitted that his director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, told him about the report's findings. But he also said that he didn't know enough "specifics" to conclude, as the report did, that Iran was at least 7 years away from having enough materials to build an A-bomb. Incredulously, the Decider insisted that the report strengthened, rather than weakened, his position that Iran posed an "immediate" threat.

This could be Bush's Kennedy-Khrushchev moment -- understanding that your mortal enemy nonetheless is "rational" enough, as the NIE concluded, not to risk blowing up the world. For some reason, I don't think Bush or the Dr. Strangeloves who surround him have the imagination or the courage to pursue a more enlightened diplomatic path.

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