Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Either or

Perhaps the title should have been "if, then".

If the NIE report was actually 'hijacked' by three doves in the State Department who leaked it without permission to effect their own desired policy change, then we're currently witnessing a bloodless coup--a disturbing thought.

Disturbing in one sense because this is America. And in another because such a move would have the goal of effectively freezing the Commander-in-Chief against taking any action against Iran (or virtually any other country that poses a threat) without severe repercussions to his party and himself. In turn the Mullahs would be left with a free year to get their acts together, probably not a good thing.

However, if the Bush administration authorized the leak then this whole thing seems more like a convincing theatrical production designed to implement the Baker Hamilton strategy via stealth. There are supporting factoids of this opinion mentioned in the previous post, such as Petraeus's negotiated settlements with Iraqi tribal leaders; an apparent curtailing of arms flow from Iran into Iraq; and a huge peace conference recently held in Annapolis. Then there's that mysterious attack in Syria.

God knows the White House didn't need Karl Rove to warn them of the pitfalls of releasing such a document just for the fun of it. If they engineered its release they had their reasons, none of which are currently appearing above the surface. That might be a good thing.

Regardless of NIEs, most people intuitively understood the threat posed by Saddam's Iraq and likewise understand the nature of the Iranian regime. The history of Iran's dabbling in proxy terrorism and murder of US persons goes back a ways and besides, if Bill Roggio is correct, we've been at war with them since 2003 anyway.

Nevertheless, America is not a warmongering nation, even in defense, a notion that factors strongly into all the political decisions made on all sides. The one wildcard in this entire thing is the president, who is probably the strongest lame duck in a long time due to an impotent feckless Congress while his number two man isn't planning to run for number one. The Mullahs can't simply assume they won't do something unpredictable, even if most Americans cannot seem to grasp the importance of disinformation during wartime.

MORE 12/5/07

Hmm. This story seems to favor the notion that we're not witnessing a bloodless coup.

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