Thursday, June 19, 2008

Follow along in your Farsi phrase book: "We are here as liberators."

Eric Alterman assembles several pieces of information--most of it widely-reported--places them side-by-side and asks, quite reasonably, shouldn't the White House press corps be worrying more than this than about terrorist fist bumps?

[A]s Joe Klein reported a year ago, President Bush proposed an attack of Iran's nuclear sites in December 2006 to the Joint Chiefs, and he was rebuffed. And after becoming head of Central Command, Adm. William Fallon made it known he wasn't on board with bombing Iran.

But Cheney did not relent.[…] Cheney then simply proposed striking the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, because of alleged involvement and interference in Iraq, a fact reported by McClatchy last August. As Porter reports, this wasn't a compromise on Cheney's part, but rather "appears to have been a strategy for getting around the firm resistance of military leaders." Cheney anticipated much less resistance from the Pentagon for such a narrow attack, tied to the Iraq war, but apparently held the private belief that Iran would launch a counterattack, which could lead to a full air war with Iran, which could of course allow for strategic bombing of (known) nuclear sites.

This bears repeating. The Bush administration at the highest levels -- the same people who failed to anticipate strong Iraqi resistance before the invasion -- both anticipate and invite escalation with Iran in order to achieve their "strategic" goals.

We don't know where this all stands now. We do know that Fallon is gone and Petraeus is in his place -- and Petraeus is on the record supporting the so-called "limited" strikes on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The Russert wake is over by now. Let's get back to work, people.

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