Cheney's and Clinton's War?


Just because it's unthinkable doesn't mean this president won't do it. The latest Sy Hersh piece adds fuel to the already looming consensus in Washington that Dick Cheney is insistent on war with Iran, and he'll get it regardless of the rationale. If the WMD argument won't work, there's the careful way in which the administration and its supporters have been redefining the war in Iraq to one which is already a war with Iran:

Now the emphasis is on "surgical" strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism...

At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.” The former intelligence official added, "There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can't do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we're only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.' But Cheney doesn't give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President."

Which rat's ass does this president care about, one wonders? But if these developments gather pace, Clinton also faces a problem. She just voted to designate the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist entity. Giving this president one authorization to go to war might be seen as a problem with the Democratic base. Giving him two should surely be a deal-breaker.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP.)