Bush's disastrous legacy is now locked in place. The National Intelligence Estimate released last week, which stated that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003, is an explicit repudiation of the Bush doctrine and a preemptive strike against war with Iran. The professionals have struck back against the ideologues.
But in spite of the NIE findings, Bush and the wider U.S. establishment still share a view of Iran as evil and unapproachable. Until Washington realizes that it would be better off engaging with the Iranian regime than demonizing it, its Mideast policy will continue to flounder along the failed path of Bush's "war on terror." To avoid that outcome, it's going to have to be willing to question everything it thought it knew about Iran.
Congress and the media's so-what response to the Bush administration's outrageous attempt to cook the Iran intelligence does not inspire confidence. The Bush administration sat on the NIE for more than a year, trying to change the report to make it harsher on Iran, and all the while beating the drums for war. This fact has gone largely uncriticized, even though it's Iraq all over again. Bush has gotten a pass on his deception yet again for a simple reason: America views Iran as so innately dangerous, irrational and undeterrable that it doesn't care that Bush lied about what he knew and when he knew it.
In the eyes of the mainstream media, Congress and much of the public, Iran is the ultimate bad guy, a combination of al-Qaida and Adolf Hitler. This substratum of fear and hatred, some reasonable but much irrational, explains why leading Democrats, from Harry Reid to Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, have reacted so tepidly to the NIE and Bush's obvious lies about it. More important, it explains why even a Democratic president could still pursue a self-destructive course of confrontation with Tehran.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Brain hurts, makes too much sense
Gary Kamiya, of Salon: