Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker tackles the question of whether the Bush Administration, partially neutered in the November 7th mid-term elections, is more apt to go after Iran to "prove" they can. Here's a bit:
Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State in Bush’s first term, told me that he believed the Democratic election victory, followed by Rumsfeld’s dismissal, meant that the Administration “has backed off,” in terms of the pace of its planning for a military campaign against Iran. Gates and other decision-makers would now have more time to push for a diplomatic solution in Iran and deal with other, arguably more immediate issues. “Iraq is as bad as it looks, and Afghanistan is worse than it looks,” Armitage said. “A year ago, the Taliban were fighting us in units of eight to twelve, and now they’re sometimes in company-size, and even larger.” Bombing Iran and expecting the Iranian public “to rise up” and overthrow the government, as some in the White House believe, Armitage added, “is a fool’s errand.”My take? Well, as I noted Sunday evening, it's not only almost impossible but exponentially foolhardly to assume there is any line the Bushies won't cross in the pursuit of power, bragging rights, wealth, cronyism, corruption, and dismantling of the United States of America as you and I knew it, from their U.S. Constitution toilet paper to their habeas corpus handi-wipes.
“Iraq is the disaster we have to get rid of, and Iran is the disaster we have to avoid,” Joseph Cirincione, the vice-president for national security at the liberal Center for American Progress, said. “Gates will be in favor of talking to Iran and listening to the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the neoconservatives are still there”—in the White House—“and still believe that chaos would be a small price for getting rid of the threat. The danger is that Gates could be the new Colin Powell—the one who opposes the policy but ends up briefing the Congress and publicly supporting it.”
Should we go into Iran, I think we will find it an even greater mistake than in Iraq. But that certainly doesn't mean Bush wouldn't do it. After all, it's not like he's sending his military age kids.