Last Chance To Think

« December 2007 »

Shhhh. Be quiet. We don't want to scare it. It's alone, terrified, and unsure of its place in the world. It may not have long to live, but we can at least enjoy it while it's here, and do what we can to postpone it's inevitable fate.

"It" is a fact. And not just your garden-variety domestic fact, mighty herds of which once thrived all over the country. Their numbers are thinning, but that's nothing compared to this special, rare subspecies of fact: a fact that is still capable of injecting its DNA into the national discourse and quite possibly having an effect on public policy. I know! I never thought I'd see one again either. Maybe if we find a second one fast, we can start a captive breeding program.

This particular fact is that Iran stopped actively pursuing nuclear weapons in 2003. It emerged into the wild this week via a leaked National Intelligence Estimate, and somehow managed to actually put the Bush administration on the defensive, because they've been talking up Iran's nuclear ambitions for a long time. Even longer than they've been trying to keep this report about Iran's relative lack of nuclear ambition secret.

Now, I've been on the record for some time now that we will be bombing the shit out of Iran, on the grounds that Dick Cheney wants to and nobody will bother to stop him. This NIE news doesn't change my prediction, but it does take the edge off the inevitability of it, which is always welcome.

But two things have to happen before I can (hopefully) end up completely wrong on this. First, the idea that Iran's not building a nuke has to survive long enough to take root. It has to be believed by so many people, especially in the media, that Bush and Cheney can't actually get away with saying they ARE building a nuke. Which is a pretty high bar to clear in and of itself. And second, any new, non-nuclear justification for bombing the shit out of Iran can't be allowed to pull a cane toad on the Australia that is the marketplace of ideas.

And they've already started polluting the fact's habitat (cable news) with doubt and other toxic byproducts of being batshit crazy. There's Norman Podhoretz, for example. I'm convinced that Podhoretz would strangle a baby panda with his bare hands if someone convinced him Israel really wanted the sweet, sweet oil in the panda's neck. Poddy wants us to think that this NIE, the consensus opinion of thirteen American intelligence agencies, is actually part of a secret plan to undermine Bush and help Iran. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations." Now we know why Rudy Giuliani turns to this guy for foreign policy advice. They both speak fluent bugfuck.

And Howard Kurtz, amongst others, are suggesting that we shouldn't listen to the NIE, because, I shit you not, they were wrong about Iraq's nuclear program. Which makes me seriously long for a time machine. Then I could to back into the past, in Germany, and influence events in such a way that Yiddish develops an even stronger word than "chutzpah". Because I fucking need one for this line of reasoning.

And as for the non-nuclear reasons, I'm just thankful that we have a Democrat-controlled Congress, full of principled senators like Hillary Clinton, who are thwarting at every turn Republican attempts to slip crazy, saber-rattling language about Iran into bills. You know, like some kind of crazy amendment filled with threatening language based on some ludicrous premise like, oh, I don't know. Declaring a foreign country's army to be a terrorist organization.

Yep, I'm feeling better already.