Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Target II: Iran

We interrupt our train of thought on what the Washington Post reporters interviewing President Bush should have asked so we can follow up on the incredible revelation by renowned reporter Seymour Hersh that the administration apparently is laying the groundwork for expanding Gulf War II into Iran.

The adminstration's denials undoubtedly will form the basis for all the news you'll see about the story in the next few days. So here is an opportunity to read Hersh's piece as it appears in this week's issue of The New Yorker.

Hersh, remember, is the reporter who broke the news about the torture scandals at Abu Ghraib. Reports the BBC:
The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says that while Hersh could be wrong, he has a series of scoops to his name, including the details of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal last year.

His track record suggests that he should be taken seriously, our correspondent says.
Writing in the Guardian of London, Julian Borger and Ian Traynor add some insightful reporting on why Hersh's claims should be taken seriously and why the administration's non-denial denials should not:
However, the Guardian has learned the Pentagon was recently contemplating the infiltration of members of the Iranian rebel group, Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) over the Iraq-Iran border, to collect intelligence. The group, based at Camp Ashraf, near Baghdad, was under the protection of Saddam Hussein, and is under US guard while Washington decides on its strategy.

The MEK has been declared a terrorist group by the state department, but a former Farsi-speaking CIA officer said he had been asked by neo-conservatives in the Pentagon to travel to Iraq to oversee "MEK cross-border operations". He refused, and does not know if those operations have begun.
While Bush press flacks were shocked -- shocked -- at the story, the president declined to deny it's essential assertion: military action against Iran is not out of the question. He said as much during an interview with David Gregory of NBC News:
Gregory: About Iran, will you rule out the potential for military action against Iran if it continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons program?

Bush: I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table.
It should be interesting to note that this sort of denial of the obvious occurred in the year leading up to the invasion of Iraq. According to journalist Bob Woodward, in his book Plan of Attack, the administration shortly after 9/11 commissioned the Pentagon to come up with a plan to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. When reports of the war plans leaked, the Bushies denied that anything was afoot. They denied it until the day Bush asked Congress for a blank check to go to war.


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