By now you have probably heard about the Bush
Administration's secret plan to attack Iran and how US Special Forces units
have been operating in the country for some time. Seymour Hersh, the maverick
journalist for The New Yorker, broke
the story earlier this week.
"The immediate goals of the attacks would be to destroy, or at least temporarily
derail, Iran's ability to go nuclear. But there are other, equally purposeful,
motives at work," writes Hersh. "The government consultant told me
that the hawks in the Pentagon, in private discussions, have been urging a limited
attack on Iran because they believe it could lead to a toppling of the religious
It is a scathing indictment. The Bush Administration, which has avoided going
through Congress to initiate its covert operations, is conducting this potential
invasion much differently than the invasion of Iraq. The reasons may be political
in nature. The US public, or at least those who opposed the Iraq war, made it
somewhat difficult for Bush to instigate war against Saddam Hussein's regime.
Gathering in the streets, and later on Capitol Hill, they forced a public discussion,
carefully scrutinizing Bush's motives. Now that many of Bush's claims about
Iraq's WMD program and ties to al-Qaeda have been disproven (though Bush might
beg to differ), Bush and company may be struggling to garner sufficient support
to justify waging another war with an already strained military.
But the Bush administration may not have to worry about the opposition for
round two. After all, the Democrats have long agreed that Iran must be dealt
Recently, the Democratic Party's rising "progressive" star Barack
Obama said he would favor "surgical" missile strikes against Iran.
As Obama told the Chicago Tribune on September 26, 2004, "[T]he
big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures [to stop
its nuclear program], including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed
if they do not cooperate, at what point ... if any, are we going to take military
He added, "[L]aunching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal
position for us to be in" given the ongoing war in Iraq. "On the other hand,
having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse."
Obama went on to argue that military strikes on Pakistan should not be ruled
out if "violent Islamic extremists" were to "take over."
Senator John Kerry echoed this sentiment on May 29, 2004, when he told the
Washington Post that the Bush Administration has not "been tough
on the [Iran] issue … which is the issue of nuclear weaponry, and again just
like I said with North Korea, you have to keep your eye on the target."
Even DNC chair hopeful Howard Dean, allegedly the liberal arm of the Democratic
Party, concurs Bush has not been tough enough on Iran. The Forward quotes
Dean as saying, "The United States has to ... take a much harder line on Iran
and Saudi Arabia because they're funding terrorism."
In fact, while campaigning for president, Dean contended that President Bush
had been far too soft on Iran. In a March appearance on CBS' Face The Nation,
Dean even went so far as to say that "[President Bush] is beholden to the Saudis
and the Iranians."
Foreign Policy expert Stephen Zunes wrote of the Democrats' platform in Foreign
Policy in Focus on August 12, 2004:
"One possible target for American forces under a Kerry administration
is Iran. The platform implies an American right to such military intervention
by stating that 'a nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable risk to us and our
allies.' No concern is expressed, however, about the already-existing nuclear
arsenals of Iran's neighbor Pakistan or of nearby Israel. Iran has called for
a nuclear-free zone in the region, which the Democrats appear to reject, apparently
because it would require America's regional allies to get rid of their nuclear
arsenals as well. The Democrats, like the Republicans, believe that instead
of pushing for multilateral and verifiable arms control treaties, the United
States can effectively impose a kind of nuclear apartheid, unilaterally determining
which countries can have nuclear weapons and which countries cannot."
So are we really supposed to believe the Democrats will ever offer up any significant
opposition to Bush's military dabbling in Iran?
Not unless by "opposition to" you mean "support for."