The orders have gone out. Time to inform (scare?) the public and allies around the world about the danger known as IRAN. First up, the US Undersecretary of State, Nicholas Burns:

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Iran is a threat to global peace and has overstepped the limits of international law in seeking to pursue its nuclear ambitions, a top U.S. official said on Friday.

“We believe that Iran is a threat to peace both in its own region and globally,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said at a news conference in New Delhi.

Be afraid India. More muslims with nukes. Better support the Bush regime whatever it decides to do. Cuz you know, all options are still on the table.

Meanwhile, on the home front, William Kristol, our most telegenic neocon, pops up to sound the alarm:

And Now Iran
We can’t rule out the use of military force.
by William Kristol

An unrepentant rogue state with a history of sponsoring terrorists seeks to develop weapons of mass destruction. The United States tries to work with European allies to deal with the problem peacefully, depending on International Atomic Energy Agency inspections and United Nations sanctions. The Europeans are generally hesitant and wishful. Russia and China are difficult and obstructive. Eventually the reality of the threat, the obduracy of the rogue state regime in power, becomes too obvious to be ignored.

This is not a history lesson about Iraq. These are today’s headlines about Iran, where the regime is openly pursuing its ambition to become a nuclear power. “But this time diplomacy has to be given a chance to work,” the doves coo. “Maybe this time Israel will take care of the problem,” some hawks whisper. Both are being escapist. […]

. . . President Bush and Condoleezza Rice are serious. They are now speaking with new urgency, since the Iranian government is testing us, and its nuclear program could well be getting close to the point of no return. And they know that they have to speak with confidence and authority. Our adversaries cannot be allowed to believe that, because some of the intelligence on Iraq was bad, or because the insurgency in Iraq has been difficult, we will be at all intimidated from taking the necessary steps against the current regime in Tehran.

Ah yes, those necessary steps. Wonder what those could be? We don’t have the forces to invade Iran, not with our Army, Marines and Reserves stretched to their breaking point in Iraq. So what possibly could Mr. Kristol be talking about? I wonder . . .

A leaked document from the CIA attracted considerable attention two months ago. Under orders from Vice president Dick Cheney STRATCOM (Strategic Command) drew up contingency plans for a “large scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional an nuclear weapons.” Understandably, the document caused quite a flap leaving many to conclude that the administration was considering a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran. Surprisingly, the “leak” never produced the expected recriminations from the White House. Bush and Cheney simply ignored its appearance as though it never happened.

Was it a planned leak?

Similarly, just last week all the major news outlets ran stories about the Pentagon’s draft of a US nuclear doctrine that spells out conditions under which US commanders might seek approval to “preemptively” use nuclear weapons. The document entitled “Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” was prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent shock-waves through the country.

Would the Pentagon really execute a first-strike initiative against a non-nuclear country?

What country would be the likely target of such an attack?

The answer is almost too obvious to mention.

Iran. (The document by the way, has been mysteriously “disappeared” from the Pentagon site)

One might well ask, why would Bush do this? The reasons are many, actually. Getting to play Commander in Chief again pushes the Abramoff, Plame and NSA scandals to the back burner. Iran’s nuclear threat, which is arguably more real than the baloney about WMD Bush served up on Iraq, gives him a chance to scare the American public once again, and just in time for the mid-term elections. The fact that the last National Intelligence Estimate by the CIA stated that Iran was likely ten years away from acheiving nuclear weapons will be conveniently forgotten (or ignored) by the media in its (no doubt) frantic coverage of the buildup to another Bush war of choice.

As for the inevitable fall out from the loss of Iranian oil on the world market should an attack, conventional or otherwise, ensue, ask yourself this question: Who would benefit from a sharp rise in oil prices? Maybe the same folks who benefited the last time oil supplies were threatened (as a result hurricanes Katrina and Rita): Saudi Arabia and Big Oil. With crude oil prices skyrocketing in the chaos from any attack, the Saudis and Bush’s “base” would be well positioned to make a killing.

I’m not saying this “beneficial impact” would be a consideration in any plan to attack Iran, just as I’m not claiming the political benefits to Republicans from opening a second front on the War on Terror would be a consideration for Bush, Cheney and Co. I’ll let you draw your your own conclusions as to their thought process should any such attack be threatened and/or ordered.

But I will say this. Lately, I keep having a deja vu experience everytime I read one of these articles where administration officials or conservative pundits are trumpeting the dire threat Iran poses to our security. Aren’t you?

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