He’s an amoral sociopath, a man who will do anything to get his candidate elected, from stealing votes to starting rumors that an opponent is a pedophile, but one thing you have to hand to him, he’s fast on the draw when it comes to fashioning new and creative talking points.

Now, all weekend the internet has been ablaze with the story Seymour Hersh broke in the New Yorker, that the Bush administration has already foresworn diplomacy with Iran, and has drawn up plans to attack its nuclear and military facilities, plans which also include the option to use bunker busting nuclear bombs like the B61 in an attempt to destroy secret underground bunkers where the administration believes Iran’s nuclear program is being sheltered. Nukes, I might add, that can carry a warhead with an explosive yield of up to 340 kilotons (i.e., 340,000 tons of dynamite), or approximately 23 times larger than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, which had a yield of only 15 kilotons.

This story of a war-hungry President with a messianic complex is poisonous to Bush right now, coming as it does on the heels of so much other bad news last week, like the latest Plamegate revelations that Bush authorized Cheney and Libby to leak selected intelligence from the October, 2002 National Security Estimate on Iraq in order to attack the credibility Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

The Plame story paints Bush as a man willing to smear his critics if they threatened to expose his lies about the run-up to the Iraq war. The Hersh revelations, however, are far more toxic. Bush has been living and dealing with the fallout from Iraq and Joe Wilson for 3 years now. It’s doubtful that, by itself, further damning evidences of Bush’s involvement in the outing of Valerie Plame would have any significant effect on his poll numbers.

However, the news that Bush is secretly planning another war, this time against Iran, and one in which the US might use nuclear weapons for only the second time in the history of the world, could cause serious damage to his faltering approval numbers. Those numbers might even drop into the 20’s or teens, a landscape where impeachment stops being a dirty word, even to Bush’s fellow Republicans.

So Rove needed to act fast. He needed a catch phrase that would both belittle the Hersh story while soothing the anxieties of most Americans who are rightly terrified by the potential fallout should we use any nuclear weapons against an Islamic country. And wouldn’t you know it, that rat bastard, Karl, came through again:

(more below the fold)

Bush calls Iran military plans ‘wild speculation’
By Sam Knight and agencies

President George Bush dismissed claims that his administration was planning a pre-emptive military strike against Iran as “wild speculation” today.

Mr Bush was reacting to two articles — one in The Washington Post on Sunday and another in The New Yorker magazine today — claiming that hawkish officials in the Pentagon and the White House were recommending a forceful change of regime in Tehran.

Indeed, just take a look at this google search for all the articles about Iran that have come out just today with that very same phrase “wild speculation” used to describe the claims of the pentagon’s war planning for Iran contained in Hersh and WaPo articles. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? But it’s use doesn’t stop with Bush of course. Look how many times our man Scotty uses it in response to a questions today from Helen Thomas:

In this morning’s White House press ‘gaggle’, Helen Thomas got things started with a simple question. “Is the U.S. going to attack Iran?” Full transcript below …

QUESTION: Is the U.S. going to attack Iran?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: It is now your turn.

QUESTION: Is the U.S. going to attack Iran?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Helen, we’re pursing a diplomatic solution by working with the international community. I assume you’re referring to some of the media reports. Some of the media reports I’ve seen, which are based on anonymous outside advisors and former officials, appear to me to be based on people that do not know the administration’s thinking. I think it is a lot of wild speculation. We are working with the international community, particularly the EU-3, to pursue a diplomatic solution to a serious and growing concern.

QUESTION: Does the President think that the American people would accept any kind of an attack on Iran?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Now you’re engaging in the wild speculation I just talked about. Look, those who are seeking to draw broad conclusions based on normal military contingency planning are misinformed or not knowledgeable about the administration’s thinking. The international community is united in its concern about the regime obtaining a nuclear weapons capability, and that’s why we are working with the international community to prevent that from happening. And we are seeking to resolve this in a diplomatic way.

QUESTION: Would the President consult with Congress before —

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Helen, I’m not going to engage in all this wild speculation. No President takes options off the table, but our focus is on working with the international community to find a diplomatic solution.

Oh that Scotty. The perfect man for repeating Rove’s pet phrases with almost robotic efficiency. And don’t you admire the genius of it? Wild Speculation. Bush critics and the media are immediately painted as fanatics and madmen willing to say anything because of their intense and disloyal hatred of Our Leader. On the flip side it strikes the perfect tone of measured and statesmanlike activity by President Bush, by suggesting he would never stoop to such a thing.

And best of all, it doesn’t even deny the report! There’s absolutely no denial of the essential elements of the Hersh and WaPo stories, that Bush is secretly planning to go to war against Iran. It even obscures the real truth about his intentions that Bush himself openly admits: that he refuses to negotiate with Iran:

Mr Bush’s rejection of any bilateral negotiations will be a disappointment to the EU3 countries of France, Germany and the UK, which have been urging the US to engage in direct talks with Tehran. The Iranian government has also sent out signals that it desires such direct negotiations with Washington.

Mr Bush said any effort to engage the Iranians directly on the nuclear issue would weaken efforts to dissuade Iran. “It’s amazing that, when we’re in a bilateral position or negotiating one-on-one, somehow the world ends up turning the tables on us. And I’m not going to put my country in that position,” he said.

Yes, any reports of war planning are wild speculation, even as Bush rejects bilateral negotiations. Such chutzpah! In essence he’s saying, “Don’t worry, be happy” to the American public. As propaganda, it’s damn near perfect.

Of course, its all one great big evil lie. You know that, and I know that. But how many of our gullible friends and neighbors will allow themselves to be snookered once more? Yes, folks, it’s all right to go back to your normal, mindless zombie existence. Any talk about war with Iran is just WILD SPECULATION.

I salute you, Karl Rove. Joseph Goebbels has got nothing on you buddy.

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