Ironically, or perhaps not, an ex-Democrat who said “nobody wants to bring our troops home more than me” has become the Bush administration’s go-to guy in the Senate for support of the Iraq war. Joe Lieberman is most likely motivated by some misguided idea of what is good for Israel, and sees the Bush “activities” in the Middle East as helpful. Lieberman responded to a provocative Michael Gordon piece in the NY Times on US claims of Iranian interventions in Iraq:
The fact is that the Iranian government has by its actions declared war on us,” said Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats. As a result, he said, “The United States government has a responsibility to use all instruments at its disposal to stop these terrorist attacks against our soldiers and allies in Iraq, including keeping open the possibility of using military force against the terrorist infrastructure inside Iran.”
However, though Lieberman has become the point man for Bush, this is really ham-handed diplomacy. We aren’t going to attack Iran. The goals of the propanda war against that nation are really twofold, and neither of these is to incite a war. The Bushies think that war -mongering will bring Iran to the table, and they want to use the Iranian threat to influence the American public to accept a longterm American presence in Iraq.
He stopped short of advocating an immediate military strike, but said, “while I sincerely hope that diplomacy alone can convince the Iranian government to stop these attacks, our diplomatic efforts are only likely to succeed if backed by a credible threat of force.”
The purpose of the anti-Iran propaganda may have its goals in Iraq. Robert Gates, in a Wall Street Journal article, is cast as the mediator, looking for a middle ground between Bush’s intransigence and the growing calls for a rapid withdrawal from Iraq:
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is seeking a political deal in Washington to trade off troop cuts in Iraq for support for a long-term, smaller presence there, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Citing unnamed US government officials, the Journal said that Gates and some political allies are pursuing political support for maintaining a US military presence in Iraq to continue the fight against Al-Qaeda.
The tradeoff, according to the report, is a commitment to slashing back troop levels — now about 155,000 — by the end of President George W. Bush’s term in office, in January 2009.
Gates’s goal is to mollify the strong US sentiment for a pullout of US forces, while not abandoning Iraq altogether.
One gets the sense that the Washington Post series on Dick Cheney may have finally extinguished once and for all the possibility that the crazies would send us into war with Iran. But the threat evidently is still viewed by the Bush administration as continuing to have some utility.