In spite of their best efforts, the Bush administration has yet to come up with a reason to attack Iran that the American public will believe, much less agree with.
Why attack Iran? War hawks in Washington are having trouble answering that question. Even their dire warnings about Iran’s nuclear program have not been enough to alarm Americans already weary of Middle East conflicts.
Now the war drums have taken on a different tone. The Bush administration is testing a new rationale for attacking Iran: We must strike because Iranians are killing our soldiers in Iraq.
This is not simply a charge made by one state against another in the hope that a misguided policy will be changed. It is also part of a calculated effort to find an argument for bombing Iran that Americans will accept.
The neocons and war hawks used up all their aces selling the Iraq war to an public that has since become much more informed about the Middle East since the invasion. The fraudulent WMD argument, along with the absence of any evidence that Iran is actually pursuing nuclear weapons, has undermined the effort to convince the public that Iran is about to launch a nuclear attack on the West.
Even the recent resolution passed in Washington, accusing Iran of incitement to genocide (based on a false translation made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) has failed to convince anyone outside Washington’s Beltway.
The string of accusations aimed at Iran for providing arms to Iraqi insurgents and participating in the killing of American troops appears to have also been a failure. Whether this is because the American public has become suspicious of anything the Bush administration tells them, or perhaps becasue they have become familiar enough with Iraq’s sectarian divide to appreciate that Iran has nothing to gain from such activity, is unclear.
Accusing Iran of deep involvement in the Iraq war is more than a way to lay the groundwork for a US attack. It also provides a scapegoat for America’s looming defeat. By this rationale, the American occupation would have succeeded, and Iraq would now be blooming and tranquil, if only Iran had not interfered and ruined everything.
Not even Americans are likely to swallow that one. Most reject the various rationales the Bush administration has so far offered to justify a possible attack on Iran. If they remain hostile to the idea, President Bush will eventually have to ask himself a fateful question: Should I attack anyway?
Attacking Iran would accomplish at least one thing Bush must be seeking. It will assure that future historians will not remember the invasion of Iraq as his biggest blunder.
It is clear that, based on the plummeting support for the Iraq war, America is not only fed up with it, but has no stomach for a bigger and more deadly adventure with much more formidable enemy. Predictably, Glenn Reynolds continues to blame it all on the Democrats.
ARMY RECRUITING, which had been running ahead of goals, has now fallen short two months in a row. Interestingly, this coincides with the new wave of surrender-talk in Congress, which probably does cause volunteers to think twice.
Yeah, it’s all that damn surrender-talk. Not the 500+ KIAs since the surge began, or the 25,000 casualties or 3600+ deaths. Or the fact that the majority of Americans think the troops should come home after war that’s been mismanaged by the President for 4+ years. Nope, it’s the surrender-talk in Congress.
But what was the problem when Army recruiting hit a 26-year low…two years ago?