Blindly Backing Israel Against Iran

Well, that tears it. First we had Dick Cheney – the most powerful Vice-President we’ve ever had – nonchalantly tell a radio talk-show host just hours before the Bush-Cheney second inaugural:

"Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it [that is, attack and destroy Iran’s IAEA-safeguarded facilities] without being asked; that if, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant nuclear capability – given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel – the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."

Immediately a worried world wanted to know – was Cheney encouraging the Israelis to attack Iran’s safeguarded facilities or warning them not to?

Now comes George Bush – the most powerful president the most powerful nation on earth has ever had – to explicate his vice president’s ambiguous remark:

“Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I’d listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I’d be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And, in that Israel is our ally – and in that we’ve made a very strong commitment to support Israel – we will support Israel if her security is threatened.”

But after making such threats, Bush and Cheney and Condi and Bolton invariably proceed to say they’d prefer a "diplomatic solution" – dictated to the Iranians by the Likudniks – to the nuclear crisis in Iran.

Of course, no one except the Likudniks believe that there is a nuclear crisis in Iran. Certainly Mohamed ElBaradei – Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency – doesn’t believe it.

Iran volunteered back in 2003 to give the IAEA approximately the same go-anywhere see-anything authority that the UN Security Council had required of Iraq. Hence, the IAEA has been able to verify that all Iran’s "special nuclear materials" and activities involving the physical or chemical transformation of those materials, have been made subject to Iran’s IAEA Safeguards Agreement.

Furthermore, in recent interviews, ElBaradei has stated unequivocally that he has found no evidence whatsoever of an Iranian nuclear weapons program – past, present or future.

Of course, ElBaradei made similar pronouncements about the absence of a nuke program in Iraq in the days, weeks and months preceding Bush’s pre-emptive invasion to destroy "it." ElBaradei has since been shown to have been absolutely right on Iraq and the Likudniks absolutely wrong.

Hence, Bush and his underlings ought to be – but apparently aren’t – a bit chastened about Iran.

One Bush underling – David Kay – has been more than chastened by his experience as chief of the Iraq Survey Group.

The ISG – established in June, 2003, by Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet – comprised about two thousand weapon scientists, engineers and intelligence experts and was given the responsibility to determine whether of not Saddam actually had weapons of mass destruction on the eve of Bush’s pre-emptive invasion, and if he did, what happened to them.

Kay had worked from 1983 to 1991 for Hans Blix when Blix was IAEA Director General.

Nevertheless, in the weeks and months before Bush launched his ill-advised attack on Iraq, Kay had appeared on TV and before Congressional Committees, supporting Tenet’s 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraqi WMD, and trash-talking Blix and ElBaradei.

Kay resigned as chief of the ISG in January, 2004, telling Congress that Saddam’s WND didn’t exist and that "nearly all of us have been wrong."

Then, last month, Kay issued a warning entitled "Let’s Not Make the Same Mistakes in Iran."

Kay was particularly concerned that "Vice President Cheney is giving interviews and speeches that paint a stark picture of a soon-to-be-nuclear-armed Iran and declaring that this is something the Bush administration will not tolerate."

And – Lord help us – Kay issued that warning before Bush’s explication of Cheney’s remarks.

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.