Iran: Bush’s Nuclear Option for a McCain Victory

I have been harboring a fear this election cycle. I’ve been worried that Bush/Cheney would not sit idly by and allow Democrats to take the White House. There are too many bodies in shallow graves under the lawn and in the rose garden, too fresh and ready for discovery: almost anything to do with Karl Rove, what really happened in Cheney’s energy summit, what gay male prostitute “Jeff Gannon” was really doing with high-level clearance, how many times Jack Abramoff really had private visits with Bush, why we are really in Iraq, and so much more.

The Republicans and the Neocons can’t let Democrats shine lights on all these closely held secrets because it would literally be the destruction of their party and their ideology.

When Senate Republicans threatened to use the “nuclear option” to get around Democratic denials of Bush judicial appointments in 2005, the term meant using a strategy from which there was no turning back. For many months now, the Bush administration has been beating the drums of war with Iran in exactly the same rhythm as it did before invading Iraq but we have chosen to ignore the sound and turn our attention to who will replace Bush, the price of gas, and the ruined housing market. Now it looks like a plan to launch a pre-emptive strike is at hand.

My fear, which appears to be coming true, has been that they will commit us to another war before they go, thereby ensuring the shaken and timorous electorate chooses not to change horses.

The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

…The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC’s elite Quds force.

…The source said the White House views the proposed air strike as a limited action to punish Iran for its involvement in Iraq. The source, an ambassador during the administration of president H W Bush, did not provide details on the types of weapons to be used in the attack, nor on the precise stage of planning at this time. It is not known whether the White House has already consulted with allies about the air strike, or if it plans to do so.

The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment passed last September, named for the other senator from Arizona and everyone’s favorite independent Democrat. The amendment declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, and was meant as a clear signal to Bush that he could proceed with any strategy he saw fit.

Sen. Hillary Clinton voted for the amendment, breaking ranks with many non-independent Democrats voting against it, including Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, Christopher Dodd, Russ Feingold, Thomas Harkin, Daniel Inouye, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, Claire McCaskill, and Jim Webb, as well as Republicans Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar. Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama was present for the vote, although McCain has made his intention to go to war with Iran clear numerous times.

Senators and the Bush administration denied the resolution and terrorist declaration were preludes to an attack on Iran. However, attacking Iran rarely seems far from some American leaders’ minds. Arizona senator and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain recast the classic Beach Boys tune Barbara Ann as “Bomb Iran”. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton promised “total obliteration” for Iran if it attacked Israel.

We found out in 2004 that the Bush administration was willing to scare us into voting for them by exploiting bogus elevated terror threat levels and serendipitously timed videos from Osama bin Laden. My fear, which appears to be coming true, has been that they will commit us to another war before they go, thereby ensuring the shaken and timorous electorate chooses not to change horses. Suddenly, being John McSame would be an advantage.

15 Comments

  • May 28, 2008 - 7:53 am | Permalink

    At this point, I think it’s safe to drop the “democrat” when referring to Joe Lieberman. Anyone who would open himself to speaking at the Republican convention in support of their candidate is no longer an “independent Democrat.”

  • May 28, 2008 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    “I have been harboring a fear this election cycle. I’ve been worried that Bush/Cheney would not sit idly by and allow Democrats to take the White House.”

    I am of the same mind on this one… and have been for quite some time.

    After all, if 9/11 facilitated a coup of sorts, what good is it if the perpetrators must give up power?

    Watch phrase of the month, “False flag operation.”

  • nikolai
    May 28, 2008 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    I read an interesting article the other day about how the oilmen wanted Iraq not only to grab the oil but to NOT let the oil on the market, or to be more specific, to “throttle” the release of Iraqi oil into the world market to keep oil prices up. THAT my friends is why we are there, and the oilmen have NO INTENTION of giving up on that plan, and a good way to keep things going would be a strike on Iran before November ’08. Remember the 2004 election when bush was already hosing things up? “OMG! We can’t change horses in midstream”! Look what THAT bought us!
    May god have mercy on the USA…

  • Sharky Dowd
    May 28, 2008 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Of COURSE that is going to happen.

    Hillary Clinton’s vote for the amendment was an extremely cynical move, putting herself in good shape to be hawkish enough for swing voters, moderates and scared people to go ahead and elect her US President despite whatever horrific war-like scenarios the Republicans manufacture this fall.

    Clinton was the Democrats’ chance to fight fire with fire and take back the White House. Hopefully Obama has the MAGIC (because that is what it’s gonna take) to bring on enough fire of his own to beat the Republican fear/smear machine.

    And I remind you that Clinton and the Obama have few actual policy differences and anyone who hates Clinton enough to think four more years of Republican leadership in the Executive Office is preferable to her as president is more cynical than Clinton’s pseudo-hawklike posturing to the swing voters.

    (Now any Obama fans who read this can go ahead and slam me for not being Obamatically correct, but after you’re finished venting, start thinking of actual ways to help your candidate somehow beat the Republicans ’08 version of the drums and deceptions of “oh no its war” and get those moderate, non-intellectual, swinging tho not sexy, average scared Americans to vote to for him. Because Obama sure isn’t going to get elected based on any positive thinking and art of attraction good-vibe manifesting from his oh-so-friendly and “peace-loving” supporters.)

  • May 28, 2008 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Obama was in the Senate on the morning of Sept. 26, 2007, but chose not to vote on Lieberman-Kyl. Instead, he left for an 11:30 a.m. campaign event in New Hampshire. The vote was an hour later, at 12:30 p.m.

    That night, Clinton and Obama appeared in the New Hampshire debate at Dartmouth College, which was televised on MSNBC.

  • May 28, 2008 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    O.K., Jon, I’m not sure why we’re going there but here goes…Politico says the vote on Kyl-Lieberman was originally scheduled for the previous evening. Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the vote and moved it to the following afternoon. Obama was present at the time of the original vote, and the morning of the actual vote but was unable to shuffle his schedule indefinitely on such short notice.

    This statement was released by his office for the record on the day of the vote: “Senator Obama clearly recognizes the serious threat posed by Iran. However, he does not agree with the president that the best way to counter that threat is to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq, and he does not think that now is the time for saber-rattling towards Iran. In fact, he thinks that our large troop presence in Iraq has served to strengthen Iran – not weaken it. He believes that diplomacy and economic pressure, such as the divestment bill that he has proposed, is the right way to pressure the Iranian regime. Accordingly, he would have opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment had he been able to vote today.”

    You didn’t say he was ducking the vote or avoiding going on record but if that’s what you’re thinking, this statement would contradict it.

  • May 29, 2008 - 7:07 am | Permalink

    This amendment was DINO Lieberman making mischief in the Democratic primary for his friend John McCain. It was an attempt to get the Dems on the record for the general election, when a vote against declaring the Iranian elite guard a terrorist group could be used as ammunition by the GOP to accuse the Dem nominee of being “soft on terror.”

    I remember thinking at the time that Obama had ducked it. It was this incident that led me to look into his voting record, which is when I discovered that he voted “present” dozens of times in the Illinois Senate and a few times in the U.S. Senate before he started campaigning.

    The vote was discussed in the debate that night, including this from Mike Gravel: “There was a vote in the Senate today — Joe Lieberman, who authored the Iraq resolution, has offered another resolution, and it [is] essentially a fig leaf to let George Bush go to war with Iran. And I want to congratulate Biden for voting against it, Dodd for voting against, and I’m ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it. You’re not going to get another shot at this, because what’s happened if this war ensues — we invade and they’re looking for an excuse to do it. And Obama was not even there to vote.”

    A few days later, Obama criticized Clinton’s vote in an interview with the AP:

    “There’s nothing wrong with identifying the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, but it is a problem when you start using Iran as a justification for troop structures in Iraq and providing language that could potentially lead to military action in Iran,” Obama told The Associated Press on Monday following a campaign event in Nashua. Obama missed the vote on the resolution because he was campaigning in New Hampshire.

    “Sen. Clinton and others should have learned from 2002 that if you give President George Bush a blank check that he’ll cash it. You’ve got to be very cautious and very sober regarding any kind of language or rationale that leads him to make more disastrous foreign policy decisions,” Obama said.

    I didn’t agree with Clinton’s vote. As Sharkey said, she was pandering to the middle in the general election. But she went on the record, right or wrong. Obama’s priority was to leave Washington that morning to attend a fundraiser, which either demonstrates his real thoughts about how unimportant this nonbinding “sense of the Senate” vote was — or he ducked it in order not go on the record with a “no” vote which, though it would have pleased his supporters in the primaries, would have been ammunition against him in the general.

    All that being said, on tactics, he did the right thing by defusing this issue in the general. There won’t be 527 ads saying, “Obama voted against declaring Iran a terror state.”

  • May 29, 2008 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    So Clinton hanging on until the bitter end to vote “yes” to give Bush more rope with Iran was NOT political posturing? But Obama waiting and waiting and then, when forced to go, issuing a clear statement against such a move is ducking the issue? All righty then.

  • May 29, 2008 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    But I said Clinton was pandering, which is posturing. If Obama thought voting on giving Bush a blank check to go into Iran was important, he would have missed the fundraiser or postponed it a few hours. He had nothing else on his schedule until later in the day.

    What Obama can be called on here is, well, audacity: Preaching a new style of politics while engaging in ducking and weaseling on an issue and then criticizing his opponent who took a stand. There’s nothing new about that. It’s standard Washington politics, the way I see it. (But then, so is running against “Washington politics.” Bush II in 2000, Bill Clinton in 1992, Reagan in 1980 and Carter in 1976 did it with great success. None of them were actually in office in Washington when they ran against Washington, however.)

    Still, Obama wins on tactics. This amendment was a sham, and he deftly avoided allowing it to become the subject of a 527 ad against him.

  • May 29, 2008 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I’m seeing no ducking or weaseling in his official statement quoted above, which is public record, and which can be easily quoted back to him and thrown in his face by any 527 that wants to. But then, I wasn’t looking for any.

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  • May 29, 2008 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Probably because you were solid for Edwards at that point. I was squishy for Richardson and looking around. This was a significant moment for me in re. Obama. His rhetoric and actions diverged. Left me less than impressed.

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  • Howard
    September 26, 2008 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    First the Democrats blindly follow Obama … now, they are willing to blindly follow Reid, Bush and Paulson … in a decision which could dramatically affect every American for decades. Well, thank God, Senator John McCain doesn’t just want to take a few people’s word for it. Already, Reid has tried to tack additional pork to this bailout. I didn’t think I could dislike inept Harry Reid, with his 15% approval rating, any more than I already did, but this isn’t about Reid being left alone to decide America’s future. It will be interesting to look at this in retrospect, to see if we really did have to RUSH this 750 Billion dollar decision.

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