Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bush’s Nazi-Iran Analogy

By Jim Lobe

"For those of you who have not yet seen it, M.J. Rosenberg’s column on Bush’s analogy between Nazi Germany and Iran and the contretemps between the Obama and McCain camps over Hamas is a must read, by far the best meditation on both issues, particularly on the implications for the American Jewish community, that has crossed my desk. ......

........The fact that the kind of agit-prop that the administration and the neo-cons orchestrated in the run-up to the Iraq invasion has been almost entirely lacking over the past two years also made me doubtful, particularly of those persistent predictions over the same period that an attack was imminent.

But I’ve had to reassess recently, especially in the wake of Adm. Fallon’s resignation and the more-hawkish statements about Iran’s interference in Iraq coming out of the Pentagon, including from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen, over the past two weeks. I still believe the Pentagon strongly opposes war, and Gates’ remarks to the American Academy of Diplomacy Wednesday make his position pretty clear. But I’m becoming less confident about his — and the other realists’ — ultimate influence on Bush, at least with respect to Iran (as opposed to North Korea). Adding to my concern was a report by a reliable source that a prominent neo-conservative close to Cheney’s office who several months ago believed there was virtually no possibility that Bush would order an attack on Iran before he left office has apparently changed his mind. This individual (whose name I can’t divulge at the source’s insistence) recently told my source that such an attack would take place between the November elections and Bush’s departure and that it would be “massive.” I subsequently heard from a knowledgeable Israeli source that he had recently heard the same scenario from two of his sources in Israel. In that connection, Todd Gitlin’s reflections on TPM Cafe about what he was hearing in Jerusalem this week seem clearly relevant. (Gitlin attended Shimon Peres’ Presidents Conference where, according to Laura Rozen’s excellent, the Israeli host was seated in the front row between Bush and Freedom’s Watch funder and Netanyahu backer, casino multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Her rendition of Nahum Barnea’s column for Yediot Aharanot on Adelson is another must read this week.)

This is not to say I am by any means convinced that the U.S. will attack Iran before Bush leaves office. As noted above, I still believe Gates and the Pentagon would strongly oppose such an attack, and even Rice would feel compelled to warn the president of the very, very serious diplomatic consequences, particularly for trans-Atlantic relations. And the intelligence community will clearly be prepared — if asked — to tell Bush that the chief beneficiary of such an attack, apart from Iranian hard-liners, would be Al Qaeda. But given the recent train of events, as well as the president’ rhetoric this week, (even it was aimed mostly at influencing the political campaign back home), I have to believe that an attack is more possible — albeit still not probable — than I had believed before."

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