Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Did Bush Want To Attack Iran Because of the NIE

For those who don't know, the "NIE" is the National Intelligence Estimate and yesterday the Director of Intelligence released an NIE which revealed that Iran had stopped their efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2003.

Today, the mainstream media and liberal blogs are filled with commentary on how the Bush administration knew about the NIE on Iran for at least six months and probably more than a year before it was published. The point of Wolf Blitzer and the liberals bloggers is that the Bush administration kept up the policy of threatening to attack Iran's nuclear facilities even though they knew that Iran was not attempting to develop nuclear weapons.

For the critics, it was the Iraq WMD issue all over again.

But I think it's worse than that. In fact, the Bush administration did not just maintain their previous policy in the face of the information in the NIE. Rather, President Bush, Dick Cheney, and others in the Bush administration significantly increased their pressure on Iran and seemed to be pushing for a military strike before the end of Bush's term.

In my opinion, it's pretty likely that Bush and especially Cheney were pushing for a military strike before the public release of the NIE made it clear that Iran was very unlikely to ever become a nuclear threat.

In this sense, Cheney would have been motivated to attack Iran as a way to preempt the NIE--in other words, preempt the truth. In my mind, that would be the war crime of a "crime against peace," the kind of war crime for which the Japanese leadership was prosecuted after WWII.

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