Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rewriting history on Iran -- again

With the release of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran (link to PDF of the report), it's fascinating to see the reactions, from GW Bush to the commentators.

Lionel Beehner, in Huffington Post, has a fascinating history: Bush Still Bending the Truth about Iran. Here's something I didn't know:
After the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan toppled the Taliban government, American and Iranian diplomats met together in Bonn, with a handful of representatives from other UN members, to form a new government and constitution for Kabul. "None was more [helpful] than the Iranians," said James Dobbins, the American special envoy to Afghanistan at the time...
...contrary to President Bush's claim, the White House rebuffed Iran's advances pre-Ahmadinejad to let bygones be bygones and, like Libya, start a new relationship based on cooperation rather than conflict. The question is: Why? And did Bush's "axis of evil" speech and subsequent rebuff of Iranian hand maybe hasten the election of a hardliner like Ahmadinejad? We may never know.

In The Guardian's Comment is free, Julian Borger comments, Happy Christmas, Dick!
"Merry Christmas Dick Cheney!" That is the unspoken subtitle to the new US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. In seven pages selected for publication, America's spies have stopped the hawks' push for military action against Iran in its tracks.
...It is also worth noting that although the NIE is a slap in the face of Washington's war party, it is conceivably quite welcome to George Bush. The president has been extensively briefed by his generals on the devastating backlash Iran could unleash on US forces and interests in the event of a military strike, but he had painted himself in a corner...

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