Trudy Rubin, in today’s local rag, muses on why the Scooter Libby story did not just die three years ago (emphasis added):
In the end, Libby was indicted not for leaking Plame’s name – a potential felony – but for lying about who told him about her existence. He claims he learned it from NBC’s Tim Russert. (snip) Patrick J. Fitzgerald . . . says Libby got the information from Cheney.
Why would Libby lie about this? According to Fitzgerald, Cheney and his aides saw Wilson as a threat to “the credibility of the vice president [and the president] on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq.”
This brings us to the present. In a buildup of tension that resembles a replay of the Iraq war run-up, the White House is claiming that Iran is America’s chief problem in Iraq.
Bush has authorized the U.S. military to “kill or capture” Iranian agents who are plotting attacks on U.S. troops, and U.S. special forces have raided Iraqi government offices and arrested visiting Iranians. We have moved more ships to the Persian Gulf and armed Iran’s Arab neighbors with Patriot missiles. Yet the Pentagon has repeatedly delayed presenting detailed evidence to support these claims against Iran.
Iran does present serious security problems in the region. But the drumbeat of new U.S. charges against Iran is disturbingly similar to the hype about Iraq in 2002 and early 2003.
The Libby trial is a salutary reminder that the same leaders who cherry-picked Iraq intelligence are still in the White House. The Niger charge was patently false, yet Bush, Cheney – and Libby – promoted it. Perhaps they auto-hypnotized themselves into believing it. Hopefully, they can’t hypnotize the country again.
Meannwhile, a few miles down Interstate 95, the Main Street of the East Coast, William Odom, General USA-Ret, demolishes the myths of the NeoCon war supporters. See the italized paragraph to hear the drumbeats (emphasis added):
1) We must continue the war to prevent the terrible aftermath that will occur if our forces are withdrawn soon. Reflect on the double-think of this formulation. We are now fighting to prevent what our invasion made inevitable! Undoubtedly we will leave a mess — the mess we created, which has become worse each year we have remained. Lawmakers gravely proclaim their opposition to the war, but in the next breath express fear that quitting it will leave a blood bath, a civil war, a terrorist haven, a “failed state,” or some other horror. But this “aftermath” is already upon us; a prolonged U.S. occupation cannot prevent what already exists.
2) We must continue the war to prevent Iran’s influence from growing in Iraq. This is another absurd notion. One of the president’s initial war aims, the creation of a democracy in Iraq, ensured increased Iranian influence, both in Iraq and the region. Electoral democracy, predictably, would put Shiite groups in power — groups supported by Iran since Saddam Hussein repressed them in 1991. Why are so many members of Congress swallowing the claim that prolonging the war is now supposed to prevent precisely what starting the war inexorably and predictably caused? Fear that Congress will confront this contradiction helps explain the administration and neocon drumbeat we now hear for expanding the war to Iran.
Here we see shades of the Nixon-Kissinger strategy in Vietnam: widen the war into Cambodia and Laos. Only this time, the adverse consequences would be far greater. Iran’s ability to hurt U.S. forces in Iraq are not trivial. And the anti-American backlash in the region would be larger, and have more lasting consequences.
3) We must prevent the emergence of a new haven for al-Qaeda in Iraq. But it was the U.S. invasion that opened Iraq’s doors to al-Qaeda. The longer U.S. forces have remained there, the stronger al-Qaeda has become. Yet its strength within the Kurdish and Shiite areas is trivial. After a U.S. withdrawal, it will probably play a continuing role in helping the Sunni groups against the Shiites and the Kurds. Whether such foreign elements could remain or thrive in Iraq after the resolution of civil war is open to question. Meanwhile, continuing the war will not push al-Qaeda outside Iraq. On the contrary, the American presence is the glue that holds al-Qaeda there now.
4) We must continue to fight in order to “support the troops.” This argument effectively paralyzes almost all members of Congress. Lawmakers proclaim in grave tones a litany of problems in Iraq sufficient to justify a rapid pullout. Then they reject that logical conclusion, insisting we cannot do so because we must support the troops. Has anybody asked the troops?
Now, in contrast, let’s look at this from the standpoint of the Current Federal Administration:
If you’re lousing up one fraudulent war, how could lousing up two fraudulent wars be any worse?