Digby has been nursing the suspicion for a while that Junior is already playing Risk in Iran and that the public is only just beginning to catch on. I urge everyone to go over to Hullabaloo and read this very persuasive post that weaves together information from Sy Hersch’s work over the past year with statements by Colonel Sam Gardiner on CNN to the effect that we already have troops in Iran, as well as reporting by Raw Story and UPI on the use of the official terrorist group MEK to do our dirty work.
I suspect that these actions have been ongoing since Bush was reelected. Remember his constant refrain about "using his political capital?" His reelection seemed to infuse him with even more grandiosity than he showed before. For instance, his first order of domestic business wasn’t to disband the department of education, a longtime conservative goal. He set out to destroy social security — long known to be the third rail of politics. He thought he was destined (by God?) to fundamentally change the nation and the world. His arrogance knew no bounds.Within that framework, it is entirely believable to me that he could have ordered regime change in Iran more than a year ago. And it is almost certain that he could have authorized a new clandestine service in the DOD that is unanswerable to congress. The administration’s understanding of presidential power during "wartime" allows him to do anything he deems necessary to "protect" the country.
Again, this is tinfoil hat stuff, connecting some very vague dots. A few years ago I would have dismissed it as conspiracy mongering of the worst kind and consigned myself to spend a month digging through illuminati web-sites to cure me of the disease.
After what we have seen, however, I don’t think it’s far-fetched at all.
The day-to-day planning for dealing with Iran’s missile force falls to the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha. In June 2004, Rumsfeld alerted the command to be prepared to implement CONPLAN 8022, a global strike plan that includes Iran. CONPLAN 8022 calls for bombers and missiles to be able to act within 12 hours of a presidential order. The new task force, sources have told me, mostly worries that if it were called upon to deliver "prompt" global strikes against certain targets in Iran under some emergency circumstances, the president might have to be told that the only option is a nuclear one.
How serious is the Democratic resistance to this? It was nice that DiFi layed off kicking Russ Feingold to the curb today and released a statement raising the red flags, but Joe Biden said this week on Thursday’s Hardball said there wasn’t even a consensus amongst Democrats that this was insanity (sorry I’ve been waiting for days for a transcript of this but MSNBC has not been cooperative).
Pach has been doing a superb job of networking people in various states across the country to pay visits to their Senators through the Roots project and express their vigorous opposition to this. If unleashing a nuclear holocaust in Iran is not in your plans for the immediate future I hope you’ll drop Pach a line and get in touch with others in your area to do so. We had a great conference call last week and it was exciting to finally put voices to screen names. Since I don’t think Junior has any intention of alerting anyone before he does anything stupid, the time to act is now.
Update: Greg Sargent:
My concern, however, is that some Dems — primarily the presidential contenders and their advisers, and we all know who I’m talking about here — won’t see it our way. It’s hard to imagine Dems supporting a full-scale military adventure, but if Bush talks up limited strikes, some ambitious Dems might conclude that backing Bush’s plan is the safest way to go — that their presidential hopes will go up in flames if they don’t appear prepared to use limited force against a regime with nuclear ambitions. I don’t at all agree with that argument, but it isn’t hard to imagine certain Dems thinking it. They might calculate that if anything goes wrong with the Iran adventure — if it proves more costly or less effective than advertised — Bush will be blamed, while they simply demonstrated that they were prepared to support the "Commander in Chief."
It would be nice if these people were capable of weighing the number of lives to be lost in this potential debacle against their own political ambitions and making the right decision. Do we have to put this in terms they can understand? Fine. George Bush’s poll numbers are perilously low and the base just isn’t turning out for elections — the numbers are horribly depressed. It might be shrewd political calculation to, you know, provide some leadership here.
Update II: I think Cozumel’s recollection of the Biden segment from Hardball may be more accurate (and more damning) than mine:
Mathews asked Biden if Bush would have to go to Congress for permission to take military action against Iran. Bidden said yes, in his opinion. Mathews asked if this opinion was shared by the rest of the Congress, he said no.
I think at that point Matthews pressed him and said "even among the Democrats" and Biden again said "no." I’m checking with C&L to see if they have tape to confirm.