April 10, 2006
The New York Times

Yes He Would

by Paul Krugman

"But he wouldn't do that." That sentiment is what made it possible for President Bush to stampede America into the Iraq war and to fend off hard questions about the reasons for that war until after the 2004 election. Many people just didn't want to believe that an American president would deliberately mislead the nation on matters of war and peace.

Now people with contacts in the administration and the military warn that Mr. Bush may be planning another war. The most alarming of the warnings come from Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. Writing in The New Yorker, Mr. Hersh suggests that administration officials believe that a bombing campaign could lead to desirable regime change in Iran - and that they refuse to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

"But he wouldn't do that," say people who think they're being sensible. Given what we now know about the origins of the Iraq war, however, discounting the possibility that Mr. Bush will start another ill-conceived and unnecessary war isn't sensible. It's wishful thinking. . . .


Julian Borger, "The Spies Who Pushed for War," Guardian, July 17, 2003

Enver Masud, "Iran Has an 'Inalienable Right' to Nuclear Energy," The Wisdom Fund, January 16, 2006

Tony Benn, "U.S., Britain's 'Total Hypocrisy' on Nuclear Energy," Democracy Now!, March 10, 2006

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby," London Review of Books, March 23, 2006

[ . . . some officers have talked about resigning after an attempt to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans in Iran failed, according to the report.--"US considers use of nuclear weapons against Iran," AFP, April 8, 2006]

[They said nothing had changed to alter current estimates of when Iran might be able to make a single nuclear weapon, assuming that is its ultimate goal. The United States government has put that at 5 to 10 years, and some analysts have said it could come as late as 2020.--William J. Broad, Nazila Fathi, Joel Brinkley, "Analysts Say a Nuclear Iran Is Years Away," New York Times, April 13, 2006]

[ . . . any military move directed against Iran would become a "bipartisan" matter in the US.--M. K. Bhadrakumar, "End of story: Israel triumphant," Asia Times, April 13, 2006]

[He said the President believes that he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."

One military planner told me that White House criticisms of Iran and the high tempo of planning and clandestine activities amount to a campaign of "coercion" aimed at Iran. . . .

"This is much more than a nuclear issue," one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. "That's just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years."--Seymour M. Hersh, "Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?," New Yorker, April 17, 2006]

[The parallels to the run-up to to war with Iraq are all too striking: remember that in May 2002 President Bush declared that there was "no war plan on my desk" despite having actually spent months working on detailed plans for the Iraq invasion.--Richard Clarke and Steven Simon, "Bombs That Would Backfire," New York Times, April 16, 2006]

[Much of the administration's anti-Iranian jihad has been orchestrated, like the attack on Iraq, by Vice President Dick Cheney, who increasingly emerges as the Rasputin of the Bush presidency. Cheney is very close to Israel's political far right. He is carrying out former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's command to the US that once it invaded Iraq, 'march immediately on Tehran.'--Eric Margolis, "Countdown Over Iran,", April 17, 2006]

Enver Masud, "Assured by the U.S., Saddam Invaded Kuwait," The Wisdom Fund, April 17, 2006

Saul Hudson, "Bush won't exclude Iran nuke strike," Reuters, April 18, 2006

[An expansion of civil nuclear power offers the best hope of tackling global energy insecurity--Carola Hoyos, "IEA backs nuclear power study," Financial Times, April 20, 2006]

"Iran still years away from having nukes: US intelligence chief," AFP, April 20, 2006

Phyllis Bennis, "Iran: The Day After," Mother Jones, April 21, 2006

[The Israel lobby was overwhelmingly in favor of starting the war with Iraq and is now among the leading hawks on Iran.--Molly Ivins, "Let's call the Israel lobby the Israel lobby," Creators Syndicate, April 25, 2006]

Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Do not attack Iran," International Herald Tribune, April 26, 2006

James D. Besser And Larry Cohler-Esses, "Iran-Israel Linkage By Bush Seen As Threat," Jewish Week, April 28, 2006

[They want to declare that even if Iran is legally entitled under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, Mr. Ahmadinejad cannot be trusted to do so.--David E. Sanger and Elaine Sciolino, "Iran Strategy: Cold War Echo," New York Times, April 30, 2006]

"Iran: The Intelligence Reports vs. the Hard-Liners," Newsweek, May 1, 2006

[He said a military strike against Iran was inconceivable. His problem is that Tony Blair thinks differently.--Ewen MacAskill, "Iran is the key to Jack Straw's demotion," Guardian, May 5, 2006]

"Blair: Nuking Iran Would Be Absurd," Associated Press, May 8, 2006

[In the 27 years since the Iranian Revolution, the United States has launched air strikes on Libya, invaded Grenada, put Marines in Lebanon and run air strikes in the Bekaa Valley and Chouf Mountains in retaliation for the Beirut bombing.

We invaded Panama, launched Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait and put troops into Somalia. Under Clinton, we occupied Haiti, fired cruise missiles into Sudan, intervened in Bosnia, conducted bombing strikes on Iraq and launched a 78-day bombing campaign against Serbia, a nation that never attacked us. Then, we put troops into Kosovo.

After the Soviet Union stood down in Eastern Europe, we moved NATO into Poland and the Baltic states and established U.S. bases in former provinces of Russia's in Central Asia.

Under Bush II, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, though it appears Saddam neither had weapons of mass destruction nor played a role in 9-11.

Yet, in this same quarter century when the U.S. military has been so busy it is said to be overstretched and exhausted, Iran has invaded not one neighbor and fought but one war: an eight-year war with Iraq where she was the victim of aggression.--Patrick J. Buchanan, "'Comrade Wolf' and the Mullahs," Conservative Voice, May 11, 2006]

[Iran was an incipient democracy in 1953, but Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh - chosen by an elected parliament and hugely popular among Iranians - angered the West by nationalizing his country's oil industry. President Eisenhower sent the CIA to depose him. The coup was successful, but it set the stage for future disaster.

. . . the United States has overthrown the governments of at least 14 countries, beginning with the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, and forcibly intervened in dozens more. Long before Afghanistan and Iraq, there were the Philippines, Panama, South Vietnam and Chile, among others.

Most of these interventions not only have brought great pain to the target countries but also, in the long run, weakened American security.--Stephen Kinzer, "U.S. history lesson: stop meddling," Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2006]

[Unless the U.S. government intends nuclear genocide against Muslims, it cannot prevail in war in the Middle East. A solution in the Middle East requires diplomacy and good will, not threats and aggression. Yet the Bush regime refuses to even meet with Iranian leaders.--Paul Craig Roberts, "How Bush Brewed the Iranian Crisis,", May 24, 2006]

[The US lacks the necessary conventional military force to invade and occupy Iran, but the use of nuclear weapons against Iran has a wider purpose. The neocons are determined not to have any more embarrassments, such as the Iraqi insurgency. By nuking Iran they intend to send a wider message that the US will use every means at its disposal to ensure its hegemony.--Paul Craig Roberts, "A Final End to History? Bush's Armageddon Wish,", June 12, 2006]

Seymour M. Hersh, "The military's problem with the President's Iran policy," New Yorker, July 3, 2006

[The Central Intelligence Agency blacklisted Mr. Ghorbanifar in 1984 for providing allegedly bogus information on threats against President Reagan. It soured on him further after the exiled Iranian businessman helped set up an arms-for-hostage deal with Iran that in 1986 rocked the Reagan administration and embarrassed the CIA.--Jay Solomon and Andrew Higgins, "Exiled Iranian Has Another Run As U.S. Informant: Concern He's a New Chalabi," Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2006]

"Bush 'would understand' attack on Iran," Jerusalem Post, November 2, 2006

VIDEO: "The Nuclear Bunker Buster," Union of Concerned Scientists

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